What Is Mindfulness?

by Dr. Alexander Wright, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Did you know that you can alter a part of your brain through mindfulness? This is powerful information. We know through published research that mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. What is gray matter and its function may be your next question. Gray matter is a primary component of the central nervous system and consists of numerous cell bodies. More important is its vital connection to physical and psychological health in its involvement in muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision-making, and self control.

Practicing mindfulness through meditation for 8 weeks has been shown to impact gray matter structures and subsequently increase feelings of empathy, improve self control, and improve decision making—INCREDIBLE right? Now, I am sure your next question is how can I practice improved mindfulness and alter my brain for the better? Check in with Full Fathom’s article “A Mindfulness Exercise”.