Wouldn’t it be great to be smarter, reduce your stress and look better naked?! Two words….
In the last few years researchers like the joint venture between Bender Institute of Neuroimaging in Germany and the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the US Dept. of Health and Human Services have been looking at the positive impacts of mindfulness meditation.
Before I explain all the benefits… What is mindfulness meditation?
Mindful meditation is simply quietly and paying attention to what you are experiencing. Taking a few minutes to quiet the chatter in your mind in order to pay attention to what is happening in your mind.
There are A LOT of different ways to get started with mindful meditation. There are free videos on YouTube, there are websites like freemindfullness.org, apps free and paid and all good ways to get started.
Initially, the research was intriguing to me but I tried a couple of different meditations from Deepak Chopra and I just couldn’t get into it and I was convinced that it just didn’t work on me. But since I’m curious (and stubborn), I wanted to try again. When I stumbled on a training for therapists on meditation, it sounded perfect. It was a really good and I learned about posture and breathing, ect. All of which is important but the single biggest take away was patience.
Patience with myself and my brain.
The trainer made an analogy between the brain and a 2 year old. He said that 2 year olds like to run around, play and make noise and that our brains are just like that. He also reminded us that when you yell and scream at a 2 year old, that doesn’t make them be quiet and still and that doesn’t work on your brain either. Basically, when not if you get distracted, you just redirect yourself back to the focus you are looking for (which is typically your breath). Yes, it’s that simple.
Sound easy enough?!
It takes a little practice and there will be days when your 2 year old will not cooperate. But trust me, if I can do it so can you.
What are the benefits?
- Meditation has been shown in study after study to reduce stress. Stress causes all sorts of physical and mental health problems, plus it’s… stressful.
- Researchers have also found that meditation increases learning and improves memory. Who doesn’t need to remember more stuff?
- It has been shown to help people deal more effectively with their feelings. In my work I have learned that most people have trouble naming their feelings. Being able to meditate and can help you not just name your feelings but also navigate them so that they don’t overwhelm you.
- It makes your more compassionate and nicer. As the bumper sticker says, “Mean People Suck.” We could all stand to be a little nicer to those around us.
- Want better sleep? Mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve the sleep of people who practice. I don’t know about you but when I have a good night’s sleep, everything feels more doable.
- Mindfulness mediation has also been shown to help people achieve their fitness goals. Look better naked. (I know you thought I would get to it.) 🙂
- I could keep going but I think you get the point.
There are no side effects, no risks and it is FREE!! The only thing it will cost you is 5 - 15 minutes a day. Your health, well-being and the people around you will be better off if you give this a real try.