Meditation and Neuroplasticity Training May Help Reduce Stress and Stop the Cycle of Addiction by Patrick Bailey
Stress is a word many people throw around casually. Many do not realize its very…
Have you ever heard yourself say “do you know what I mean?” during a casual conversation? This is such a common place expression that many of us use it in our regular speech patterns without putting much thought to it.
The truth is that our mental health actually depends far more on this concept than we might think. The quality of our social interactions is directly related to our mental well-being. Our neurobiology is designed to hone itself in many ways through social learning and mirroring. And when we don’t have accurate ways in which to reflect each others’ behaviors we experience an impaired ability to find our healthy place in the world.
“The ability to imitate is present early in life and is crucial for learning how to navigate the social world. According to current theory, covert imitation is also the most fundamental way that we understand the intentions and feelings of other people.”
The specific areas of the brain that become over-active and under-active are associated with the “mirror neuron” system. Mirror neurons are networks of neurons that fire both when an animal acts and when it observes the same action performed by another. They have been directly observed in the brains of primates. In humans, neuroscientists have located areas using brain-mapping techniques that appear to act in a similar fashion.
“The mirror neuron system raises the question of agency,” Park observed. “If the same group of neurons fire when I am writing and when I watch you writing, how do I know who is doing the writing? But we are almost always certain of who is doing what. Our research implicates the role of this network in individuals with schizophrenia who frequently have serious problems determining agency. ~ Neuroscience News
Who we choose to spend time with, the social activities we engage in, and the beliefs we align ourselves with have a great influence on our own states of mind. Perhaps the best way to know ourselves is to seek to understand another. Maybe empathy is more than just a luxury. Maybe it’s an integral piece of our highest evolution of mind, body and spirit.