Mindfulness, growth mindset and neuroscience are three deeply interlinked subjects. Mindfulness and growth mindset is often considered as the major source of contentment and happiness in life. Life may try to knock you down but if you are persistent with your passions and cultivate resilience, grit, tenacity and endurance success will come. Mindfulness improves resilience, grit, personal strength, and organizing and structuring skills of life. This article gives an overview of mindfulness, growth mindset and neuroscience for success.
Resilience is your ability to deal with the ups and downs in life and bounce back from them. Grit is your motivational drive that keeps you on a difficult task over a sustained period of time. Growth mindset is a mindset that perceives challenges as an opportunity to learn and evolve rather than an obstacle to overcome. We are constantly evolving as we are interacting with the world. Mindfulness and growth mindset drives our evolution faster and on right tracks .
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is noticing what’s happening right now with your thoughts, in your body, and in the environment without judgement. You can practice mindfulness anytime – when you’re in the shower, planning your day, or washing the dishes. And every time you practice, you make a small shift toward more courage, calm, clarity, and perseverance. To be an mindful person you need to exhibit witnessing and non-judging qualities on a consistent basis.
Witnessing and self-distancing are the best tools for effective mindfulness. By practicing witnessing, you can distance yourself from your mental tendencies. Your thoughts, emotions, and mental problems are transformed, by their merging in the silence and peace of the witness. You can sit for 10 to 15 minutes of mindfulness meditation. Turn your attention to the contents of your mind; the internal chatter and the images arising and dissolving in your mind. You can label your thoughts and images. Always maintain an attitude of a detached and kind observer.
Be an impartial witness to your experience. Observe your thoughts and feelings without judging helps you see what is on your mind without editing or intellectualizing it, or getting lost in your thoughts. Observe every aspect of your experience on the current station without the judgement of “good” or “bad”. All our reactions can be thought of as the result of our genetic inheritance, every experience we’ve had, and how we’ve reacted earlier. Observe everything without getting caught in or being driven by mental inertia. Often judgment and blame are a kind of emotional caffeine. Keep yourself free from blaming others and too much judgmental.
Mindfulness in action:
To cultivate mindfulness in action the following five components of well-being are very effective:
- Constructive response.
- Creative and positive thinking.
- Value addition based negotiation.
- Organizing and structuring life towards a more meaningful life.
- Remembering and focusing on the good things happen to your life.
- Getting in better touch with people who are helpful.
What is Mindset?
Mindset is the mental and emotional attitude towards life. Mindset is your beliefs about your potential, skills, strength, intelligence and choices. It is your beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. It is also known as as mental inertia which influences your thoughts and actions. How you respond to challenges and setbacks is often determined by your mindset.
Types of Mindset
There are four types of mindsets; positive mindset, negative mindset, fixed mindset and growth mindset. According to the researcher Carol Dweck you can change your mindset from fixed mindset to growth mindset. Fixed mindset describes the inclination to rely on familiar assumptions and exhibit a reluctance and/or inability to revise those assumptions, even when the evidence supporting them no longer exists or when other evidence would question their accuracy.
In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. A fixed mindset person generally avoid challenges in life, give up easily, hide flaws, ignore feedback and become threatened by other peoples success.
Fixed mindset people fail to update and revise their understanding of a situation when that situation changes. Fixed mindset – you believe your attributes and abilities are inherently fixed and will not change no matter how much effort you put in.
Attributes of a Fixed Mindset
- Believes intelligence and talent are fixed
- Sticks with what you know
- Believes putting forth effort is worthless or fruitless
- Believes personal failures define who they are
- Hides flaws so not to be judged as a failure
- Avoids challenges to avoid failure
- Tends to give up easy
- Ignores feedback from others
- Views feedback as personal criticism
- Feels threatened by the success of others
A growth mindset, on the other hand, attributes success to learning. Growth mindset – you believe your talents and abilities can be improved and developed through your actions and efforts. The growth mindset promotes resilience while the fixed one does not. Growth mindset can serve as a protective factor against psychological problems, such as depression, behaviors problems, school disengagement, and burnout. It gives confidence that abilities can improve through hard work and persistent learning.
Attributes of a Growth Mindset
- Believes intelligence and talents can be developed
- Believes effort is the path to mastery
- Believes mistakes are an essential part of learning
- Views failure as an opportunity to learn
- Believes failures are just temporary setbacks
- Embraces challenges
- Welcomes feedback from others in order to learn
- Believes feedback is a guide to further improvement
- Views feedback as a source of information
- Views other’s success as a source of inspiration and information
Neuroscience of Mindfulness and Growth Mindset
Mindfulness, growth mindset, resilience and grit develop new neural pathways in the brain. Although several brain regions such as PCC, ACC, amygdala, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VPC) are associated with mindfulness and growth mindset, the insular cortex has been singled out as a critical neural substrate for mindfulness, growth mindset, resilience and grit .
Recently, neuroanatomical insights suggest that right anterior insula cortex is critical in mindful non-judgmental behavior. The insular cortex is deeply interconnected with the autonomic system as well as limbic and frontal regions of the brain. The insular cortex has been commonly associated bodily states such as itch, pain and temperature, and touch. It is also associated with emotional intelligence, empathy, intuition, trust and cooperation .
The right anterior insula aids interoceptive awareness of body states, such as the ability to time one’s own heartbeat. The insula itself is a sort of receiving zone that reads the physiological state of the entire body and then generates subjective feelings that can bring about responsive actions, like moderate eating, and keeps the body in a state of internal balance.
Mindfulness, resilience, grit, tenacity and endurance are the main traits for success. These traits for success are rooted in a growth mindset. The good news is that through mindfulness you can learn, develop and build your resilience and grit. Mindfulness and growth mindset can develop new neural pathways in the brain for better efficiency and success.
- Mindfulness Meditation for Corporate Leadership and Management By Dr. Amit Ray
- Mindsets and Skills that Promote Long-Term Learning
- Effect of Growth Mindset
- Anterior Insular Cortex and Emotional Awareness