Meditation (and specifically mindfulness meditation) has become increasingly popular, thanks to apps such as Headspace and studies touting the lasting effects of mindfulness on the mind and body. But are these apps really as effective as serious meditation training? And do these studies’ findings have any basis in reality?
Joining us to discuss these issues is Daniel Goleman, co-author of the book Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain and Body. Dan is a psychologist and science journalist known for his numerous books on emotional intelligence, including the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence.
In Altered Traits, he and his co-author Richard Davidson waded through the thousands of studies that have been published on mindfulness, and identified what data we should pay attention to, and what we should ignore as hype. They also reveal the latest results from Davidson’s own lab: Data that points to what the future of mind-training methods should be.
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Discussed in This Episode
- Mindfulness and the breath
- Affective neuroscience (how emotions operate in the brain)
- Contemplative neuroscience (how meditation affects the brain)
- Richard Davidson’s lab
- Daniel Goleman’s work at The New York Times
- The importance of meditation retreats
- How meditation helps you produce more gamma waves
- The concept of neuroplasticity
- The Mind & Life Institute
- How the best kind of meditation is the one you’ll do
- But mindfulness meditation is the most researched
- Jon Kabat-Zinn, developer of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
- How mindfulness meditation can reduce physical pain
- Meditation benefits children — here’s the “belly buddy” technique
- Dan Goleman’s book The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education
- Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning
- Why the 10,000 hour rule is a myth
- How to engage in smart practice: Find a teacher
- Dan Goleman’s recommendations for finding a retreat or teacher: Insight Meditation Society on the US east coast, Spirit Rock on the west; Upaya in Santa Fe
Our Upgrades of the Week
Every week we like to let you in on the upgrades we’ve made in our own lives. This week we talked about listening to music first thing in the morning, starting work in the afternoon, and the simple joys of a solid door.
Dr Robert Lustig joined us in the studio to talk about his new book, The Hacking of the American Mind. The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains. Dr Lustig is a paediatric endocrinologist who is also author of the book Fat Chance. Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease. He talks to us about how corporate interests have worked to keep us addicted to pleasure — and how our addictions have robbed us of happiness.