Three Pillars to Transformation: Mindfulness, Openness for Change and Practice
A decision to re-invest in yourself is always a big one. Whether your personal transformation has happened as a part of your New Year’s resolutions or it has resulted from a major disappointment such as a harsh breakup, it is always a wonderful opportunity to improve your life.
But where to start from once you’ve decided to change?
Every important change starts within ourselves, that is, in our subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is a part of your being that never sleeps, always listens to what you say, and does exactly what you tell it to do. Therefore, reprograming your subconscious mind to think only positive thoughts is the most important step in your transformation. How to achieve this? The best way to set the transformation in motion is to be open to change and practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a meditation-based mental exercise that helps you focus on the present moment. Mindfulness means being aware of your thoughts and feelings without self-judgment.
How regular mindfulness practice affects your mind?
Research shows that practicing mindfulness can cause changes in many parts of the brain. For example, MRI scans show that after practicing mindfulness, the grey matter in the amygdala – a region in the brain responsible for stress response – can shrink. At the same time, the gray matter in the prefrontal cortex – an area of the brain responsible for problem-solving, planning and emotional control – can become thicker. In other words, mindfulness meditation reduces the activity in the amygdala and increases the activity in the prefrontal cortex, lessening reactive and fearful responses while enhancing thoughtful responses.
Other studies suggest that mindfulness may lessen the emotional experience of pain, induce the relaxation response, and reduce other physical symptoms of stress such as cortisol level.
Mindfulness is a non-judgmental state of mind that allows you to become aware of your thoughts and emotions without constantly evaluating and judging yourself. This, in turn, allows your self-kindness to arise and empower you to act towards yourself with compassion and kindness.
Heart/Openness for Change
Transitions in life are often very difficult and our first reaction may be to try to resist the change. However, accepting the new experience and embracing the change may open new opportunities for personal growth.
In Tibetan Buddhism, one of the vital qualities is the openness of the heart known as tsewa. The openness of the heart expressed through warmth, empathy, and compassion is a life-changing energy that can help us transform our attitude toward ourselves and people around us.
However, in order to become open to change, you need to let go of the past and move from judgment to acceptance.
Being open to change may boost your self-esteem and allow you to become more confident. A self-belief will help you to stay focused on your goals and to see challenges in your life as opportunities rather than limitations.
No matter how small it may appear, every step in your transformation counts. And practice makes perfect. Enjoy the process of change and be proud of yourself. Practicing mindfulness, openness and other positive psychology interventions – behaviors in which we engage to improve our well-being – encourages transformation and leads to a fulfilled life.