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The benefits of mindfulness

Watch neuroscientist Neil Bailey provide an overview of the benefits of mindfulness and how it impacts our brain.
NEIL BAILEY: So, when we’re being unmindful, not paying attention to any one thing in particular, something called the default mode network activates in our brain. And that network is associated with rumination, worrying. It’s also associated with depression, and later in life, it’s associated with the development of Alzheimer’s. So, when we’re not being mindful, or we’re not paying attention, a brain state is activated that can cause all these carry-on negative effects and really affect our mental health. So, research by Lazar and colleagues has shown that after eight weeks of meditation practise of only 15 minutes a day on average, participants showed thickened hippocampuses. So those are the areas of the brain that are associated with memory.
Also thicker insulas for detecting sensations from your body, thicker anterior cingulate cortexes for monitoring the conflicts between how you feel and your long-term goals, reduced activity in the amygdala, which is associated with fear and anxiety. So reduction in the activity in that region is a good thing. And also, when people are performing cognitive tasks, they show often superior performance. So they do better at the task, while at the same time, less energy spent in the brain. So exerting less energy to do better.

Watch neuroscientist Neil Bailey provide an overview of the benefits of mindfulness and how it impacts our brain.

Talking point

In this course, we assume that you’ve either completed our introductory course, Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance and/or had some previous experience of practising mindfulness and applying mindfulness principles.

Since starting to practise mindfulness and becoming more aware, what changes have you noticed or benefits have you experienced?

Maybe you’ve become more productive or now approach something new with an open and nonjudgmental attitude? Consider sharing with other learners your thoughts in the Comments.

Don’t forget to contribute to the discussion by reviewing comments made by other learners, making sure you provide constructive feedback and commentary. You can also ‘Like’ comments or follow other learners throughout the course.

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Maintaining a Mindful Life

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