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Be Mindful: Your Pot of Gold Could be Your Grave

Jon Kabat-Zinn | 3:25


If you put people in a scanner and tell them to just do nothing, just rest in the scanner, don't do anything at all. It turns out that there's a region in the midline of the cerebral cortex, um, that's known as the default mode network that just lights up. That just all of a sudden gets very, very active.

Meanwhile, you're told to do nothing and then your brain starts to.  energy a lot, a lot of ATP in this, you know, activation in the medial, uh, frontal areas. And that's called the default mode network because when you're told to do nothing, you default to activity in this mode. And when you inquire what's going on there, a lot of it has to do with mind wandering and just daydreaming.

And a lot of that has to do with the self-referencing our favorite. , which is me of course. So we generate narratives. I wonder how long I'm gonna be in the scanner and I'm feeling a little bit contracted, you know, because it's claustrophobic and these magnets are banging like crazy or whatever it is. Uh, you are thinking in terms of your, you past, present, and future, and you're developing narratives where I'm gonna go to lunch when this is over, or whatever it is.

And those narratives are a form of self reference and that's. As I said, I mean, it's called, also called the, um, narrative mode network or the Narrative Network. And it's the story of me. When you train people in mbsr, you find that another area of the cortex lights up more lateral after eight weeks of training and mindfulness.

Um, and that that area is associated with a region called the ins, and that doesn't have a, a linear time-based narrative. It's. The experiencing of the present moment in the body, breathing in, breathing out, awake, no narrative, no agenda. And the interesting thing, and this is the study when they, when they put people through eight weeks of mbsr, this narrative network decreases in activity.

And this experiential network increases an activity and they become uncoupled. So they're no longer caught together in such a way. So this one can actually attenuate and liberate you a little bit from the constant thinking, thinking, thinking, a lot of which is driven of course by anxiety. And what's wrong with me?

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