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Do we need to repeat our own mistakes?

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

In our lives, sometimes there is just no time to think about how we react to different situations. We just react and this is a problem.

Reacting to a situation that comes our way is, in other words, repeating old patterns of behavior. If it is not something adaptive, then most probably we simply repeat our own mistakes.

There is only a fraction of a second, just a brief moment in time, between the stimulus and our reaction to it. Still, there is this moment in time when we can decide what our reaction will be.

There is a possibility that this time we will do something different than usual, something more adaptive, more positive. Maybe this time we will do something that will help us cope with the difficulty of life, help us thrive, or something that will help others.

The question is, how can we use this opportunity? Could we possibly even increase this time to improve our chance to access this skill, to decide our next step?

Well, the answer is yes and it has been practiced within ancient traditions and proven effective by numerous scientific studies. It is called mindfulness, and it can be cultivated with regular meditation.

If you are interested in finding out more about the science behind mindfulness meditation, here are some papers from American psychology databases:

Lomas, T., Edginton, T., Cartwright, T., & Ridge, D. (2014). Men developing emotional intelligence through meditation? Integrating narrative, cognitive and electroencephalography (EEG) evidence. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 15(2), 213–224.

Shearer, A., Hunt, M., Chowdhury, M., & Nicol, L. (2016). Effects of a brief mindfulness meditation intervention on student stress and heart rate variability. International Journal of Stress Management, 23(2), 232–254.

Heffner, K. L., Crean, H. F., & Kemp, J. E. (2016). Meditation programs for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: Aggregate findings from a multi-site evaluation. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 8(3), 365–374.

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