Mindfulness Meditation and Fighting Cancer
by Cindy Collins PhD, RD
Can Mindfulness Meditation help us lead happier, more productive lives? Can it influence our emotions enough to significantly help us cope with life altering diagnoses such as cancer?
Psychology professor and neuroscientist Richard Davidson might think so. In his recent book, “The Emotional Life of Your Brain,” he discusses the relationship between meditation, brain plasticity and emotional style.
First Davidson outlines a spectrum of six emotional styles: resilience, outlook, intuition, self-awareness, context and attention. He explains that each of these styles is supported by an underlying brain circuit.
Resilience is of particular interest. It is the ability to recover quickly from adversity. The pattern of behavior that defines a style can be in reaction to the environment in which we develop. In turn, based on the fact that our brain is plastic (capable of being changed) he believes our style can change with “neurally inspired behavioral interventions.” Specifically, Davidson states that Mindfulness Meditation is one of those interventions. The key factor in Mindfulness Meditation in providing this benefit is the non-judgmental attention toward emotional interactions it teaches. This approach prevents rumination and perseveration.
Recent studies support the idea that Mindfulness Meditation promotes quick recovery in response to adversity thus leading to resilience. Davidson has applied his theory to his own life and practices Mindfulness Meditation on a daily basis.
To learn more about Richardson’s emotional styles, go to http://richardjdavidson.com/take-survey/.
Mindfulness Meditation is taught at SFRO. For information, contact Cindy Collins, Ph.D., R.D. at email@example.com or (561) 512-0065.