Posts Tagged ‘Motivation’

Different Types Of Meditation Change Different Areas Of The Brain, Study Finds

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Alice G. WaltonSenior Contributor

There’s been a lot of discussion about what kinds of mental activities are actually capable of changing the brain. Some promises of bolstered IQ and enhanced brain function via specially-designed “brain games” have fizzled out. Meanwhile, meditation and mindfulness training have accumulated some impressive evidence, suggesting that the practices can change not only the structure and function of the brain, but also our behavior and moment-to-moment experience.

Now, a new study from the Max Planck Institute finds that three different types of meditation training are linked to changes in corresponding brain regions. The results, published in Science Advances, have a lot of relevance to schools, businesses and, of course, the general public.

Participants, who were between 20 and 55 years of age, engaged in three different types of training for three months each, totaling a nine-month study period. The first training was dubbed the “Presence” module, and was very similar to focused awareness meditation, an ancient practice that’s been studied a lot in recent years. In this study, participants learned to focus their attention, bringing it back when it wandered, and to attend to the breath and to their internal body sensations.

The second training was called “Affect,” which sought to enhance empathy and compassion for others—participants learned “loving-kindness” (metta) meditation, and did work with partners, the goal of which was to enhance one’s compassion and empathy.

The last was the “Perspective” module, akin to mindfulness or open-monitoring meditation. Here, the focus was on observing one’s own thoughts non-judgmentally and enhancing understanding of the perspectives of others.

The researchers wagered that training in each of these methods would lead to volume increases in corresponding brain areas. And this was largely what they found, as they scanned the participants’ brains at the end of each module and compared groups against one another. Training in Presence was linked to enhanced thickness in the anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which are known to be strongly involved in attention. Affect training was linked to increased thickness in regions known to be involved in socially driven emotions like empathy; and Perspective training associated with changes in areas involved in understanding the mental states of others, and, interestingly, inhibiting the perspective of oneself.

The results are exciting in that they offer an even more nuanced look at how meditation can change the brain, and in a relatively short amount of time. Lots of research has found that experienced meditators have significantly altered brain structure and function, but a growing number of studies has also found that relatively brief meditation training in novices (for instance, the well-known eight-week MBSR program) can also shift brain function, improve well-being, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

And, the authors say, the results may be applicable in a number of settings, for kids and adults alike. “Our findings suggest a potential biological basis for how mindfulness and different aspects of social intelligence could be nurtured.”

They add that this kind of sensitivity is especially important nowadays, as our community becomes more global, and understanding of others’ experiences more essential.

“With growing globalization, interconnectedness, and complexity of our societies, ‘soft skills’ have become increasingly important,” they say. “Social competences, such as empathy, compassion, and taking the perspective of another person, allow for a better understanding of others’ feelings and different beliefs and are crucial for successful cooperation.”

Meditation, in its different forms, may be a powerful way to boost the types of intelligence that matter.

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Updated: Motivation

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What is the most important skill to look for in a therapist?

 

Knowledge of multiple therapies, timing, knowing when and how to apply his/her wisdom, adept people skills, or empathy.

 

For most clients the greatest skill needed, is the ability to motivate them to take action.


Let’s look at our healing time. Having a weekly therapy session gives us four hours a month in session.


That means we have 668 hours a month on our own.

 

It is obvious to me healing happens in those 668 hours not the 4 in therapy.


Unless you are highly self motivated, taking action between therapy sessions seems highly unlikely.

 

Healing takes your daily action and attention. I know how hard it is for someone to meditate for just 15 minutes a day.

 

The ability of your therapist to motivate you decides if you improve or suffer.

 

The ability of your therapist to convey this truth is crucial.

 

It is my responsibility to take action.

 

How many people share that conviction.

 

The skill to motivate is not taught in our college curriculum.

 

PTSD is at epidemic levels. In my opinion, only a small portion of those suffering reach a therapists couch.

 

Many are never diagnosed, others do not have insurance or financial ability to afford help and few ever seek a second therapist when the first is not a match.

 


What do you value most in a therapist?

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Does motivation last?

Photo by Ivo Rainha on Unsplash

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“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Zig Ziglar
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My two cents: Healing and happiness are an internal way of being, a daily way of living in the moment.


Yes, we need to be vigilant every moment, the mind desires a time everyday to go slow, focused and empty of the noise (constant thought).

 

Life is a journey not a destination, not a search for power, possessions or approval.


Remember happiness only happens now, not next year or decade.

 

If you can not be happy right now, then when?

 

If happiness is in the future, what is right now considered?

 


What has to change for that happiness in the future to become reality?
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How do we motivate ourselves?

Photo by Kenrick Mills on Unsplash

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First, a positive attitude is essential. How many depressed people seem motivated? That first step is a formidable one for a seriously depressed person.


Second, an emotional purpose reigns supreme. Write down your purpose and the daily activity to fulfill your purpose. Get it out of your head, on paper with the ability to look at it realistically.


We can distort anything that remains in our minds only. Meditation allows us to let go of the judgments and stay present. In this moment, unencumbered by thought motivation seems easier.


We yearn to be free again, the ability to relax, to enjoy the simple things in life. Is that emotionally charged enough for you to take daily action?

 

Next, it is much easier to take on smaller, specific tasks, to start our journey. We eat the elephant one bite at a time, we develop great focus starting with ten minutes a day.

 

We need to realize daily exertion of energy and desire over long periods of time accomplishes much more for us.

 

Accountability is also important. Write down your day to day goals. We can commit to all out effort. I may not succeed but I will show up and practice with passion. It is half the battle.

 

Give yourself praise for your effort. Leave accomplishment alone for a while. Observe, not judge your performance.


Reward yourself, self soothe with kind words and actions.

 

Smile, your perception shapes your attitude. Believe in yourself and it will come true.

 

It is a process, a journey not a destination.

 

Remember happiness is right now, not tomorrow or ten years from now.


Act like it and enjoy the journey, the details, life.

 

Please share your motivational secrets.
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