Free The psychological and biological effects of Mindfulness Essay Sample
Mindfulness is an element of enlightenment with aspects of both psychology and neuroscience. This concept according to psychology refers to developing an understanding of ones feelings and thoughts together with the environment in question. Within the aspect of mindfulness, no judgment is placed on whether the feelings or thoughts are right or wrong. It involves a major focus on the mind of human beings in science and psychological contexts.
Psychology and neuroscience are the two major sciences behind mindfulness. In neurology, patients suffering from multiple sclerosis are thought to benefit from training of mindfulness. This concept, through training boosts quality of peoples lives and keeps depression and fatigue at lower levels. Young adults are the most affected population by the Multiple Sclerosis neurologic disease which is not traumatic. The disease affects quality of life by cause impairments both to physical body and health of an individual. Neurology is therefore a science that is directly concerned with mindfulness as a solution for most disease symptoms since most neurologic diseases are accompanied by symptoms like anxiety, depression and fatigue which can be reduced through mindfulness. Neuroscience involves the study of neurons which are a major composition of the brain. Mindfulness involves the brain and its functionality in terms of human thoughts.
Psychology is another science behind mindfulness. Psychology involves mental welfare or health of humanity including mediation to improve this health. Thoughts and feelings are matters of concern in this case so as to obtain psychological comfort. Mindfulness is integrated in psychology as a solution to conditions that are psychological and as a concept of study of humanity. It is therefore an appropriate intervention in performing psychological functions.
Mindfulness has an effect on the conditions of human body systems therefore affecting health. Most affected systems are the brain, nervous system causing flight, fright, or a freeze reflex and stress. Mindfulness is used as mediation to health conditions like disturbance during sleep, depression anxiety and chronic pain.Through the relationship of brain and mindfulness, the nervous system is taken care of and stress is also reduced. The brain has neurons which make up the entire composition of cells in the brain that are well organized in ranks. The organ is not a single unit performing all the functions but is divided into the hindbrain, midbrain and forebrain blocks which facilitate coordination. This kind of human brain organization is what enables it to coordinate and control human behavior.
The adverse reflexes of intuitive and primeval behavior are controlled and coordinated by older sections of the brain hierarchy in the same manner. Older section is the hind brain and controls psychological reactions which are responsible for systems like digestion and the heartbeat, breathe and movements. New sections of the brain control intellectual functions that are complex and other functions that are sensual and motor. The newest section is fore brain which is also responsible for human emotions, eating, control of reproductive functions and sleep. Midbrain is also unique in its function as it is the part of brain with highest nerve concentration to facilitate high sensitivity. This brain section is responsible for temperature regulation and providing upright movement capabilities.
All nervous reflections in form of information from sensory body organs are passed through the midbrain to the forebrain. The section supports limbic structure of the brain which is in charge of human emotions.
Relationship between the rain and mindfulness can be explained through its association with left and right brain. Left brain thinking which is common among most Americans affects the whole brain by mindfulness when the right brain is dormant with limited activity. This dominance of left brain activity causes excessive thinking and frantic activity with no concentration on aspects of time. Mindfulness therefore comes handy in bringing about a calm state and increasing the activity of right brain by creating a still and balanced brain activity structure. As mindfulness increases activity of right brain, it also enhances parasympathetic functions. This in turn reduces stress of the brain and therefore brings about good health. Adrenaline on the other side arouses sympathetic activity.
Emotional hijacking involves a human situation where by emotions go beyond and overcomes reasoning or awareness of an individual. An individual experiencing emotional hijacking is likely to be aggressive and go to an extent of attackingother people and also experience fearfulness. This occurs when an emotion such as anger is prompted leading to an outburst of emotions or explosion. Someone can recognize emotional hijacking since it involves impulse reactions and loss of cognizance. An individual capacity to think is suppressed at the moment and emotions takes control of the reactions. A person therefore knows that it is emotional hijacking when their capacity to control negativity is lost and a reaction affects mood of the victim or others around them.
Emotional hijacking can be controlled; however, it is better if avoided. If a person makes an attempt to think before they react to a certain issue that a provoked their anger, aggressive reactions can be reduced or rather prevented. According to Siegel, distraction would work well if an issue is likely to heat up and cause emotional hijacking. Distraction works on the anger which arouses negative thoughts in a person. Moving away or leaving the place within which one has been provoked is the best thing to do as a distraction technique to control the reaction. Human brain and senses are able to detect seriousness of given situation.
Leaving should be at the instance when the individual senses possibility of a situation becoming worse. This kind of distraction leads to a relaxing environment and peace of the brain. Part of the brain that creates balance of human emotions maximizes its activity in this case. It suppresses functioning of amygdala as a counter mechanism resulting to normal brain and emotional state. Taking deep breaths and ensuring relaxation of muscles can be another way to control hijacking of emotions.
The Buddhist connection to mindfulness
The Buddhists are believed to have been initiators of mindfulness in their spiritual teaching that was also linked to psychology which they believe to support enlightenment. Buddhism teachers enlightenment and incorporates mindfulness among the seven elements of this concept. Buddhist people have widely embraced aspects and beliefs of self-awakening techniques as principle teaching and as a result of ending suffering. This they refer to as the Noble eightfold path. These teachings are as a result of loyalty to founder of Buddhism, the Buddha. Awareness emphasized by Buddha is of ones body that is attained through mindfulness.
Researchers have therefore concluded that it is from the tradition of Buddhist people that mindfulness was drawn and practiced. Guenther et al (1975) states that without comprehension of mindfulness which was created by Buddhist peoples spiritual tradition, there might have been no clear understanding of what the concept really is. Psychology and neuroscience as a result adopted the concept in teaching. The term was also derived from Buddhist terms in Pali language.
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Social change of mindfulness
a.) Self worth
Mindfulness results to self-identity. Self-identity creates positivity which results to personal fulfillment, also referred to as the self-actualization and has a great relevance in an individuals personal social world. Understanding that self-actualization is more than individual happiness necessitates an as-soon-as-possible adjustment from self-centred behaviours to interact more with friends, at work and in simple social groupings of friends thorough participation. Cultural anxiety is a feeling of discomfort when an individual is subjected to foreign cultures and need to adapt to the new culture. Anxiety is likely to be caused and enhanced by stress. Anxiety involves feelings of inner turmoil, unrealistic feelings and at times fear that something will happen and might result to restlessness, lack of focus and limited concentration. For instance cultural and social anxiety among international students is common due to changing environment especially when nationals bully then on basis of their culture, language barrier or status.
Positive outlook about self
Mindfulness training has been proven by a number of researchers to reduce stress and increased efficiency in controlling depression. A positive outlook about someone starts with the brain where confidence is developed and individual develops positive self-esteem. According to Roy, depression starts from the mind where a patients attitude is affected and might develop negative thinking. Suicide attempts in most cases result from high levels of depression. In such a case, a suicidal situation arouses feelings of sympathy and at the same time understanding. Depression and suicidal attempts occur precisely because the target of bullying or at times the bully does not realize their value and develop a negative thinking of them. Although therapy helps in transforming this negative attitude into positive thinking, mindfulness provides a permanent solution as it deals with full transformation of a persons thoughts through active involvement of the victim.
Improved outlook of life
Improved outlook to life can only be experienced when a negative attitude is replaced with positivity. Awareness of ones body enhances understanding of capabilities and appreciating one self. Mindfulness improves a persons outlook to life by enlightening people on who they are and having full control of thoughts. An individual is therefore able to lock out negativity and depressing thoughts or those thoughts that will lead to stress. According to Siegel, mindfulness serves more than psychological problems but also other life problems facing individuals. It is the ability of the concept to deal with social issues that improves lives of people in the society.
b.) Dealing with stressful situation
Stressful situations can result to desperate actions or measures like suicide. Mindfulness brings about calmness and causes informed decision making. It creates an understanding of the situation and ability to handle the situation with calmness and controlling emotional hijacking. Mindfulness deals with improving peoples abilities to be aware ofpatterns of their thoughts and be in apposition to monitor these thoughts. As a result, it is possible to apply mindfulness mediation techniques. A person dealing with stress is able to identify the instant thoughts arise and discern these particular thoughts with no specific attachment or involvement to them therefore reducing chances for provoked emotions and reactions to the same. A person is therefore able to be in that particular moment for a longer time and still not be overtaken by emotions. Mindfulness facilitates the self -control.
Ability to see the situation from multiple angles develops that ability of an individual dealing with stress. Other than the negative side of a situation that leads to that stress, an individual is able to see the positive result of the situation. Creating the positive frame leads to relaxation of the mind. Mindfulness exposes constituents of experiences and distinguishes them from thoughts and feelings of an individual. After this, restoration is leads to satisfaction of the particular individual.
Compassion in practicing mindfulness
Compassion involves sympathy towards another person who is suffering. Compassion is majorly focused on helping another person get over or work out of a situation causing suffering. Mindfulness is only a method or technique but is expressed through acts of compassion to assuage misfortune. Feelings arise as a result of mindfulness bringing about compassion.
b.) The good heart: Truly care about others
Compassion that accompanies mindfulness or having a good heart and truly caring about others involves altruism. This is the act of caring without the need or want for something in return. Altruism does not require any refund or recompense as a result of good act or helping someone. Without true care, compassion would involve intentions to receive appreciation
True care of other people enables people to connect with others in the society. Through compassion and altruism, individuals in the society connect with each other. Compassion influences the person who has faced a misfortune to also help others in the society and the two parties involved also connect psychologically.
a.) Truth in life stories
Healing process starts with dealing with past traumas or events. Understanding personal thoughts enables people to know their attitudes towards past situations and also be in a position to observe these thoughts. In case these situations cause trauma and affect current judgments, individuals are able to start with the past. Trauma and stressful situations need permanent solutions which deal with foundation of the trouble.
b.) Understanding old patterns and negative ways of thinking
Negative thoughts, just like positive thinking patterns develop from initiated feeling about a situation. However, in some instances, negativity is usually a pattern connected to a persons personality. All these cases involve psychological adjustments in the state of a persons brain. The negative pattern develops because it has been wafted by creating focus on the negative. Although it is hard, Fralich states that, solution to negative thinking pattern is to counter it with positive thinking. A person is also likely to succumb to negative patterns of thinking as a result of denial or failure to acknowledge the past problem.
Mindfulness encourages acknowledgement of the problem that a past negative feeling is at hand. Since the concept involves awareness and ability to observe thoughts, an individual is able to understand and acknowledge the experiences and thoughts towards the events. Mediation can then be instituted to solve those issues.
In conclusion, it is evident that mindfulness has an impact on the quality of life. It is a wide concept of discussion in both psychology and neuroscience. It originated from Buddhist spiritual traditional teachings. The western culture and people throughout the world therefore adopted the concept. It is the best way to deal with stress and other psychological problems since it involves awareness of ones body and thoughts and enables an individual to control the thoughts. Positivity and compassion are elements of mindfulness that if integrated improve the quality of lives of people.