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HomeTechImprove Your Psychological Well being by Stimulating Mind With Mindfulness, Dance

Improve Your Psychological Well being by Stimulating Mind With Mindfulness, Dance

Like a thick velvety headband, the somatosensory cortex arcs throughout the highest of mind from simply above one ear to the opposite.

I fell in love with the mind as an undergraduate scholar and pursued a profession in neuroscience, however for years I had largely ignored this construction, because it seemed to be concerned “solely” in processing of bodily sensations. In my thoughts, that meant it was not as fascinating as areas implicated in emotion or greater cognitive operate.

Nonetheless, over the previous decade, throughout my coaching in mindfulness-based interventions and dance motion remedy, I’ve come to grasp {that a} well-functioning and developed somatosensory cortex might assist us expertise the world and ourselves extra deeply and fully. It might enrich our emotional expertise and enhance our psychological well being.

For many years, the somatosensory cortex was thought of to solely be liable for processing sensory data from varied physique elements. Nonetheless, not too long ago it grew to become obvious that this construction can be concerned in varied levels of emotion processing, together with recognising, producing, and regulating feelings.

Furthermore, structural and useful adjustments within the somatosensory cortex have been present in people recognized with despair, nervousness and psychotic problems. These research counsel that the somatosensory cortex could also be a remedy goal for sure psychological well being issues, in addition to for preventive measures. Some researchers have even prompt neuromodulation of the somatosensory cortex with transcranial magnetic stimulation or deep mind stimulation.

Nonetheless, earlier than we determine to make use of an invasive know-how, we might need to contemplate mindfulness-based interventions, dance motion remedy or different body-centred approaches to psychotherapy. These strategies use your entire physique to boost sensory, breath and motion consciousness. These components can improve total self-awareness, which contributes to enchancment of psychological well being by means of potential reorganisation of the somatosensory cortex.

One of many superb qualities of the somatosensory cortex is its pronounced plasticity — the power to reorganise and enlarge with apply (or atrophy with out apply). This plasticity is crucial once we contemplate mindfulness-based interventions and dance motion remedy as a result of, as talked about above, by means of working immediately with the physique sensations and motion, we are able to modify the somatosensory cortex.

One other vital side is its quite a few connections with different areas of the mind. In different phrases, the somatosensory cortex has an influence to have an effect on different mind areas, which in flip have an effect on different areas, and so forth. The mind is closely interconnected and none of its elements acts in isolation.

The somatosensory cortex receives data from your entire physique, such that the left a part of the cortex processes data from the proper facet of the physique and vice versa. Nonetheless, the proportion of the cortex dedicated to a specific a part of the physique will depend on its useful significance somewhat than its bodily measurement.

For instance, a big proportion of the somatosensory cortex is dedicated to our arms, and so simply transferring and feeling our arms is likely to be an fascinating possibility for dance remedy for these with restricted mobility.

The somatosensory cortex mediates exteroception (contact, stress, temperature, ache, and many others.), proprioception (postural and motion data) and interoception (sensations contained in the physique, usually associated to the physiological physique states, reminiscent of starvation and thirst), though its position within the interoceptive consciousness is barely partial.

The somatosensory cortex and emotion A scent, a track or a picture can all of a sudden convey a deeply buried and forgotten occasion to thoughts. Equally, feeling a texture — like cashmere — towards our pores and skin, or transferring our physique in a sure method (reminiscent of doing a backbend, or rocking backwards and forwards) can do the identical and extra. It will probably convey repressed recollections to the floor, provoke emotional reactions, and create state shifts. This is among the superpowers of mindfulness-based interventions and dance motion remedy.

This response is mediated through the somatosensory cortex, identical to emotional and cognitive reactions to a track are mediated through the auditory cortex, and reactions to scents are mediated through the olfactory cortex. However, if the data stopped flowing at a purely sensory stage (what we really feel, hear, see, style, and scent), then a good portion of the emotional and cognitive penalties can be misplaced.

Dance/motion therapists and body-centered practitioners have recognized about this connection between posture/motion and emotion/cognition for the reason that inception of the sector. Neuroscientists have now delineated — nonetheless roughly — the implicated neural networks. For instance, analysis exhibits a relationship between growing our sensory sensitivity and emotion regulation.

Some proof comes from research of meditation and mindfulness-based interventions, which frequently contain the apply of physique scans (taking note of elements of the physique and bodily sensations in a gradual sequence, for instance from toes to go) and/or returning to bodily sensations as anchors in meditation.

General, the research present that individuals who prepare in physique scans and/or develop sensory consciousness of the breath (feeling the breath travelling by means of the nostrils, throat, and many others.) are much less reactive and extra resilient. This impact is mediated, at the least partly, by means of the somatosensory cortex.

Scientific implications Given the rising position of the somatosensory cortex in emotion and cognitive processing, it isn’t stunning that alterations within the construction and performance of this mind area have been present in a number of psychological well being issues, together with despair, bipolar dysfunction and schizophrenia.

For instance, reductions within the cortical thickness and the grey matter quantity of the somatosensory cortex have been noticed in people with main depressive dysfunction (particularly these with early onset) and within the bipolar dysfunction. In schizophrenia, decrease ranges of exercise within the somatosensory cortex have been noticed, particularly in unmedicated sufferers.

Activating the somatosensory cortex might assist us hook up with our our bodies, develop our sensitivity, sensuality and capability to really feel pleasure. That’s how transferring mindfully, dancing consciously and meditating with the entire physique might assist individuals regulate their feelings and join with themselves and the world extra deeply and meaningfully. 


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