Week #3- What You Practice Grows Stronger

In the TEDx Talk I linked above, Dr. Shauna Shapiro discusses why we should be practicing mindfulness and self-care. When Dr. Shapiro was seventeen, she had spinal fusion surgery and her whole life was turned around. Suddenly, she had to get used to living in a body that couldn’t do the same things it used to be able to do, so she turned to mindfulness to help her & never looked back. Dr. Shapiro discusses how on a mindfulness retreat in Thailand, a monk told her that “what you practice grows stronger”, and it has stuck with her ever since. As soon as I heard this, all these ideas began connecting in my head and it was like a light bulb had gone off. I remember reading studies about two growing plants- one that was told positive comments and the other was told negative comments. After a few months, the plant that was only told positive things ended up growing substantially more than the other plant. This same thing happens in our brains, but instead of plants it’s new neurons growing in response to repeated practice or “cortical thickening” as Dr. Shapiro describes it in her TEDx Talk. It’s said to take 30 days to create a new habit, so the more that we are kind to ourselves, either by saying positive things about ourselves or practicing self-care, the easier it gets. We are always growing something in our minds so it all depends on what you want to grow in life. If you want to grow your judgement, your ignorance, or your negativitiy, then keep doing those things. However, if you want to grow your compassion, your knowledge, and your positivity, then that is what you need to be practicing every day in your life.

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