A Great Book To Soothe The Mind

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, based on the most basic concepts of Buddhist thought, helps soothe an anxious mind. But it takes dedication -- daily practice. I often feel angry that I have to “work” to feel a “bit more normal.” But Rick Hanson, Ph.D. (author of Buddha’s Brain) has created a fine little workbook that takes the edge off any sense of “failure” or “frustration” when applying a new self-help technique; you simply do “just one thing” a day, or maybe a week. This has a wonderful collection of exercises on such topics as “Be Good To Yourself” -- “Build Strengths” -- “Be At Peace.”

As noted in the book description:

“Each day we are pushed around by external forces – from the economy to the people we live and work with – and by reactions to these that come from ancient reptile/mammal/primate/caveman circuits inside our own brains. But now, with the power of modern neuroscience, we can take charge of the brain and gradually change it for the better.

That’s the promise of Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time – which shows you down-to-earth ways to build up a “buddha brain” for more peace of mind in stressful times, greater inner strength and confidence, and an unshakeable sense of contentment and worth.”

Add this to your arsenal of weapons against anxiety. It is a little gem for all of us.

Abuse Takes Toll On The Brain

Not that surprising, and we must find hope in brain plasticity and the ability of the brain to “rewire” itself. Yet, that is a long, hard journey. Prevention (if possible) is key.

Read the full article here:

Studies Report Early Childhood Trauma Takes Visible Toll on Brain
Published: October 16, 2012.  By  Society for Neuroscience

“Trauma in infancy and childhood shapes the brain, learning, and behavior, and fuels changes that can last a lifetime, according to new human and animal research released today. The studies delve into the effects of early physical abuse, socioeconomic status (SES), and maternal treatment. Documenting the impact of early trauma on brain circuitry and volume, the activation of genes, and working memory, researchers suggest it increases the risk of mental disorders, as well as heart disease and stress-related conditions in adulthood.

• Physical abuse in early childhood may realign communication between key "body-control" brain areas, possibly predisposing adults to cardiovascular disease and mental health problems (Layla Banihashemi, PhD, abstract 691.12, see attached summary).

• Rodent studies provide insight into brain changes that allow tolerance of pain within mother-pup attachment (Regina Sullivan, PhD, abstract 399.19, see attached summary).

• Childhood poverty is associated with changes in working memory and attention years later in adults; yet training in childhood is associated with improved cognitive functions (Eric Pakulak, PhD, abstract 908.04, see attached summary).

• Chronic stress experienced by infant primates leads to fearful and aggressive behaviors; these are associated with changes in stress hormone production and in the development of the amygdala (Mar Sanchez, PhD, abstract 691.10, see attached summary).

Another recent finding discussed shows that:
• Parent education and income is associated with children's brain size, including structures important for memory and emotion (Suzanne Houston, MA, see attached speaker's summary).”