Lehigh County Health & Medicine Spring 2021 - 15

L C M E D S O C .O R G

mindfulness practice can be helpful for people living with chronic
pain because sometimes there are negative or worrisome thoughts
about the pain. These thoughts are normal and can affect mood and
increase pain. Being able to focus on relaxing the body, noticing the
breath and body sensations as being there just as they are, can help
manage pain, as well as reduce depression and anxiety symptoms. " **
Practice leads to a happier mind
When discussing the scientific perspective on mindfulness, it's
important to mention Richard Davidson, PhD, founder and director
of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin.
Research at the center focuses on the plasticity of the brain and how
we can change the brain through training; much of the work there
involves practices of mindfulness and compassion meditation. In
Dr. Davidson's Ted Talk*** recorded in January 2019, he identifies
four pillars of a healthy mind. These include meta-awareness, or
awareness of what the mind is doing; connection and the qualities
of compassion, appreciation and kindness which grow from this;
insight into the internal narrative of how we speak to ourselves;
and purpose. Dr. Davidson and his team suggest we can change
our health by changing our brains, that these changes are durable,
and they can help humanity to flourish.
Dr. Davidson often refers to a laboratory study titled " A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind, " where Harvard psychologists
Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert discovered that an
unnervingly large fraction of our thoughts - almost half - are
not related to what we're doing. Beyond that, the study showed
that people were less happy when their minds were wandering
than when they were not. This supports Dr. Davidson's belief
that the training that occurs during mindfulness meditation can
ultimately lead to greater happiness. He suggests that if we integrate
mindfulness into our usual daily activities, as we do with brushing
our teeth or eating a meal, we can begin to reduce distractibility
and improve awareness. He suggests just three minutes a day of
informal mindfulness practice - where we pause the usual habits of
the brain, relax our body and mind, pay attention to the unfolding
present moment, and notice what is happening inside and outside
of ourselves with an attitude of curiosity and investigation - can
bring change. And the data increasingly backs up his claim.
RESOURCES
*https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/04/harvard-researchersstudy-how-mindfulness-may-change-the-brain-in-depressed-patients/

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**https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/
speaking-of-health/use-mindfulness-to-cope-with-chronic-pain
***https://www.ted.com/talks/richard_j_davidson_how_mindfulness_
changes_the_emotional_life_of_our_brains_jan_2019?language=en

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http://www.LCMEDSOC.ORG http://www.DrJohnGKuna.com https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/04/harvard-researchers-study-how-mindfulness-may-change-the-brain-in-depressed-patients/ https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/04/harvard-researchers-study-how-mindfulness-may-change-the-brain-in-depressed-patients/ https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/use-mindfulness-to-cope-with-chronic-pain https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/ https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/use-mindfulness-to-cope-with-chronic-pain https://www.ted.com/talks/richard_j_davidson_how_mindfulness_changes_the_emotional_life_of_our_brains_jan_2019?language=en https://www.ted.com/talks/richard_j_davidson_how_mindfulness_ https://www.ted.com/talks/richard_j_davidson_how_mindfulness_changes_the_emotional_life_of_our_brains_jan_2019?language=en http://www.hoffpubs.com

Lehigh County Health & Medicine Spring 2021

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