I'd consider MINDSET to be among a list of pop psychology buzzwords that have gained momentum in the last few years. You've probably heard of the concept and how what we believe about our abilities can have a greater impact on our success than what our actual abilities might be. And while it has gained a pop psychology type of reputation, MINDSET has been widely studied and its impact on our wellbeing is backed by some super sexy hard science data.
Dr. Carol Dweck has compiled a fascinating body of research on the concept of Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset and specifically how messaging to school aged children around working hard compared to being smart impacts their belief system about their capacity for mastery and resilience through change. Her work has been a real game changer in how we conceptualize education and the learning experience of children pre-K through university. And moving toward a Growth Mindset at any point in our lives leads to simply put, a better existence. You can learn more here.
In my recent dedication to seeking out mental health tools and treating the current mental health crisis with a triage response, I have really drilled down on MINDSET as something that we can all work on both in therapy, but also alone. And this is important. A response to this emergency must include a multitude of ways we can address our mental health both in and out of therapy. We need agency. And MINDSET certainly has the makings of tool that can offer real improvements to our daily life.
Along with Growth Mindset and Fixed Mindset, MINDSET also involves what is known as NEUROPLASTICITY. And NEUROPLASTICITY is probably one of the coolest things ever. Essentially, NEUROPLASTICITY is the ability for the brain to change and adapt as a result of our experiences. And while it is true that our brain can change and adapt as a result to trauma in ways that can leave us depleted, NEUROPLASTICITY means that by concentrating on specific information and experiences that build our resilience and wellbeing, we can “rewire” our neural connections. Our mind is malleable. Through strengthening our neural pathways that encourage wellbeing we achieve what is known as structural plasticity, or the brain's ability to change its structure due to learning. How cool is that?
You can imagine the impact this aspect of MINDSET can have on our mental health. Structural plasticity puts a high degree of agency in our hands when it comes to our wellbeing. I am particularly interested in the impact NEUROPLASTICITY and MINDSET has on goal setting. As goal setting is also an aspect of wellbeing where we can have a high level of agency. I've been working on a project that addresses just this and you are invited to give it a try! Visit here to take part in a brief and interactive NEUROPLASTICITY workshop that will quite literally change your mind!
Start thinking of MINDSET as more of a MINDSTATE.
Let's get malleable.