Taking some for yourself is crucial for your overall wellbeing - fact. And with the increasing popularity of ways to do this be this via mindfulness apps or plain old sitting in a quiet room for half hour meditating the scientific proof regarding its benefits is out there.
(So really, we just have to find the motivation to do it.)
One of the most interesting studies to come out in the last few years conducted at Yale University claims that mindfulness meditation even decreases the activity in the ‘default mode network’ (DMN) the part of our brain that is responsible for our ‘mind wandering and self-referential’ thoughts. And since our mind wandering has been proven to be associated with unhappy thoughts doesn’t this mean that the more time we spend meditating the happier we could be?
Anyway, there are more benefits to meditation than meets the eye and we’re chatting about some of our favourite below.
Meditation teacher Shrimati Bhanu Narasimhan describes meditation as ‘the mind without agitation,’ therefore when we’re stressed trying to still the mind with meditation can actually provide us with the space to learn to let things go. Plus, aren’t the levels of stress and anxiety increasing in the western world these days on so many levels? Meditation can allow you take control of your own emotions, help you slow down and teach you that maybe your problems aren’t really that bad anyway!
Sitting still teaches you to turn the buzz off. Turn the world off, but more importantly it teaches you to re-connect with yourself. It teaches you to recognise your emotions, and in turn acknowledge them, then send them on their way. Which means that meditation can help you better get in touch with you, your self-awareness (and in turn probably make you more comfortable with who you are).
Having trouble concentrating isn’t just a problem that affects toddlers. These days with the 24/7 media and electronic landscape it’s becoming more and more a problem for the adult world too. In fact, one recent study found that “mindfulness training improved both GRE reading-comprehension scores and working memory capacity while simultaneously reducing the occurrence of distracting thoughts during completion of the GRE and the measure of working memory.” Results that basically suggest a little mindful meditation could be an effective way to improve your cognitive function and concentration.
It can slow ageing
Wha! Could meditation actually make you look younger? Well… maybe, because if you think about it, stress is actually ageing us, so the more relaxed we are won’t the younger we’ll be? HA. But there’s a little more to it than that. Studies show that meditation changes brain physiology to slow ageing. “Cognition seems to be preserved in meditators,” says Sara Lazar, a researcher at Harvard University. “It’s proven that people who meditate have more gray matter – literally, more brain cells than anyone else.”
So there you go. Now we just need to get off the internet and find some time to do it.
Tell us, do you meditate? How does it make you feel?