“I have had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened”
The amygdala is the fear center of our brain. It is the reason we are afraid of things outside our control and triggers the way we react to certain emotional stimuli or events that we see as potentially threatening or dangerous. When these emotions hit their peak, the amygdala’s reaction can paralyze executive function.
The Prefrontal Cortex is the part of the brain most associated with regulating these emotions and behaviors and making wise decisions. It manages reactivity to the triggers from the Amygdala. The connectivity to the Amygdala modulates a person’s level of emotional reactivity. The stronger the link between the Amygdala and the Pre-frontal Cortex the less individuals respond strongly to the emotional sensory input. Mindfulness meditation helps strengthen that link. This control has been found in long term meditators as well as people who have only completed an 8 week course in meditation but the latter group shows it to a lesser extent.
By learning how to be mindful and to meditate and then practicing meditation with an eventual goal of a minimum of 20-30 minutes every day, you can expect the following personal and work related benefits:
- General increased feelings of peacefulness
- Increased appreciation for everyday experiences
- Improved sleep due to being able to control repetitive thoughts and being more relaxed
- Improvement in personal and professional relationships
- Fewer occurrences of being distracted by your own thoughts about the past, worries about the future or pre-conceptions and judgements throughout the day
- You’ll notice more often when you are having trouble listening and responding in the most compassionate way.
- You’ll have strengthened cognitive control that will allow you to better focus on a specific goal or task while resisting outside distractions at work or at home.
- Strengthened cognitive control will allow you to respond in stressful situations more intelligently as opposed to reacting more emotionally.
- A reduction in lapsing into a robotic response mode caused by over work and repetitive actions, which will allow you to feel more energized and fulfilled at the end of the week.
- Fewer occurrences of making assumptions and selective listening or “tuning out” that lead to missing valuable details of personal conversations and important emotional signals from family members, friends, and co-workers.