4223578046_ba89d7edff_zWho is the happiest man in the world? No not Pablo Sandoval! Matthieu Ricard. He is one part molecular geneticist, one part Buddhist monk, and a million parts pure unadulterated happiness. According to this New York Daily News article, Ricard has the happiest brain ever mapped on a machine. His gamma waves, brain waves linked to awareness and happiness, are off the charts. His not-so-secret secret? Meditation. read more »

medFor those of us with the athletic prowess of a one-armed sloth, the limber feats of dancers seem nigh impossible. Yet a recent study from UC Berkeley shows dancers do not actually have the strongest link between mind and body.

Research shows that it is meditators have a more highly developed bond. Participants in the study were asked to rate emotionally affecting scenes from movies while they were wired with electrodes. The results of the dancers, in fact, varied little from those of the control group, whereas the rate of the meditators’ heartbeats were more indicative of their described emotions.

This difference can be ascribed to the meditator’s inward focus on the “visceral” feelings of the body. Dancers place a greater amount of emphasis on “muscle tone, body alignment and posture.” They might not be in touch with their inner-selves, but then again, many of us can’t even touch our toes.

Image Source: T. Man under Creative Commons
Meditation beats dance for harmonizing body and mind [UC Berkeley NewsCenter]

A study published by Nature Neuroscience and led by a UC Berkeley psychologist suggests solving crossword and sudoku puzzles is more likely to lower anxiety in people than, say, watching television. Gee, we wonder why that is.

In addition, anxious people finished slower than others when faced with simple tasks, being unable to block out distractions as well as others. Solution? More meditation, of course.

A proposed explanation says the amygdala overreacts to certain stimuli, in turn lowering one’s ability to concentrate.

Conclusion? Stop procrastinating studying for your Saturday final and do more sudoku, dammit!

Image Source: incurable_hippie under Creative Commons, solved by Evante Garza-Licudine
Brain workout may help anxiety, study suggests [Chron]