Mindfulness: what it is, how it works & relates to Neuroplasticity – Beyond Blue

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Mindfulness: what it is, how it works & relates to Neuroplasticity – Beyond Blue

– Mindfulness is the process of paying attention to the present moment
– how? Through the breath (grounding)
– be mindful, purposefully & without judgment

Mindfulness and how the Brain Works
– brain is profoundly complex
– 90% of brain activity occurs beneath conscious awareness
– think, feel, behave – some control, but not so simple –
– neuroplasticity – a new & exciting area of science that highlights that our brain is constantly being reshaped throughout our lives by new experiences & our thoughts
– it is the focus of our awareness which strengthens/weakens particular brain networks
– cycles of worry/anger strengthen the associated networks or
– the more we worry, “the better we get at doing worry”
– practice being calm, clear & focused & those networks become strengthened
– frontal lobe – or new brain – facilitates planning, clear thinking, tuning in to others, feeling empathy for others
– when stuck/doing old habits, humans are using their “old brain”, in particular the amygdala which manages the powerful fight & flight response (when stressed/anxious, it releases hormones & chemicals such as cortisol & adrenaline)
– mindfulness helps us manage this stress response which developed for reasons if survival
– less likely to be swept up by strong emotions & able to focus/be clearer
– allows us choice with respect to our thoughts & feelings
– the practice of mindfulness changes the structure of the brain, much like exercise changes muscles in the body
– practice of mindfulness regularly allows us to become more aware of our thoughts & feelings
– our nervous can take in more accurate information
– even when mindful, we feel things which are negative, but we can respond more wisely
– strengthens frontal lobe
– reduces size of amygdala
– reduces amount of stress hormones being released

Source: http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=qM9QC0-JvBw
Source: http://www.mindthebump.org.au/

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