Today’s episode is all about the crisis of attention, cultivating mindfulness, and developing peak mind practices. I’m here with Dr. Amishi Jha, a professor of psychology at the University of Miami. She also serves as the director of contemplative neuroscience for the Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative, which she co-founded in 2010.
We discuss the different factors that relate to attention, the direct way stress impacts attention, what mental time travel is, and how attention affects the way we think, feel, and connect with others. A really interesting point she discusses on why multitasking isn’t actually possible, what we’re actually doing instead, and how she recommends combating this.
Really fascinating episode. So, let’s jump in and join Dr. Jha.
Episode Highlights With Dr. Amishi Jha
- The incredible story of when she was once trapped between an elephant and a bus
- Her definition and research on attention, and why it is actually three separate things and not just one
- Why attention is a success story of human evolution
- The three subsystems of attention: direction, broadening, executive control (flashlight, floodlight, juggler)
- How she got into researching attention and mindfulness
- The direct way stress impacts attention, and what else can (threat, poor mood)
- What mental time travel is and how it comes into play with attention
- Why half of the time our attention is not in the present moment
- How attention affects thinking, feeling, and connecting
- Why multitasking isn’t actually possible… we are actually task switching, and what she recommends instead
- How to pay attention to your attention for performance enhancement
- Her top mindfulness “find your flashlight” practice (a short and long version) that helps attention
- The science of how mindfulness improves our brains and how to teach it to kids from a young age
- How mindfulness is like exercise
- Ways to cultivate resilience in ourselves and our kids
- One more easy daily practice to cultivate resilience (and what she calls presilience) with a STOP practice
Resources We Mention
- Dr. Amishi Jha’s TED Talk
- Dr. Amishi Jha’s website
- Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention, Invest 12 Minutes a Day by Dr. Amishi Jha
- The Essential Rumi by by Jalal al-Din Rumi
- Books by Pema Chödrön
- The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion by Sharon Salzberg
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