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Enhance Your Mind with Meditation

Enhance Your Mind with Meditation

Meditation is an ancient practice, steeped in Eastern cultural and religious history.

When you think of meditation, you might envisage a monk in orange robes working on his mindfulness game before a chanting session.

If that’s not what you’re doing this weekend, perhaps this kind of practice seems difficult to connect with and to see how it could be helpful.

But there’s a reason why meditation app’s and classes are blowing up in the West.

All of a sudden people are realising how beneficial the practice can be, something Buddhists have known for thousands of years.

But what is it exactly? Think of meditation as a skill you habitually practise to train your mind.

Meditation has an array of scientifically proven benefits. Improving mood, reducing stress, increasing focus and concentration, regulating negative emotions, and improving sleep are just a few of the rewards from a regular practice (1,2,3,4,5).

Meditation is a powerful tool for developing an understanding of yourself, using self-awareness to better relate to others and yourself.

The idea is that by seeing the patterns that govern you, through awareness, you can reconstruct them in a way that serves you better (4).

And really, while meditation takes many forms, it can be practised anywhere and doesn’t require a specific space or equipment.

Practise only needs to last a few minutes each day.

There are two main styles of meditation, what you do will be specific to your needs.

Focused meditation - focusing intently on a specific sound, thought, mantra, or object. The idea is to rid yourself of all distractions and thoughts and focus solely on one thing.

Mindfulness meditation - an open state of observation, paying close attention to sounds, thoughts, feelings, sense of self and your body to improve awareness and self-understanding.

Whether you decide to use an app for guidance, or simply crack on developing your own practice, I’d recommend dedicating 10-20 mins at the very start of the day, immediately upon waking.

Consider this, it’s likely you dedicate a fair bit of attention to training your body. When was the last time you trained your mind?

References

Dahl, C., Lutz, A. and Davidson, R., 2015. Reconstructing and deconstructing the self: cognitive mechanisms in meditation practice. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19(9), pp.515-523.

Hoge, E., Bui, E., Marques, L., Metcalf, C., Morris, L., Robinaugh, D., Worthington, J., Pollack, M. and Simon, N., 2013. Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Meditation for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 74(08), pp.786-792.

Norris, C., Creem, D., Hendler, R. and Kober, H., 2018. Brief Mindfulness Meditation Improves Attention in Novices: Evidence From ERPs and Moderation by Neuroticism. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12.

Ong, J., Manber, R., Segal, Z., Xia, Y., Shapiro, S. and Wyatt, J., 2014. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Meditation for Chronic Insomnia. Sleep, 37(9), pp.1553-1563.

Orme-Johnson, D. and Barnes, V., 2014. Effects of the Transcendental Meditation Technique on Trait Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(5), pp.330-341.

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