Self-Transformation Through Mindfulness | Dr. David Vago | TEDxNashville

Published 2017-04-24
How is the Self represented in the brain and how is it sculpted through our everyday moment-to-moment perceptions, emotions, and thoughts? Cognitive Neuroscientist, David Vago demonstrates that a systematic form of mental training involving meditation and mindful awareness has the potential to transform our self and our mental habits in a positive way. Learn more about how every moment is an opportunity to change our brain and strongly influence our health & longevity at both conscious and non-conscious levels.

A Cognitive Neuroscientist by training, David Vago has close to 20 years of experience with mindfulness practice and teaching, and over a decade conducting translational neuroimaging, cognitive, and clinical research on the basic mechanisms and therapeutic relevance of mindfulness and associated meditation/contemplative practices. Through his research, Dr. Vago focuses on one basic question – “What are the basic neurobiological and physiological components that constitute adaptive mind-brain-body interactions and their therapeutic relevance in psychiatric settings?” In addition to being an expert in the emerging field of contemplative neuroscience, David has studied the neural mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disease and chronic pain using fMRI and is translating these findings into biologically-based diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for alleviating suffering. He is the research director at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a research associate in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

All Comments (21)
  • @hannahg39
    The power of mindfulness and simply living in the present is so powerful!It has helped heal from being labelled with numerous mental health issues,drug addiction,and living much of life as my own worst enemy.
    I am now 46 years old,am fully present for the first time in my life,and am in love with life as well as myself!I meditate every day,do yoga,journal,exercise,and spend time in nature every day.I limit my screen time,don't watch the news,and I am no longer anxious or depressed as I no longer live in the past or worry about the future!It's never too late to change!
  • @ginag.4064
    I was diagnosed w a life threatening illness over a year ago. I didn't know how I could go on with my life. I began to meditate and practice mindfulness, and I'm not afraid anymore, and I can sleep!! It's helped me tremendously. Without this and my wonderful doctors I could not live a happy and healthy life.
  • @whitemoon5752
    I had attended 10 days vipassana meditation, it was truly an experience. It was not easy to keep silent for 10 days and meditate for hours, but I am glad I did it and will do it again soon.
  • This makes sense to me after taking time to think about it on a deeper level. I am a believer in transforming my mind in dealing with my pain, anxiety, and depression. Meditation is so rewarding for me.
  • @roquesanta9769
    Investing time in activities, or better say, non activity like meditation, has been some of the most profound and fulfilling moments in my life, definitely life changing
  • Brilliant presentation! I've listened to this talk about 5-6 times over the last month while driving and today was the first time I had the chance to actually watch it. I started practicing yoga regularly and meditating at least 20 minutes a day a little over one year ago and the results so far have been life changing! I've faced some major setbacks and challenges over the last few years and because I would spend all my waking hours ruminating and dwelling on these past mistakes it created a lot of anxiety, stress and ultimately severe bouts of depression. But with my mindful practice I'm happy to say I've made an 180 degree turn and have lately been filled with more awareness, patience, compassion and contentment than I know what to do with! Because of neuroscientists like Dr. David Vago I believe the world is definitely on track to becoming a more happy and peaceful place.
  • @kimdeane3145
    I've been a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism for 20 years. What a wonderful talk!!
  • @TheShuryansh
    I attempted suicide because of my anxiety, depression and broken heart. But due to mindfulness meditation I'm now free from negetive patterns and my life has been transformed into new one.
  • @countymayogal
    Great talk Dr. Vago! Love how you mix science with spiritualness. <3
  • @Nitrate12
    Sir David, i aspire to be like you! I find studying the "mind" is interesting Thank you for being what you are and for the work you are doing! 😊 💐
  • I have trauma brain from childhood abuse and neglect. Mindfulness is changing my life. Thank you 🕊🙏🏻
  • “You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this and you will find great strength.”
    — Marcus Aurelius
  • This is valuable insight into human behaviour, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Mindfulness is something too much overlooked in the past, considering the effect it has on shaping our society.
  • @PEGF4MG
    Hi David, thank you for your talk! It has re-enforced the importance of my meditation practice nicely :-) I'm really impressed with genuine care that you have shown through your replies in the comment section also. May I ask has science indicated an optimal/minimum length of time for gaining the full benefits of meditation? Many thanks!
  • @jeansmyth262
    I suffered from agoraphobia for many years and only left my home for emergencies and accompanied by partner. After meditating twice a day for four months it seemed quite normal to go out and post a letter on my own and now two years later I can move freely and have no problem going abroad on holiday. One top psychiatrist told me two years ago that he could do nothing for me as I had seen many professionals without any improvement and it was 'too late'.
  • @LTDYD
    Such an amazing perspective and talk 💜
  • Excellent. Thank you Dr. Vago. Please continue with your presentations!
  • @Blockeryoga
    Really great work! One step closer to a happy and peaceful world. Thanks for sharing!
  • @BDBD05
    What a brilliant video and tremendous hours of research seeping in!!! Watching it for the third time and yet I go till the end!!