Neuroscience and mindfulness: how to bring happiness to your brain

So much talk about awareness... but, no one seems able to clearly explain what it actually is. Ask people and you will hear: "... it means to be in the present moment, well... something like meditation."

What is this newfangled passion? Actually, no. And there is no "deadly confrontation" between consciousness and neuroscience, between East and West. In fact, they even at the same time.

The research shows how mindfulness works. It helps us to become happier and reduce stress. But no one has ever explained this process sensibly and without platitudes. Let's fix this defect.

We will examine how neuroscience and mindfulness together to provide answers to the question of why our brain is so often experiencing anxiety, sadness or anger, we will learn about the scientifically sound way to be happy and always to remain so.

So, let's start.

 The left hemisphere of your brain is constantly lying to you

My grandmother did not like the word "liar". She thought he was too harsh, so often said that people "make up stories". So, this is what occupied the left part of your brain. Constantly.

The right brain looks at everything very specifically. But its neighbor to the left constantly weaves stories, trying to make sense of incoming information. That is his job.

The left hemisphere we need to give meaning to life. It interpretirovat our impressions. If the left side of the brain sees actual images, not visible to others, people call creative. But there is a problem... the Left often screws up.

Michael Gazzaniga, one of the world's leading experts in cognitive neuroscience, conducted a study of the brain in the 1970's, Roger Sperry (who later received the Nobel prize). Gazzaniga found what is the job of the left hemisphere and how it hurts sometimes.

From the book "The Neurotic''s Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment":

Gazzaniga discovered that the left side of the brain creates interpretations and arguments to help understand what is happening. It acts as a translator for the reality... Over the last 30 years several studies have shown that the left side of the brain excels at creating explanations for what is happening, even if it is not correct.

As they say, we see the world, but not reality itself. The left hemisphere is not fully informed. Sometimes it fails, and since it is part of you, then you are mistaken. That's what sometimes happens:

Right brain: Everyone at the table frowned. They don't laugh at my brilliant jokes.

Left brain: They obviously hate me and want me dead.

The left hemisphere sometimes puts far from reality. If it finds patterns where there are none, you develop paranoia or schizophrenia. If it does not see any regularities in life – does not see "sense" – you have clinical depression.

Have you ever screw up and then apologize, saying: "Last night I wasn't myself"? Think about the fact that this apology makes no sense. Whatever you are trying to say: "My actions do not coincide with the story of the left hemisphere of who I am." Again, we see the world, but not reality itself.

The problem is that we don't even realize that it's all the left hemisphere. We perceive the voice in your head and all that he speaks to us as immutable reality.

But when the left hemisphere is unable to detect suitable links to give sense to things and to the world, it can turn into a monster, looped on your opinion and will never admit his wrong.

"If that doesn't work, my life is over".

"Everything is terrible".

"I don't deserve it!"

It is bad the left hemisphere. That's what happens when you pay too little attention to initial data from the right hemisphere of the brain ("she's looking at your phone") and attach too much importance sometimes ridiculous interpretations of the left ("all clear, she is bored with me"). Ultimately you can get angry, sad or disappointed.

No one will ever come to shout: "Life is unfair because it does not meet my ideas about how things should be!"

Kidding. People do it thousands of times a day. Just not realize it. That's what happens when they hit the dashboard and complain about traffic. The expected result is just a story the left brain tells you about the future.

And when reality does not match expectations... then you have to blame reality. But not the left hemisphere, of course. So you're angry at reality. This is a hell of a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Well, I stomped, clapped with their feet, demanding that the universe bent to my will, but I have it not really work. You can't change reality. (Sorry.)

So what to do to not be angry, be sad, worry and the like? Here comes to the aid of awareness.


Observe the work of the left hemisphere

From the point of view of neuroscience, by awareness is meant a distraction from something specific in your life and neuvajenie in the interpretations coming from the left hemisphere in the form of stories and fantasies.

The left hemisphere is not for you. It's like your liver or spleen – a part of you, doing its work... sometimes mediocre. But when you understand this, then, listening to his voice in my head, gonna check and recheck his work.

From the book "The Neurotic''s Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment":

Most live their lives unaware of the power of interpretations of the left hemisphere. They are angry, offended, pleased or afraid and do not doubt the veracity of thoughts and experiences. The left part of the brain is constantly interpretirovat and can not switched off, but as soon as this is discovered, things begin to change...

Listen to your brain during the day and map answered with specific facts that you notice. When you do, you will hear the left hemisphere at work:

The right hemisphere of the brain: it Seems that the boss excited.

Left brain: Better prepare your resume. We get fired.

And then you will be able to step in and say, "Hey, Hey, whoa, buddy. There are many reasons why a boss can be upset. Let's wait until you get more information before collecting my stuff from the desktop".

Like the check for the practicality and realism of the interpretations of the left hemisphere lies at the basis of cognitive-behavioral therapy.

From the book "The Neurotic''s Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment":

The essence of this form of therapy is that anxiety and depression caused by problems of thinking, i.e. distortions in thinking lead to negative emotions. Therapy focused on assumptions and interpretations of the patient; for example, a cognitive distortion in which people exaggerate the importance of any event, say, promotion. "If I don't get the job, I'm a complete loser" or "If I have not develop a relationship, then I will spend whole life in miserable solitude." The point of therapy, to clearly indicate how these assumptions lead to negative emotions, and make their thoughts and assumptions more realistic.

Getting rid of the left hemisphere is not desirable, if at all possible. But as it sometimes can behave like a child, you need to treat it accordingly. If it is a child. Then you have to be a parent.

From the book "The Neurotic''s Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment":

When you realize that you are dealing with the translator, it will cease with excessive earnestness to accept his interpretation. You will be able to catch yourself thinking "Oh, this is just my translator again doing his job"... Then you will emphasize: "just my opinion" or "I get it" and not "that's the way it is". This difference is enough to change the way we live with each other and with ourselves.

You should not immediately accept the interpretation of the left hemisphere. Pause and consider his opinion as if it was advice from a friend. Check it out in the light of hard facts that I can see. It again jumped to conclusions?

When I spoke with Sharon Salzberg, one of the leading experts on mindfulness and author of the book "Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation," she said

When talking about mindfulness, we're not talking about how to eradicate the thoughts, or to destroy them, but to give yourself a little time and space for decision-making: "I want to leave or I want to let it go?"

The voice in your head is not always "your". Often it says the left hemisphere. And sometimes it behaves like a frightened or angry child. Will step back and be a parent.

Then you did not immediately accept his story as truth. That's good. But how to help him better perform his job and not to overreact all the time?


Help the left hemisphere to become a better storyteller

People who lose limbs sometimes experience phantom pain. People were left without hands, but feels like his non-existent fist is compressed with great force and pain. How to stop pain in a body part that no longer exists?

It turns out that the problem is in the brain. And the solution is similar to our problem with the left hemisphere. The brain needs a different story, better.

Therefore, the researchers decided to use a mirror box. People with an amputated hand can put in his whole hand and in the reflection to see his missing limb as if it is still intact. If you unclench your fist, the brain "sees" that a non-existent fist decompressed.

Equipment after mirror therapy in 60% of patients the pain was completely gone.

From the book "The Neurotic''s Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment":

The brain only needs to show that the phantom hand close fist. And the pain was gone.

You too can help the left hemisphere is in his ability to tell stories, and the pain will go away.

When you fly into a rage that, according to research in neurophysiology, helps to quiet the left hemisphere? "Reassessment". Tell yourself a different story about what is happening, "She doesn't hate me. She was just in a bad mood."

It is recommended that positive psychologists, when all the stories of the left hemisphere are depressing? Before you go to sleep, write down three good things that happened that day. Make positive a more substantial, and he has no choice but to weave it into the tale: "How's life".

What can you do when the left hemisphere decides that your work is meaningless? Create a new job description. The researchers found that cleaners at the hospital who said to myself that their work "contributes to the recovery of patients", he found his work attractive. Those who allowed the left hemisphere to talk to themselves: "You're just emptying the trash cans", felt that their role was boring and pointless.

What can you do when the left hemisphere tells you that you are bad/useless? Tim Wilson recommends the method of "do good – be good". When you spend more time helping others, doing volunteer work, right brain reports it to the left and it is revising his story about what kind of person you are:

It is based on a proven psychological principle that our attitudes and beliefs often follow from our behaviors, rather than precede it. As wrote Kurt Vonnegut: "We are what we pretend to be, so you should be careful who we pretend to be". People who engage in volunteering, for example, often begin to see themselves as caring and responsive.

We all love a good story. Help the left hemisphere to tell you more positive.

The taming of the left hemisphere began. Let's sum up everything said and know best what happens when times hectic half your brain is doing its job correctly...

To summarize

Here's how you can use neuroscience and mindfulness to keep the left part of the brain under control:

  • Pay attention to the left hemisphere at work: Listen to his interpretations. It's not you. This is it.

  • Tweak: Check his interpretation with the facts. It too has made a lot? Over the top?

  • Help the left hemisphere to become a better storyteller: Give him a new story. Give him more information. Do good to be good. Help him help you.

In rare cases, the left hemisphere is completely absorbed by the good data from the right hemisphere, which creates one of the most beautiful feelings in the world.

The extraordinariness of the moment deprives the left hemisphere is speechless. Have you ever experienced...

This is called "awe".

From the book "The Neurotic''s Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment":

Many astronauts psychologically changed after being in space, especially Edgar Mitchell. To see the Earth from a distance is a radical experience that changed his life much more than walking on the moon. Here's how he described it: "what I experienced during this three-day journey home, it was nothing but an overwhelming sense of universal connectedness. I actually felt what has been described as an ecstasy of unity... the idea was so great that it seemed unspeakable and largely remains so". Again, you can see the difficulty in compressing the awareness to the interpretative mind, and then find the words to Express what is beyond.

But awe that's rare. We can't all go into space. But there are other ways to lead a conscious life.

You probably heard about it: "Flow".

A thread is something like "be here now"; what you hear all the time when talking about consciousness. Make sure that the left hemisphere is paused while you drink coffee and interact with reality.

From the book "The Neurotic''s Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment":

... the concept of "flow" proposed by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He used this term to describe the condition in which the man dwells, being fully absorbed what he's doing. He defines flow as: "to Be fully involved in the activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement and thought are inevitably derived from the previous one, like jazz. Your whole being is involved and you ultimately use your skills."

Sometimes the left hemisphere is doing a great job. It gives precise interpretations, insightful, sees pictures and tells you meaningful things about our lives. But it must be kept in check.


Also interesting: Vasily klucharev: How our brain makes decisions?

Neurons navigate: how the brain remembers where he was


Jokes aren't funny when they explain. You don't gasp from the magic trick, if have told you how it works. Don't need comments from the Director when watching a film. Sometimes we just need to be in the present moment.

Yes, now you officially hear voices in my head. But that's okay. Just make sure they are good.published


Author: Eric Barker (Eric Barker)


P. S. And remember, just changing your mind — together we change the world! ©



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