"Neurons that fire together, wire together"-Donald Hebb
Mindfulness practice provides an intimate opportunity to unravel the complexities of our cognitive atlas. In pursuit of emotional and mental health, untangling our interpretation of action and reaction as it shapes our perception of reality is vital. Hebb’s axiom above vividly illustrates the importance of mindfulness in daily life. Our innate mental faculties synthesize and catalogue the world around us in a seemly automated format. Emotions, sensations, and mental actions intricately coalesce to produce the experiences we have, and each time a similar event is reproduced we strengthen the neural connections that fire, creating a pattern of behaviors. These become habits within our emotional, mental, and physical life. Simply stated, the more we experience a certain emotion, the more we will contemplate, anticipate, and create the environment for that emotion in the future.
Mindfulness works to slow the automated response time, empowering us to break the bonds of our mental and emotional habits. The aim: freedom. This is intimately related to both our mental and emotional wellbeing. Mindfulness as a daily practice can re-wire the mind to reduce stress, support living with an opening heart, and revolutionize the source of meaning in our lives. Here are 3 benefits of developing a daily mindfulness routine.
- Reducing Stress: Modern life is wrought by a fast paced “Time is Money” attitude. We are close to desperate for downtime, our schedules slammed in an effort to increase productivity and deliverables, all at the expense of our mental health. Making a measured effort to slow down and tune in is critical for balance and managing stress related environments. Twenty minutes of meditation a day is enough to re-wire and reclaim inner spaciousness, find clarity, and ease yourself into a quiet headspace. Studies show that down-regulating the nervous system and intentionally creating quiet time can trigger the body’s innate capacity to build immunity and remain stress free.
- Living with an Open Heart: Our most sensitive vulnerabilities are often imprisoned behind walls of fear, hidden from judgement, betrayal, and conflict. When we take time to reflect, we can observe thought patterns and begin to separate our emotional trauma from our everyday lives. Emotional balance comes from living in the sacred present moment, liberated from our fixation on past trauma and the patterned anticipation of future suffering. Our experiences should inform our relationship with the world, but never limit us to pain or fear. Using mindfulness techniques, we can witness how each thought affects our mental state as a whole, and pave the way to freedom. Living with an open heart means destroying the walls we’ve built against accepting ourselves, our lives, and others fully.
- Finding Meaning: Our lives become more substantial when deliberately woven with meaning. An opportunity that is often overlooked, the practice of intention setting can give us the foundation of value, providing depth and a real sense of connection to the fabric of space and time. A mindfulness practice which focuses on intention is one that will allow you to creatively understand your inner purpose and its manifestation in outer life. According to meditation expert davidji, intention setting is the catalyst for revolutionizing your life, and living your dreams.
Mindfulness meditation is for everyone. It does not follow any specific religion, and is a practice that can be utilized by anyone looking to hold the reigns of the mental, emotional, and physical interfacing. By taking up residence in the convergence of these seemingly divided experiences, we can arrive to the source of stillness that governs the way our lives unfold. In creating balance and wellness, witnessing this process is a practice that will serve in the emancipation of both mind and body.