The fight or flight response was great for survival - But why does it destroy your body?
Mindfulness affects how the brain is wired.
Have you ever found yourself with sweaty hands on a first date or felt your heart pound during a scary movie? Then you know you can feel stress in both your mind and body. These days, you’re not likely to face the threat of being eaten. But you probably do confront multiple challenges every day, such as meeting deadlines, paying bills and juggling childcare that make your body react the same way. As a result, your body’s natural alarm system — the “fight or flight” response — may be stuck in the “on” position. And that can have serious consequences for your health.
This automatic response developed in our ancient ancestors as a way to protect them from predators and other threats. Faced with danger, the body kicks into gear, flooding the body with hormones that elevate your heart rate, increase your blood pressure, boost your energy and prepare you to deal with the predatory stimulus surrounding you.
So, how does it work?
Meditation creates new neurological connections, strengthening the performance of the brain.
Mindfulness is bringing the conscious present to the unconscious. It is channeling the thoughts that come from the back-end of our brains, where judgement, values, and instincts thrive. By bringing your attention to the unconscious, you begin to understand the stimuli that is going through your body. You begin to understand the space you occupy, the lights and sounds you are currently taking in, and the thoughts that come and go through your mind. And as a result, you become better able to handle these stimuli, as you make yourself aware of the brain’s inputs and help to map the subconscious to tell it that this stimuli is not an enemy nor prey, but is just the harmless environment that surrounds you everyday.
In short, the stress response can be dampened if you bring your brain back into the present moment. As the stress response brings yourself into the “fight or flight” position and causes the brain to shift, mindfulness can bring the mind and therefore the body back to its normal state.