I already regret not committing to eat a piece of chocolate daily, as my #50DayWellnessChallenge, and after reading this article, I’m thinking I should have picked meditation, too.
It sounds like a joke to promote “meditation hacks” – ie a fast-track to a slower state of mindfulness… but as the article reports, Mike Brooks, psychologist and director of the Austin Psychology and Assessment Center says:
“Most of us aren’t present for most of the day. We’re thinking about what we need to do or what we should have done. But if we have one foot in the future and one in the past, we’re pissing on the present. People think the goal of meditation is to empty the mind. It’s not about clearing the mind; it’s about focusing on one thing. When the mind wanders, the meditation isn’t a failure. Our brain is like a wayward puppy, out of control. Catching it and putting it back to the object of focus is the mediation.”
Brooks says our thoughts are like a river. When we’re thinking about what we need from the store, the river is calm, but when we’re having negative thoughts—worrying about a presentation, for example—the current becomes more turbulent.
Mindful people—those who live in the present—can step back and stay on the riverbank, watching their current of thoughts and not getting swept away by their content.
Meditation fosters mindfulness. It’s like exercise; a full workout is preferred, but there is value in short bursts.
“Research shows that a total of 15 minutes of meditating each day for several weeks produces detectable, positive changes in the brain as well as corresponding reductions in stress, anxiety, and an enhanced sense of well-being,” says Brooks. “You can get the benefits of a formal meditation practice by weaving mini-meditations into your daily life.”
The article offers 6 ways to incorporate meditation into your daily life. Check them out here.
For me, I suspect my brain was trying to tell me something when I misread the above sentence as “research shows that a total of 15 minutes of meditation a day produces DELECTABLE positive changes in the brain.” Hmm, maybe I do have chocolate on the brain.