Calm amidst the Madness
Machines, computers, and artificial intelligence have increasingly handled more and more tasks once done by humans. Yet, paradoxically, we find ourselves with busier and bustling lives. The ability to conduct business faster has, for better or worse, led to faster business. Meditation is a highly effective way of coping with homework, part-time work, the loud noises and bright lights of the city, and more. It may seem like the act of doing nothing, but the act of meditating is the calming and silencing your mind, regardless of the activity and hustle of the world around you.
There are different types of meditation, and people often personalize and customize the practice individually. Some meditators focus on one specific bodily sensation, such has breathing. Others will use an object as their focal point. Some will instead use open-monitoring, which involves noticing everything that is occurring in the area you are in while remaining calm and non-reactionary.
This can all be done in your room after or before bedtime, during lunch, on the bus, or whenever you have at least 10 minutes to spare. Studies have shown that doing this daily can start making a difference for your mental and emotional well-being in as little as eight weeks. It can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as help you cope with injuries or other physical pain you may be enduring.
In addition, you are likely to see boosts in your memory and creativity. Researchers at Leiden University found that open-monitoring meditation helped people generate new ideas. Further research has been done indicating that meditating helps you ignore distractions and recall facts quicker. This is especially beneficial for exams.
From a scientific standpoint, meditation weakens the connections in the brain between scary or anxiety-causing sensations and your conscious awareness. Instead, more activity takes place in the parts of the brain devoted to logical reasoning, helping you to better assess that test you have to study for or the problems going on amongst friends.
The solitary act of meditating also helps in your interactions with others. Studies indicate that habitual meditators have greater development in the regions of the brain associated with empathy and compassion. This makes you less prone to outbursts of anger or tension, and more likely to work out situations with friends in a calm manner.
Beyond the mental effects, practicing meditation can also help you feel better physically. A study demonstrated that those who practiced regularly had a better immune response to the flu vaccine compared to others. This boost to your immune system can help you stay healthy for a better school attendance and engagement in extra-curricular activities.
Another study showed that meditating can help protect the genes inside of you. Certain protein complexes called telomeres are strengthened via the act to help ward off diseases. This may not be of much value at the moment, but is especially important for your long-term health.
Meditation has many positive benefits, but these can only be achieved for dedication and effort. I know from experience how easy it is to say you want to meditate and then never get around to it. You have to very consciously decide to put aside your phone and the hectic world around you for a little bit each day. In a world full of distractions, doing nothing is a challenging task.
Cooper, Belle Beth. “What Happens to the Brain When You Meditate (And How it Benefits You).” Lifehacker. http://lifehacker.com/what-happens-to-the-brain-when-you-meditate-and-how-it-1202533314
Loria, Kevin. “7 ways meditation changes your brain and body.” Business Insider. http://www.businessinsider.com/how-meditation-changes-your-brain-2015-