via Spirit Science
It’s official: the Western world has finally embraced long-held Eastern traditions regarding meditation and mindfulness. Now, advice abounds on how we can be more mindful at work, how our kids can be more mindful at school, and even how prisoners can utilize mindfulness in their personal reformations. Indeed, there seems to be a particular mindfulness practice out there catered to seemingly every different type of person that exists.
However, mindfulness is much more than just a simple trend. It is a powerful and well-regarded method scientifically proven to adjust patterns in the brain in order to assist us in dealing with tough or emotionally intense life moments.
In other words…mindfulness and meditation work!
The background that has led to the embrace of these practices by everyone from laypeople to psychologists is in our school and home traditions. Or rather, what is not in them. In the Western tradition, we often aren’t taught how to deal with situations in which we are extremely angry or in emotional pain. Our way of handling stress rests in staying silent and internalizing our tough moments, rather than employing methods to truly target the issue.
Professionals now know that mindfulness is an essential tool that we all possess that enables us to find our paths through moments of emotional intensity. For example, ‘fight or flight’ is a powerful, but common, biological response to stress, caused by the release of hormones by the amygdala. But we now know that a simple breathing exercise can consciously ambush this evolutionary driver, allowing us to be drawn back into the present moment.
Mindfulness has therefore been found to be particularly useful to people who often find themselves in high-pressure/high-stress situations in their occupations. While fight or flight may have been crucial to survival in millennia past, we don’t need it to short-circuit our brains while in an important business meeting, delivering medical attention, taking final exams, or a host of other stressful moments.
Now that we can see how mindfulness exercises can allow us to ‘hack’ our lives in positive ways, perhaps we can look past the trendy side of it and see the science. Think of a world in which everyone learns mindfulness and uses it in all of life’s situations.