Book Reviews and Links Begley, Sharon; Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain, 2007.

Wall Street Journal science writer Sharon Begley has written an intriguing and readable account of a landmark international conference and the broader collaboration between neuroscience and Buddhism. In “Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain,” Begley reports on how science and ancient wisdom are coming together to show that we all do have “the power to literally change our brains by changing our minds.”

Among other findings, she writes about evidence that:

  • Physical exercise can promote new neurons in adult brains, and thus might promote learning and memory capacity, and even dispel depression.
  • Cognitive-behavior therapy, in which obsessive patients are taught to observe their compulsive practices in a mindful way, has the power to systematically change faulty brain chemistry.
  • Mental training, like meditative practices, can modulate the brain’s emotional circuitry.
  • Regular meditation can change your “happiness set point,” meaning that your normal level of happiness will be raised.
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