Kathryn Ramsland Ph.D, is a member of Sisters In Crime, an organization that I also belong to. Dr. Ramsland wrote an article for the September 2012 InSinC newsletter in which she described study findings that support two of my favorite things as states of being worth cultivating if you want to tap into your most creative self. What are they?
Meditation, and Being in a Good Mood! Awesome. Here are the findings:
A regular habit of meditation appears to develop areas of the brain that are involved in mental agility. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that people who meditate for 30 minutes each day have measurable differences in their grey matter—especially in the association cortex. A study involving Buddhist monks confirmed this. They had more “gamma power” in the frontal, parietal, and temporal association cortices. This finding suggests that training can improve our brain’s functioning.
Research at Northwestern university revealed that people in a good mood are better problem solvers and use sudden insight more often than methodical calculations. Seventy-nine participants completed mood state inventories just before they performed an experimental task that involved word completion exercises. When their brains were scanned, activity in the part called the association cortex was consistent with insight solu- tions. The better their mood, the more creative they were. The researchers suggested that a positive mood broadens the scope of attention, externally and internally, which allows for a greater range of data input."
p.s. the ‘association cortex’ referred to above is described by Dr. Ramsland as follows: The association cortex is a part of the brain that "receives and integrates information from a variety of sources and then organizes our cognitive processes. The brain appears to be a system of feedback loops that constantly generate new thoughts."
So here's my plan: meditate 30 minutes each morning, and make sure part of the intention I bring to the meditation is to elevate my general mood. Sound good?