Can mindfulness change your brain?
No. You still have the same brain but YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR THINKING.
If you choose to practice techniques and use tools that help and support you to feel calm then you can STOP and reflect on how you are thinking and feeling.
If you do that then you start to feel like you have a choice about how you react.
I’d like to share a story with you…..
A few years ago I went to a book club quiz. This is a wonderful event run by the amazing Wardini Bookshop in Havelock North each year to raise money for Canteen.
I arrived at the event late as I had been working with a client. The quiz hadn’t started but the room was full of people talking loudly, laughing and excited for the evening ahead.
I walked in the door.....took one look at everyone ..........and had a panic attack.
I hadn’t had a panic attack in a crowd in over 4 years, what was happening??? I wanted to run out of the building back to my car and drive home.
I felt sick, my heart was in my mouth, my legs were shaking.
In the space of nanoseconds I had decided I was stupid, a fake(how can I be helping children with anxiety when I obviously haven’t fixed my own) I can’t do this and no one cares if I don’t turn up anyway.
Luckily for me, the ladies toilet was right by the door and I knew what to do.
I stepped inside and took a breath….4 counts in and 6 counts out.
I repeated that 5 times.
I checked what was going on in my body.
I still had a tight feeling in my chest. I took some more deep breaths
Feeling better I reviewed the situation.
Am I stupid? No Am I a fake? No Was I going to die? No Was I in danger? No Would anyone care if I didn’t turn up? Yes Was this going to be fun? Yes
Now I had a choice.
I haven’t changed my brain with mindfulness, I’ve changed what I do when I’m faced with things that make me feel uncomfortable, I’ve changed how I talk to myself, I’ve changed how I deal with risk and challenge.
Mindfulness doesn’t change your brain….you do that, but it’s a tool that will support you.