How You Can Overcome Intrusive Thoughts

intrusive thoughts“Meditation, mindfulness and other tools can help us avoid unwanted thoughts,” says social psychologist Daniel Wegner in this month’s edition of Monitor on Psychology.

Have you ever wanted to avoid thinking about a particular experience or topic only to find that it continually intrudes into your thoughts and activities? And the more you try to suppress the thought the more intrusive it becomes? Wegner, a Harvard University Professor, terms these thoughts “white bears” and after encountering these thoughts 25 years ago, delved into research on thought suppression.

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Preschooler’s and Meditation

Lesley Grant, the director of the Marin Mindfulness Cooperative in San Anselmo teaches mindfulness to preschoolers. The purpose: “to lower stress in anxious teachers and students.” Through pictures and stories they guide children in following their breath.

Here is a sample of a Mindfulness exercise used for kids ages 2 1/2 to five.
“KIDS SINGING:

My mind is a clear, blue sky, my mind is a clear blue sky.

And I breathe in, and I breathe out.

And my mind is a clear, blue sky.

My mind is a clear, blue sky. And the feelings come, and the feelings go.

And my mind is a clear, blue sky. My mind is a clear, blue sky.”

For more on this story, follow the link: Preschoolers Practice Meditation

Meditation can Change Minds

Richard Davidson, a top brain scientist, has conducted research on how meditation can change the way our brains function.

“Our data shows mental practice can induce long-lasting changes in the brain,” said Davidson, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Just as an injured brain can adapt by mapping out new neuron pathways to accomplish tasks, “brain circuits (for) regulation of emotion and attention are malleable by the environment and are potential targets of training,” he said.

Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery, Davidson showed that compassion meditation, even in short-term practitioners, induced significant changes in patterns of functional activity in the brain.

For the full article go to: http://www.canada.com/Meditation+change+minds/2054371/story.html

For the journal article go to:  http://psyphz.psych.wisc.edu/web/pubs/2008/buddha_brain_IEEE.pdf