“Mindfulness” is a current buzz wordand while it can cause many of us to roll our eyes and move right past it, mindfulness is simply about staying present moment by moment.
In a world where we are blasted by social media and addicted to our devices, there are seldom moments where we are truly present and not being distracted or interrupted by another demand. The neuroscience behind mindfulness is life changing. The truth is you are constantly growing new neural circuits in your brain, in essence, you are hardwiring your brain to think a certain way which leads your body to feel a certain way. You have the ability to “Hardwire Happiness.” The brain takes its shape from that which it rests upon. If you are resting your mind in self-criticism, worries, grumbling about others, hurts, stress, then your brain will be shaped into greater reactivity, vulnerability to anxiety and depressed mood, a narrow focus on threats and losses, and inclination toward anger; sadness and guilt. On the other hand, if you keep resting your mind on good events and conditions, pleasant feelings, the things you did get done, physical pleasures, and your good intentions, and qualities then over time your brain will take a different shape, one with strength and resilience hardwired into it, a positive mood and a sense of worth. The ability to change the brain is called neuroplasticity and it begins with awareness. Awareness requires “mindfulness”… being present, recognizing what is happening with your thoughts, feelings and behaviors and intentionally making a shift.
I like to tell clients this is like exercising a new muscle. It feels uncomfortable and unfamiliar at first, but the more you do it the stronger it becomes… the stronger the new neuropathway becomes, the easier it is to access new thoughts and emotions.