What is Mindfulness?
Reset, Retrain, Revive.
Mindfulness is a neuroscience-based practice that emphasizes retraining the brain to achieve better focus and emotion regulation. Mindful practices reset the reactive busy mind through targeted exercises. These exercises range from formal meditation, to exercises that appeal to the five senses.
Mindfulness is about awareness, assessment and acknowledgement. Mindful practices encourage being present and accepting where you are in that moment, as well as taking a step back to address the emotion behind the action. Cultivating gratitude and extending kindness to others and self are also ways to practice mindfulness.
Understanding the Process
Research is continuing to reveal and support that mindfulness techniques change the brain in powerful ways by helping us build neural connections in the Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC) regions of the brain. The PFC is in charge of our executive functions, it is the area of the brain associated with making thoughtful decisions and helping us stay focused. It can be thought of as the "CEO" or "Boss." However, it can only perform its function when the Amygdala is calm. The Amygdala is our reactive brain - commonly known as our fight, flight or freeze response. When the PFC regulates the Amygdala, it is able to pass information to the Hippocampus - the area that stores, processes important information and creates memories.
It is through the understanding of simple brain science that we learn to tame our natural reactive mind. We become empowered, realizing we have a choice on how we want to respond to a given situation.
Being mindful prompts us to pause in moments of over-emotion and disconnection, and helps us regain control of our responses that are less emotional and more logical.
Tip: Remember to take Deep Breaths when feeling stressed or anxious. Taking deep breaths calms the amygdala and results in clear thinking and access to memory.
Stimulus Mindfulness Response
"Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose.
In our choice lies our growth and freedom"
~ Viktor E. Frankl