The Mindful Brain

Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Wellbeing
Daniel Siegel
W.W. Norton 2007
ISBN 9780393704709


Welcome to a journey into the heart of our lives. With these words, Daniel J. Siegel, scientist, psychiatrist, educator, and leader in the field of mental health, draws us into a rich and illuminating exploration of what it means to live in the here-and-now, to be fully present in the moment - to be mindfully aware.

Mindfulness is by no means a new fad. Ancient cultures and religions worldwide have long drawn on various methods, from meditation and prayer to yoga and tai-chi, to help individuals move toward well-being by focusing their attention and attuning to the present. Now, mindful awareness has been scientifically proven to enhance our physical, mental, and social wellbeing. With this empirical evidence in hand, Siegel embarks on a groundbreaking approach to integrate findings from cutting-edge research with the wisdom of mindfulness practices to demonstrate how this learnable skill may actually work, and how its cultivation can enrich our lives.

At the heart of this visionary synthesis of science and practice is the idea that our awareness of our ongoing experience creates an attunement, or resonance, within ourselves that harnesses specific social ad emotional circuits in the brain. Mindfulness practice stimulates these 'resonance circuits' to grow - a growth that transforms a moment-to-moment state of mindful awareness into a long-term state of resilience.

This transformation of our very physiology and mental life cultivates well-being by creating an integrated state of brain function, one that fosters an array of benefits from emotional balance and improved cardiac and immune function to an enhanced sense of empathy and self-understanding. Developing these traits allows us to face the challenges of life with a new sense of equilibrium and clarity.

Integrating modern studies with insights from direct experience, The Mindful Brain offers a uniquely informed perspective on our inner lives, our interpersonal relationships, and the development of well-being and happiness.

Individuals interested in improving the quality of life for themselves and others will discover enlightening insights to achieving a richer sense of meaning, deeper learning, and balance in everyday living. Clinicians in medical and mental health settings will find this exploration invaluable in their work to help others alleviate suffering and face life's challenges. For all of us, Siegel's illuminating discussions of the power of the focused mind provide a wealth of inspirational ideas that can transform our lives and deepen our connections with others, and with ourselves.

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