I talk about it. I practice it. And I firmly believe in meditation as a powerful self-affirming practice that can ground you everyday and increase productivity, consciousness, and good health. One of most attractive things about mediation is it is free! It doesn’t require that you attend a class or have special music. One of the things I love that is creates a standard of being clear at the beginning of my day.
Meditation is like a snowflake; one’s experience is not like another. Each meditation comes with its own set of revelations, distractions, thoughts, and awareness. The goal is to be able to clear your mind of the “to-dos” and focus on breathing and the “right now” and “in this moment”. And to clear the mind of all that clutter takes time. I have found myself wondering to my to do list then using the days mantra to clear it away. That habit shows up in my work; When I find it hard to focus, a manta of focus on the task at hand to completion is a guiding force and saving grace.
In a newly published neurophysiological review, a group of scientists from Brown University lead by Dr. Catherine Kerr propose that those who practice meditation gain enhanced control over their sensory cortical alpha rhythms. These rhythms regulate how the brain processes and filters sensations, such as pain, and negative emotional states ie depression. They also support organizing general flow of information in the brain.
“By this process of repeatedly engaging and disengaging alpha dynamics across the body map, according to our alpha theory, subjects are re-learning the process of directly modulating localized alpha rhythms,” they wrote. “We hypothesize that chronic pain patients trained in mindfulness will show increased ability to modulate alpha in an anticipatory tactile attention paradigm similar to that used in [the 2011 study].” In essence, meditation can be used a mechanism of sensory pain control.
I am very excited by this study at Brown as it now begins to highlight and scientifically associate mind over matter, or in this instance, mediation over matter.
“The most significant health benefits of meditation are stress reduction, better sleep, lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular function, improved immunity, and the ability to stay centered in the midst of all the turmoil that’s going on around you. Meditation helps you do less and accomplish more.”
Are you open to doing something different? Well Oprah and Deepak Chopra have collaborated to create a free 21 Day Mediation Challenge that allows to listen to daily meditations and journal work. This serves as a great introduction or re-introduction to meditation. The challenge is already on day 5 but you can start at any point and catch up! I started a 2 days ago and will listen to 3 of the meditations this weekend. You can register by clicking here.
How has meditation served you?