We are neurologically wired to look for threats. This response is activated outside of our consciousness and you may have heard it referred to as the ‘fight, flight, freeze’ response.
We live in a world where we largely live unconsciously. We have constant stimulation, phone notifications and access to information at our fingertips. We are trying to do more with less support; the physical and mental load can be immense. All of which leads to us operating from an activated stress response mode.
The brain stem and limbic system within our brains are responsible for this fight, flight, freeze response. It is where emotions are formed and memories are stored – all of which is mostly automatic. Furthermore, this negativity bias means we attach labels to people, experiences and thoughts. We are constantly assessing, monitoring, planning, comparing or ruminating on the past. Our brain may subconsciously do so out of survival, but the reality is such states perpetuate feelings of hopelessness and anxiety.
We can get control over this neural pathway which shapes the lens in which we see the world.
The pre-frontal cortex is the most developed part of our brain. Here we problem solve and think logically. This part of the brain is where we are able to pause before the automatic action produced at the lower parts of our brain, allowing us to calm, rationalise and re-center.
Mindfulness allows us to harness the power of the pre-frontal cortex in any moment. It allows us to become less emotionally reactive and more intentional.
Mindfulness is simply allowing ourselves to be present in this moment, whatever we are doing. We adopt an attitude of acceptance, giving us the ability to be grounded with the ebbs and flows of life.
We can train our minds to stay in the present moment. Through regular mindfulness practice or meditation, we rewire the connections in our brain. This serves us with the mind space to access the pre-frontal cortex in times of distress and shapes the lens in which we view the world.
If you are ready to learn more about mindfulness and ways you can incorporate it into daily life with kids, consider joining us at The Mindful Together Project. The course is packed with short videos, workbooks, printables and guided meditations – we set you up with everything you need to start living more mindfully with your family.