The meditation-and-the-brain research has been rolling in steadily for a number of years now, with new studies coming out just about every week to illustrate some new benefit of meditation. With ancient benefit now being confirmed with fMRI or EEG. The practice appears to have an amazing variety of neurological benefits – from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the “me” centers of the brain to enhanced connectivity between brain regions
Living during this period in our lives is a stressful experience. Regardless of how calm or how laid back we are we are all experiencing a time in our lives where everything has changed, and for most of us change is fraught with anxiety and uncertainty.
We are worried about our families, our country, our friends and what is going to happen to our world. Travel has ground to a halt, and for those of us who travel for business or for pleasure this is something we need to revisit even when all the borders open. For many of us our jobs and careers have a gloomy future which has resulted in us looking at smart ways of getting new careers and making money to put the proverbial crust on the table.
The experts believe that the art of breathing and meditation offers long-term health benefits from stress relief to bringing out the creative side in an individual. Converts of meditation and breathing will also tell you that breathing and meditating help you to sleep better at night and to handle stress more effectively throughout the day.
Because chronic stress is all around us and with anxiety and burnout a reality for many in a fast-paced anxious world, meditation is a great tool and coping mechanism that will help on so many levels.
With correct breathing and meditation the idea is to be intentional about emptying your mind of thoughts and taking time out of a usually busy day to sit and do nothing purposefully for a period of time.
Meditation might sound easy and the benefits are fantastic, but meditation can be tough at first for many of us – even if it is for a couple of minutes to begin with. We need to train our minds to switch off as most of us are not used to doing this and it could make us feel anxious at first. Our brains are simply not trained to switch off in a frenetic, anxious world.
Lockdown has afforded us the ideal opportunity to embark on a journey that is not filled from end to end with things to think about and things to do.
Join Linda Green every Monday at 4pm-4:30pm for a guided meditation class.
These great steps will help you get started:
- Set aside a specific time to switch off and meditate (our classes are all recorded even if you don’t make the live ones)
- Start out small – if you don’t get it right first time around, you will build this up
- Take note of all the feelings and thoughts that crowd into your mind and let them come but let them go without any judgement or anxiety
- Scheduling your sessions for the same time each day and repeating your meditation frequently will get you going
Benefits of meditation:
- Meditation reduces activity in the brain’s “Me Center” the brain network responsible for mind-wandering AKA the monkey mind or the chatter mind..
- Its effects rival antidepressants for depression and anxiety
- Meditation may lead to volume changes in key areas of the brain.
- Just a few days of training improves concentration and attention.
Remember to take time out during the day to be kind to yourself and empty your mind of thoughts – and breathe, breathe, breathe in and out deeply.
Written by Theresa Bennett