BUD BREWER

One Man's Opinion

NEUROPLASTICITY- TRANSFORMING YOUR BRAIN

February 25, 2017: About 50 years ago when I was a new member of the investment business, I had the good fortune to be introduced to a process alleged to reprogram the brain so as to  influence one’s self image positively and specifically toward an area deemed important to one’s self.  The process I adopted as a result was simply setting aside time each day for meditation in a quiet and peaceful environment where I would repeat over and over a specific phrase that described a goal in words reflecting the achievement of that goal.  The instructor was teaching me how to use Neuroplasticity (the act of positive meditation) to change my brain cells so that over a period on time, practicing in regular periods of meditation, I would experience the effect of skewing my behavior, habitual acts and statements of self image that would reflect progressive changes consistent with my objective.    The example I use to explain what the enhancement of self image on any skill one believes he has will do to separate him from others practicing that skill is that of Tiger Woods in his day or many of the young “Tigers” of today in the golfing world.  It simply is this fact Tiger believed and reaffirmed by meditation that he was the best golfer in the world so he would do habitually each day what the greatest golfer would do.  A simple example of this is that when most tournament professional golfers finished their rounds on any day they could be seen in the lounge having a beer or something stronger socializing with their peers.  Not Tiger!  Tiger would be found until sunset on the practice rang or putting greens working on his game because that is what the greatest golfer of his day would be doing naturally.  This extra effort to improve is symptomatic of the image one has of themselves.  Tiger’s image was that he was the best so he did those things that the best does.  This is true in any activity engaged by the individual.  He who thinks he is of a certain skill will differentiate himself from others by doing what others do not do.  My friends have heard me say “you will be as you think you are” adnauseum, but since I thoroughly believe the practice to be effective, I want members of my family and readers of this blog to understand appreciate and practice Neuroplasticity meditation and its effect on their self image becoming the person they want to be.  

The following report by the EOC Institute explains how this process works and gives 10 key Brain Regions that can be moderated constructively by Neuroplasticity.

 

How To Maximize Neuroplasticity For Super Brain Health:
10 Key Brain Regions Upgraded Through Meditation

 

Scientists Agree: Meditation is the #1 brain changer. What is Neuroplasticity? Effectively blowing away the scientific dogma of decades ago, the newly discovered principle of  “neuroplasticity” means that our brain’s potential is not set at birth — we can actually strengthen and improve our brains in ways once believed impossible.

Rebecca Gladding M.D., author of “You Are Not Your Brain”, recently wrote “The brain, and how we are able to mold it, is fascinating and nothing short of amazing.”

After 1000’s of studies, researchers have proven meditation as the #1 way to make your brain better, with the potential to transform your life on countless levels. Meditation makes your brain stronger, smarter, and faster, in the same way that physical exercise makes your muscles bigger, denser, with more endurance.

Your brain on meditation. Because it guides your brainwaves into deep meditation, it is helpful to understand some of the incredible science backing this super beneficial mind-state. Here we go into 10 key brain regions significantly enhanced through meditation, as well as the implicated benefits.

Neuroplasticity & Meditation — Benefit #1:
Increase Your Brain Power with A Stronger Prefrontal Cortex

How to Grow A Big, Einstein-Level Brain. Perhaps history’s greatest scientific genius, researchers have long believed that in order to lay the foundation of modern physics, Albert Einstein must have had a very special brain. In 2012, it came to light that the legendary scientist’s brain had actually been preserved for a short time after his death, with a series of detailed photographs suddenly available for analysis.

Florida State University researchers compared the brilliant physicist’s brain images to 85 normal people, successfully confirming that the father of physics did indeed have a one of a kind brain, with many unique qualities.

One highlight of their findings, Einstein’s extraordinary “pre-frontal cortex” —  the so-called thought orchestrator, happiness center, and “CEO” of the brain, had more tightly packed gray matter, covering significantly more surface area. What if it was possible to build your brain up to this extraordinary level?

Meditation & Einstein’s brain. A landmark 2005 study by Harvard neuroscientist Dr. Sara Lazar discovered that meditators had much more density, thickness, and neural activity within their “left prefrontal cortex” —  just like Albert Einstein.

Increased thickness in this “king of all brain regions” means many great things: far less anxiety and depression, improved decision making, stronger willpower, more success, more processing power, better health, the list goes on.

To compound this amazing discovery, Dr. Lazar found that the more years of meditation experience a participant had under his/her belt, the greater the overall size of their super-beneficial prefrontal cortex.

Many within the scientific community, see Meditation as the “holy grail” for people wanting to be smart, healthy, and successful. If you want to rewire your brain like Einstein, then meditation is priority one. 

Neuroplasticity & Meditation — Benefit #2
Achieve More Success With A Rewired Corpus Callosum

How to Fortify the Bridge Between Your Brain Hemispheres. Your brain has two hemispheres, left and right. Logical, left-brained people tend to be more practical, most often good at math and science. Creative right-brained people tend to be more intuitive, usually best at art and philosophy. Most people use one hemisphere more than the other, creating an imbalance. Which side is dominant for you?

Unlike the rest of us, brain imaging studies have shown that highly successful people use both brain halves together, in balance. If only it was possible to train our whole brains to work in harmony? Thankfully, it is.

A 2012 UCLA School of Medicine study found that meditators “corpus callosum”, the grand central station-like cable of nerves connecting the brain hemispheres, was remarkably stronger, thicker, and more well connected. This bridge like structure is super helpful in getting your brain halves to communicate with each other like never before. What does this monumental discovery mean for you?

Integrated brain benefits. Harmonizing both of your brain hemispheres gives you an array of new abilities: increased focus, deeper thought, more creativity, optimized mental health, better memory, and clearer thinking, just to name a few.

You will be happier, more optimistic, at one with the world. Financial, academic, and career success will come much easier, more naturally. You may even regret that you didn’t sync your brain hemispheres in meditation years ago!

Like constructing a skyscraper’s floors, meditation’s benefits tend to build one on top of the other, until you can’t even recognize the person you used to be. Meditation is your ‘around the clock construction crew for a more successful life. 

Neuroplasticity & Meditation — Benefit #3:
Shrink Your Brain’s Primitive “Fear Center” Amygdala

Bust Stress Forever By Changing Your Brain. Dr. Peter Diamandis, Founder of the X Prize and New York Times bestselling author, perhaps said it best, “Bad news sells because the amygdala is always looking for something to fear.”

Known as the anxiety, stress, and fear center of the brain, an overactive amygdala can lead to a whole host of problems, including the unnecessary initiation of our “fight or flight” response. Our stone-age ancestors needed their survival mode activated amygdala during their daily struggle to stay alive — modern man does not.

Meditation deactivates fear. The good news is that meditation healthily and naturally transforms the structure of our brains, resulting in a major stress response upgrade.

In fact, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital MRI scanned participants before and after an 8-week mindfulness study — with astonishing results. Combined with a massive reduction in self-reported stress levels, their brain imaging showed remarkably less “fear center” amygdalae density, with far less “fearful message communication” to the rest of the brain.

The icing on the cake, researchers also found the brain areas associated with focus and higher thought remarkably grew in strength.

Upgrade your brain, upgrade your life. A monumental discovery with far-reaching implications, cooling off your over-heated amygdala effectively upgrades and rewires your stress response circuitry, opening the door up to an array of incredible mind-body benefits. Being bulletproof to stress, you can now live your life from a cool, calm, and composed state of awesome!

Rebecca Gladding M.D., author of “You Are Not Your Brain”, recently wrote that meditation “makes a huge difference in how you approach life, how personally you take things and how you interact with others. It enhances compassion, allows you to see things more clearly (including yourself) and creates a sense of calm and centeredness that is indescribable. There really is no substitute.”

Many great, modern thinkers believe it is the training of the mind that will provide the next great leap forward in the evolution of man. If so, meditation is the #1 revolution kick starter. 

Neuroplasticity & Meditation — Benefit #4:
Fortify Your Parietal Lobe For Better Brain Health & Feeling More Connected

How To Train Your Brain To Feel Connected. Everybody knows that you have to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep if you want to be a happy and healthy person. But very few of us know the importance of human connectedness to our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

In fact, one 2010 study published in “PLOS Medicine” found social connectivity increased longevity by over 50%! Another study by UCLA Professor of Medicine Dr. Steve Cole showed feeling connected to others strengthens immunity, while other studies have shown less anxiety and depression, higher self esteem, more empathy, the list goes on.

Thinking back, when were your happiest times? Laughing, playing, enjoying quality time with loved ones, friends, and family tops many people’s lists, where the natural human connection redirects our minds away from our past/future tense worries, directly into the present moment.

Meditation is the cure for loneliness. While the very best cure for feeling isolated is a strong in-person social network and a loving family, this isn’t possible for everybody.

Luckily, meditation activates the so called “social connectivity” parts of our brain, unlocking many of the same mental, emotional, and physical benefits that come along.

A University of Pennsylvania scientist, Dr. Andrew Newberg, took brain images of Tibetan Monks during meditation. As expected, their frontal lobes lit up on the screen, just like countless other studies have shown.

Meditation is your best friend. However, what surprised him most was that the meditators’ “third-dimensional” based parietal lobes cooled off immensely, which happens to be the same area that becomes overheated when we feel lonely.

Dr. Newburg, now a bestselling author, writes “When people lose their sense of self [in meditation], feeling a sense of oneness, [this] results in a blurring of the boundary between self and others…[with] no sense of space or passage of time.”

This feeling of oneness achieved through meditation results in feeling less lonely and separated, releasing a cascade of scientifically proven psychological and physiological benefits, in turn making you a happier and healthier person. While friends come and go, meditation will always be there for you!  

Changing The Brain With Meditation — Benefit #5:
Cultivate Compassion & Kindness With A Stronger Right Anterior Insula

How to Train Your Brain For Compassion & Kindness. There is truth to the old saying “Give and you shall receive.” Many people think happiness comes from achieving, acquiring, and receiving, but research says otherwise. Scientists are now finding that our greatest fulfillment comes from living a life of meaning. It is in compassion — helping others, feeling connected, where we are truly the happiest.

In fact, a brain imaging study at the National Institute of Health showed that our brains’ “pleasure centers” are activated when we donate to charity. Another study at the University of San Diego found that like wildfire, helping others spreads to everyone nearby.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” — Dalai Lama

Compassion upgrades everything. There are also a host of health benefits that come from practicing kindness and compassion for others, like alleviating anxiety and depression, strengthening the immune system, and helping you live longer.

Did you know that there are certain brain regions activated when we practice compassion? And that we can do things to train our brains to make us more compassionate people? It’s true.

A highly-cited study, in 2012 UCLA School of Medicine researchers discovered the “right anterior dorsal insula” to be highly active during meditation. What’s the link? This happens to be the same brain area that lights up like a Christmas tree when we show authentic kindness and compassion toward others, as shown by University of Wisconsin neuroscientists’ brain imaging.

All this research means that it is now possible to reap the countless benefits that come from being a more compassionate person: greater happiness, more fulfillment, feeling that life is meaningful, and deeper connectedness.

Are you ready to be a beacon of light in a sometimes-dark world? It’s time to upgrade your brain — meditation is the key.

“Compassion is the ultimate expression of your highest self”. — Russell Simmons 

Healthy Brain & Meditation — Benefit #6:
Big Hippocampus, Little Depression

How to Exterminate Depression By Changing Your Brain. As 1 in 6 people suffer from depression sometime in their life, there is no shortage of people ready to put their brains under the microscope for a chance at a possible cure. Because of this, we are closer than ever to conquering this ugly mental health issue.

A 1996 University of Washington study measured the brains of 10 major clinical depression sufferers. What did they find?

The hippocampi of the depressed patients had atrophied considerably, with extra deterioration for each year since their diagnosis. If only there was an all-natural, super effective way to reverse this ugly brain weakening for depression sufferers? There is.

A 2008 study published in the Neuroimage Journal found that after only 8 weeks of meditation, the left and right hippocampi of participants had significantly grown in neural thickness, density, and overall size.

This incredible finding means that adding meditation to your daily routine can put your brain on a level too advanced for depression, while putting the depression wheels in reverse.

Like a baseball pitcher building up his shoulder muscles to prevent future breakdown, meditators have built up their hippocampi to levels that effectively makes them invulnerable to depression.

 

Super Brain Fitness & Meditation — Benefit #7:
Big Hippocampus, Big Memory / Learning / Study Skills

How to Learn Better By Changing Your Brain. Everybody has forgotten where they left their keys or blanked on a friend’s name. However, memory loss is not an inevitable part of the aging process, there are plenty of older people with perfect memory.

Why then, do some of us have good memories and others of us can’t even remember our coworkers’ names? It’s all in your head!

Dr. Larry Squire, a world-renowned psychiatrist at UC San Diego, published a groundbreaking paper titled “Memory, Hippocampus, and Brain Systems” — illustrating just how critical the hippocampus is in learning and memory. Pinpointing this key brain region has far-reaching implications for those looking to retain more information, do better in school, and move up the career ladder.

Grow your brain, remember everything. If only it was possible to build up your hippocampus? And, in effect, have a leak proof, ultra-enhanced memory with super-learning capacity?

Thankfully, prominent Harvard neuroscientist, Dr. Sara Lazar and colleagues, have studied the brains of meditators for years. Among many other monumental discoveries, her research shows that meditators’ brains seem to always have well-formed, highly developed Hippocampi.

Scientists of yesteryear would argue that people born with big and strong hippocampi were the only people with the capacity for super-learning and flawless memory. Luckily, we know better now.

If you want an air-tight memory with topnotch learning ability, then science agrees you should pick up meditation. 

Neuroplasticity & Meditation — Benefit #8:
Raise Your Emotional Intelligence & Emotional Awareness With A Fortified TPJ

How To Build A Bigger, More Emotionally Intelligent Brain. In decades’ past, most everyone agreed that the leading indicator for success was your IQ. Today, that is no longer the case. In his highly acclaimed, bestselling book, prominent psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman really opened the eyes of the scientific community by making the compelling case for “emotional intelligence” (EQ) as the #1 success determinant.

People high on the EQ chart tend to be successful at both work and play, having prosperous careers and long-lasting, fulfilling relationships. They tend to be altruistic, self-motivated, empathic, with the ability to love and be loved. In the years since his groundbreaking work, many prominent researchers have confirmed Dr. Goleman’s research, further validating his claims.

The brain & EQ. Since we aren’t born with a fixed amount of emotional intelligence, scientists have long sought ways to increase this elusive personality trait. After all, who doesn’t want to be more popular and successful?

A 2013 University of Illinois study looked at various brain areas during emotional intelligence centered activities, like social interaction. An amazing finding, the researchers identified one region, the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) to be prominently lit up on the brain scan images.

If only there was a proven way of building up this key brain area, and therefore, your EQ. There is!

Long thought to be a critical brain area for highly empathic, conscientious people, Harvard neuroscientists have shown that meditation builds up a big and strong “emotional intelligence” centered TPJ, as evidenced by Dr. Sara Lazar’s revolutionary work.

You can now use meditation to tap into your dormant emotional intelligence, opening your life up to a powerful and unique set of qualities: self-awareness, adaptability, empathy, self-motivation, emotional balance, and social grace. Supercharge your EQ, discover meditation! 

A Well Trained Brain Through Meditation — Benefit #9:
Finding Happiness With A Healthy Posterior Cingulate

How to Train Your Brain To Be Happy. We live in a busy world with a limitless supply of distraction. You cook dinner, surf the web, watch the kids, all while catching up on your favorite Netflix show.

But in the everyday scramble that is modern life, our preoccupations make us lose our connection with and appreciation for the present moment. It is so easy to lose touch with what we are doing and how we are actually feeling at any given time.

Did you take time to notice the freshly bloomed magnolias on your way to work? Did you pay attention to how refreshed you felt this morning after sleeping so soundly?

Meditation makes brains happy. Keeping your attention focused on the present, accepting the moment without judgment, has been studied extensively for its seemingly limitless supply of positive psychological benefits. Many scientists are now saying this focused, non-judgmental state is where we find our true happiness.

Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn has been paramount in bringing the practice of “mindfulness” into the mainstream scientific and medical communities. With its plethora of proven benefits, doctors are now even prescribing meditation to their patients!

Internationally acclaimed Harvard brain researcher, Dr. Sara Lazar, discovered that one particular brain region responsible for the “wandering mind”, the posterior cingulate cortex (PCT), becomes deactivated during meditation. What does this mean? Corralling the so-called “wandering mind” opens up a whole wonderful world of “present mind” benefits, cancelling out much of the real reason for unhappiness.

Maximize your potential. While it has long been known that practicing meditation is the key to cultivating mindfulness, it is a whole new ballgame to see the brain areas associated with heightened, present moment focus so easily forged and shaped by the millennia old practice.

It is human nature to want a more satisfying, fulfilling life. But very few of us really take the time to examine what it is that keeps us from our highest state of being. Meditation helps you to really savor the pleasures in life as they happen, helping you become fully engaged in the present moment.

By focusing on the here and now, mindfulness helps to weaken the grip of past regrets and future worries, effectively freeing you to live your life on the highest level possible. 

 

Super Healthy Brain & Meditation — Benefit #10
Sleep Better With A Powerful Pons

How to Train Your Brain For Better Sleep. We have all stared at the ceiling just hoping to finally fall asleep, salvaging our remaining three hours before its time to wake up for work.

However, chronic insomnia is much more than a minor inconvenience, it can take a major toll on your mood, health, energy levels, and your ability to perform your normal daily activities. In the long term, lack of sleep can contribute to a host of nasty health problems. Not fun.

Restful sleep is not just about making sure you lay in bed for at least eight hours per night, what matters most is the quality of your sleep.

Dreamtime brain science. If you still feel tired, drowsy, and fatigued after laying in bed all night, you are likely not getting enough deep, quality sleep. Spending sufficient time in the REM stage is critical to your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Luckily, scientists have studied the sleeping brain for decades, and now have a real grasp on its working components. Serving as the on/off switch to the REM stage of sleep, the funnily named, base of the brain originating “Pons” regulates the main dreamtime chemical: melatonin.

Weakness or abnormality within this critical brain region will prevent you from getting deep, restful sleep, plain and simple.

Meditation trains the sleeping brain. If only there was a proven way of building up this key brain area, and therefore, allow you to get life-nourishing sleep, night after night. There is!

Among many other brain areas, neuroscientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have shown that meditation builds up a big and strong sleep centered “Pons.” In fact, meditators have written whole books about their lucid dream abilities, which of course is impossible without ample time in deep-stage REM sleep.

If you want an all-natural, super effective solution to sleeping like a baby every night, then meditation is your go-to guy. 

 

Neuroplasticity uses Meditation to change one’s self image.  By chanting a descriptive phrase of who they are repetitiously as if it were fact, over time they are slowly but surely changing their self image accordingly and thereby changing their behavior to be more consistent with that self image.  In other words, “You will be as you think you are.”

One Man’s Opinion-Bud Brewer



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