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Presence : How Mindfulness and Meditation Shape Your Brain, Mind, and Life (Hardcover) (Paul Verhaeghen)
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Mindfulness and one of the roads to it, meditation, have become increasingly popular as a way to promote health and well-being. Meditation can create mindfulness in daily life, which becomes an ingrained habit if applied consistently-it can boost immune function; lower levels of stress, anxiety, or depression; lift affect; regulate emotion more easily; and make you happier. Presence reviews how meditation calms the body and what goes on inside the brain during meditation-how it impacts control over attention, awareness of the body, and the experience of self. It examines how meditation leaves telltale lasting traces in brain structure, and how it impacts important areas of life such as well-being, stress, and health. In addition, it examines how mindfulness can be useful as therapy, alleviating depression, anxiety, worry, and pain. A final chapter provides advice on how to meditate and practice mindfulness in a scientifically sound way, based on what we know about how meditation works.Over the last decade, research on these beneficial effects has boomed in the cognitive and behavioral psychology and neuroscience literature, and Presence provides an overview of this research that is thorough and accessible for the curious meditator, seasoned or beginner, as well as for students and practitioners of contemplative science and related fields.