[box]Take a look at your average day, probably filled with television, computer screens, music and countless stimuli that we are so used to that they are part of our routine. Think about just how much of your day has some sort of stimuli, whether it is work related or simply relaxing watching your favorite tv show before bed. These things could be handicapping your ability to be successful and healthy, but how?[/box]
A History of Serenity
So music and entertainment has been around forever, so it is no new addition to our modern day lifestyle. The addition of a television in nearly every room and the internet being commonplace in virtually every household in North America puts a new spin on this entertainment that our brains simply are not ready for.
As early as 30 years ago it was far less common to find a television in every home, so how did people pass the time? They read books, sat calmly gazing into the serenity that is nature, whether it is star gazing or simply watching the wind pass through the trees. This may sound boring and a waste of time, but these calm moments of serenity promote mental health and cognitive function. Moments of self reflection and stress melting thoughts of nothingness were once an integral part in our lives.
One of the biggest indicators of this recent shift is to look at child, plethoras of gadgets, toys and visual stimuli are available and pushed onto them in order to keep them busy and to give mom and dad a bit of time to themselves. This snowballs into their adolescence and through adulthood, making these stimuli so much apart of their lives that without them they feel lost, bored and unhappy. If you think you are different, think of the last time you lost your phone or forgot to bring your tablet on a road trip, it was probably an earth shattering realization when you discovered you were without this “tether” to the world. These crutches are causing less imaginative youth, overly stimulated children who have no physical outlets for their energy, leading to overactive children in classrooms and this causes an epidemic of over prescribing drugs to help them focus.
Being bored is important, it allows for self reflection and deep meditative thought. Two things that are far too rare in this day and age.
Benefits of “Boredom” and Calm
Taking time each day to quietly reflect and in a sense meditate, is extraordinarily beneficial for our cognitive function and overall personal development. Individuals that meditate regularly have a much stronger coupling between areas of the brain in general, whether they are meditating or not. This proves that by practicing this regularly you can improve cognitive performance, enhance mood and significantly reduce the effects of stress on the brain.
One study proved that after an eight week trial of mindfulness meditation, participants had a significant effects on the area of the brain associated with positive emotions. This shows that positivity can be a learned behavior much like learning to play a musical instrument.
The significant benefits in mood, stress reduction and general cognitive health due to regular meditation are indisputable, proving their worth once again when you take a look at the sleep cycle of those who meditate vs those who don’t. On average it was found that those who meditate regularly sleep less, with no consequence to the energy, alertness or vigil. Showing that by meditating regularly you can enhance brain health and benefit from a deeper more restful sleep. Spending less time tossing and turning while improving REM sleep cycles to leave you feeling rested and energetic even when you don’t get the normal amount of sleep you may be used to.
Meditation How To
Mindfulness meditation is the area of meditation that is about awareness of the present moment. The here and now, focusing on the immediate surroundings and even the internal functions that often go unnoticed. You will find yourself focusing on subtle sounds, feeling your every move such as blinking, breathing and having a heightened sense of your surroundings.
Taking the time each day to sit quietly and release the thoughts and stresses of work, family or life in general, sitting calmly thinking of nothing else but what is happening immediately around and within you. This holds huge benefits for a variety of different ailments and cognitive health as a whole. Meditation can be used to help treat the symptoms of stress, headaches, muscle pain due to tension and even help prevent disease and cognitive decline.
How Meditating Translates Into Success
We talked about the relationship between meditation and cognitive balance and well-being, as well as the benefits of self reflection and relieving stress. These all manifest into a more confident, healthier and more mentally alert individual. Transforming a person’s ability to approach new tasks, deal with stress in a healthy way and convey an overwhelming sense of calm and confidence to those around you. All these qualities are enormous boons to not only professional life, but life in general.
Everyone knows someone who is outlandishly productive, positive and most likely successful because of it. These people are able to focus on a task with unwavering productivity and seem unaltered by lifes little stresses. Able to work long into the night, wake up early in the morning with no reduction in energy or motivation, and able to pursue the new days tasks with no lack of enthusiasm. Chances are this person practices meditation, whether they take the few minutes each day to practice it, or they simply approach their life with the same mentality as a practiced meditator.
Whether you think this sounds like a load of self help mumbo jumbo or not, take 5 minutes out of your day for a few weeks to prove the effects for yourself. It will take practice to be able to let the stresses and thoughts of the day melt away, leaving nothing but the thoughts of right now in your mind. But once practiced and perfected, this can be one of the most beneficial things for your success, health and quality of life.
Also check out Dr. Gruver’s site for health and wellness resources, books, DVDs and up to date health information. She is also available as a speaker and wellness expert for articles, radio and TV. As a proprietor of the connection between body and mind her site is filled with great information.