Supporting mindfulness

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is involved in attention, judgment, planning, impulse control, execution and empathy. Is this related to what buddhists call mindfulness? I think it is.

Alcohol and drugs harm this part of the brain, which is why perhaps you often find injunctions to not drink or take drugs.

On the other hand, from what I can gather sleep, regular high protein meals, exercise, goal setting and following, and most interestingly meditation all help to develop the prefrontal cortex.

It seems that meditation thickens the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) which controls the amygdala (anger and fear), the hypothalamus (appetite, sex drive), the nucleus ambens (pleasure) and the insula (empathy).

But if we were to support our meditation practice, we could engage in exercise, in fact all the things we listed above. And again from what I’ve been able to find, Omega-3 oils play an important role in brain function, according to Amen in [ASIN id=”0307463575″ title=”Change Your Brain, Change Your Body” description=””], who also says that DHA, which is in flaxseed oils “is critical for normal brain development in fetuses and infants and for the maintenance of normal brain function throughout life.”

What’s also interesting is that the ACC seems to contain a lot of serotonin transporters. Amen says elsewhere that Inositol is “a natural chemical found in the brain that is reported to help neurons use serotonin more efficiently.”

And how about this? Vitamin D3 “activates receptors on neurons in regions important in the regulation of behavior, and it protects the brain by acting in an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity.”

But don’t accept what I’ve found out. Rather think about how your physical lifestyle is affecting your practice.

Something I’d like to add is that there is a deliberate practice that uses the ajna chakra, or 3rd eye as it’s sometimes called. The “ā” meditation, which uses a process of visualisation and an energy sweep through the ajna chakra.

And then there’s mindfulness of emptiness, beyond thought. Perhaps the physical brain correspondence here is the connection between the PFC and the cerebellum. Perhaps strengthening this connection is the physical correspondence of opening the third eye. Food for thought, don’t you think?

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