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  • Mindful Meditation Practice and Theory

    Part 2: Sitting Meditation

    Sharon M. Theroux, PhD

  • Disclosures

    Sharon M. Theroux, PhD

    Licensed Psychologist

    Board Certified Clinical Neuropsychologist

    Certified MBSR instructor

    Mindful Eating Teacher

    Board member, TCME

    Program Director, International Seminars Group (ISG)

    CP

  • Learning Objectives

    ◼ Describe a mindful sitting meditation practice

    ◼ Summarize the neurological underpinnings of

    the sitting meditation that can enhance

    mindful eating.

  • Part 1 Review: Body Scan

    ◼ Sequentially moving attention throughout body

    ◼ Strengthening connections between brain (S1) and body

    ◼ May reduce reduce depression by increasing our ability to

    ◼ Observe our surroundings

    ◼ Act with Awareness

    ◼ Helpful for emotional eating

  • Inquiry

    What did you notice?

  • Mindful Sitting Meditation

    • Paying attention with an openhearted, curious,

    nonjudgmental awareness

    • Bringing your attention back to the object of focus,

    whenever it wanders

  • Practice

    CP

  • Inquiry

    What did you notice?

    SMT

  • Mindful Sitting meditation

    Two main styles of mindful sitting meditation

    Focused attention (FA)

    Moment by moment selective attention on a particular

    object

    • Breath

    • Body Sensations

    • Sounds

  • Mindful Sitting meditation

    Two types of mindful sitting meditation

    Open monitoring (OM)

    An open awareness of any stimuli that occurs in the

    present moment

    • Mind states (thoughts and emotions)

    • Choiceless Awareness

  • How do these

    Formal meditation practices

    Improve well-being?

  • Public Library of Science, 2014, 9 (10)

  • Method

    45 healthy adults randomly assigned to 2 groups

    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

    Wait list control

    MRI scans pre and post MBSR class

    Psychological measures pre and post

    • Toronto Alexithymia Scale

    • Penn State Worry Questionnaire

    • State-Trait Anxiety Inventory

    • Beck Depression Inventory II

    • Mindful Attention Awareness Scale

  • Results

    Psychological Measures

    MBSR group significant pre-post decreases in

    • Alexithymia

    • Worry

    • Anxiety

    • Depression

    Control group had no pre-post change

  • Results

    Physical Measures

    MBSR meditators had strong coupling among

    • Somato-sensory strip

    • Insular cortex

    • Lateral prefrontal cortex

  • Neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield

    Surgeries of patients with intractable

    epilepsy

    Stimulation of certain parts of the

    motor strip always elicited

    movement of a particular body part

    Mapped the motor, and then sensory

    strip of the brain

    Size of various regions of the body is

    related to number of sensory or

    motor neurons devoted to it

    Penfield et al (1950), The Cerebral Cortex of Man.

    1950

    SMT

  • 2012, Neuroscience Media Publishers, LLC

    Insular Cortex

    • Multimodal sensory

    processing

    • Body awareness

    • Emotional regulation

    • Self-perception

  • 2012, Neuroscience Media Publishers, LLC

    Insular Cortex

    • Posterior Insula

    • Raw sensory

    perception

    • Anterior

    • Self-perceptions

  • Dorsolateral

    Prefrontal

    cortex (2)

    • Working memory

    • Mental flexibility

    • Planning

    • Inhibitory control

  • Medial Prefrontal cortex

    (3)

    Implicated in:

    Self-referential activity

    Mind wandering

    Part of Default Mode Network

  • The Body Scan and Mindful Breathing

    Among Veterans with PTSD: Type of

    Intervention Moderates the Relationship

    Between Changes in Mindfulness and Post-

    Treatment Depression

    102 Veterans with PTSD

    Randomly assigned to 4 groups

    • Body scan meditation

    • Mindful Breathing

    • Slow Breathing

    • Sitting Quietly

    Groups met weekly for 6 weeks for 20-minute practice

    Daily home practice recommended

    2016

    Colgan, et al, 2016

  • Measures

    3 Self-report questionnaires given pre and post

    treatment

    • Beck Depression Inventory II

    • PTSD checklist

    • Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire

  • Baer, et al (2008), “Construct Validity of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire in Meditating and non Meditating Samples”. Assessment, 15 (3), 329-342

  • Results:

    1. Those in Body Scan and Mindful Breathing groups were less depressed

    post treatment, compared to Slow Breathing or Sitting Quietly groups.

    2. Reductions in depression in the Body scan group was predicted by

    the “Observing” and “Acting with Awareness” facets of FFMQ

    3. Reductions in depression in the Mindful Breathing group was

    predicted by the “Non-Reacting” facet of FFMQ

    Colgan, et al, 2016

  • Being with the unpleasant, without wanting to change anything

    Non-reacting mind

    Calm, in the midst of chaos

  • Summary

    1. The cultivation of formal meditation practices, such as mindful sitting

    meditation, increases connectivity within brain regions responsible for

    body awareness and impulse control, and reduces connectivity to default

    mode network pathways in the brain that lead to mind wandering and self-

    referential thinking.

    2. This reduces depression and anxiety, which can reduce our need to

    soothe ourselves with food.

    Colgan, et al, 2016

  • Viktor Frankl

    Between stimulus

    and response there is

    a space. In that space

    is our power to choose

    our response. In

    our response lies our

    growth and our

    freedom.

  • Thank you!

  • Bibliography

    ◼ Baer, et al (2008), “Construct Validity of the Five Facet Mindfulness

    Questionnaire in Meditating and non Meditating Samples”. Assessment, 15 (3),

    329-342

    ◼ Brewer, Judson (2015), “Practice as Science Retreat”. A presentation at the

    Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare and Society Annual

    Conference.

    ◼ Colgan, D. D., Christopher, M., Michael, P., & Wahbeh, H (2016). The Body

    Scan and Mindful Breathing Among Veterans with PTSD: Type of Intervention

    Moderates the Relationship Between Changes in Mindfulness and Post-

    Treatment Depression, Mindfulness, 4, 372-383.

    ◼ Penfield, W. & Rasmussen, T. (1950). The cerebral cortex of man : a clinical

    study of localization of function. New York : Macmillan.

  • Bibliography

    ➢ Farb N.A., Segal Z.V., Mayberg H., Bean J., McKeon D., Fatima, Z., &

    Anderson, A. (2007) Attending to the present: mindfulness meditation reveals

    distinct neural modes of self-reference. Social Cognitive and Affective

    Neuroscience, 2: 313–322 10.1093/scan/nsm030 [doi]. [PMC free article]

    [PubMed]

    ➢ Farb, N.A., Anderson, A., & Segal, Z. (2012). The Mindful Brain and emotion

    regulation in mood

    disorders. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 57 (2), 70-77.

    ➢ Santarnecchi, E., Arista, S., Egiziano, E., Gardi, C. Petrosino, R., Vatti, G.,

    Reda, M. & Rossi, A. (2014). Interaction between Neuroanatomical and

    Psychological Changes after Mindfulness-Based Training. PLoS One, 9 (10):

    e108359. doi: 10.137/journal.pone.0108359.

    •> Judson A. Brewer, 20254–20259, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1112029108

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