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The science of compassion and brain health with Dr James Doty

Author of Into the Magic Shop Dr James Doty explains how being kind can affect your brain.
Dan Murray-Serter
Co-Founder
December 03, 2020
2 min read

Dr James Doty is on a quest for compassion. He's a leading neurosurgeon, founder of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, and an all-round wonderful human who has dedicated his studies to unravelling the surprising science of compassion and brain health.

You can listen to episode 18 here.

How compassion can change your brain

On today's Braincare Podcast, Dr James Doty shares the origin story of his obsession with compassion: a mindfulness technique in a magic shop! We discuss the incredible power of human intuition and the effects of mindfulness practices on neuroplasticity and physiology.

We have this innate ability as humans to intuit people's micro facial expressions, body habitus, voice intonation—even smell—to determine their emotional state.

What positivity and negativity do to our mindset

What impact do acts of kindness and mindfulness have on our mental and physical health? Practices pioneered by Buddhist and Hindus are finding new followers worldwide. Dr James Doty explains the extraordinary effects of positivity and negativity.

Practicing compassion, practicing kindness has more benefit than actual exercise or being at your ideal bodyweight.

Podcast episode takeaways

In this first episode with Dr James Doty we will cover:

  • Your brain on compassion

  • What's going on in your sympathetic nervous system?

  • The neuroscientist's angle on self-affirmation and care

  • The Buddhists have it sussed: why mindfulness works

  • Internal conversations and the power of positive thinking

  • Why human connection is irreplaceable

Listen to the full episode here—and subscribe to The Braincare Podcast to get more bitesize interviews with the world's leading scientists and experts.

Want to explore the power of positivity? Check out our previous episode with Jay Shetty on How to Stop Negative Self-Talk.

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