Artwork: Apolonia Sokol

Good morning beautiful people,

I came across a little quote yesterday that said: “No flower blooms all year long, so why should we? Let’s respect the seasons of our life.” This is the time of the year, in the northern hemisphere, where we are called to go inward, so why not get a little practical and talk about the meeting of the self and the malleability of our brain, ie. neuroplasticity.

Last Saturday in Paris, there were a few questions about the “negative bias” of our brain and how in a day with nine great things happening and one painful event taking place,  the latter will get recorded and leave a mark on our brain like velcro, whereas the former nine pleasant things will slip like teflon, leaving no mark or recollection of the event taking place.

Is this because our brain is build for times of survival where we had to worry about a lion’s threatening to attack us at any moment? Apparently yes. And when we tend to be addicted to stress, the negative bias will be even stronger.

But I have good news for you, while it was once believed that our brains stopped developing when we reach adulthood, scientific studies have now found that a steady practice of meditation can positively change the wiring and messages of the brain, throughout our lifetime. Let’s get a little more fact oriented here: regular meditation will reduce the grey matter in our amygdala, a key stress-responding region in the brain that is responsible for our survival instincts, emotions, and memory. As a result, our primal stress response to fears will decrease, and our memory will increase.

As our amygdala decreases in volume, it will make room for our pre-frontal cortex (PFC) to grow thicker. The PFC is responsible for the quality of our thoughts, analytical skills, and decision-making process, hence this practice being so popular with anyone in high decision making jobs. Calming the mind through meditation will allow recovery of focus.

Last little fact of the day, as the PFC grows thicker, it disconnects itself from the anterior singular cortex, which is how our brain communicates physical pain. As a result, meditators let go of the stories the mind creates around pain, such as “this will last forever”, and instead experience clean pain which also helps reduce pain and increase resilience. Are you convinced yet?:) Meditation does sound like the kind of medication my doctor recommended me!

On this note, I have recorded a new meditation called The Negative Bias, which I hope you will enjoy. It’s definitely not perfect as the battery of my fire alarm was beeping every minute (maybe as a reminder that we can’t control outside noise, just like the thoughts in our head, all we can do, is watch them and question them). In case you would like to join forces, I will be in Brussels on Monday 25th, giving one on one sessions and a group guided meditation at 7pm. Please do let me know if you would like to join.

In the meantime, may you feel warm and cosy, everywhere you are.

With Love,
Vanessa

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