THE BLOG

UT Dallas' Center for BrainHealth and Mindfulness Meditation

03/09/2015 12:05 pm ET | Updated May 06, 2015

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UT Dallas' Center for BrainHealth, established in 1999, is a leader in its mission to understand, protect and heal the brain. An inviting research center for some of the nation's leading neuroscientists, the center is involved in studies regarding Alzheimer's, military personnel, dementia, teens, brain injury, reasoning training for multiple ages, athletes, and more. Those who choose to sign up for Brain Health Daily News receive links to articles published all over the world, in addition to the center's BRAIN HEALTH TIPS, TIDBITS, AND TRIVIA OF THE DAY.

Just a few of their pearls of wisdom include:

Detox Distractions on March 2, 2015

  • On average, individuals work for three minutes at a time before being interrupted. Complicating matters, technology is actually rewiring our brains to be addicted to interruption, as we anxiously wait for the next ping signaling a new email, text or social media post. By silencing your phone and computer and closing your office door, you can actually accelerate your brain's ability to complete tasks.

Multitasking Mayhem on March 3, 2015

  • Start single tasking! For those who proudly identify as multitaskers, understand that your brain is not build to perform two tasks at the same time -- instead, it must switch quickly from task to unrelated task. Multitasking tires the brain and activates stress hormones. Giving your full attention to the project at hand will increase accuracy, innovation and speed.

Limit Information on Feb 26, 2015

  • Thanks to our technology-driven and uber-connected world, the sheer volume of information we are exposed to every day is nearly 200 times more than we were exposed to 20 years ago! Research shows this information overload comes at a price. High-performing minds are more efficient at knowing what to block out and what to keenly pay attention to. Limit what you take in to enhance your brain's natural ability to block out what does not matter.

Give Your Brain A Break on Feb 4, 2015

  • Do your brain a favor and take a vacation. When you return, your brain will be tuned-up -- ready to creatively tackle the most challenging problems with a fresh new perspective and energy.

While each bit of information is important on its own, it is amazing to consider their ties to the benefits of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation sprang into secular practice when Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn introduced the practice at U Mass in 1979. There are now thousands of studies that support its benefits and its wide-ranging use in the areas of medicine, psychology, the military, corporations, prisons, and schools, just to name a few. Engaging in a daily practice is linked to benefits of lowered anxiety, stress, and depression, and increased empathy for self and others, improved focus and attention, improved emotional regulation, and improved overall health and wellbeing. For those who have never given meditation a try, between the research conducted on outcomes of those with a mindfulness practice and the information highlighted by the Center for BrainHealth, it seems that now might be the time to consider starting a meditation practice.

Could you use a few tips to get you started?

  • The next time your brain starts chattering away at you, start listening to the sounds you hear around you. Just list each sound you hear; if there is a conversation or music playing, do not focus on the actual words, but, rather, man talking, or music playing. As I am listening to the sounds around me now, I hear toy blocks being moved, door closing, child talking, child singing, bird tweeting, computer keys, baby talking, leaves blowing in breeze. You will find it impossible to list the sounds you hear around you and to have your brain continue chattering at you. Congratulations. You just practiced mindfulness of sound, and started the process of breaking you brain's habit of chattering away at you.

  • The next time you start to get upset by something someone said or did, put your focus on your breath. Count the length of time it takes for each inhale and each exhale. Or, better yet, count how many times you inhale and exhale. When you find yourself at a number and you don't know how you got there, just start over at the number one. And congratulate yourself. You just practiced mindful breathing, and you also made a step toward realizing when you lost your focus. When you are able to notice when you lose focus and attention, you are also building a habit that will allow you to extend your focus and attention.
  • It is so amazing, and wonderful, that scientists are able to provide us with such incredible information. It is just up to us if we decide we are worth the effort of using the tools they are making available.

    I've decided; I'm worth it. Are you?

    Dr. W

    Dr. Wolbe can be reached via her website www.drsusiewolbe.com or Facebook.