Not long ago I started using the phrase “Wellness Trifecta”. It was a bit of a joke at first. I was just being a little silly and trying to dramatically emphasize the powerful trio of growth mindset, mindfulness and neuro-plasticity. But the term kind of stuck and now I use it steadily. These three concepts really do form a power house in healing and wellness.
Growth Mindset refers to a belief and understanding that abilities are not ‘fixed’. We can learn and develop skills with practice. We can become proficient at things, no matter how difficult they are at first, by repeatedly applying effort and practice to the task of learning. Mindfulness is a process by which we train ourselves to focus attention and engage fully in the present moment. While neuro-plasticty refers to the understanding that the brain is a constantly changing organism and remains capable of learning and change for our entire life. We can re-wire, re-program and adapt through a variety of processes and experiences.
Take a moment to think about what these three concepts represent to those of us seeking to heal from painful experiences (physical, emotional or psychological). Take a moment to really allow yourself to imagine the endless potential that unfolds when we allow ourselves to trust in the evidence of the Trifecta!
Let me put it to you in the form of a mantra. Imagine if you could say to yourself, everyday, with trust and confidence. (and I encourage you to do so!)
I can learn.
I can choose what I attend to
I can adapt
How many of us find ourselves feeling trapped or stuck? How much suffering comes from overwhelming emotions, memories or a patterns of behaviour that feel inescapable? How often do we mistakenly assume we have been defined or permanently damaged by the tenderizing experiences of life? I can say from experience and observation these are all too common and frequent. Enter THE TRIFECTA
Growth mindset sets us on the learning path, fostering patience and encouraging us to try again. With time we begin to see the slow build, the growth we are seeking, in the skills and habits we have chosen to pursue. When we fall off our routine, or leave the efforts behind for a while, growth mindset welcomes us back. Not to start all over, but to build on the foundation of what we have already done in the past. Because we are ALWAYS LEARNING.
Through mindfulness, we learn to stay present, where coping is easier and insight is born. We learn how to breath effectively, which supports coping and maintains clear thinking. We learn body sensing which helps identify and relate to emotions in a productive way. From the very first moment we gift our nervous system moments of rest and recovery. Slowly, in time we combine breath, presence and insight. We begin choosing how to respond to our experiences rather than feeling compelled or held hostage by our reactions.
All the while, the magic of neuro-plasticity work slowly and quietly. The old learned habits that felt automatic soften and dissolve, crowded out by new patterns of thought that better serve our goals. Glimpses of change and success bolster confidence and trust in what will be, and then…well then the rubber really hits the road!
We can learn! We can learn to identify what the emotions we are feeling are intended to inspire in us.
We can choose what we attend to! We decide how to interpret emotions, when to respond and how we want to respond.
We can adapt! Develop new skills, change our patterns of behaviour and forge our own identity.
That’s some good stuff if you ask me! Well worth the effort. Not easy…but SIMPLE.