Research has found….Mindfulness has been shown in the research to stimulate the part of the brain that is associated with positive emotions, the left prefrontal cortex.
Here is the background…..The experience of emotion is part of the human experience. Some are pleasant, like contentment, joy and excitement. Others are usually considered “unpleasant”. Examples include fear, guilt, loss among others.
It is well documented in brain research that part of our ability to regulate our emotions is found in the balance of electrical activity between the left and right prefrontal cortex of our brain. All of us tend to have greater electrical activity in either the left or right prefrontal cortex. Studies have shown that individuals with greater left side activity tend to have more positive emotions whereas greater right side activity is associated with negative emotions like anxiety, depression, and anger.
Dr. Richard Davidson, author of the recent book “The Emotional Life of Your Brain”, found in his research that regular mindfulness practice over an 8 week mindfulness course produced significantly greater stimulation of the left side versus the right. This finding was found to be consistent even when the research participants were experiencing a stressful stimulus.
I don’t know about you, I will take the experience of positive emotions any time over the negative emotions. It is important to understand that mindfulness doesn’t get rid of negative emotions, it is simply correlated with more positive emotional states.
One way or the other, this sounds like something I would like to work towards!