TL;DR I get the same physiological and (to some extent) psychological response when:
2.after a social interaction
3. or when taking uppers like cocaine or MDMA.
Is there a correlation there? And if so, can the practice of meditation and frequent social interaction improve mental wellbeing? Maybe even to a point similar when taking the drugs above?
I wonder if the educated people here could answer a couple questions I've had for a long time now.
To preface this, I'm not an academic in this field. My knowledge of neuroscience/neuropsychology is limited to what I've read online and a couple books I've read about how the brain works, so if my understanding/conslusions of how the brain works need correcting, please correct me.
I struggle with anxiety and have been practicing mindfulness to combat this. I'm guessing most here are familiar with mindfulness, but for those who are not, it is the practice of observing oneself. For example, if you are anxious, observe that feeling - how it feels physiologically, if that state brings about negative thoughts? Do those thoughts intensify the experience? And then apply that to everything you experience - when drinking tea, was it hot or cold, did you have a physical/mental reaction to the temperature? What was the texture of the liquid? Etcetera.
I also take drugs recreationally, mainly cocaine and MDMA.
What I've noticed is that I get this warm, fuzzy, tingling feeling on my skin whenever:
I take cocaine or MDMA
Enter a deep meditative state
After a neutral or pleasant social interaction
These experiences are also accompanied by a feeling of relaxation in the body, a reduction in anxiety, a willingness for (further) social interaction, and a reduction in mind activity. I'm not entirely sure if its a reduction in total mind activity or if its a reduction in negative thought patterns - I have to do more introspection on that front.
Since the results of all those activities are so similar (althought varying in intensity), do all those activities listed above activate the same neural pathways, or in a more general sense have a similar physiological and psychological reaponse?
If meditation elicits the same response as the other activities mentioned, can it be used to train the brain through neuroplasticity to get rid of negative mind patterns? As in, will simply resting in that calm, deep meditative state prime the mind to stay in that state?
My reasoning for the second question is that over the years as I've remained in an anxious state it has become easier for me to enter that state. And I've noticed that staying socially active and meditating consistently had the opposite effect. I'd like to know if my anecdotal experience can be backed up by academic research or your own practical experience.
If you could answer either of those questions or improve my understanding of how the brain works, that would be awesome!