Archívy značky: science

Habit that is worth to build

You already know that meditation is amazing and simple way how to improve your life. It´s proven by researches and people who meditate on daily basis. Maybe you´ve just decided that you´ll join them. Still it´s important to mention one more thing.

To make meditation work, it has to become your habit. It´s the same with anything you do, anything you want to better at. Perfection comes with repetition and results are guaranteed with regularity.

Even though habits make our lives easier just because of simple fact that automatization saves capacity of our brain, to build a habit is nothing than easy.

According to well-known book of Charles Duhigg Power of habit is foundation to change any habit understanding how habit actually works. „It has three parts: stimulus, behavior and reward,“ tells us the author of the book. So we have to choose an impulse, make a plan and stick to it. Bagatelle, right?

mind-full-mindful-1To keep your plan going is the hardest part, but if you can do this, anything else will come with time. If you promise to yourself, that you will cut twenty minutes from your morning time and use it to meditate, and then you´ll be doing so, it´s highly possible, you´ll keep this habit. You´ll become addicted to the feeling that meditation actually gives you – feeling of relax and clear mind. And this is exactly the reward that Charles Duhigg is talking of when describing habit loop.

In one point, talking about meditation, is author wrong. Meditation works both: if you believe it or not. Your own experience is the best argument why you should believe something or why you should change something. Maybe you´ ll be surprised that one key habit can change whole scale of habits. „Key habits give you rewards, in scientific literature known as small wins. They help other habits to bloom, because they implement new conditions and create basis for spreading change,“ writes Duhigg. Meditation can be considered as key habit that leads to another ones. It´s the same like exercising – you start to exercise and slowly realize that you´re changing your nutrition, behavior and thinking. You´re literally changing your life.

habits wordleMaybe you don´t think now you should change something. You´re completely satisfied. But if you´re not, meditation can give you an insight. „The core of meditation is to interrupt automaticism,“ says famous guru Osho. It´s obvious that many things we normally do are not necessarily good for us. But we keep them doing because they´re part of our automatic equipment. We don´t even think of them. Ability to watch your mind helps us to asses critically what we´re up to, why we´re up to and if we can be up to something else. Meditation changes your habits but most of all it´s the first habit which is important to learn. And if you´re optimist (or visionary) as Dan Harris, famous presenter, writer and propagator of meditation, maybe you´ll agree with following: „Meditation will join pantheon of no brainers like excercising, washing your teeth or taking medicaments that prescribes your doctor.“ Harris compares it to revolution in healthy lifestyle linked to jogging. „If you would say someone in forty years that you run, they would ask you, from what. Today, when I say people that I meditate, I´m weird, but it will change in few years,“ he predicts.

We have no choice than trust him. If he was right, it would be anyway one of the best revolution ever. Great motivation for you can be generally single fact, that you can be part of that revolution.

Why scientists recommend meditation

It´s highly possible that till now you´ve been associating meditation only with eastern philosophies, esotericism and alternative medicine. Maybe you´ve been seeing it as a dangerous secret of all budhists, hinduists and people pretending to be budhists/ hinduists. Maybe you´ve never heard of a mindfulness technique and you let it to the hippie freaks and eastern addicts.

But meditation is no more only heritage of east, everyday it´s spread more and more on the west. Meditation and mindfulness techniques are nowadays widely used by specialists on brain, psychics, behavior and psychology general. Meditation is taught in schools, army, business (for ex. David Lynch foundation). Western world definitely succumbed to this method which is becoming part of a lifestyle of people of any origin, background, profession. Before you reject it just as another new wave, take a look why scientists find it so useful.

Meditation lower stress – We know very well that stress is reason for many civilization deseases: high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic pain, asthma, depression. According to many researches, meditation with concentrating on breathing and perception of inside stages of body and mind leading to deep relaxation is related to decrease of cortisol – hormone responsible for stress reactions.

Photo: Kudivani Photography

Meditation strengthens immune system – In recent article I wrote about how I used to be ill very often. Since I started doing meditation, my immune system became stronger and I didn´t even know why. Researches show why: Cortisol is also responsible for weakening immune system a regular meditation is lowering this level as well as strengthening whole body and mind. Weak immune system reacts generally not very well to the stress situation, while person with good immune system reacts better. Stress simply influences both psychical and physical part too much, and strong body and mind can handle better. Meditation is great prevention for all inflammatory diseases and together with exercising it´s simply the best recipe for current autumn period.

Meditation lowers pain and heals lot of physical deseases – Interesting conclusion was found by Duke University Medical center which studied influence of meditation practice on chronic pain. In eight week program patients with chronic pain of lower back went through loving kindness meditation and the results were amazing. Comparing to the control group their reactions on pain improved and they could handle feelings of pain, eager and sadness better. Medical University of South Carolina confirmed that meditation can have positive effect on wide scale of psychics, physics symptoms – it reduces feelings of anxiety, depression, bad mood, low self-esteem, insomnia, etc.

Meditation improves emotional perceiving and concentration – According to different researches, meditation improves functioning of amygdala – part of the brain responsible for emotional perception. With regular meditation can amygdala get smaller, and your brain can deal with emotions better. Meditation also has positive effect on prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for concentration and memory. With aging is this part degrading, but meditation can slower this process and prevent from Alzheimer. It´s worth seeing this short video explaining why. Amazing how big influence can meditation have on brain.

Photo: Kudivani Photography

Meditation improves memory and analytical thinking – Meditation has generally huge effect on mind. Studies showed that experienced meditators had increased their grey matter right in those parts which meditation works with. Grey matter rules all cognitive functions in brain, so mediation gives you a tool how to improve your brain at all fronts. Not coincidentally it´s recommended to the clinic doctors and psychologists to step on the more holistic path, using methods of meditation or mindfulness practice. Body & mind medicine applies these methods already and it´s just matter of time till traditional medicine follows this example.

Meditation improves your relationships – Every love starts with love toward yourself and for many people this is the stumbling block. Feelings of low self-esteem, self-pity, absence of self-confidence and self-love haven´t helped anyone yet. Meditation can normalize also these aspects. “When I don´t meditate I feel so pent up and tense, meditation helps me with self-love and family noticed a change of me being generally more calm and chilled out,” said Georgia which meditates everyday aprox. 30 minutes. According to studies, meditation helps self-conscious, and perceiving of our own which improves understanding what is happening at the conscious level. Person who understands himself well can generally understand others better and therefor accept their behavior. Notice that something is happening and accept it are two positive steps toward happier life and better health.

Moreover meditation, especially practice of loving kindness helps to build your compassion toward others. You´re becoming more open, understanding, patient, generally that kind of partner that anyone wishes to have.

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Photo: Kudivani Photography

Meditation teaches you to live in presence – All that was said is highly probably true, but at the end the most important fact: Meditation teaches you to live now and here, to live the actual moment of precious present, live more mindful, more conscious. As it was said in previous article, it cleans your glasses to see things clearer. You see what´s going on, what the others are doing and you accept it as a reality. You think more, you ask more, you don´t judge. You stop overreacting, or acting too instinctively. You´re becoming more loving and sensible person. You´re happier and healthier.

It all sounds as a miracle. It doesn´t matter if you believe it or not, still you can try it and see yourself what happens. If you find a while for yourself, it´s eitherway positive. Maybe it will become your new habit that definitely changes your life.

On habits next time. 🙂