Mindfulness for a Healthy Brain

mindfulness

Mindfulness for Health- written by Alan Anderson

“Mindfulness should no longer be considered a “nice-to-have” (for executives). It’s a “must-have”:  a way to keep our brains healthy, to support self-regulation and effective decision making capabilities, and to protect ourselves from toxic stress- Harvard Business Review

What Is Mindfulness?

Have you ever driven somewhere and arrived at your destination without any recollection of the trip you have just completed? Unlike any other animal, we humans spend a lot of time contemplating events that happened in the past. Also we can often become fearful or anxious about what might happen in the future for no reason.

Our minds tend to focus on the same often negative thought which can create a mind loop. Also, this is often known as rumination. Left unchecked. constant negative rumination can create toxic mind stress. Finally, long term stress can lead to stress related illness.

Unfortunately,excessive rumination appears to be the default setting for our human brain.

Too often, the stress of modern life with its constant striving can leave us trapped inside our heads.  This stream of thoughts and feelings are often driven  by two main factors. These tend to be either based on anxiety about a possible future event that may not even happen or frustration caused by past events and experiences.

That’s why it’s important to find effective ways to manage this toxic mind stress. Using mindfulness exercises is a great way to achieve this outcome.

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Simple Yet Effective

Mindfulness is a simple process of consciously shifting attention away from this often-toxic thought loop that creates stress. When mindful we become the non-judgemental observer of thoughts and feelings as they happen. Also, we become more aware of what is happening around us at the moment.

So, by learning to shift our focus with mindfulness exercises, we can retrain the brain to form new neural pathways.

Mindfulness exercises are a great way to break the loop of negative thoughts that keep us in a loop that creates mind stress. The more we observe these thoughts and emotions, the more we realize that they are simply mental events and mental constructs.

Therefore, being mindful reduces the negative impact that toxic mind stress can have on our health and well-being.

mindfulness help

Why Use Mindfulness Exercises?

Mindfulness shows us what is happening in our bodies, our emotions, our minds, and in the world. Through mindfulness, we avoid harming ourselves and others.”- Thich Nhat Hanh

Regular practice of mindfulness exercises is a great way of coping with everyday life, In particular it helps by reducing the stress and anxiety caused by harmful thoughts and emotions. We are better able to slow down our racing thoughts which often lead to us to engage in self-sabotaging behavior.

For me, regular practice of mindfulness exercises has helped me to improve my ability to focus while reducing chronic stress and worry. The more I practice mindfulness, the more I can slow down my thoughts and become aware of what is happening around me. Also,mindfulness has helped me relax, concentrate effortlessly and improve the quality of my sleep.

minfulness -health benefits

Two Benefits of Mindfulness

For me, mindfulness exercises work in two ways to produce major health benefits and brain function.

Firstly, they are an effective way to distract our attention which stops us from being trapped in a mind full of negative thoughts.

Becoming mindful can allow us to shift our focus onto our surroundings.  This allows us to experience what’s happening right now through our sense of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. It’s a great way of stopping ourselves from living in our mind with unhelpful or negative thought patterns.

Secondly, this allows to focus and merely observe our thoughts as they rise without getting involved with them.  By becoming the observer of our thoughts, we can see that our thoughts are just mental constructs that have no reality in the physical world.

Becoming the mindful observer gives us a powerful way of disengaging ourselves from thoughts that create stress and anxiety. Also, by regularly becoming the observer of your thoughts allows you greatly decrease there existence. So, this is a very powerful way of shifting your mind onto more constructive thoughts rather than those that can be destructive and toxic.

In my next post I will be sharing three of my favorite and most effective mindfulness exercises. So make sure you check out our Facebook page for next weeks post.

Here are some related posts you may be interested in reading…

11 Easy Steps to Finding Inner Peace

Simple meditation for relaxation is a great way to practice mindfulness. If you are interested in trying meditation for relaxation then check out Make Meditation Easy website.

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