Ten Mindful Minutes
What is mindfulness?
How can it help me?
How can I become mindful in 10 minutes?
This is the first lesson in the 10 Mindful Minute Series.
In this short lesson, we explore how our brains work, and what happens
when our brain’s security guard (the Amygdala) is activated.
For our mindfulness practice, there are 3 important parts of the brain we need to know. Our Amygdala is the reptilian part of our brain, that is responsible for alerting us to danger. It acts as our security guard. Our Hippocampus is the part of our brain where our memories are stored- it acts as a scrapbook. Finally, our Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) is the thinking part of our brain. We use our PFC to reason, problem solve, and learn new things.
When our Amygdala is calm, information is sent along to the Prefrontal Cortex, our reasoning brain. However, when the Amygdala perceives a threat, the signals scatter and our fight/flight/freeze response is the only option. This video includes a visual of how our brain signals scramble when our Amygdala is activated.
Though our Amygdala plays an important role in keeping us safe, it does not know the difference between a real or perceived threat. It doesn’t just react to real dangers, such as fire. If reacts with the same response to perceived threats- such as being late for school or work. When the Amygdala activates, our only options are to fight, flee, or freeze. When we are mindful, we can notice when our security guard is alerted due to a perceived threat (like not knowing the answer to a question), and we can use strategies to calm our response and move into the thinking part of our brain.
Each mindfulness video ends with a journal assignment, to expand learning:
Write about a time when your Amygdala took over your brain.
Write about what you did and how you felt.
Why do you think your Amygdala took over- what was the fear or danger?
Did you fight, flee, or freeze?