Spend just a little time with Rick Hanson and it becomes clear that he is a rare combination. Many western Ph.Ds and M.Ds are jumping on the mindfulness band wagon. But Rick Hanson has a long-time meditation practice to back up his teachings about neuroscience, psychology, the mind and the brain. He’s been in the meditation trenches which make his workshops unique and genuine.
I had the opportunity to talk with Rick during a weekend training at the Kripalu Center of Yoga and Health in Lenox, Ma. Over the weekend Rick described how our mood states change our physical brain and in turn can make lasting changes in our disposition, level of happiness and well-being.
Rick’s work shows that we not only can change our mood state in the here and now, but with steady deliberate practice we can steer our disposition in a more positive direction, even healing past negative experiences and traumas.
I asked Rick what three “take-away” points he would like me to share on mindful hub. This is what he suggested:
1. What you do with you mind changes your brain – Every day we are literally sculpting the brain, in positive or negative ways by what we do, think, and by what we take into our bodies.
2. Appreciate and be respectful of your vulnerability – knowing that we have this ability to change our brain, it is wise take loving responsibility to sculpt the brain in a positive direction. We can do this through psychotherapy, diet, mindfulness and other contemplative practices.
3. Take in the good – Because of the brain’s bias to focus on what is malfunctioning and dangerous in our environment, just having a positive experience is not enough. “They pass through the brain like water through a sieve, while negative experiences are caught,” says Rick. This is why we need to engage in positive experiences actively to weave them into the brain.
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!