Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. The art and practice of meditation is older than cognitive neuroscience by many centuries; indeed, it is older than science itself.
A wealth of evidence demonstrates that if you spend time in meditation, your brain will function more efficiently and you will be less anxious, more creative, and generally healthier. People use the practice to develop other beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood and outlook, self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns, and even increased pain tolerance.
How to Meditate
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. There should be a clock nearby, so you can check when you think about 10 minutes have elapsed. Find a comfortable chair but stay upright. Once you are in your chair, with the clock ready, close your eyes and simply try to put your brain in neutral.
- Let your thoughts wander and observe what comes up. You might find yourself drawn to think about a particular problem or task or future plan. Let yourself think about it for a few moments but try not to get drawn into a consciously driven set of thoughts. Whenever you notice that happening, don’t panic; simply decide to stop thinking about it and set your thoughts to wandering again.
- When you think about 10 minutes have passed, glance at the clock. If you are like most people, it won’t be very close to 10 minutes yet. That’s okay. Close your eyes again and continue. What you are doing is one of the simplest forms of meditation.
- Try to work up to meditating for 20 minutes at a time three or more times per week. Experiment with both concentration meditation and mindfulness meditation. If one of them feels better or easier, then go with that, but also feel free to switch back and forth depending on your mood on any given day.
As you become practiced in performing a ritual, it becomes largely automatic, leaving your conscious mind to think about other concerns— or nothing at all.
- Increased gray matter – the grayer matter means more neuronal connections – hence, you can think better
- Increased ability to stay focused
- Clearer thinking
- Reduced stress
- Less anxiety
- Enhanced self-awareness
- Reduced memory loss
- Improved sleep