Meditation is not just a practice used by monks living in the Tibetan plateau as part of their rigorous daily training. It is not just a spiritual path some choose to walk. Fascinating science behind the benefits of meditation indicates that sitting down and tuning your consciousness into the rise and fall of your breath for 10 minutes a day has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and the feeling of loneliness, all while boosting your creativity.

How is this possible? Meditation is a very intentional “redirection” of your brain’s primary objectives. In order to survive, we have to think fast and stay on our toes. This fires off the parietal lobe, the instinctual part of our brain that processes and relies on visual and sensory information. It is our base processing center.

 

Meditation, however, directs neural activity away from this reactive part of our brain, funneling it instead toward the sections responsible for creativity, memory, and emotional regulation. Think of the brain as a muscle. The more you work it, the stronger it will grow. Meditation is weightlifting for your mind.

This has had untold benefits in my life. I started my career as a bartender in a dive bar in Chicago, with a boss who loved tearing down his workers. I drank daily to deal with the stress and to bond with my regulars. Soon, I developed insomnia. Sleep eluded me for half of the summer and I was lucky to catch an hour of rest a night. No sleeping pill worked. My job did not provide insurance so seeing a doctor was not an option. My saving grace was meditation, thanks to a friend who told me it gave her more self-discipline and a feeling of greater emotional connectivity. I dove into the practice, and am thankful to this day for doing so.

 

Meditation has been the foundation upon which I have built a new, happy, balanced and healthy life. I haven’t had insomnia for two years, due to how it has rewired my mind. It is more than a spiritual journey; it is brain medicine.

Try it yourself. Set a timer for 10 minutes, sit down in a quiet, undisturbed space, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Tune in to the rise and fall of your lungs. If your brain wanders, calmly redirect it to your breath. Soon, this will be a 10-minute respite from your hectic lifestyle. You will begin to notice that what once caused you stress now barely registers on your radar. Give it time, however, as results do not happen overnight. Be patient, diligent, and you will not regret the investment.

About Our Author

Emily Griffin-Wetzel

Emily Wetzel is a writer who specializes in renewable energy advancements, environmental justice, and anything that involves building a better world. She grew up on a small organic farm in southeastern Minnesota, a beautiful place that afforded her a deep appreciation for nature. She now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as a part-time bartender in order to balance the rather solitary life of being a writer. Visit her at www.writetorevenue.com

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