Over the last couple of years I’ve been hearing more and more about the benefits of living mindfully (living in the here and now) and the advantages to practicing mediation. I’d hear or read about it and think wow that sounds great but how realistic is meditating every day? Have I really got time to sit and focus on the ‘now’? This is coming from a girl who will be working on one thing whilst trying to mentally plan the next few weeks in minute detail. To be blunt, I wasn’t sure what the point of meditating or being mindful was. I was scared about wasting time that I felt I didn’t have, on what I essentially saw as something that sounded too good to be true.
The benefits of meditation to name but a few include: lower stress levels, more compassion, better sleep, and improved physical and mental health . Mindfulness and meditation are not new ideas, they have been around for centuries and are a key part of cultures and religions across the world. I actually first heard about the ‘power’ of mediation when studying Buddhism for my religious studies A level exam . I wondered even then, how can meditation cause enlightenment and change a person’s life so drastically?
Now to tell you a little about me, my name is Chrissy, I’m 25 and am currently studying for my PhD in Pharmacy. My background is in Psychology and I am fascinated by the mind and the science surrounding it. It was actually an article I found on Twitter that led me to take the benefits of meditation seriously . An American study found that when compared to a placebo, meditation was more effective in pain reduction. Brain scans showed that meditation actually had an effect on brain activity, the thalamus in particular was deactivated during meditation. This is interesting because this part of the brain controls which pieces of information are able to reach ‘higher’ brain centres. By deactivating this area of the brain, meditation may have caused pain signals to ‘fade away’. Not only was meditation said to have lowered physical pain, it had an even greater effect on perceptions of emotional pain.
This paper was the wake up call I needed, the benefits of meditation had been explained with some scientific evidence and convinced me that I had nothing to lose by trying out meditation and mindfulness properly. This blog is about my attempts to ‘make it mindful’ and to share ways in which you too might like to try to live a little more mindfully every day.
I’d love to hear from you if you have any comments, questions or advice on how to live mindfully @makingitmindful