Neuroplasticity–Rewiring Your Brain Through Mindfulness

It took me many years to learn that trauma not only clouds our judgment, it controls and shapes our judgment on a molecular level. Trauma has the ability to affect synapse communication between neurons, thus inhibiting our ability to “think clearly.” Neuroplasticity is defined as the “capacity for our brain cells to change in response to our behavior” (Eichinger, 2018).

It is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections and adjusting the strength of existing ones.

I’ve experienced firsthand how the lingering of trauma can infiltrate the way you think and act. Luckily, our brains are a powerful tool and neuroplasticity allows us to take that power back. Our experiences throughout life contribute to the establishment of enduring neural connections in the brain, and these connections have the potential to influence and shape the overall quality of our lives.

Promoting neuroplasticity comes in various forms, and it is important to remember that one size does not fit all. Implementing neuroplasticity can come from psychotherapy, eye movement desensitization, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness based interventions.

Mindfulness can be defined as “a mental state characterized by full attention to internal and external experiences as they occur in the present moment” (Gotink, Meijboom, Vernooij, Smits, & Hunink 2016). Mindfulness involves focusing attention on the present moment, this focused attention induces structural changes in the brain that may be linked to enhanced neuroplasticity. Mindfulness encourages the integration of different brain regions and networks, contributing to the flexibility and adaptability of neural connections. Mindfulness training often involves practices that enhance cognitive control, the process by which goals or plans influence our behavior, such as attention regulation and emotion regulation. In summary, mindfulness encourages individuals to be aware of bodily sensations and emotions. The ability to tune into your body and mind will allow you to make decisions that support the life you want to create and live.

Before you begin any mindfulness practice, I encourage you to begin with breathwork. Allow your body to sit still for a moment, pay attention to the sound of your breath, let the world stop turning for a second. This allows your nervous system to decompress and focus on the present moment. What does your body need? What is your mind telling you? After determining what you need, you can create intentions to guide your mindfulness practice. What are your goals for the short and long term experience of this practice? It is vital to distinguish your past needs from the present, work towards your goals not away from them. Take note of self-destructive tendencies you might have, or discover ways to implement a moment of mindfulness everyday. Even 5 minutes a day of breathwork, journaling, meditating, or stretching can go a long way.

The relationship between neuroplasticity and mindfulness creates a transformative pathway towards healing and self-discovery. As we navigate trauma, it becomes clear that our brains hold an extraordinary capacity to change. Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize itself, offers hope, reminding us that we are not confined by the synaptic imprints of our past. Mindfulness invites us to embrace the present moment with a focused and intentional awareness, guiding us towards a clearer understanding of our needs and aspirations.

It is crucial to recognize the individualized nature of our experiences and choose practice that resonates with our unique selves. The simplicity of a few minutes dedicated to mindfulness practices each day becomes a profound investment in our mental well-being. Change is a gradual process that demands patience and consistent effort. Neuroplasticity, like any skill, thrives on regular and repeated practice. Each intentional breath and moment of self-awareness contributes to the ongoing rewiring of our brains, empowering us to reclaim power of our thoughts and actions. The capacity to shape our neural connections is a testament to the inherent strength of the human mind–a strength that with dedication and mindfulness, can guide us towards a life of greater clarity, purpose, and fulfillment.


Eichinger, R.W. (2018). Should we get aboard the brain train? Consulting Psychology Journal:
Practice and Research, 70:1, 89-94.

Gotink, R.A., Meijboom, R., Vernooij, M.W., Smits, M., & Hunink, M.G.M. (2016). 8-week
mindfulness based stress reduction induces brain changes similar to traditional long-term
meditation practice- A systemic review. Brain and Cognition,108, 32-41.

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