The Power of Mindfulness: What you practice grows stronger

The Power of Mindfulness: What you practice grows stronger

How can we change for the better?

In her pioneering talk, Dr. Shauna Shapiro draws on modern neuroscience and ancient wisdom to demonstrate how mindfulness can help us make positive changes in our brains and our lives. 

Changing the mind and transforming ourselves 

In our super-fast, super competitive world we too often hold ourselves to unrealistic standards of perfection and then judge ourselves harshly when we don't live up to them. 

So how can we create change and transformation within ourselves? According to Dr. Shapiro mindfulness is the way. 

Truly understand mindfulness

After a deeply personal experience, Dr. Shapiro needed to learn how to live in a body suffering from physical and mental pain and she couldn't cope. 

As a general and high-level definition, we can say that mindfulness is learning to stay in the present moment, to be present - sounds easy? It is - we just need to understand and practice it. 

Our mind, almost by default, likes to wander. In fact, our minds wander 47% of the time. So how can we be present? How do we live in the moment? It may sound difficult if not impossible, but it isn't!

When it comes to brain activity, an important thing to remember is this: 'What you practice grows stronger'. This fact is true not only for our minds or brains, but for almost every other aspect of life. 

Neurons grow and solidify in response to repeated practice. So meditating with frustration just creates frustration and meditating with anger just grows anger. Trying to fight through the frustration only leads to more frustration.  

It is not all about paying attention, it's also about how we pay attention. 

Pay attention with kindness

Dr. Shapiro is sharing with the audience that after years of research she's learned two major things regarding Mindfulness: 

  1. Mindfulness works and it's good for you. 
  2. Most people suffer from tremendous self-judgment and shame, something that is universal and felt by everyone, yet shame doesn't work, it doesn't push us further. 

When we feel shame our amygdala kind of shuts down the brain and we are forced to avoid the thing that made this feeling. 

This is why we need to pay kind attention to the bad traits in ourselves. We need to pay attention, not just in any way but by maintaining a positive and kind focus

Mindfulness is intentionally paying attention with kindness. Transformation is possible. This requires kind, shameless attention, and it takes practice.

Remember:'What you practice grows stronger'.

Watch the full YouTube video →

SHAUNA SHAPIRO, PhD, is a professor at Santa Clara University, a clinical psychologist, and an internationally recognized expert in mindfulness. Dr. Shapiro is the recipient of the American Council of Learned Societies teaching award, acknowledging her outstanding contributions to education; and is a fellow of the Mind and Life Institute co-founded by the Dalai Lama. Dr. Shapiro lectures and leads mindfulness programs internationally, serves on the Advisory Board of Axialent, a leader on Conscious Business, and has brought mindfulness to pioneering companies including Cisco Systems and Google. She has published over 150 articles and book chapters and is co-author of The Art and Science of Mindfulness and Mindful Discipline: A loving approach to raising an emotionally intelligent child.