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This episode covers the fascinating science of mindfulness meditation. The massive explosion in popularity of meditation, has brought about a quiet revolution to the frantic western mind with the result of a complete change in our societies approach to stress management, happiness and well being. Today we’re going to get to the bottom of what happens to the brain when we meditate and why it’s so beneficial. But we’re also going to find out what happens to our levels of happiness, satisfaction, mental health and physical health if we meditate regularly over a long period of time. We’re also going to think about how society and business at large will evolve if these techniques continue to be introduced to our schools and companies.


So who better to help us find out what all the buzz is about than award winning professor of clinical psychology at Santa Clara University, Dr. Shauna Shapiro. She’s a fellow of the Mind and Life Institute co-founded by the Dalai Lama, who we’ll be discussing a bit today. She also lectures about and leads mindfulness programs internationally; and she’s even brought mindfulness to pioneering companies including Cisco Systems and Google. She has published over 150 articles and is the author of several books, like ‘The art and science of Mindfulness’, and ‘Good Morning I love You’ and has just released The ‘Good morning I love you’ guided journal.


What we discuss in this Episode:

00:00 Intro

05:37 Study results: Increased attention, memory and academic success, lowered activation of the Amygdala, reaction to pain

09:00 Better regulation of the nervous system

10:00 Effects of longer term meditation practice

11:00 Our happiness base line can be changed with practice

13:30 Intention and repetition’s relation to neuroplasticity

16:00 Journalling to set intention and maintain practice

17:00 Journalling for memory, health, mood, immune system and sleep

18:00 Morning theta state - more malleable brain

20:00 Advice for beginners getting started on meditation

22:00 Breath as a tool for relaxation

24:20 ‘Name it to tame it’ - Increased resilience and acceptance

27:00 Historical undervaluing of the coping function of emotion

28:30 Emotions only last 30-90 seconds, apart from their intellectualisation

30:00 Rise of polarisation and negative bias hacking by media - Mindfulness and compassion as a solution

33:00 Self-compassion leads to wider compassion and implicit bias reduction

34:00 The insular (compassion centre of the brain) is muted when someone is very different to you.

35:00 Knee jerk reactions (amygdala) reduced with regular meditation

37:00 Shauna’s meditation workshops in the military and companies


Good Morning, I Love You: A Guided Journal for Calm, Clarity, and Joy  Shauna Shapiro

Altered Traits, Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson

Changing happiness setpoints - Dr. Tal Ben Shahar - Happiness Studies

Andrew Huberman ‘Sigh breath’ research

'Name it to tame it' UCLA study

Alleged Viktor Frankl quote “Between stimulus and response lies a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose a response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.”

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