We all probably know at least one family with a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD. Friends I know are determined to find ways to cope on a daily basis and, if possible, with minimal or no meds.
This year, HotDocs, The Canadian Documentary Film Festival, includes the world premiere of FREE THE MIND: Can You Rewire The Brain Just By Taking a Breath? This film caught my attention.
The documentary follows three case studies; Will, a five year old diagnosed with anxiety and ADHD, and two American War veterans both of whom suffer from symptoms of Post Trauma Stress Disorder including insomnia, panic attacks, and nightmares from serving their country.
Dr. Richard Davidson, neuroscientist, and the founder of The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, has been doing extensive research studies on how “mindful meditation” and deep breathing techniques could reduce the severity of these symptoms and minimize the use of drugs especially on children. It’s no surprise that the medical community is skeptical in his ongoing studies yet his theory leaves many people wondering if he’s actually on to something.
Can you physically change the brain only by the power of thoughts? Dr. Davidson mentions that emotional intelligence is far more important in life than cognitive intelligence. He believes that we need to understand how to use compassion to help rewire the brain in non-invasive ways. “Mindfulness means paying attention to the outside and also the inside,” says Davidson.
Dr. Davidson caught the attention of Danish filmmaker Phie Ambo, who herself has suffered panic attacks and was treated with meditation rather than medication. “We are entering a new era,” says Ambo. “Constantly, new fundamental questions are raised about who we are as human beings. The more questions asked, the more obvious it is to me how many things we still don’t understand. I find that very inspiring!”
Dr. Richard Davidson is a renowned neuroscientist and one of the world’s leading experts on the impact of contemplative practices, such as meditation, on the brain. He is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking work in studying emotion and the brain. A friend and confidante of the Dalai Lama, he is a highly sought after expert and speaker internationally. Time magazine named him one of the most influential people in the world in 2006.
Dr. Davidson has published hundreds of scientific papers and edited 14 books. A New York Times bestselling author, he has been featured widely in popular media, including ABC’s Nightline, National Public Radio, Time magazine, Newsweek, O, the Oprah magazine, PBS’s the Charlie Rose Show, Harvard Business Review, and many other national and international news outlets.
Free the Mind is a thought-provoking documentary that may be just a step forward in understanding the potential and exploring alternative ways to help people manage anxiety.
FREE THE MIND: Can You Rewire The Brain Just By Taking A Breath
North American Premiere
Directed by Phie Ambo
Thursday, May 2, 6:30 pm, Bloor Cinema
Friday, May 3, 6:00 pm, ROM
Saturday, May 4, 11:00 am, Badar Theatre
For more information please visit www.hotdocs.ca
Here is the official trailer…