How you relate to pain or trauma, or whatever you’ve experienced, is the key to a better experience when suffering in any way.
Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to change through experience, and it's theorized that repeated experiences can shape our brains. It wasn't until Dr. Shauna Shapiro started practicing and relating to her pain in a different way that it started to shift.
Mindfulness is a larger umbrella term and is really about being present. It's a way of being and a way of paying attention. Meditation is the practice or the exercise that you do to train your mind. Mindfulness is about three key elements: intention, attention, and attitude.
Intention is really why you're paying attention. What's important to you? What is your aspiration? What is your goal? It has to be something meaningful and important. This sets your compass. When we set an intention, it releases dopamine, which is the neuromodulator of motivation and learning.
Research shows that the mind wanders on average 47% of the time, so attention is one of your most valuable resources. And the beauty is that we can train our attention. We don't just have to leave it up to chance whether or not we're present.
The only way to truly change is through practice.
The brain has a tendency toward negativity bias. We scan the environment for what is dangerous so that we’ll survive. Instead, she wakes up each morning and says “I wonder what surprising and beautiful thing will happen today.” It helps to orient the mind toward the positive.
It's the curious paradox that when I accept and love myself as I am, I change in a positive way, and the research is really clear about this. When we engage in self-compassion we touch every part of our lives.
You can strive to be your best self while accepting and loving yourself exactly as you are.