Ever noticed that trying to calm down often produces more agitation? That trying to change bad habits can seem impossible? Or that real fulfillment can be elusive, despite living a successful life?
Often, such difficulties stem from the human brain's hardwired tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Modern science demonstrates that this survival mechanism served the needs of our earliest ancestors, but is at the root of many problems that we face today, such as depression, compulsive and addictive behaviors, chronic pain, and stress and anxiety.
For thousands of years, people have used mindfulness practices to deal effectively with a wide range of life challenges. But how exactly does mindfulness work, in scientific terms? How can the human brain, which gives rise to so many of our problems, actually provide a solution?
We are now in the midst of an explosion of scientific research demonstrating that mindfulness practice changes both the function and the structure of the brain. Numerous studies show which parts of the brain are affected by mindfulness practice, and how these neurobiological changes benefit our minds and bodies.
Now, in the 24 fascinating lectures of The Science of Mindfulness, Professor Siegel, a clinical psychologist at Harvard Medical School, reveals the science behind mindfulness in compelling detail and demonstrates its application to a wide range of issues - psychological, social, and medical. You'll examine the neurobiology underlying ancient practices that are now profoundly influencing the contemporary world. And you'll learn many practical ways you can use mindfulness techniques in your own life.
This playful, caring course demonstrates the effectiveness of mindfulness in responding to many of humanity's fundamental existential problems.
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Well organized, thorough and entertaining
Well organized, thorough and entertaining
I learned many different applications of mindfulness that were not immediately apparent to me. For example, how mindfulness can be used to become comfortable with anxiety producing situations. I like that this isn't just presented in theory - there are short and longer meditations for dealing with specific things like that throughout the course.
His tone is very conversational - not stiff or rehearsed. He also puts a lot of little jokes throughout the course which keeps it light and entertaining.
The one chapter talks about using mindfulness to increase empathy. There is a suggestion that every time you interact with someone think of the whole life they have lived - that they were a child like me at one point, and have had many vulnerable moments in their life. I'm paraphrasing from memory and probably butchered it, but it's helped me to be more empathetic especially in dealing with frustrations or people that I tend to not give much attention as I go through my day.
I have gone back and re-listened to many of the chapters. I like that this does not need to be listened to sequentially. I wish there was a chapter list included with the book description. This is the chapter list from 'The Great Courses' website:
1 Why Mindfulness Matters
2 Our Troublesome Brains
3 Informal, Formal, and Intensive Practices
4 Who Am I - The Perils of Self
5 Mindfulness or Psychotherapy
6 Attention and Empathy in Relationships
7 The Science of Compassion and Self-Compassion
8 Tailoring Practices to Fit Changing Needs
9 Modifying Our Brain Function and Structure
10 Solitude - An Antidote to Loneliness
11 Connecting with Children and Adolescents
12 Seeing Sadness and Depression in a New Light
13 Befriending Fear, Worry, and Anxiety
14 Transforming Chronic Pain
15 Placebos, Illness, and the Power of Belief
16 Interrupting Addiction and Troublesome Habits
17 Overcoming Traumas Large and Small
18 Groundbreaking Mindfulness Programs
19 The Neurobiology of Self-Preoccupation
20 Growing Up Is Not Easy - Facing Impermanence
21 Toward a Science of Wisdom
22 The Promise of Enlightenment
23 Mindful Ethics as a Path to Freedom
24 The New Science of Happiness
25 Bonus Meditation - Breath Awareness Practice
26 Bonus Meditation - Loving-Kindness Practice
27 Bonus Meditation - Mountain Meditation
28 Bonus Meditation - Breathing Together
29 Bonus Meditation - Stepping into Fear Bonus Meditation - Stepping into Fear