What You Practice Grows Stronger

When it comes to making changes, we all have one habit in common that holds us back: self-judgement. The neuroscience of mindfulness suggests lasting change requires a softer touch.

While recuperating from spinal fusion surgery at the age of 17, Shauna Shapiro’s life changed: from a healthy, active young woman to one confined to a hospital bed, unable to walk.

But she says the mental impact was more difficult—the feelings of fear and loneliness her new body inspired, not being able to do the things she used to.

That drew her to Thailand, where she attended her first meditation retreat.

Shapiro, now an author and professor of psychology at Santa Clara University, has conducted two decades of research into the health benefits of mindfulness. In this Tedx Talk from the fall, she talks about her personal journey to learning mindfulness, as well as how meditation and mindfulness can affect our health:

Tedx Talk Highlights:

How self-judgement wreaks havoc

No matter how hard I tried my mind kept wandering off. And at this point I really started to judge myself. What is wrong with you? You’re terrible at this. Why are you even here? You’re a fake. And then not only was I judging myself, I start judging everyone, even the monks. Why are they just sitting here, shouldn’t they be doing something?

Thankfully a monk from London arrived who spoke English,…