spirit, mind, matter

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." – Ursula K. Le Guin


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20 Scientific Reasons to Start Meditating Today: From Psychology Today

I found a wonderful article on Psychology Today that gives us all 20 scientific reasons to start meditating (complete with links to studies)!

Please go check it out at http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201309/20-scientific-reasons-start-meditating-today.

 

Here is a teaser copied from the article:

20 Scientific Reasons to Start Meditating Today

New research shows meditation boosts your health, happiness, and success!

I started meditating soon after 9/11. I was living in Manhattan, an already chaotic place, at an extremely chaotic time. I realized I had no control over my external environment. But the one place I did have a say over was my mind, through meditation. When I started meditating, I did not realize it would also make me healthier, happier, and more successful. Having witnessed the benefits, I devoted my PhD research at Stanford to studying the impact of meditation. I saw people from diverse backgrounds from college students to combat veterans benefit. In the last 10 years, hundreds of studies have been released. Here are 20 scientifically-validated reasons you might want to get on the bandwagon today:

 

Here is an infographic the author made:

 

10 Science-Based Reasons To Start Meditating Today (INFOGRAPHIC)

(source)

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Meditation and Mindfulness in the News and a Short Meditation Practice

While I love reading spiritual books and articles, I must confess that my inner scientist really loves to see meditation and mindfulness in the news.  The quotes, practices, and feelings I get appeal to my emotional/sensing side but my cerebral side loves to see what scientists are saying about meditation and mindfulness.

I thought I’d take an opportunity today to share an article with you. Below, you will find the title, link, and a few interesting quotes from the article so you can get the gist and decide if you would like to read more.

We Need To Take Meditation More Seriously As Medicine
Read more: We Need To Take Meditation More Seriously As Medicine | TIME.com http://ideas.time.com/2014/01/17/we-need-to-take-meditation-more-seriously-as-medicine/#ixzz2uPMLShIL

 

  • The problem? Many of us conflate meditation with yoga or other types of complimentary medicine, overestimate the time it takes to meditate effectively, and discount the neurological evidence that mindful focus improves brain functioning.

 

  • …he reviewed 47 clinical trials involving more than 3500 participants with mild anxiety or depression, and found that those who practiced mindful mediation saw a 5-10% improvement in anxiety symptoms and a 10-20% reduction in depressive symptoms compared to placebo groups—on par with the effects other studies have shown for anti-depressants in similar populations.

If you believe that you don’t have time to meditate, I encourage you to challenge that belief and find 5 minutes to give it a try. 

You can find a 5 minute meditation below this image. 


I have dabbled with this for years. I want to get more serious about making this a practice in my life.

5 Minute Meditation:

Set a timer, or put on a calming piece of music with a set time so you don’t worry about taking too long.

  • Sit or lay down comfortably.
  • Place your attention on your breath.
  • As you inhale, feel the the expansion of the breath in your chest and belly.
  • As you exhale, feel the chest and belly deflate.
  • Repeat, saying “rise, fall,” or “in, out,” “notice, allow,” “have, peace,” or praise, God,” whatever 2 words make you feel at ease. There is no right or wrong!

When thoughts enter your mind, notice them, and watch them leave. Having thoughts while you meditate is completely normal. It’s not wrong or bad, and it doesn’t make you “bad” at meditation- it makes you human. It’s not the thoughts that are the problem, it’s judgement and attachments to the thoughts. So, notice the thoughts and say, “ah, thinking- there is a thought,” and give it permission to be there or leave, and maintain focus on your breath.

Sometimes, my mind is so busy that I can hear myself chattering away in my mediation. I try to hear that chatter as background noise and bring my attention to the breath. For me, it’s a great indicator of my mindset for the day. If I notice I’m having a particularly “chatty/thinking” day, I can set an intention to slow down and be extra mindful of my reactions and responses.

Try it and see!