‘Mindsight’ is a term developed by Dr. Daniel Siegel to describe our brain’s ability to be aware of itself. As humans we have the unique ability to think about our own thinking. We can focus our attention internally to notice our emotions, behaviors and thoughts. We can choose to change them once they are in our mindsight. By turning our attention inward and developing an awareness of our internal landscape we gain clarity in our lives.
One of the most important pieces of mindsight is the understanding of neuroplasticity. Scientists used to think that the brain stopped growing by the end of childhood and was then fixed. We now know that the brain is capable of learning and developing throughout the lifespan. As we experience the world, neurons in the brain fire and create pathways for our experiences. By focusing our attention, we strengthen existing neural pathways and create new ones. The brain, through neuroplasticity, is able to create new patterns of firing which allow previously separated areas in the brain to integrate. Through focusing our attention on our internal experiences, the brain becomes more interconnected and adaptive.
Dr. Siegel outlines three components that are critical to developing our mindsight and creating clarity in our lives. They are openness, observation and objectivity. Openness is being receptive to whatever emerges as we focus our attention inward. Observation is the ability to perceive our internal experiences from a distance. It is the ability to step back from our experience to notice the experience we are having. Objectivity is the ability to discern the difference between our experience and reality. We can perceive our internal experience without being swept away in it. By utilizing openness, observation and objectivity of our own internal experience, as well as to what is going on inside others, we are able to connect in new ways. The more mindsight we develop, the more our brains change and the more clarity we begin to have in our lives. Make this the year of mindsight growth.
Based on the book Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.