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Mindfulness Meditation Part 6

Posted on Actualizado enn

Science & Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR; Kabat-Zinnn, 2003) is a meditation-based treatment program applied to diverse clinical conditions. It seems that MBSR improves attention, nonjudgmental attitude and focus on the present.

Nonjudgmental attitude may be related to an emotional response. Emotional resonses are linked to the emotional brain, Mindfulness meditation 6particularly with the amygdala. It has been demonstrate that the response of the amygdala to negative distractors in a sustained attention task is better in experienced meditators (Brefczynski-Lewis et al., 2007). In normal life, negative distractors tend to focus our attention on the future more than in the present. For example, if I am studying for an exam, my fear of fail on the exam, disrupts my sustained attention on what I am learning. At the same time, my attention jumps from the present to the future.

There is a big difference on studying for achieve or pass the test, and studying for learning. In the first condition, you will need a big attentional effort because your motivation is clearly in the future and not in the process itself. The process itself always happens in the present. It can not always be ensured that you will pass the exam with a mindful brain.

 

HOW TO MEDITATE

  • TRY ON SUNSET.
  • TRY WITH FRIENDS.
  • DO NOT TRY WITH RELAXATION MUSIC.
  • DO NOT TRY IN YOUR BED, BEFORE GOING TO SLEEP.
  • YOU NEED TO MASTER THE EXERCISE BEFORE TRYING IT IN VERY BAD DAYS.

 

References:

Brefczynski-Lewis, J. A., Lutz, A., Schaefer, H. S., Levinson, D. B., & Davidson, R. J. (2007). Neural correlates of attentional expertise in long-term meditation practitioners. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(27), 11483-11488. doi:10.1073/pnas.0606552104

Jensen, C. G., Vangkilde, S., Frokjaer, V., & Hasselbalch, S. G. (s.d.). Mindfulness training affects attention—Or is it attentional effort? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141(1), 106-123. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0024931

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Constructivism in the Human Sciences, 8(2), 73-107.

 

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Attention and Creativity: The Role of Meditation

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The relationship between attentional processes and the ability to be creative is one of the aspects that try to study the cognitive neurosciences. The ability to be creative involves a number of cognitive processes that depend on several factors. Nowadays we know that the information is stored in the brain in neural networks. Such neural networks are interconnected and are located in different brain areas. Creativity is the ability to find new ideas and relationships between objects. These relationships gives way to new applications: for example, Aristotle finds a new way of measuring the density of a body through the effect of any body that is submerged in water.

Attention and CreativityThe difference between creativity and intelligence has been studied extensively, with results that tend to differentiate these two concepts (Batey & Furnham, 2010). One of the most influential psychologists in the definition of intelligence was Joy Paul Guilford. Guilford distinguishes two main cognitive processes in most creative activities: divergent thinking and convergent thinking.

  • Divergent Thinking is a style of thinking that generates many new ideas, with more than one correct solution. A good example of divergent thinking is a sessions of brainstorming, that aims to generate as many ideas as possible on a specific topic. Divergent Thinking can be measured by specific tests, for example, by the Alternative Uses Test. This test consists on naming as many uses as possible to a simple everyday object, with a time limit of 2 minutes. The test also measures divergent thinking through four subcategories: fluency (how many uses are given), originality (much less frequent use), flexibility (in how many uses aredistributed) and elaboration (detail in the answers).
  • Convergent Thinking is considered as the process of generating a possible solution to a particular problem. The emphasis is on speed and is based on a high precision and logic. Creativity is the ability to discover infrequent associations to solve the problem. Mednick’s Remote Associates Test (RAT), is one of the most used to evaluate convergent thinking: three common stimulus words that appear to be unrelated are presented, and the person has to think of a fourth word that is somehow related to each of the first three words.

Slagter et al. (2007) observed that meditation leads to better performance on a task of divided or distributed attention. In Colzato et al. (2012) it is stated that one of the ways to enhance creativity can be meditation. There are two main kinds of meditative training, of focused attention  and open monitoring.

  • In the Focused Attention Meditation, the person focuses on a particular topic: a thought, an object… Everything else that might tend to attract attention, such as bodily sensations, environmental noise or intrusive thoughts, is actively ignored to redirect the constant attention again in the focus point. Many times this focus point is usually breathing.
  • In the Open Monitoring Meditation, the person is free to perceive and observe any feeling or thought without focusing on a concept in mind, so attention is flexible and unrestricted.

Study results indicate that open monitoring meditation can improve creativity divergent processes because they force the brain to work in a certain way. The study suggests that this practice reduces the degree of top-down regulation.

In conclusion, if you want to be more creative, apart from being less stressed, meditation can help you!

References

Batey, M., & Furnham, A. (2006). Creativity, Intelligence, and Personality: A Critical Review of the Scattered Literature.Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs132(4), 355-429. doi:10.3200/MONO.132.4.355-430

Colzato, L. S., Ozturk, A., & Hommel, B. (2012). Meditate to Create: The Impact of Focused-Attention and Open-Monitoring Training on Convergent and Divergent Thinking. Frontiers in Psychology3. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00116

Slagter, H. A., Lutz, A., Greischar, L. L., Francis, A. D., Nieuwenhuis, S., Davis, J. M., & Davidson, R. J. (2007). Mental Training Affects Distribution of Limited Brain Resources. PLoS Biol5(6), e138. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050138

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Mindfulness Meditation Part 5

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There are two styles of meditation. The first, is to try to focus our attention on a single object. The second is to monitor our attention in a Mindfulness meditaton 4moment-by-moment experienceBoth of them could be viewed as an attentional training and a possible way to cultivate our well-being. Focused attention meditation is not a passive work. You must constantly and actively monitor the quality of your attention. You must constantly and actively monitor the quality of your attention. In our normal lives, attention jumps from an object to object, without any work. Monitoring implies to recognize that attention wanders away. Then, you must consciously refocus your attention to the chosen object.

Science & Mindfulness Meditation

There are different and specific neural systems associated with meditation. These systems are the neural network for some cognitive functions:

  • Conflict monitoring (cingulate cortex, prefrontal cortex).
  • Selective attention (temporoparietal junction, prefrontal cortex).
  • Sustained attention (right frontal cortex; prefrontal cortex).

HOW TO MEDITATE

  • SIT UP WITH YOUR BACK “STRAIGHT RIGHT”.
  • FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS ON EXPIRATION.
  • STAY WITH FIVE MINUTES EVERYDAY: AT LEAST THREE MONTHS!!
  • DON’T TRY TO GET THE PRIZE. IT’S NOT A COMPETITION WITH YOURSELF.

References:

Corbetta, M., & Shulman, G. L. (2002). Control of goal-directed and stimulus-driven attention in the brain. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 3(3), 201-215. doi:10.1038/nrn755

Posner, M. I., & Rothbart, M. K. (2007). Research on Attention Networks as a Model for the Integration of Psychological Science. Annual Review of Psychology, 58(1), 1-23. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.58.110405.085516

Weissman, D. H., Roberts, K. C., Visscher, K. M., & Woldorff, M. G. (2006). The neural bases of momentary lapses in attention. Nature Neuroscience, 9(7), 971-978. doi:10.1038/nn1727

If you want to receive more information or to contact with a psychologist, please fill out the contact form:

Mindfulness Meditation Part 4

Posted on Actualizado enn

SCIENCE & MINDFULNESS MEDITATION

In mindfulness practice, we have found two main attentional mechanisms. The first one is centered on focused attention. The exercise consist to focus your attention to an object, usually the object is your breathing.

mundfulness 4_1

The second one is centered on open attention. The exercise consists of an observation of the mental flow but without any identification; as if you were a mental observer of your own ideas and feelings.

mindfulness 4_2

In the study of Moore et al., 2012, they demonstrate that regular and brief mindfulness meditation practice improves the capacity of self-regulation of attention. Meditation group perform better on the Stroop test task. Reaction time was better in the meditation group than in the control group. We hypothesized that working of sustained attention could improve inhibition of response.

HOW TO MEDITATE

  • SEAT WITH THE BOTTON OF THE FOOT TOTALLY IN CONTACT WITH THE FLOOR.
  • FOCUS ON TO EXPIRATE WITH YOUR MOUTH.
  • STAY WITH FIVE MINUTS EVERY DAY: MORNING? AFTERNOON? IT DOESN´T MATTER!! JUST DO IT.
  • DON´T TRY TO EVALUATE YOUR PROGRESSSION. IT´S NORMAL THAT NOTHING HAPPENS.

References:

Jha, A. P., Krompinger, J., & Baime, M. J. (2007). Mindfulness training modifies subsystems of attention. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 7(2), 109-119. doi:10.3758/CABN.7.2.109

Moore, A., Gruber, T., Derose, J., & Malinowski, P. (2012). Regular, brief mindfulness meditation practice improves electrophysiological markers of attentional control. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2012.00018

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The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie by William Joyce

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Book recommendation

 

Sandy

Tittle: The Sandman: The story of Sanderson Mansnoozie      Author: William Joyce

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers   Year of publication: 2012.

THE AUTHOR

 William Joyce is an american writter an illustrator. Is the author of several books for children, among those, The Guardians of the Childhood,  which inspired the film Rise of the Guardians (DreamWorks). He was also the author of  characters for animation films such as Toy Story and A Bug’s Life. In 2012 he won an Oscar (together with Brandon Olferburg) for the best  animation short film for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.  Do not hesitate to fly with Mr. Morris…

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sandman is the second picture book of a book series named The Guardians of ChildhoodThe Guardians of Childhood (The Man in the Moon, Nicholas St. North, Toothiana, Sandman and E. Aster bunnymund)  protect children from Shadow, the King  of Nightmares. The Man in the Moon needs to keep children safe at nights. He can do it alone, except when the moon is less than full and bright. For this purpose, will ask for the help of Sanderson Mansnoozie (Sandman), who flies with his shooting star making people’s dreams come true… With extraordinary illustrations, its reading teaches us that to dream and to face to our fears is the first step to overcome them.

Dr. Guilera – Dr.Bayarri

The Effectiveness of Telemental Health

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Telepsychology is the use of the web technology to provide mental health assessment and treatment at a distance. Its reliability for children and adolescents has been done with the Schedule for the Assessment of Depression and Schizophrenia (K-SADS) and the DIS (DISC), and new studies support the evidence that telepsychology has his own effectiveness (Richardson, Frueh, Grubaugh, Egede, & Elhai, 2009). On the other hand, an effort has been done in recent years in order to systematize and regulate this growing field, and already has its regulations for a good practice (Myers et. al, 2008; American Telemedicine Association, ATA, 2013).

Regarding the advantages over face-to-face therapy, Pakyurek, Yellowlees & Hilty (2010) highlight that telepsychology may be better than in-person service for several reasons: 1. Novelty: the interaction patient-psychologist is perceived as more exciting and less threatening; 2. Direction: the patient (like Autism or ADHD) seem to be directed by the technology and the direct consequences of their behavior (throwing a rubber) are not vested directly on the therapist; 3. Distance: some patients feel more confortable and talk more freely with a distance between them and the psychologist; 4. Authenticity of the family interaction: the psychologist can observe the child-parent interaction in a more naturalistic setting, less likely to be observed in face-to-face settings. Telepsychology can be specially useful for some patients, for example those in rural areas, which can have access to health services and good educational resources online, and also for some disorders like ADHD (Palmer et. al, 2010).

If you want to contact a psychologist or receive more information, please fill out the contact form.

References

Myers, K., Cain, S., Work Group on Quality Issues, & American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Staff. (2008). Practice parameter for telepsychiatry with children and adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 47(12), 1468-1483. doi:10.1097/CHI.0b013e31818b4e13

Pakyurek, M., Yellowlees, P., & Hilty, D. (2010). The Child and Adolescent Telepsychiatry Consultation: Can It Be a More Effective Clinical Process for Certain Patients Than Conventional Practice? Telemedicine and e-Health, 16(3), 289-292. doi:10.1089/tmj.2009.0130

Palmer, N. B., Myers, K. M., Vander Stoep, A., McCarty, C. A., Geyer, J. R., & DeSalvo, A. (2010). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Telemental Health. Current psychiatry reports, 12(5), 409-417. doi:10.1007/s11920-010-0132-8

Richardson, L. K., Frueh, B. C., Grubaugh, A. L., Egede, L., & Elhai, J. D. (2009). Current Directions in Videoconferencing Tele-Mental Health Research. Clinical psychology : a publication of the Division of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association, 16(3), 323-338. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2850.2009.01170.x