A second and very powerful step for managing the red brain
Mindfulness is the second key step to improving our management of the red brain.
At its most basic, mindfulness is being aware of what is happening inside our bodies. For example, through paying attention to each part of our body in turn, we identify sensations or feelings and just stay with them for a few moments before moving on to the next. Mindfulness is also being aware of what is happening around us and includes combining the inner and the outer: what are the sensations in my legs as I walk through some long grass?
We can only be in the moment and focus on bodily sensations through activating the right hemisphere and its way of paying attention to the world, this begins to re-balance the two hemispheres and accustoms the brain to rely less on the left hemisphere as first responder.
The right hemisphere can modulate the red brain as it begins to trigger so mindfulness increases our level of control. The science indicates that mindfulness reduces depression and anxiety and improves well-being in general.
Mindfulness is a very powerful practice in bringing red brain triggering under conscious control. Yet it has another, perhaps even more powerful, effect. Through mindfulness practice the brain can pull up a memory and extinguish the associated negative emotion, replacing it with a neutral or positive emotion.
Practice mindfulness in the presence of someone or something that triggers us and, in four to six weeks, we can extinguish the triggers that are activating us. Meaning that we can be in the same situation in the future and our red brain will not be triggered. Systematically using this approach leads to much greater control over our own responses to a person or situation.
We have greater control, yet we still have a red brain. We need one further practice to cause the red brain itself to fade away.