Meditation. Feels like it might do something useful. Not quite as hip as LSD microdosing but much cheaper.
Questions: Can it help with life? With productivity? How much of it do you need to actually help? What kind?
Gwern, 2013 Lewis meditation results:
A small group of Quantified Selfers tested themselves daily on arithmetic and engaged in a month of meditation. I analyze their scores with a multilevel model with per-subject grouping, and find the expect result: a small decrease in arithmetic errors which is not statistically-significant, with practice & time-of-day effects (but not day-of-week or weekend effects). This suggests a longer experiment by twice as many experimenters in order to detect this effect.
Scott Alexander reviews a bunch of books, e.g. The Mind Illuminated, Mastering the ore teachings of the Buddha, and seems to come out saying… words.
Popular canned gurus
No time to commute to tiny himalayan mountain monasteries? Here, have somes martphone-mediated mindfulness.
- MaPS06: Corey S. Mackenzie, Patricia A. Poulin, Rhonda Seidman-Carlson (2006) A brief mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention for nurses and nurse aides. Applied Nursing Research, 19(2), 105–109. DOI
- JSKW10: Amishi P. Jha, Elizabeth A. Stanley, Anastasia Kiyonaga, Ling Wong, Lois Gelfand (2010) Examining the protective effects of mindfulness training on working memory capacity and affective experience. Emotion (Washington, D.C.) , 10(1), 54–64. DOI
- MFAB10: Katherine A. MacLean, Emilio Ferrer, Stephen R. Aichele, David A. Bridwell, Anthony P. Zanesco, Tonya L. Jacobs, … Clifford D. Saron (2010) Intensive Meditation Training Improves Perceptual Discrimination and Sustained Attention. Psychological Science, 21(6), 829–839. DOI
- ZJDD10: Fadel Zeidan, Susan K. Johnson, Bruce J. Diamond, Zhanna David, Paula Goolkasian (2010) Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: Evidence of brief mental training. Consciousness and Cognition, 19(2), 597–605. DOI
- HCVC11: Britta K. Hölzel, James Carmody, Mark Vangel, Christina Congleton, Sita M. Yerramsetti, Tim Gard, Sara W. Lazar (2011) Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 191(1), 36–43. DOI
- TLGS10: Yi-Yuan Tang, Qilin Lu, Xiujuan Geng, Elliot A. Stein, Yihong Yang, Michael I. Posner (2010) Short-term meditation induces white matter changes in the anterior cingulate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(35), 15649–15652. DOI
- LWKO12: David M. Levy, Jacob O. Wobbrock, Alfred W. Kaszniak, Marilyn Ostergren (2012) The Effects of Mindfulness Meditation Training on Multitasking in a High-stress Information Environment. In Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2012 (pp. 45–52). Toronto, Ont., Canada, Canada: Canadian Information Processing Society
- BeBC74: H. Benson, J. F. Beary, M. P. Carol (1974) The relaxation response. Psychiatry, 37(1), 37–46. DOI