Meditation Hack’s Your Brain’s Default Mode

By on February 10, 2015

Ever wanted to switch off the part of your brain which generates all the annoying thoughts?

Then I’ve got good news for you…

…you CAN!

Yale researchers published a study back in 2011 which showed that experienced meditators had decreased activity in the default mode network of the brain.

Let’s hear more about it from Bill Hathaway at Yale News:

“They found that experienced meditators had decreased activity in areas of the brain called the default mode network, which has been implicated in lapses of attention and disorders such as anxiety, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, and even the buildup of beta amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease. The decrease in activity in this network, consisting of the medial prefrontal and posterior cingulate cortex, was seen in experienced meditators regardless of the type of meditation they were doing.”

Read the full article from Yale News about how brains benefit from meditation…

On the topic of meditation, benefits, and the brain’s default mode network, here is a great short “big think” video by Dan Harris, talking about just that:

Dan Harris gives an introduction by talking about meditation’s numerous benefits, and then goes on to mention the Yale research about meditation and the default mode network.

He continues by mentioning how meditation is trending these days, and is being practiced by more and more people.

And then he gives this great prediction (that I absolutely love):

I think we’re looking at meditation as the next big public health revolution. In the 1940s, if you told people that you went running, they would say: “Who’s chasing you?”. Right now, if you tell people you meditate (and I have a lot of experience with telling people this), they’re gonna look at you like you’re a little weird… most of the time. That’s gonna change! Meditation is gonna join the pantheon of no-brainers like exercise, brushing your teeth, and taking the meds that your doctor prescribes to you. These are all things that if you don’t do, you feel guilty about. And that is where I think we’re heading with meditation. Because the science is so strongly suggestive that meditation can do really, really great things for your brain and for your body.

At the end Dan Harris talks about how meditation suggests that happiness is a skill, and not entirely dependent on external factors (like wealth, status, marriage, etc).

Go watch the video for yourself (it’s only less than 4 minutes long), and let us know what you think about it.

What was your biggest takeaway from this research, and Dan Harris’ talk?

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