Rewire Your Anxious Brain by Catherine M. Pittman

Rewire Your Anxious Brain by Catherine M. Pittman

Author:Catherine M. Pittman
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781626251151
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
Published: 2014-12-01T05:00:00+00:00


Various meditative practices—including mindfulness, which is currently the most popular approach—have been shown to reduce amygdala activation (Goldin and Gross 2010). All forms of meditation involve focusing attention, perhaps on the breath, or perhaps on a specific object or thought. Extensive research on meditative practices has shown that they affect a variety of processes in both the cortex and the amygdala (Davidson and Begley 2012). Because it’s a relaxation strategy that can target the cortex, we’ll provide a more detailed explanation of meditation, and mindfulness in particular, in chapter 11, “How to Calm Your Cortex.” However, meditation is also an effective method for calming amygdala activation, particularly when the focus of attention is the breath.

If you’re experienced in meditation or interested in it, we encourage you to pursue this practice. Research has demonstrated that a regular practice of meditation can reduce a variety of stress-related difficulties, including high blood pressure, anxiety, panic, and insomnia (Walsh and Shapiro 2006). But most importantly for people who struggle with anxiety, meditation has also been shown to have direct and immediate calming effects on the amygdala. It produces both short-term and long-term effects in the amygdala, reducing amygdala activation in a variety of situations and increasing PNS activation (Jerath et al. 2012). Clearly, it’s an effective relaxation strategy, and we’ve spoken to many people who find that incorporating regular meditation into their morning routine decreases their overall anxiety and helps them feel more prepared to cope with the demands of the day.


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