Click here to learn about Academy events, publications and initiatives around COVID-19.

We are experiencing intermittent technical difficulties. At this time, you may not be able to log in, register for an event, or make a donation via the website. We appreciate your patience, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Our site is under planned maintenance. At this time, you will not be able to log in, register for an event, or make a donation via the website. We appreciate your patience, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Support The World's Smartest Network
×

Help the New York Academy of Sciences bring late-breaking scientific information about the COVID-19 pandemic to global audiences. Please make a tax-deductible gift today.

DONATE
This site uses cookies.
Learn more.

×

This website uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the website to operate while others offer you a better browsing experience. You give us your permission to use cookies, by continuing to use our website after you have received the cookie notification. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to change your cookie settings, see our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

We encourage you to learn more about cookies on our site in our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

eBriefing

Linking Neuroscience and Mindfulness

Linking Neuroscience and Mindfulness
Reported by
Barbara Knappmeyer

Posted January 29, 2021

Presented By

The New York Academy of Sciences

Meditative practices that cultivate mindfulness are a foundational element of Buddhist teachings. For centuries, those practices have been experienced as an antidote to human suffering. However, scientific research into the effects of mindfulness on health, and how its cultivation might affect the body, overall wellbeing, and even longevity is very recent. In this e-Briefing, four leaders in the field explain what mindfulness is and what happens in our brains when we meditate. They discuss the latest research on meditation’s effect on mental and physical health and give practical advice on how meditative practices could be used to cope with elevated stress levels during these uncertain times.


In this eBriefing, You’ll Learn:

  • Mindfulness is defined as a non-judgmental moment-to-moment awareness. It can be accessed and sustained through different modes of meditative practices.
  • Mindfulness meditation affects multiple neuronal networks in the brain.
  • Several scientific studies have shown that mindfulness practices can reduce stress and anxiety, increase attention, and elevate mood.
  • Researchers are still investigating the likely mechanisms of meditations’ beneficial effects on health. Potential targets are epigenetic and anti-inflammatory pathways.

Moderator

Barbara Knappmeyer, PhD
Barbara Knappmeyer, PhD

New York Academy of Sciences

Speakers

Amishi Jha, PhD, LLM
Amishi Jha, PhD, LLM

University of Miami

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD

University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center

Richard J. Davidson
Richard J. Davidson, PhD

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Colleen Saidman Yee
Colleen Saidman Yee

Yoga Shanti Studios, Urban Zen Foundation

The Neuroscience of Mindfulness

Speakers

The Neuroscience of Mindfulness


Jha/Kabat-Zinn/Davidson/Saidman Yee (University of Miami/University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center/University of Wisconsin-Madison/Yoga Shanti Studios, Urban Zen Foundation)

Amishi Jha, PhD, LLM
University of Miami

Dr. Amishi Jha is a neuroscientist and researcher at the University of Miami. She is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Director of Contemplative Neuroscience for the Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative, prior to which she was an Assistant Professor at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her PhD from the University of California Davis, and received her postdoctoral training at the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center at Duke University in functional neuroimaging. She studies the neural bases of attention and the effects of mindfulness-based training programs on cognition, emotion and resilience. With grants from the Department of Defense and several private foundations, she has been systematically investigating the applications of mindfulness training in education, corporate, elite sports, first-responder, and military contexts. In addition to her own published body of research, her work has been featured in many outlets including TED.com, NPR, and Mindful Magazine. In addition, she has been invited to present her work to NATO, the UK Parliament, the Pentagon, and at the World Economic Forum.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD
University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. is Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he founded the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society (in 1995), and (in 1979) its world-renown Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Clinic.  He is the author of 14 books published in over 40 languages. His work has contributed to a growing movement of mindfulness into mainstream institutions such as medicine, psychology, health care, neuroscience, schools, higher education, business, social justice, criminal justice, prisons, the law, technology, government, and professional sports.

Richard J. Davidson, PhD
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Richard J. Davidson is the William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder & Director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He received his PhD from Harvard University in Psychology and has been at Wisconsin since 1984. He has published more than 440 articles, numerous chapters and reviews, and edited 14 books. He is the author (with Sharon Begley) of "The Emotional Life of Your Brain," published by Penguin in 2012. He is co-author with Daniel Goleman of “Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body,” published by Penguin Books in 2017.

He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research, including the William James Fellow Award from the American Psychological Society.  He was the year 2000 recipient of the most distinguished award for science given by the American Psychological Association - the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. He was the Founding Co-Editor of the new American Psychological Association journal EMOTION. In 2003 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2006. He served on the Scientific Advisory Board at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences from 2011-2019. Current member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Mental Health. In 2017 he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine and in 2018 appointed to the Governing Board of UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP).

His research is broadly focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style and methods to promote human flourishing, including meditation and related contemplative practices.

Colleen Saidman Yee
Yoga Shanti Studios, Urban Zen Foundation

Colleen Saidman Yee's first book, Yoga for Life, a journey to inner peace and freedom, was released by Atria/Simon and Schuster on June 2nd, 2015. The New York Times named her the “First Lady of Yoga.” Colleen has been teaching yoga since 1998 and has been a globe-trotting fashion model since 1979. Colleen opened her first Yoga Studio in 1999. She has been featured in thousands of yoga videos. Articles about her have appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, and O, The Oprah Magazine, and many more. Colleen has also appeared on four covers of Yoga Journal, and has collaborated with them on a 12-week online course called “Yoga for Inner Peace.” Colleen also has a 10-day online course called: “Simple Self Care.” She is the director and owner of Yoga Shanti in Sag Harbor and New York City. With Donna Karan and her husband, Rodney Yee, Colleen created and runs the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program, utilized in healthcare facilities around the country. Colleen resides in Sag Harbor with her husband, Rodney Yee. Their four kids continue to be their most humbling teachers.

Further Readings

Jha

Jha AP, Denkova E, Zanesco AP, et al. 

Current Opinion in Psychology. 2019;(28):273-278.

Jha AP.

Mindful Magazine. 2020: 1-6.

Davidson

Goldberg SB, Riordan K, Sun S, and Davidson, RJ.

Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Dahl CJ, Wilson-Mendenhall CH, and Davidson R J.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2020; 117(51), 32197-32206.

Saidman Yee

Saidman Yee C.

Yoga for Life: A Journey to Inner Peace and Freedom.

2015; Atria Books.