Mental Health

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This month’s monthly dose dives into the world of mental health and wellness. There are a lot of behavioral and psychological strategies that can boost our mental wellness and resilience. Whether it’s feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious to feelings of depression and low self-worth (or anything in between), there is a growing literature on both short-term and long-term strategies to support these areas of mental health and wellness. We also know that yoga and mindfulness practices help us feel good! What we are less sure of, however, is the underlying pathways that link specific strategies to wellness and resilience outcomes. Yes, my friends, we’re talking about biological pathways here! Let’s dig in. We’ll talk about a few networks that are most relevant to resilience and some new models that have been recently proposed that might explain our experiences. Specifically, we’ll discuss practices that tap into the brain’s fear/emotion pathways (that we want to down-regulate), the brain’s reward pathways (that we want to up-regulate), and the default mode network (which we also want to down-regulate). We hope you’ll explore the many classes this month that offer one or more of these approaches!

Click the links below to read the research referenced throughout this lecture:

Targeting Overall Resilience
Neuroscience Model of Boosting Resilience in Adults

Example Practices:
1. Emotional Resilience Meditation
2. Building Resilience by Lingering in Transitions
3. Purposeful Resilience


Why incorporate practices that up-regulate the positive?
Effects of Performing Acts of Kindness on Well-Being
Brain Reward Pathways in Stress Resilience
Self-Affirmation Reward-Related Mechanism
The Social Salience Hypothesis of Oxytocin
How Dopamine Enhances an Optimism Bias in Humans
Resilience Training That Can Change the Brain

Example Practices:
1. Confident & Capable
2. Mood Lift
3. Shake It Out & Let It Go


Why incorporate practices that down-regulate the negative?
Stress- & Allostasis-Induced Brain Plasticity
Neuroendocrine Alterations in Major Depressive Disorder
Increased Amygdala Response to Masked Emotional Faces in Depressed Subjects
Effects of Self-Affirmation on Sympathetic Nervous System Responses

Example Practices:
1. Mood Lift
2. Bringing Awareness to Common Tension
3. Deliberate Rest for Brain Health


Why incorporate practices that down-regulate the default mode network?
Meditation Effects in Non-Experienced Meditators
Self-Referential Processing & Mindfulness
Flow State, Depressive Symptoms & Burnout
The Default Mode Network & Self-Referential Processes in Depression
The Varieties of Self-Transcendent Experience

Example Practices:
1. Present Moment Flow
2. Mindful Movement for a Mental Break
3. Flow for Embodiment


Curated By:

Valerie Knopik

Self-Esteem & Self-Confidence

Many of us tend to get caught up in a storyline that we are not enough. This medit…


15 min

Valerie Knopik

Peace & Tranquility

If you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, this class is for you. We'll use some g…


30 min

Valerie Knopik

Finding Calm

This pranayama practice is all about using the breath to create a sense of focused…


10 min

Valerie Knopik

Shared Humanity

When we are connected, we are powerful. Did you know that connection, in whatever …

Hatha Vinyasa

45 min

Valerie Knopik

Yang to Yin: Free the Mind

This class combines movement and stillness with the intention of freeing the mind …

Yin Yoga

30 min

Valerie Knopik