For the 96th episode of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon speaks with Dr. Amishi Jha Ph.D.
Amishi is a Neuroscientist, an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Miami, and the Director of Contemplative Neuroscience for the Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative. Amishi studies the neural bases of attention and the effects of mindfulness-based training programs on cognition, emotion and resilience.
In this episode, Amishi and Sharon speak about how Amishi came to the path of meditation, and how that has inspired her career as a researcher. They also speak about Amishi’s programs working with mindfulness training in education, corporate, elite sports, and the military. To learn more about Amishi’s work and The Jha Lab, visit: amishi.com
Awareness, Under The Microscope
Amishi shares her journey of working with mindfulness and meditation practice in her personal life and as the subject of her scientific research. She and Sharon talk about measuring the effects that spiritual practice has on our wellbeing.
“Attention, or executive function, is known to be at the root of things like emotion regulation, perspective taking, and ethical decision making. This is not just some cold cognitive system, but actually is the workhorse for some complex functions.” – Dr. Amishi Jha
Explore the science behind mindfulness practice with Dr. Dan Siegel on Ep. 27 of the BHNN Guest Podcast
A Mindful Warrior (7:35)
How can mindfulness and meditation impact the lives of military service members? Amishi discusses study results that show how cultivating awareness transforms the lives of soldiers on and off the battlefield.
“We are finding that (soldiers) react more carefully when they have to make these very difficult decisions of who they are dealing with. That really translates into some battlefield behaviors that are more discerning, less reactive and hopefully will result in less bad outcomes.” – Dr. Amishi Jha
Waking Up Is Hard To Do (20:25)
What are some of the challenges presented when trying to study the effects of mindfulness practice? How do researchers introduce the benefits of spiritual practice to those who are resistant to the idea?
“We did one project that was (a study of) mindfulness and compassion, it was 24 hours. With that kind of time we saw really good capacity to do the practices. Good feedback on its benifits and benchmarks that actually changed – things like self-compassion, mood and stress levels. But we had more than half the people drop out. They just couldn’t spend 24 hours with us. It is such a tricky thing doing it with this time pressure, yet allowing for practices that can be understood and supported in a way we want to support them.” -Dr. Amishi Jha