Why everybody should meditate
We are all predisposed to focus on negative experiences. This tendency to mostly pay attention to things in a pessimistic way guides our emotional reactions, fears, decision making, and memory processing.
Basically, without realizing we wear a negative pair of glasses, that clouds most go the things in our world through lenses that focus on finding negativity.
That is something pretty dramatic. Most of the things you say, do, and feel are being filtered using the negative bias of your brain. If this seems gloom, yes, your brain is doing it. Your mind right now is focusing on the negative picture that I’m trying to paint to you.
Is it possible to retrain our brain to focus less on the negative?
The answer is YES.
There are many things that you can do to reshape this negative conditioning. Most of the negative focus starts in areas of your brain that can change with mental training. Meditation is a proven mind tool to get this done.
In meditation, we are training ourselves to guide our brain’s internal conversation. We are using self-directed neuroplasticity.
Our brain has this amazing ability to be molded and be flexible. You can guide it to change the negative bias. By using neuroplasticity, we are taking advantage of the brain’s flexibility and putting it to good use for our well being.
How can I train my brain?
You can start with a simple technique called the relaxation response. Dr. Herbert Benson from Harvard University researched the brain and found this technique in the 70s. He developed and proved that with solely focusing on one thing for 12- 15 minutes daily, you could change your brain’s negative bias.
Practicing the relaxation response technique changes neuro-chemical reactions and promotes good hormones that train your brain to reduce stress and cortisol. It also teaches your nervous system to reduce the pessimistic focus and find more relaxation.
The relaxation response technique
1. Pick a focus: Find something to focus on your body or your mind. You can pick a word to repeat like “Peace” or “Calm. You can also choose to focus on your breathing. Simply pay attention to your chest or nostrils and notice your breath coming in and out.
2. Find a place: Select a place that you can sit comfortably and that you won’t be disturb. Find a body posture that is relaxing and allows you to breathe comfortably.
3. Set a timer: Determine the time you have available to practice and set a timer. You can keep your eyes open or close. Just do whatever feels more relaxing to you.
Then begin practicing the technique and focus on your point of attention. During your practice, when your mind wanders or gets distracted, take a pause. Do not get upset as this is part of training your unruly brain. It happens to everybody. When you notice the wandering, simply return to your point of focus and carry on.
Think about the big picture. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a more balanced brain that helps you make better decisions? It would be life-changing to have a mind that can cope in a resilient way when challenges arise instead of freaking out. Would it be liberating to have better attention, memory, and be able to stay present as your life evolves around you? If you haven’t tried meditation today, please give it a go.
What do you have to lose?
If you struggle to find your way through starting your meditation practice, please feel free to contact me. I’ll be happy to help and guide you into starting a more mindful and resilient life.
Are you willing to give meditation a try?
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.