Studies from Harvard University show that between 60% – 90% of visits to general practitioners in the Western world are related to experiencing stress control problems and mental blocks.
In the face of unexpected situations or problems, we colloquially call “storms”, we generally react by getting irritated, fighting, fleeing, or “making ourselves small” … and we become blocked. Not being able to control it adequately, can cause us emotional tensions, which over time become disease-causing and generating.
3 Influential Structures in Our Mental Health
Dr. Mario Alonso Puig, a fellow in surgery at Harvard University Medical School, dedicated to investigating how to unfold human potential, explains why and how this occurs, as well as how we can improve it and deal with it in a positive way.
The Process Includes 3 Structures:
The first is the prefrontal cortex: which coordinates our cognition and emotion. In it, all the “emotional executive functions” are produced, which allow us to “be efficient in life” in terms of decision-making, in-depth understanding of situations and to be open to the fluid acquisition of new learning.
Suddenly, he tells us, this cortex can be deeply affected by a second structure called the amygdala.
When this second structure, amygdala, is activated, our danger detector is activated. It is activated, seeing the “storm” as a threat. Generally, our primary impulses lead us to resist it by fighting in an agonizing way, a situation that consequently blocks the prefrontal cortex.
Studies show that, in treating mild to moderate anxiety or depression, exercise can be as effective as talk therapy and medications.
In this article, we want to highlight the benefits of sport (identified regulation) and empower you because it is definitely an activity that provides autonomy and makes a 100% positive contribution to your lifestyle (integrated regulation).
It promotes the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain, such as endorphins and serotonin.
This is how we become blocked and we do not know what we have to do, and we often get to the point where we do not feel in the capacity to find new ways to face the challenge of overcoming adversity or unexpected events.
For example, it is normal during the ambiguous stage of Covid-19, that many of us are seeing it as a threat, for this reason it is also normal that our productivity, creativity and interpersonal relationships may be affected.
Currently, some solutions are established from the conventional medical part such as the formulation of anxiolytics and antidepressants to neutralize the amygdala. However, we are all in search of more natural ways to neutralize it.
And this is where the third structure called the hippocampus arises, a structure in charge of episodic memory and spatial memory, associated with neutralizing the “danger-detecting” amygdala.
Dr. Puig explains during his talk ¨The art of keeping calm¨, that if the hippocampus decreases in physical size (neurons die), the amygdala becomes more active and our “danger detector” jumps earlier. This is how we can find ourselves stressed, tense, and feel that we cannot have a calm state. As a consequence, we become more reactive people, sometimes more aggressive, defensive or strong in normal situations that we live in our day today.
The beauty of Mindfulness
¨If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present ¨ Lao Tzu.
Mindfulness is a state of meditation where we find the basic human capacity to be in the present. That is, constantly return to the here and now. Act that is mostly achieved, taking spaces for awareness, relaxation and meditation.
With mindfulness, the hippocampus increases in size and becomes stronger, leading to the formation of neurons and connections. It has been shown that by practicing it, we develop the ability to tolerate the shocks of life much better and we manage to remain calmer, it is more difficult for the “storms” of life to throw us off balance and take us off the axis.
Mindfulness allows us to have a much more objective vision of the sense of reality, where “the limit is the beginning”. For example, this happens frequently when we look in the mirror and we do not like ourselves, the problem may be that we are much more than what we see.
See things as they really are: Unlimited, Big and with Possibilities
The advantage of mindfulness is that it helps us see what we are not seeing. It helps us activate the circuit of seeing things as they are, it helps us make decisions to get ahead, improve our productivity, creativity and improve our interpersonal relationships.
It helps us to be in the present to see things as they really are, unlimited, great and with possibilities.
It helps us to do the opposite, to what we sometimes do like: “go on automatic pilot”, go around thinking about things related to the past or the future without being focused on the present moment. Many times we are driving or we are talking to someone, our face is, our hands are, but we really are not.
Many times when we focus on tensions we cannot see clear paths that lead us to the answers or solutions that we have been looking for so much.
How to Clear Our Mind?
Thoughts are like waves in the sea, there comes a time when they can be very disturbing and then, that is when mindfulness can help us.
It makes us divers. That is, if our thoughts come in the form of a big choppy wave, instead of trying to navigate it with stormy thoughts and a lot of resistance, what we do is dive, get under the water and let the wave pass over, in such a way that when we are down, we can continue to see the thoughts, even the shapes of the waves, but they no longer drag us, because we are in a state of calm.
As the mental world generates so much distortion, when we find ourselves in this new space of kindness with our environment, with ourselves and with others, we begin to notice a revitalisation difficult to experience on the surface.
And as time goes by, with practice and dedication, we manage to touch the bottom of the sea.
Their practice can give us impressive clarity to make decisions and identify talents of our own that we did not know we had.
We begin to see that many of the things that happen to us in life we are causing ourselves without realizing it.
The positive change in the quality of life of many people has been demonstrated, including military personnel with post-war trauma, patients with insomnia, women with breast cancer, students with a lack of stress control, and high-level executives.
The ability to be calm and happy is found it in ourselves.
- Dr. Mario Alonso Puig. ¨The art of keeping calm¨ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgbgn3DXL7w&list=PLW-FTnAzhVrbz-sSfIf7dxUJzo80vIEIJ
- Clínica Mayo. ¨Mayo Clinic Minute: What is mindfulness?¨ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAH1YLCac4k
- The Power of Mindfulness. What You Practice Grows Stronger. Shauna Shapiro. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeblJdB2-Vo
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