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Study shows how practicing gratitude can help train your brain and improve mental health over time

With the rise of man­aged health care, which empha­sizes cost-effi­cien­cy and brevi­ty, men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als have had to con­front this burn­ing ques­tion: How can they help clients derive the great­est pos­si­ble ben­e­fit from treat­ment in the short­est amount of time? Read the rest of this entry »

Why “Untrained Brains Are A Bit Like Puppies,” And How To Put Together the Building Blocks of a Smarter, Happier Mind

As a child, I was con­vinced that my dad just went to work to play. My father was a neu­ro­sci­en­tist at Bay­lor Uni­ver­si­ty, and his office was full of bright­ly col­ored blocks to test intel­li­gence, books by MC Esch­er to study per­cep­tion, and even a sound­proof room cov­ered in blue foam that I thought was for gym­nas­tics Read the rest of this entry »

Top 30 Highlights from the 2013 SharpBrains Virtual Summit: The latest on Brain Research, Health and Innovation

2013 SharpBrains SummitOver 30 speak­ers and 170 reg­is­tered par­tic­i­pants dis­cussed the lat­est on brain research, health and inno­va­tion at the fourth annu­al Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit, held in Sep­tem­ber 2013. Here are some of the fas­ci­nat­ing high­lights* that can help iden­ti­fy emerg­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and pre­pare for sig­nif­i­cant changes like­ly to occur in the next 3–5 years.

What surprised/ impressed us the most (in brack­ets, the Speak­er who prompt­ed the high­light):

  1. How the Human Brain Project is build­ing a com­pre­hen­sive brain sim­u­la­tion web por­tal for hun­dreds of neu­ro­sci­en­tists to find prin­ci­ples that can not only opti­mize brain health but also com­put­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing and IT net­works. (Sean Hill)
  2. How dif­fer­ent Brain Health will look in 2020. i.e. we may well see a “self-admin­is­tered annu­al brain health check-up” (Alvaro Fer­nan­dez) build­ing on cur­rent tablet-based cog­ni­tive base­line tests. (Joan Sev­er­son)
  3. Two bil­lion peo­ple world­wide suf­fer from brain based health and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty chal­lenges, and many could ben­e­fit from evi­dence-based inter­ven­tions deliv­ered over the web via computers/ mobile. (Alvaro Fer­nan­dez)
  4. The increas­ing role pos­i­tive psy­chol­o­gy is play­ing in lead­er­ship and well­ness ini­tia­tives of large orga­ni­za­tions. Many com­pa­nies are using med­i­ta­tion pro­grams at work, help­ing place the human brain at the cen­ter of the human resources equa­tion. (Hyong Un)
  5. How health providers can expand focus to include emo­tion­al and cog­ni­tive health. Kaiser Permanente’s sim­ple and pow­er­ful posters are beau­ti­ful and inspir­ing. (Alexan­dra More­house) Read the rest of this entry »

Three Insights from the Frontiers of Positive Psychology

future-300x225In late June, the third World Con­gress on Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­o­gy con­vened lead­ing sci­en­tists to explore the keys to a hap­py and mean­ing­ful life. Here are three of the most strik­ing and prac­ti­cal insights from the con­fer­ence. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do Words, such as Yes and No, Change Our Brains and Lives?

The neu­ro­science of lan­guage, con­scious­ness, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion rais­es many fun­da­men­tal ques­tions, the answers to which con­sis­tent­ly defy def­i­n­i­tion. For exam­ple: when we speak, where do our words come from? Our brain, or our mind? And what do we mean by mind? Sim­i­lar dilem­mas arise when we try to study the nature of con­scious­ness. What is it, and where is it? Is it gen­er­at­ed sole­ly by neur­al activ­i­ty, or is it a sep­a­rate force that influ­ences the activ­i­ty of the brain? Hypothe­ses abound, but nobody seems to know for cer­tain.

How­ev­er, we do have a few clues that illu­mi­nate the rela­tion­ship between the brain, the mind, and Read the rest of this entry »

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