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NEUROSCIENCE OF MINDFULNESS
     AND ITS IMPACT ON WORKPLACE
     PERFORMANCE

     Dr Shanida Nataraja




Copyright 2012...
INTRODUCTION
BRAIN IS BIOSUPERCOMPUTER THAT ALLOWS US
 TO RUN ON “AUTO-PILOT”

    The brain:
          Weighs 1½ lbs
          Has ...
STRUCTURE OF BRAIN IS HIGHLY COMPLEX AND
DISTINCT STRUCTURES HAVE SPECIFIC FUNCTIONS
HUMANS HAVE A HIGHLY DEVELOPED FOREBRAIN
 WITH TWO SIDES WITH DIFFERENT FUNCTIONS

 Humans have two sides to their forebra...
ARE YOU RIGHT-BRAINED OR LEFT-BRAINED?
WHICH WAY DOES THE DANCER SPIN?
MINDFULNESS AND HEALTH
MINDFULNESS HAS POSITIVE EFFECT ON
 PHYSICAL HEALTH

        Improves                                      Reduces stress,...
MINDFULNESS HAS POSITIVE EFFECT ON MENTAL
 HEALTH

                                                       Improved        ...
MINDFULNESS PRACTICE HAS MULTITUDE OF
 EFFECTS OF COGNITIVE FUNCTION
                                                 Prom...
BRAIN IMAGING RESEARCH
OBSERVING MEDITATORS IN LABORATORY REVEALS
 BRAIN REGIONS INVOLVED IN MEDITATION

    Newberg and D’Aquili observed exper...
MINDFULNESS MEDITATION INVOLVES CHANGES
 IN FRONTAL AND PARIETAL LOBES

                                                  ...
FOCUSED ATTENTION PROMPTS SHIFT FROM
 LEFT TO RIGHT BRAIN




                  Left-brain                                ...
MINDFULNESS MEDITATION INVOLVES CHANGES
 IN LIMBIC SYSTEM AND MIDBRAIN STRUCTURES

                                       ...
LONG-TERM MEDITATION ELICITS DISTINCT
 CHANGES IN NUMEROUS AREAS OF BRAIN

                      Attention
               ...
MINDFULNESS HAS FOUR KEY EFFECTS ON
 BRAIN AND BEHAVIOUR

     Subjective
                                                ...
ELECTRICAL BRAIN WAVE RESEARCH
RECORDINGS IDENTIFY FOUR MAJOR TYPES
 OF BRAIN WAVES

      Delta                        Theta                        Alph...
MEDITATION IS ASSOCIATED WITH DISTINCT
 BRAIN WAVE PATTERN

      Delta                         Theta
                    ...
DIFFERENT LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS LINKED
 WITH DIFFERENT BRAIN WAVE PATTERNS

                             Meditative     ...
„AWAKENED‟ OR „HIGH-PERFORMANCE‟ STATE
 ASSOCIATED WITH DISTINCT BRAIN WAVE CHANGES

      Delta                         T...
„HIGH PERFORMANCE‟ MIND ASSOCIATED WITH
 DISTINCT BRAIN WAVE CHANGES

                                                   ...
ANY QUESTIONS?
NEUROSCIENCE OF MINDFULNESS
AND ITS IMPACT ON WORKPLACE
PERFORMANCE

Dr Shanida Nataraja
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Neuroscience of Mindfulness

  1. 1. NEUROSCIENCE OF MINDFULNESS AND ITS IMPACT ON WORKPLACE PERFORMANCE Dr Shanida Nataraja Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION
  3. 3. BRAIN IS BIOSUPERCOMPUTER THAT ALLOWS US TO RUN ON “AUTO-PILOT”  The brain:  Weighs 1½ lbs  Has the consistency of jelly  Contains 100 billion brain cells  Is highly interconnected  It controls behavior so efficiently that we can run on “auto-pilot” Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  4. 4. STRUCTURE OF BRAIN IS HIGHLY COMPLEX AND DISTINCT STRUCTURES HAVE SPECIFIC FUNCTIONS
  5. 5. HUMANS HAVE A HIGHLY DEVELOPED FOREBRAIN WITH TWO SIDES WITH DIFFERENT FUNCTIONS Humans have two sides to their forebrain, each with a different functions Left brain Right brain • Rational • Abstract • Analytical • Intuitive • Reductionist • Holistic • Language • Creativity Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  6. 6. ARE YOU RIGHT-BRAINED OR LEFT-BRAINED? WHICH WAY DOES THE DANCER SPIN?
  7. 7. MINDFULNESS AND HEALTH
  8. 8. MINDFULNESS HAS POSITIVE EFFECT ON PHYSICAL HEALTH Improves Reduces stress, Improved skin acceptance, anxiety & Improved clearing in coping depression, glycaemic psoriasis and strategies and and improved control in symptom relief well-being symptoms in diabetes in IBS chronic pain heart disease 1982 1998 2003 2007 1992 2003 2004 2007 Improved well- Improved Reduces blood being, symptom immune Reduced levels pressure control in function in of cortisol and (normotensive, patients with healthy and stress cancer) fibromyalgia HIV patients Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  9. 9. MINDFULNESS HAS POSITIVE EFFECT ON MENTAL HEALTH Improved Improves Reduced risk anxiety & sleep time Reduces of relapse or depression in and efficiency anxiety recurrence in bipolar in chronic depression disorder insomnia 1992 2000 2008 2008 1999 2006 2008 2010 Improved Improves well- Weight loss in decision being, QoL and Reduced women with making & coping anxiety and binge eating abstinence in strategies in stress in disorders substance cancer schizophrenia and/or obesity abuse patients Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  10. 10. MINDFULNESS PRACTICE HAS MULTITUDE OF EFFECTS OF COGNITIVE FUNCTION Promotes insightful problem-solving Enhances Cultivates curiosity and positive attitude receptiveness to to perceived new experiences stress Promotes Facilitates emotional sustained stability attention Cultivates Decreases observing tendency to attitude self-reference Reduces Enhances negative emotional emotions and intelligence worrying Increases openness and extroversion Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  11. 11. BRAIN IMAGING RESEARCH
  12. 12. OBSERVING MEDITATORS IN LABORATORY REVEALS BRAIN REGIONS INVOLVED IN MEDITATION  Newberg and D’Aquili observed experienced meditators in controlled laboratory conditions  Radioactive tracer was released into blood at peak moment of meditation  These methods allow visualisation of blood flow in specific brain regions Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  13. 13. MINDFULNESS MEDITATION INVOLVES CHANGES IN FRONTAL AND PARIETAL LOBES  Frontal lobe  Increased activity in attentional networks  Decreased activity in surrounding areas  Parietal lobe  Decreased activity in orientation area  Decreased activity in networks involved in relaying experiences through language Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  14. 14. FOCUSED ATTENTION PROMPTS SHIFT FROM LEFT TO RIGHT BRAIN Left-brain Right-brain Rational Abstract Analytical Holistic Logical Intuitive Meditation elicits shift to different mode of perceiving and thinking Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  15. 15. MINDFULNESS MEDITATION INVOLVES CHANGES IN LIMBIC SYSTEM AND MIDBRAIN STRUCTURES  Limbic system  Increased activity in amygdala and hippocampus  Autonomic nervous system  Increased activity in hypothalamus and midbrain  Sequential activation of parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  16. 16. LONG-TERM MEDITATION ELICITS DISTINCT CHANGES IN NUMEROUS AREAS OF BRAIN Attention Increased activity in attention networks in frontal cortex Perception Increased/assymetrical activity in thalamus Emotional regulation Increased activity in limbic system Autonomic function Increased activity in midbrain Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  17. 17. MINDFULNESS HAS FOUR KEY EFFECTS ON BRAIN AND BEHAVIOUR Subjective Subjective • Focused attention for extended • Enhanced awareness of bodily periods of time states and subtle bodily sensations • Distractions disturb focus less Objective frequently (executive attention) • Increased activity in insula Objective (interoreceptive awareness) • Increased activity in and cortical • Increased cortical thickness and thickness of anterior cingulate grey matter density of insula cortex (ACC) Subjective Subjective • Less prone to emotional or • Improved and expanded sense of behavioural outbursts identity (‘self’) Objective Objective • Increased activity in prefrontal • Decrease activity in default mode cortex (PFC) network (DMN; self-referential • Greater control of PFC over processing), including mPFC and amygdala posterior cingulate gyrus Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  18. 18. ELECTRICAL BRAIN WAVE RESEARCH
  19. 19. RECORDINGS IDENTIFY FOUR MAJOR TYPES OF BRAIN WAVES Delta Theta Alpha Beta Unconscious Creative subconscious Relaxed alertness Active thought Painting Relaxing Strategising Writing Playing sport Problem-solving Composing Listening to music Communicating Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  20. 20. MEDITATION IS ASSOCIATED WITH DISTINCT BRAIN WAVE PATTERN Delta Theta Theta Alpha Alpha Beta Beta Unconscious Creative subconscious Creative subconscious Relaxed alertness Relaxed alertness Active thought Active thought Increase in activity Decrease in activity Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  21. 21. DIFFERENT LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS LINKED WITH DIFFERENT BRAIN WAVE PATTERNS Meditative High alpha/theta Panic states High beta Dreaming sleep High theta Hypnogogic/ High alpha hypnopompic Deep sleep High delta Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  22. 22. „AWAKENED‟ OR „HIGH-PERFORMANCE‟ STATE ASSOCIATED WITH DISTINCT BRAIN WAVE CHANGES Delta Theta Theta Alpha Alpha Beta Beta Unconscious Creative subconscious Creative subconscious Relaxed alertness Relaxed alertness Active thought Active thought Increase in activity Decrease in activity Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  23. 23. „HIGH PERFORMANCE‟ MIND ASSOCIATED WITH DISTINCT BRAIN WAVE CHANGES  Observed in healers, spiritual masters and meditators (permanent state)  Observed in artists, composers, dancers, i nventors, mathematicians, sci entists (transient insight)  Associated with high performance and creativity Copyright 2012 Dr Shanida Nataraja, Author of The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation
  24. 24. ANY QUESTIONS?
  25. 25. NEUROSCIENCE OF MINDFULNESS AND ITS IMPACT ON WORKPLACE PERFORMANCE Dr Shanida Nataraja
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