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 increased cognitive perform.

Nonetheless, over the previous decade, throughout my coaching in mindfulness-based interventions and dance motion remedy, I’ve come to understand {that a} well-functioning and developed somatosensory cortex could 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 info from varied physique components. Nonetheless, lately it grew to become obvious that this construction can be concerned in varied phases of emotion processing, together with recognising, producing, and regulating feelings.

Furthermore, structural and purposeful modifications within the somatosensory cortex have been present in people identified with despair, anxiousness and psychotic issues. These research counsel that the somatosensory cortex could also be a therapy goal for sure psychological well being issues, in addition to for preventive measures. Some researchers have even instructed neuromodulation of the somatosensory cortex with transcranial magnetic stimulation or deep mind stimulation.

Nonetheless, earlier than we resolve to make use of an invasive know-how, we could wish to take into account 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 elements can improve general self-awareness, which contributes to enchancment of psychological well being via potential reorganisation of the somatosensory cortex.

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One of many superb qualities of the somatosensory cortex is its pronounced plasticity — the flexibility to reorganise and enlarge with apply (or atrophy with out apply). This plasticity is vital after we take into account mindfulness-based interventions and dance motion remedy as a result of, as talked about above, via working immediately with the physique sensations and motion, we are able to modify the somatosensory cortex.

One other necessary facet 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 components acts in isolation.

The somatosensory cortex receives info from your entire physique, such that the left a part of the cortex processes info from the correct aspect of the physique and vice versa. Nonetheless, the proportion of the cortex dedicated to a specific a part of the physique relies on its purposeful significance moderately than its bodily dimension.

For instance, a big proportion of the somatosensory cortex is dedicated to our fingers, and so simply transferring and feeling our fingers could be an attention-grabbing possibility for dance remedy for these with restricted mobility.

The somatosensory cortex mediates exteroception (contact, stress, temperature, ache, and so on.), proprioception (postural and motion info) and interoception (sensations contained in the physique, typically associated to the physiological physique states, comparable to starvation and thirst), though its function within the interoceptive consciousness is just partial.

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The somatosensory cortex and emotion A scent, a track or a picture can out of the blue convey a deeply buried and forgotten occasion to thoughts. Equally, feeling a texture — like cashmere — in opposition to our pores and skin, or transferring our physique in a sure method (comparable to 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 without doubt one of the superpowers of mindfulness-based interventions and dance motion remedy.

This response is mediated by way of the somatosensory cortex, similar to emotional and cognitive reactions to a track are mediated by way of the auditory cortex, and reactions to scents are mediated by way of the olfactory cortex. Nonetheless, if the data stopped flowing at a purely sensory degree ( 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 because the inception of the sector. Neuroscientists have now delineated — nonetheless roughly — the implicated neural networks. For instance, analysis exhibits a relationship between creating our sensory sensitivity and emotion regulation.

Some proof comes from research of meditation and mindfulness-based interventions, which regularly contain the apply of physique scans (taking note of components 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 practice in physique scans and/or develop sensory consciousness of the breath (feeling the breath travelling via the nostrils, throat, and so on.) are much less reactive and extra resilient. This impact is mediated, at the very least partly, via the somatosensory cortex.

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Medical implications Given the rising function 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 could assist us hook 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 could assist individuals regulate their feelings and join with themselves and the world extra deeply and meaningfully. 


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