Have you ever noticed that trying to calm down before a high-stakes event often just produces agitation? That trying to change troublesome habits can seem difficult or impossible? Or that real fulfillment and well-being can be elusive, despite living a successful life?
But how exactly does mindfulness work, in scientific terms? How can understanding the science and practice of mindfulness improve everyday life? And how can the human brain, whose very functioning gives rise to so many of the problems we struggle with, actually provide a solution?
We are now in the midst of an explosion of scientific research demonstrating that mindfulness practice changes both the function and the structure of the brain. Numerous studies, using such technologies as EEG and MRI, show which parts of the brain are affected by mindfulness practice, and how these neurobiological changes benefit our minds and bodies.
Changing brain function and structure: Take a broad look at what neuroimaging technologies tell us about how mindfulness affects brain function by activating specific areas of the brain that regulate emotions, integrate feeling states and thought processes, deepen empathy and equanimity, and reduce cognitive decline as we age.
A Stunning Range of Applications
Depression: Grasp how mindful awareness impacts depression by changing our relationship to moods, feelings, and thoughts, allowing us to perceive them as transient and ultimately impersonal events.
Chronic pain: Discover the success of mindfulness practices in treating pain, by changing our relationship to moment-to-moment sensations and our thoughts about them.
Stress and other psychological symptoms: Explore the extraordinary results of mindfulness techniques in groundbreaking stress-reduction programs, cognitive therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and other acceptance-based treatments.
A Useful and Convenient Guide for Practice
While this course delves deeply into the neuroscience behind mindfulness, research shows that, like physical fitness, the benefits of mindfulness come from practicing it. With this in mind, Professor Siegel also teaches you a wide array of mindfulness techniques, encouraging and helping you to practice both with him, and on your own. These techniques, several of which are also provided, for enhanced practice, on supplementary audio tracks with the course, include:
Breath Awareness Practice a foundational formal meditation practice and one of the simplest ways to calm and integrate the mind and body
Loving-Kindness Practice a fundamental practice for cultivating acceptance, both toward the contents of your own mind and toward others
Mountain Meditation a core equanimity practice, valuable for riding out storms of emotion effectively
Breathing Together a powerful practice for developing interpersonal connection
3-Minute Breathing Space a practice useful in moments of acute distress
R-A-I-N a practice empowering you to be with and investigate challenging emotional or physical states and
Befriending the Changes a meditation on the impermanence of the body, useful for working with the challenges of illness and aging
Teaching of Uncommon Thoroughness and Depth
1 Why Mindfulness Matters
2 Our Troublesome Brains
3 Informal, Formal, and Intensive Practices
4 Who Am I - The Perils of Self
5 Mindfulness or Psychotherapy
6 Attention and Empathy in Relationships
7 The Science of Compassion and Self-Compassion
8 Tailoring Practices to Fit Changing Needs
9 Modifying Our Brain Function and Structure
10 Solitude - An Antidote to Loneliness
11 Connecting with Children and Adolescents
12 Seeing Sadness and Depression in a New Light
13 Befriending Fear, Worry, and Anxiety
14 Transforming Chronic Pain
15 Placebos, Illness, and the Power of Belief
16 Interrupting Addiction and Troublesome Habits
17 Overcoming Traumas Large and Small
18 Groundbreaking Mindfulness Programs
19 The Neurobiology of Self-Preoccupation
20 Growing Up Is Not Easy - Facing Impermanence
21 Toward a Science of Wisdom
22 The Promise of Enlightenment
23 Mindful Ethics as a Path to Freedom
24 The New Science of Happiness
25 Bonus Meditation - Breath Awareness Practice
26 Bonus Meditation - Loving-Kindness Practice
27 Bonus Meditation - Mountain Meditation
28 Bonus Meditation - Breathing Together
29 Bonus Meditation - Stepping into Fear
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