II. Watch “Why a neuroscientist would study meditation” by Willoughby Britton at TEDxhttps://www.youtube.com/watch v=TR8TjCncvIw
Exercise for TEDxBrownUniversity – Willoughby Britton – Why A Neuroscientist Would Study Meditation
Answer the following questions:
If we get rid of what we don’t want and get everything we want, will we be happy
How does she use the “rich” and the “poor” to answer this question
From the perspective of psychiatry, if we get rid of desperate unhappiness—or if we get rid of disease—will we be happy
How does she use the World Health Organization and the definition that it uses for happiness to answer this question
How is happiness linked to the faculty of attention – or the habit of “not paying attention”
How does she use Matt Killingsworth’s iphone attention app to answer this question
How does she use the wandering mind to answer this question
What did the app find that people had a habit of doing with their mind For how much of their lives
Neuroscience found a connection between attention and happiness:
The frontal prefrontal cortex is related to attention and is underactive in clinical syndromes like depression, anxiety, ADD, eating disorders, and more.
This is important because the frontal cortex modulates the limbic system, or, in other words, the attention system regulates the emotional system. If you have a weak attention system (or a weak prefrontal cortex,) your emotions will be very reactive.
How does she use adolescence to describe this
What does experience-dependent neuroplasticity say about our brain, experience and what we practice
Why does she use physical exercises (building a muscle) to explain how the brain works in relation to what is effortless and automatic
What is the most powerful way to change your brain
What does she say about mental habits in relation to this question
How does she test the audience to see if they have a strong neural network (mental habit) of self-criticism
How did the audience get this strong neural network of self-criticism
What syndrome happens when a neural network of self-criticism becomes very strong
Why does she use the example that asks people to look inside themselves and see how much of a quality of their mentor they admire they find in themselves
Qualities like kindness, generosity and warmth are not innate qualities that you have but rather __________ that you can cultivate through practice and training.
The neural networks that subserve these qualities can be modified through this training
Her ending summary:
Happiness is not about getting what you want, it is about the mental habits that you practice from moment to moment
We can become the people that we admire and become “the change that we want to see in the world”
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