Mindfulness and self-control

Self-regulation is the process of observing and changing one's actions (or one's thoughts, emotions, or body states) in order to accomplish an objective or respond to a changing situation. Self-control is influenced by a variety of influences, including: Your self-regulation is affected by factors such as drugs (like valium), the surroundings (notice the tendency to relax down while on vacation versus when you're at work), and alcohol, among others, in addition to your DNA blueprints, how you were raised, and the history. 

Your body state (activity level), cognitive state (thoughts), emotional state (feelings), and relationship state are all actively controlled by you (how you relate to yourself and others). Any of these aspects of self-regulation can be influenced by mindfulness therapy, and with enough practice, state changes can become lifelong characteristics.

The State of Mindfulness.

In the popular belief that mindfulness is a genetic characteristic determined by evolution and practice, it is simply a state that can be influenced by a variety of events but can or may not last over time. Mindfulness practice alters subjective and physiological states, according to a growing body of study. The immune system becomes more strong, as evidenced by a rise in the number of cells battling infection. The brain's behavior shifts into patterns that correspond to quiet, concentrated states of attention. Gray matter (the tissue storing neurons) of some brain areas is heavier in long-term meditators than in nonmeditators. Finally, gene expression patterns seem to change when a conscious state of mind is induced. In a more personal basis, anxiety and depression decrease, well-being increases, and interactions with oneself, others, and the environment increase. Taken together, this research suggests that mindfulness can be acquired much like any other talent, and that practicing mindfulness can have a big impact on neuroplasticity (the brain's ability to create new associations in response to the environment) and epigenetics (the modulation of genes' expression in response to the environment).

Until the mid-twentieth century, scientists believed that our brains were fairly static, with a finite number of brain cells and, with a few exceptions (such as memory centers), a small ability to adapt once created. However, late-twentieth-century studies contradicted this assumption. Whether it's mindfulness exercise, learning to ride a bike, speaking a foreign language, learning math, drawing, or learning to think or sound differently, our minds have a vast potential to alter in both form and purpose with experience. The brain shifts as a result of practice.

Examining the minds of artists is perhaps one of the clearest manifestations of this concept. Learning to play music rewires the areas of the brain involved in sound perception (auditory cortex) and the integration of feedback to output (somatosensory cortex), like when a trumpet player monitors the strength of the lips when playing the instrument or while a pianist's hands are in motion, according to a number of tests. The age at which musical instruction started, the type of instrument taught, and the length and strength of practise all influence the degree of brain change. We can rewire our brains in the same way as an electrician can rewire a home, and research is starting to demonstrate the extent to which this rewiring can be done, as well as its limitations.

However, we have the ability to rewire our minds in ways that are not necessarily beneficial.

Musicians, for example, can over practice and develop focal hand dystonia (involuntary muscle contractions and spasms) as a result of being overly forceful in their musical practice. We will improve facets of preparation and correct mistakes if we have a greater understanding of how practice affects the brain.

The same may be said for mindfulness: You will hone the beneficial effects of mindfulness practice while minimizing the detrimental ones if you have a clear grasp of both the positive and negative implications. For example, a beneficial use of mindfulness practice might be to increase the knowledge of harmful actions such as gossip or self-destructive criticism, whereas a detrimental approach could be using mindfulness to gain approval from others. It's important to note that mindfulness is a way of paying attention to what you're doing and honing your discernment; how mindfulness is incorporated into life entails meditation, learning, and, eventually, the decisions you make throughout the universe.

Our brains are complex and malleable, much like our genes, whose expression is turned on or off by our environmental interactions, as previously said. In reality, much of 21st-century research is concerned with the malleability of our biology as a result of experience, including the impressions we generate through our thoughts, emotions, and behavior. The circular aspect of this relationship is analogous to the chicken and the egg: our biology forms our experiences, and our experiences form our biology. Mindfulness is a way of exploring the fluidity of our minds and genes, all of which are not predetermined.

You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation here.