大腦如何保持專注

This Is Your Brain on Mindfulness
丹尼爾.高曼 Daniel Coleman , 理查.大衛森 Richard Davidson
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丹尼爾.高曼和理查.戴維森說明靜觀(意即「專注當下」)如何改善復原力。

丹尼爾.高曼:今天我們要談的,是每個人都應該自問的一個問題。「靜觀」真的有效嗎?目前它在商業領域無處不在。但它真的重要嗎?它能帶來什麼不同?我來說明一下,靜觀是一種訓練注意力的方法,讓你可以把注意力放在你想放的地方,放在你想專注的地方。

理查.大衛森:資料顯示,首先,我們有種非常分心的文化。一般美國成年人表示,有47%的時間沒有專注在自己正在做的事情上。

丹尼爾.高曼:他們發現這個結果所用的方法是,用iPhone應用程式在隨機的時間打電話給受訪者,詢問兩個問題。你正在做什麼?你正在想什麼?如果這兩者不一樣,就表示你分心了。

理查.大衛森:資料顯示,即使只有八週的靜觀訓練,包括每週兩小時的課,以及每天進行幾分鐘,就足以產生實質的變化。

丹尼爾.高曼:其中一項重大發現是,分心情況減少了。這是有道理的,因為靜觀是直接練訓注意力。

理查.大衛森:分心的一個主要來源,是情感暗示。我們會注意那些引發明顯情感的事情。

丹尼爾.高曼:你是指他寄來的那封讓我很生氣的電子郵件?

理查.大衛森:沒錯。然後我們的那種感受揮之不去。我們在收到那封電郵之後,總是反覆想到它。

理查.大衛森:我知道,那是四週前的事,而我在凌晨兩點還在想這件事。

理查.大衛森:是的。那麼它在大腦中是如何運作的?

丹尼爾.高曼:嗯,是怎麼運作的?你可以告訴我們嗎?

理查.大衛森:當然。如果這是大腦的前部,這是大腦的後部,這裡前面有一大塊地方,我們稱為前額葉皮質。

丹尼爾.高曼:這就在額頭後面,對吧?

理查.大衛森:就在額頭後面。前額葉皮質的一個驚人之處在於,如果你觀察演化的過程就會發現,人類大腦這個區域的生長,比其他任何物種都更明顯。這或許和人類獨有的特徵有關。

丹尼爾.高曼:其實它被稱為大腦的執行中心。就像大腦的執行長。

理查.大衛森:大腦的這個區域,與大腦的情感區域有重要的連結。我們意思是,分心的來源在很多情況下是來自情緒。埋在大腦中間的位置,大約在這裡,有個我們稱為杏仁體的結構。

丹尼爾.高曼:對,杏仁體是大腦的觸發點。就像偵測威脅的雷達,要做出戰鬥或逃跑或停止的反應,這非常原始,但一直在現今的辦公室中發生。

理查.大衛森:前額葉皮質和杏仁體有直接的連結,我們稱為鈎束。

丹尼爾.高曼:理查,你還記得鈎束嗎?我想沒有人聽說過它。

理查.大衛森:就是這個連結。它的名稱不重要。但我們在科學證據中發現,當我們進行靜觀一段時間後(這不是瞬間發生的),這種連結會被強化。這讓前額葉皮質調節杏仁體的衝動,並且更快恢復。

丹尼爾.高曼:調節是指:杏仁體說,這傢伙讓我很生氣,我想揍他。前額葉皮質則說不要。它有抑制作用,對吧?首先,你不會有那麼大的反應,然後你會更快恢復,對吧?

理查.大衛森:完全正確。

丹尼爾.高曼:太棒了。

理查.大衛森:更快恢復,是我們認為復原力的重要屬性之一。復原力就是,從很多方面來講,從逆境中更快速恢復的能力。如此一來,你不會在收到那封郵件而感到很生氣之後,好幾星期仍一直想著那封信,而是會冷靜下來,恢復正常。

丹尼爾.高曼:這是很好的消息。

理查.大衛森:的確是好消息。而且,我們不需要其他東西,只需要我們的頭腦,並訓練我們的頭腦做這件事。

丹尼爾.高曼:基本上,靜觀有幾種作用。它會減少分心,並且讓前額葉皮質更有能力去阻止「我必須這麼做」的衝動。

理查.大衛森:情緒衝動。

丹尼爾.高曼:它還能讓我們把注意力放在很重要的事情上。也就是說,有很多好處。另一方面,我們寫這本書的原因之一,是這引發很大話題。靜觀無法做到人們宣稱它能做的每件事。例如,情緒智慧能力必須更直接地練習,但可以透過靜觀來協助培養。靜觀確實有很多好處。我們推薦它。但我們不想過度渲染它。讓我們理性看待它。

理查.大衛森:安泰就是很好的例子。他們花一年宣傳一個計畫,其中一部分就是收集一些很有趣的指標。這個計畫中,靜觀是重要元素,但也包含其他要素,像是一些體能鍛煉,一些營養飲食資訊。

他們監測了醫療服務的使用情形,因為這是安泰,它擁有所有員工的這些資訊。他們發現,平均來說,靜觀練習和這項介入措施的其他策略,平均讓每個員工每月減少122美元醫療費。把數萬名員工的這個數字加總,可節省很多費。不使用這個方法,會省小錢而浪費大錢。

丹尼爾.高曼:安泰之類的公司發現,靜觀練習的投資報酬率很好,公司這麼做是合理的。

理查.大衛森:所以,請嘗試做做看。

(劉純佑譯)


Daniel Coleman: Today we're going to talk about a question that people should be asking themselves if they're not already. Does mindfulness really work? It's everywhere in business today. But does it really matter? What difference does it make? And, if you don't know, mindfulness is a method of training your attention so that you can bring it where you want and keep it where you want.

Richard Davidson: The data show, first of all, that we are a very distracted culture. 47% of the time, the average American adult reports that he or she is not paying attention to what they're doing.

Daniel Coleman: And the way they found this out was the iPhone app rang you at random times and asked you two questions. What are you doing now? What are you thinking about? If those don't match, your mind has wandered.

Richard Davidson: And the data show that even eight weeks of mindfulness training, each week for a two-hour class and a few minutes every day, is sufficient to actually produce a change.

Daniel Coleman: One of the big findings is it there's less mind-wandering. And this makes sense, because mindfulness is direct training in attention.

Richard Davidson: And one of the major sources of distraction is emotional cues. We pay attention to things that are emotionally salient.

Daniel Coleman: Do you mean that email he sent me the got me so ticked off?

Richard Davidson: Exactly. And then we reverberate. We keep ruminating about it after the email.

Daniel Coleman: I know, that was four weeks ago, and I was thinking about it at 2:00 in the morning.

Richard Davidson: Yeah. So how does it work in the brain?

Daniel Coleman: Yeah, how does it work? Can you show us?

Richard Davidson: Sure. So if this is the front of the brain, and this is the back of the brain, there is a big chunk of real estate right up front here that we call the prefrontal cortex.

Daniel Coleman: That’s right behind the forehead, right?

Richard Davidson: Right behind the forehead. And one of the amazing things about the prefrontal cortex is that if you look over the course of evolution, this area of the brain grows more prominently in humans than in any other species. So this probably has a lot to do with things that are characteristically human.

Daniel Coleman: In fact, it’s called the brain’s executive center. It's like the CEO of the brain.

Richard Davidson: So this area of the brain has important connections to the emotional area of the brain. We're talking about the source of distraction being emotion in many, many cases. And buried in the middle of the brain, sort of right around here, is a structure that we call the amygdala.

Daniel Coleman: Oh, yeah, the amygdala is the brain’s trigger point. It’s like the radar for threat, the fight or flight or freeze response, which is very primitive, but it happens in today's offices all the time.

Richard Davidson: And so there is a direct connection between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala that we call the uncinate fasciculus.

Daniel Coleman: You remember the uncinate fasciculus? I don't think anybody heard of it, Richard.

Richard Davidson: So this is the connection. And it doesn't matter what it's called. But what we find in the scientific evidence is that when we practice mindfulness for some period of time – it doesn't happen instantaneously -- this connection is strengthened. And this allows the prefrontal cortex to modulate the impulses from the amygdala and to recover more quickly.

Daniel Coleman: Modulate means the amygdala says, this guy is ticking me off, I'd like to slug him. And the prefrontal cortex says, just say no. It's inhibitory, right? First you don't react as much, and then you recover more quickly, isn’t that right?

Richard Davidson: Exactly.

Daniel Coleman: Yeah.

Richard Davidson: And the recovery more quickly is really an important attributes of what we think of as resilience. Resilience is, in many ways, the ability to recover more quickly from adversity. So instead of ruminating about the email that ticked you off for for several weeks after the email, you can come back down and recover.

Daniel Coleman: That’s great news.

Richard Davidson: It is good news. And we don't need anything other than our minds and training our minds to do this.

Daniel Coleman: So basically, mindfulness works in a couple of ways. It makes less mind wandering. It strengthens the prefrontal ability to say no to those, like, I got to do it.

Richard Davidson: Emotional impulse.

Daniel Coleman: And it also helps us keep our attention on that one thing that’s so important. So in other words, there a lot of benefits. On the other hand, one of the reasons we wrote this book is there is a lot of hype. Mindfulness doesn't do everything that's been claimed for it. Emotional intelligence abilities, for example, need to be worked on more directly, but can be helped by mindfulness. It does do a lot of good things. We're recommending it. But we're not saying -- we don't want to oversell it. Let's be rational about this.

Richard Davidson: Aetna is a great example. They disseminated a program for one year. And as part of what they did, they actually collected some very interesting metrics. Now, this is a program where mindfulness was one important piece, but there are other elements as well. It included some physical exercise, some nutritional diet information.

They actually monitored health care utilization, because this was Aetna and they had all this information on their employees. And they found that, on average, the practice of mindfulness and these other strategies that were included in this intervention led to a reduction of $122 per month per employee. And when that adds up with tens of thousands employees, it's an enormous savings. It's penny-wise and pound-foolish not to use this.

Daniel Coleman: Companies like Aetna have found that there is good ROI from the practice, that this makes sense for a company.

Richard Davidson: So please try it.



丹尼爾.高曼 Daniel Coleman

美國著名作家兼心理學家



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