Rita Can Help

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© 2016 by Rita Can Help | Rita Bigel-Casher, LCSW, PhD

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION

Mindfulness Meditation is easy to learn–sit quietly, feel your fingers and toes, focus on your breath. Commit to sitting or lying down for a few minutes each day, and your life will change for the better as easily as the summer leaf turns to copper in the fall.

 

“It’s been accepted as a useful therapy for anxiety and depression for around a decade, and mindfulness websites are attracting millions of subscribers. It’s being explored by schools, pro sports teams and military units to enhance performance, and is showing promise as a way of helping sufferers of chronic pain, addiction and tinnitus, too. There is even some evidence that mindfulness can help with the symptoms of certain physical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, cancer, and HIV.

 

Yet until recently little was known about how a few hours of quiet reflection each week could lead to such an intriguing range of mental and physical effects. Now, as the popularity of mindfulness grows, brain imaging techniques are revealing that this ancient practice can profoundly change the way different regions of the brain communicate with each other–and therefore how we think–permanently.” (Scientific American.)

 

“Neuroscience research has shown that mindfulness changes the brain–a.k.a. NEUROPLASTICITY. In particular, the prefrontal cortex (critical/rational thinking, impulse and emotional control, focus), anterior cingulate cortex (decision making, autonomic function, self-monitoring/meta-awareness), insula (compassion and empathy, salience, interpersonal experience, body awareness), and hippocampus (memory and emotional regulation) show increased activity with mindfulness practice, while the amygdala (survival instincts, adds valence and emotionality to experiences, triggers fight-flight, fear and anxiety reaction) is reduced.

 

The opposite happens in stress response–reduced prefrontal and hippocampal activity, associated with amygdala activation, which lead to impaired impulse control, memory, & rationality, and increased anxiety & hyper-vigilance. And people in the addiction cycle (actively using, drinking, etc), have an impaired reward circuitry as well. Their prefrontal cortex and memory centers are affected by an over active dopamine reward center (nucleus accumbens) such that they over value unhealthy and harmful stimuli, while sensitivity to natural rewards is reduced. People in active addiction also experience increased levels of acute and chronic stress. Together these neurobiologically-mediated effects contribute to impulsivity, compulsivity, reduced rationality, and increased anxiety, moodiness, & distress (“restless, irritable and discontent”).”  (Gus Castellanos) 

 

Life is only lived in this single moment

Pain or Pleasure

Love or Anger

Isolation or Connection.

Take a deep breath, hold it, and breathe out.

Whatever you experience in the now, what you create in the now,

Is your present and your future.

It’s that easy.