This year for Metal Health Awareness Month we want to take you deeper in mindfulness.
How Does Mindfulness Work? Mindfulness makes actual physical changes to our brains and bodies—and we have the research to prove it:
A Fountain of Youth for Our Brains
Researchers used to believe that our brains stopped changing after a certain age. Now we know that meditation increases neuroplasticity, or the brain's ability to change, no matter how old we are. This allows us to continue to learn, grow, and develop new healthy habits at any age.
Structural Shifts in Our Gray Matter
The amygdala is the brain's "fight-flight-freeze" center and initiates the body's stress responses. The prefrontal cortex is the center of higher-order brain functions such as awareness, concentration, and decision-making. MRI scans show that with just eight weeks of regular mindfulness meditation, the cortex becomes thicker and activity in the amygdala decreases, giving us better control over our thoughts, emotions, and how we function in the world.
Fire Together, Wire Together
When stress, anxiety, and negative thinking become habitual, they actually change our brain to become more reactive. How do we reverse this? "Neurons that fire together, wire together." Studies have shown that with mindfulness, we can create new neural pathways that promote positive mental states on a physiological level.
Less Stress in Body and Mind
When our minds get stressed, our bodies react. Mindfulness helps us become more aware of what's happening in our bodies so we can release stress before it takes over. Numerous studies show that mindfulness can improve our health by actually balancing our hormones, reducing inflammation, and curbing the expression of disease biomarkers so we can stay healthier longer
Now that you have the facts, it's time to take the mindfulness challenge! Are you ready? Join us each #WellnessWednesday for practice at 12 noon. Then tweet @dmempowers or email your experience to firstname.lastname@example.org