When talking to male friends, I have noticed that when I mention the words ‘daily meditation’ their eyes appear to glaze over and they don a ‘that’s not my thing’ expression. The truth is though, that everyone can benefit from a daily dose mindfulness. This doesn’t mean we have to spend six hours a day in silence and only wear cheese cloth. It just means 5 minutes of your day to spend with yourself, breathing and appreciating the moment.
Mindfulness meditation is a mental practice based on focusing on the sensations of the breath and body and trying to maintain a relaxed state of mind. We all get distracted (‘What should I make for breakfast?’), it’s normal for emotions and sensations to arise; that’s fine, just acknowledge the distraction, non-judgementally, don’t try and push it out (trust me it will come back) and return your attention to the breath or body. Buddhists monks have described meditation as attending to the bare facts of perception without reacting to them by deed, speech or mental comment.
So why meditate? There have been countless studies to show that meditation can help control stress and anxiety; but it can also increase your brain power!!! Neuroscientist, Richard Davidson, found in a study of Buddhist monks performing cognitive tasks under MRI that there was significantly more neurons activated in the region of selective attention than their non-meditating counter parts. It has also been found to improve cognitive flexibility and working memory.
So, no more excuses!! It has to be the easiest thing you can do for your mental health, just sit there……And breathe!!!