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Those who practice meditation daily swear by the positive changes.
The ability to center themselves, become more mindful, and understand their behavior patterns allows them to take more control of their story lines.
This is what they will constantly share with others, with those who are willing to listen.
In the past years, meditation has come full circle as a practice, from celebrities like Russell Brand and Oprah Winfrey, to entrepreneurs like Arianna Huffington. Even news anchors have seen the benefits firsthand.
After suffering a panic attack on national television, Dan Harris has embraced meditation by becoming an advocate of the practice. This newfound respect for the practice has helped him to write books and created the 10% Happier meditation app.
As for me, meditation has been a guiding light to improve mental clarity and overall self-awareness. It’s helped me identify behavior patterns that I was not proud of. It’s increased my ability to connect with others, as there would be times when I was desperate to be pulled away from conversations.
My mind would always wonder if those around me could see through this fraud of an extrovert. As a young adult, I would have been labeled as a social butterfly.
As I hyperfocused on what I designed as my path of success, I completely disconnected from the world around me. I wanted to prove to myself and those who doubted that I could be successful—what this caused was alienation with my family, friends, and strangers.
Meditation practice has increased my ability to be more mindful and has helped me notice how I’m about to react to different situations. On some occasions, I’m able to take a few seconds to control what would have been an overreaction. The overreaction that would have led me to being angry for the rest of the day.
If you would have told me that I would create a daily habit of this practice 10 years ago, or even find the passion to learn it and teach it, I would have spilled my beer and continued on to the next adrenaline-seeking adventure.
With that said, can we actually deconstruct meditation? If we reverse engineer meditation to understand the benefits, I believe we are more inclined to embrace it.
Below you will find what I believe is my best attempt to deconstruct meditation, for the nonbelievers.
A functional MRI measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow. With the help of an fMRI, scientists have developed a more thorough understanding of what takes place in our brains when we meditate. The overall difference is that there is a shift in the way our brains process information when in a meditative state, as opposed to a normal wakeful state.
As someone with severe ADHD, meditation has helped me in calming my overactive brain. ADHD causes hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and attention problems. With meditation, I work on the mindfulness muscle to take a moment before reacting in order to quiet the mind.
Understanding the benefits of meditation is one side, but it is a personal practice with different intentions that we design for ourselves. The type of meditation that works for me may not necessarily work for you.
As I see it, there are three main benefits that we can take in when meditation becomes a daily habit:
1. More Focus: As we focus on a home base in meditation, whether that is our breath or a sensation in our body, we increase our ability to focus. This is done during our meditation practice, but the benefits will extend to and will be experienced in your day-to-day.
2. Less Stress: As humans we stress when we multitask or when we feel overwhelmed. With meditation, we are taught to be mindful of the moment. We begin to see the benefit of living a more mindful life by living within this one moment.
3. Less Anxiety: Anxiety is a cognitive state connected to an inability to regulate emotions. But research shows that a consistent meditation practice reprograms neural pathways in the brain and that it improves our ability to regulate and manage emotions.
If this has been a helpful read that has shed some light to what meditation can possibly do for you, I’m grateful for that. If not, I still appreciate you taking a few minutes to read the article.