Meditation’s Effects on Alpha Brain Waves

A new study out of Brown University has found that a form of mindfulness meditation known as MBSR may act as a “volume knob” for attention, changing brain wave patterns.

What is MBSR?
Originally developed by a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) is based on mindfulness meditation techniques that have been practiced in some form or another for over two millennia. The 8-week MBSR program still follows some of the same principles of the original Buddhist practice, training followers to focus a “spotlight of attention” on different parts of their body. Eventually, it is hoped, practitioners learn to develop the same awareness of their mental states.

In the last 20 years, MBSR and a similar practice called mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) have been included in an increasing number of healthcare plans in the developed world. Some studies have shown that these practices can reduce distress in individuals with chronic pain and decrease risk of relapses into depression.

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Une journée de méditation modifie la régulation des gènes

Sa pratique influence l’expression de gènes impliqués dans l’inflammation, le métabolisme et le vieillissement des cellules, selon une équipe du Centre de recherche en neurosciences de Lyon. Cet article est issu du magazine Sciences et Avenir n°875 daté janvier 2020.

Méditer pendant huit heures modifie la régulation de certains gènes ! Telle est la découverte étonnante qu’ont faite les équipes de Raphaëlle Chaix de l’unité d’éco-anthropologie du CNRS à Paris, et Perla Kaliman, de l’Université ouverte de Catalogne (Espagne), en collaboration avec Antoine Lutz, chercheur au Centre de recherche en neurosciences de Lyon, et Richard Davidson, de l’université du Wisconsin à Madison (États-Unis).

Un effet sur l’expression des gènes pro-inflammatoires déjà démontré

Pour les besoins de l’étude, publiée en novembre 2019 dans la revue Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 17 volontaires entraînés à méditer et 17 témoins ont passé une journée sous la surveillance des scientifiques. Le premier groupe a été invité à méditer pendant huit heures, tandis que le second a pratiqué des activités de loisirs (lire, marcher, jouer à des jeux vidéo…). Deux prélèvements sanguins, en début et en fin de journée, ont permis de déterminer les modifications qui interviennent dans la régulation des gènes (épigénome) de chacun. “Déjà en 2014, nous avions montré que huit heures de méditation entraînent une diminution de l’expression des gènes pro-inflammatoires chez des méditants experts”, rappelle Perla Kaliman. Cette fois, les scientifiques ont voulu aller plus loin dans la compréhension du mécanisme moléculaire.

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Why being busy is a modern sickness

 

 

 

 

 

Of all the books from last century we can turn back to for guidance, Alan Watts’s The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety is particularly suited for this task. Published in 1951, Watts knew post-World War II America was ramping up at unsustainable social and technological speeds. More people were working more hours while offering more excuses as to why they were never really present—the word “more” being the constant catalyst of inattention and stress. He writes:

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Sense of wonderment may relieve the worry of waiting for uncertain news

An induced feeling of awe, or state of wonder, may be the best strategy yet for alleviating the discomfort that comes from uncertain waiting.

Kate Sweeny’s research explores the most excruciating form of waiting: the period during which one awaits uncertain news, the outcome of which is beyond one’s control. It’s waiting for news from a biopsy, or whether you aced — or tanked — the exam. That’s distinguished from waiting periods such as when looking for a new job, when you have at least some control over the outcome.

Her research has found some clues for alleviating those difficult periods. Meditation helps, as does engaging in “flow” activities — those that require complete focus, such as a video game.

“However, meditation is not for everyone, and it can be difficult to achieve a state of flow when worry is raging out of control,” Sweeny and her team assert in their latest related research, published recently in The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Sweeny, a professor of psychology at UC Riverside, has discovered what may be the best strategy yet to alleviate the most uncomfortable purgatory of waiting. That is, awe, defined in the research as a state of wonder, a transportive mindset brought on by beautiful music, or a deeply affecting film.

The research drew from two studies, for a total of 729 participants. In the first test, participants took a faux intelligence assessment. In the second test, participants believed they were awaiting feedback on how other study participants perceived them.

In both cases, they watched one of three movies that inspired varying levels of awe. The first was an “awe induction” video, a high-definition video of a sunrise with instrumental music. The second was a positive control video meant to elicit happy feelings, but not awe. The video was of cute animal couples. The third was a neutral video. In this case, about how padlocks are made.

Researchers found that those exposed to the awe-induction video experienced significantly greater positive emotion and less anxiety during the period waiting for IQ test results and peer assessments.

“Our research shows that watching even a short video that makes you feel awe can make waiting easier, boosting positive emotions that can counteract stress in those moments,” Sweeny said.

Sweeny said the research can be used to devise strategies for maximizing positive emotion and minimizing anxiety during the most taxing periods of waiting. Because the concept of awe has only received recent attention in psychology, the research also is the first to stress its beneficial effects during stressful waiting periods, opening new opportunities for study.

“Now that we know we can make people feel better through brief awe experiences while they’re waiting in the lab, we can take this knowledge out into the real world to see if people feel less stressed when they watch “Planet Earth” or go to an observatory, for example, while they’re suffering through a difficult waiting period,” Sweeny said.

Link Original: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190624111532.htm?fbclid=IwAR06t0ExCs1LEBGi9Yqnk96HJGTY7ue5C1pFRDAS0mhxIHMIPU-maamdFnI


Cuidar do nervo vago para reduzir a ansiedade e melhorar a qualidade de vida

O nervo vago inerva grande parte do nosso organismo. De tal forma que muitos o definem como uma força motriz, um canal interno que regula o descanso e que, além disso, desativa as respostas ansiosas do nosso corpo. Saber estimulá-lo através de exercícios como a respiração diafragmática nos ajudaria sem dúvidas a reduzir muitas dessas emoções negativas que nos atormentam todos os dias.

Vamos pensar por um momento em todas essas situações que geram ansiedade, em tudo aquilo que produz medo, incômodo, repulsa… Vamos visualizar esses momentos vitais e perceber como em um dado momento nosso estômago ou nosso intestino começa a ter espasmos, cólicas, a se agitar com muitas borboletas bravas no seu interior. Essa sensação ativa imediatamente o nervo vago e envia ao cérebro uma mensagem categórica: “temos uma ameaça”.

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