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Selflessness, spirituality and the brain

Why are activities such as music, prayer or meditation good for psychological well-being?

According to a recent study spiritual practice such as those mentioned above provide people with a sense of selflessness.  The study found that feelings of universal unity, or transcendence, produce changes in the areas of the brain associated with positive states; they found that those who had acquired brain damage in the right hemisphere showed an increased ability to connect with things beyond the self. Previous studies have shown that those who meditate for example show similar changes in brain and behaviour.

The authors say that selflessness can be learned and that there are many different paths to achieving this state.  The findings have implications for different professions such as health care as well as for cultural practices too. To read the press release click here.  To access the journal article click here


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