Meditation vs Shyness?

Ian Goddard igoddard at erols.mom
Tue Jun 24 11:19:59 EST 2003

  Can Meditation Reduce Shyness? - Ian Williams Goddard

  While meditation is logical therapy for anxiety due 
  to its propensity for inducing calm, it might also 
  be therapeutic for shyness (or social anxiety). The 
  following research leads me to such a hypothesis...

  The New Scientist reports that researchers at Harvard 
  Medical School examined the brains of adults who were 
  extremely shy as children. They found that

    "adults who had been unusually shy in childhood 
    ... displayed significantly higher activity in 
    the amygdala than people who had been unusually 
    outgoing as children. The amygdala is a brain 
    structure involved in vigilance and fear." [1]

  So increased amygdala activity may promote shyness.
  Now consider recent research that found meditation 
  REDUCES amygdala activity. According to Reuters:

    "research by Paul Ekman, of the University 
    of California San Francisco Medical Center, 
    suggests that meditation and mindfulness can 
    tame the amygdala, an area of the brain which 
    is the hub of fear memory." [2] 

  Ergo: IF shyness (or social anxiety) has a causal link 
  to increased amygdala activity, and IF meditation can
  reliably decreases amygdala activity, then meditation 
  might help people to overcome excessive shyness. Apart 
  from the cited research, such a hypothesis might not 
  seem to be indicated given that both shyness and 
  meditation tend to be associated with more passive 
  behaviors. Yet meditation might counter shy neurology. 

[1] "Shyness linked to brain differences." 
NewScientist.com News Service. June 19, 2003.

[2] "Meditation Shown to Light Up Brains of Buddhists." 
Reuters. May 21, 2003.


  "Our greatest illusion is to believe that we are what 
   we think ourselves to be." Henri Amiel (1821-1881)


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