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Forums / Staying well / WHY CHOOSE MINDFULNESS?

Topic: WHY CHOOSE MINDFULNESS?

6 posts, 0 answered
  1. AGrace
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    AGrace avatar
    1214 posts
    19 October 2014

    It’s been used in Eastern traditions for over 2500 years, our Psychologists rave about it, the business world is using it in aid of better decision making, it’s widely used to promote mental wellbeing, and even schools are adopting it’s principle in aid of effective learning, but why choose mindfulness?

    Neurologists have been researching mindfulness for over 40 years to ascertain its benefits in aiding neuroplasticity. The research and subsequent findings of neurologist and scientist Dr Jeffrey M. Schwartz are astonishing. In order to clearly understand the benefits, it’s important to define the problem we are faced with.

    Deceptive brain messages are any false/inaccurate thought or unhelpful or distracting impulse, urge, or desire that takes you away from your true goals and intentions in life ie. Your true self. The brain listens to all messages, including deceptive brain messages. From here it creates bodily sensations, followed in this case by habitual and often unhealthy responses

    Mindfulness is about assessing your own receptivity to deceptive brain messages and consequent actions. If we take a close look at the brain we will find the brain’s habit centre. Our brains are powerful processing machines, much like computers. They take in information, process it, and deliver an outcome. What you might not know is that all repeated actions, thoughts, and feelings make their way to the brain’s habit centre. Mindfulness provides an ‘observational’ frame to help us make appropriate decisions.

    So what is the difference between the brain and the mind? The brain puts out the call and the mind decides whether to listen. This process can be effective if we are in a constant habit of using the powers of wise mind, the culmination of equal parts logic and emotion. However it’s often the case that either one or the other, more specifically emotion mind in relation to mental illness, is more dominant, therefore producing more deceptive brain messages and consequently more unhealthy thoughts, behaviours, and feelings.

    You’ve possibly heard of the fact that cells that fire together, wire together. This is the theory behind Hebb’s Law. We can see this in one of two ways, either as a potential problem or a potential solution. First we must ask, how do you get the right cells to wire together? By combining wise mind with attention density. Attention density simply put means how you focus your attention in a sustained way. If you are familiar with mindfulness, you will know that the basic principle behind it is to make a conscious choice to bring your attention to something, usually the breath as it is ever present.

    They say ‘you are what you eat’, and this philosophy stems from the idea that your brain becomes what you focus on, otherwise known as the Quantum Zeno Effect. This gives us much understanding into the effects that positive affirmations have on us. If we focus our attention on positive thoughts then they will undoubtedly end up making their way to the brain’s habit centre. Those who are continually reminding us to “look on the bright side” or “think positively” have reason to believe that the mere impact of positive thinking alone would denote a much happier existence. The reality is, we will come across difficult situations, negative thoughts, and uncomfortable emotions. So if we only think positively we are not preparing our brains to effectively deal with unhappy circumstances. Balance is crucial if our brains become what we focus on, once again underpinning the benefits of wise mind.

    Many would also have us believe that we can will ourselves out of mental illness, but this is can be as challenging as wishing it weren’t present in the first place. If we go back to the function of the brain as a procession machine, the brain sends out a signal, followed by a desire to act, and subsequently a voluntary action takes place. Scientists have identified that the desire is determined by the brain, but the action is not. In fact it takes the brain .3 seconds to produce the desire, and then .2 seconds later we see the result of the voluntary action. This is the underlying principle of Veto Power. So what we cannot stop is the desire, but what we do have control over is the decision to act. Already you’re probably thinking .2 seconds is not enough time to amend or modify an action. This is another benefit of mindfulness. Continual practice increases emotional distance which consequently increases the time we have to make a decision about our will to act or not. The key is over time you don’t want to always be acting based on desire, but instead asking yourself, “How will I feel if I don’t act?” The answer to this is simple, proud.

    Dr Schwartz has combined all of his research in order to create 4 healthy steps to improving mental wellbeing and function using mindfulness. So the next time you are practicing your mindfulness techniques, ensure you are getting the maximum benefit of the millennia old tradition, not just simply by breathing, but by making the choice to refocus your attention through:

    Relabelling: Identifying thoughts

    Reframing: “It’s not me, it’s just my brain”

    Refocusing: Directing attention to an alternate, more healthier, thought, feeling, or behaviour

    Revaluing: Not taking thoughts as fact. Instead focus on constructive, healthy thoughts, feelings, or behaviours.

    These simple steps will in turn lead to self-directed neuroplasticity, in simple terms the creation of newer, healthier habits.

    AGrace

     


    1 person found this helpful
  2. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
    8010 posts
    1 November 2014 in reply to AGrace

    Hi AGrace,

    Thank you for this information. I completed a Mindfulness course years ago, and have not continued to practise the principles I learnt, which is a shame, as Mindfulness is so very interesting and it does work well for me when I use it.

    So thank you very much for this very helpful post. I'm not sure if I kept the information I was giving during the course or not, so will do a little research on the computer to relearn more. We moved house recently and "stuff" was disposed of one way or another.

    A bit like Mindfulness, we have to offload the unhelpful stuff and replace it with healthy, positive stuff instead!

    Thanks again for the reminder to be more Mindful.

    Now, do you have a post up your sleeve on how to fit a walk into your day? I need to find a balance of work, rest, play and exercise!

    Cheers, from Mrs. Dools

     

  3. white knight
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    white knight avatar
    8252 posts
    2 November 2014 in reply to AGrace

    Hi Amber,

     Thankyou for the post. Interesting. A little too complex for me but got a lot out of it.

    Tony WK

  4. geoff
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    geoff avatar
    13380 posts
    3 November 2014 in reply to AGrace
    dear Amber, thanks for this post, the one that I like is 'revaluing' such as 'Instead focus on constructive, healthy thoughts, feelings, or behaviours'. however this must be very difficult for when you first get depression, because our brain must be so confused in trying to understand why the hell we have to suffer from this illness, as I've done nothing wrong. L Geoff. x
  5. RobbieP
    blueVoices member
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    RobbieP avatar
    16 posts
    29 March 2017

    Good Evening Everyone,

    My name is Robbie and I'm 20 years old, I suffer from PTSD, anxiety and depression, I'm also a current serving member of the ADF.

    Mindfullness is something close to my heart, it's something I have grown to understand and I'll give you my reasoning,

    Mindfullness contributed to all parts of your brain, you really focus on areas such as your thinking part of the brain right down to your memory part of the brain.

    Using Mindfullness alows you to ease thoughts and really get you unstuck from flight and fight stages, this can release endorphines depending on what mindfulness techniques you use.

    Its a great way to give you a greater understanding of how he brain works and how you can tweak different areas of the brain to take control of your brain so to speak.

    Different mindfullnwss techniques I have used include really focusing on a object in my head that is potentially trying to hurt my brain (when I was really anxious) and creating a new object that would eventually destroy the bad one, this still continues to amaze me today. I have also lit candles and watched the flame and really appreciate the smoothness of the flame and the way it moves, this alowed my brain to only focus on one thing and eventually my worries were gone.

    Mindfullness has been around for a very long time and continually proves to be a effective way to heal anxious thoughts and overthinking.

    Eventually the brain reacts to Mindfullness as a natural thing which allows chemical reactions to get used to this and potentially by passes any anxiety and overthinking.

    All this has helped me take control and effectively maintain my PTSD and depression.

    Everyone has fantastic thoughts and I'm amazed by how many people are here and understand (: take care everyone and be appreciate being mindful ☺️

    2 people found this helpful
  6. startingnew
    Valued Contributor
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    startingnew avatar
    5783 posts
    5 April 2017 in reply to RobbieP

    hi guys

    ive recently started using mindfullness to help me with alot of my triggers, while i know it takes practice to get it right im finding there are so many way to do it and even just incorportate it inot everyday living even while doing the dishes or just sitting around

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