by clicking the "Next" arrow.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Mindful : August 2014
CIHM is designing short practices for the workplace that will appear on people’s computers and pop up throughout the day. Users will also get feedback on how they’re doing: “It’s like a Fitbit for the mind,” says Davidson. periods of practice that a re sprinkled throughout the day? We don’t know the answer to that.” But Davidson is taken with the question. So much so, he’s involved in a new initiative this year: develop- ing curricula for the workplace. “The short practices will be desig ned to be self-administered on a com- puter and are meant to be sprinkled throughout the day—practices you will get feedback on. It’s kind of like a Fitbit for the mind.” Any good communicator—and Davidson is one— knows the power of the sound bite. What impresses, though, is witnessing him toggle between highly complex neuroscience and very real-world concerns of how to live a better life. Our conversation veers toward how teaching mindfulness can sometimes be mistaken as training people to simply improve their own performa nce—through better concentration, through better training of attention and awareness. Davidson, interjects: “What we do always needs to be in the service of others. That ’s the difference.” Dav idson’s resea rch a nd message has been embraced globally, including by the political and busi- ness communities. A few weeks prior to our meeting, he attended the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerla nd, where he spoke to world leaders and CEOs about precisely those healthy qualities of mind a nd the importa nce of cultivating them. Studying Well-being as a Skill It has taken Davidson decades of rigorously desig ned scientific studies to say with certainty that well-being is a skill that can be learned. Neuroplas- ticity, now a widely accepted concept, was a key development. “ Resea rch on neuroplasticity has given us a broad conceptual framework in which to place the research on meditation,” he says. “And what we see is that even short amounts of practice can induce measurable changes in the brain. “Our brains are constantly being shaped, wit- tingly or unwittingly—mostly unwittingly. We tend to be pawns of the forces around us. Our work, by → When Dan Grupe star ted examining brain activity, brain structure, and function in individuals with different anxiety disorders—he now has a Ph.D. in psychology from UW–Madison—he didn’t think he would eventually be looking at images of the brains of American veterans returning from Iraq. But that’s where his research will potentially have a significant impact. Grupe was involved in a study that measured the impact of yogic breathing exercises (called Sudarshan Kriya) on veterans returning from combat with post-traumatic stress. “ We brought these guys in, collected a whole lot of self-repor t data, did a brain-im- aging scan, and assessed them at baseline. We looked at brain structure along with the white-mat ter pathways that connect different par ts of the brain. We also looked at brain function. And then we looked at all of this using a task best described as a threat-of-shock paradigm. “Par ticipants would see one of two colored squares. A blue square means you’re never going to receive a shock, a yellow square means you might receive a shock. Then we looked at brain activity when this kind of unpredictable future threat was present—one that may or may not happen, and if it does happen, you won’t know when to expect it. “ We found there were differ- ences in functional connections bet ween the prefrontal cor tex and the amygdala,” Grupe says. Veterans and Anxiety Dan Grupe “There was disrupted commu- nication between those regions in veterans with post-traumatic stress. In veterans with higher PTSD symptoms, the par t of the prefrontal cor tex that’s involved in signaling safety, and under conditions of safety seems to decrease activity in the amygdala—that par t of the prefrontal cor tex just wasn’t differentiating between those two conditions at all.” Essentially, there are men returning from combat, where being hyper-vigilant could and would save their life and the lives of others, with brains that are still trained for combat. “In the same study,” says Grupe, “we found that those veterans who repor ted the highest levels of hyper-arousal, and the highest levels of hyper-vigilance, they were the ones showing the least differ- entiated activity in this par t of the prefrontal cortex.” ● CURRENT RESEARCH AT CIHM August 2014 mindful 55 science