1. Reduces stress
2. Lowers blood pressure
3. Decreases anxiety
4. Relieves insomnia
5. Lessens the effects of PTSD
6. Improves attention and focus
7. Enhances learning
Thousands of studies have been done in the past 40-50 years that show the many benefits of practicing meditation. A study published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience in February reports a pronounced difference in the amount of gyrations, or folds in gray matter (cerebral cortex), in people who meditate on a regular basis. The longer you have practiced meditation, the more gyrations. More research needs to be conducted, but it’s possible that this correlation could positively affect cognitive abilities.
We know that because of neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to create more neurons and more connections between neurons) that we can affect positive change in the brain. The more neurons and new pathways we create, the more we strengthen our cognitive skills. Finding a strong connection between meditation and more neuron filled gray matter is another huge advantage of meditating.
Breathe……focus……my nose itches…..breathe….I need to do laundry….my foot is falling asleep…breathe…..my apartment smells funny….breathe….
I have had times in my life where I have been successful with a meditation practice. I’ve take a Mindfulness Meditation class and done a home study Meditation Teacher Training program. When I stick with it, I notice the positive effects. But it takes a tremendous amount of mental energy and discipline. Like anything new that you start, it’s not easy and it takes practice.
There are many different kinds of meditation, some that are connected to a particular religious faith and others that are more secular. If you are affiliated with a particular faith, finding a practice that incorporates your tradition is a good place to start. The familiar language of that faith may make the practice resonate more with your life experience.
Classes are the best way to get started. When you are looking, do some research online and ask friends if they have any recommendations. There are many free groups to meditate with, and having some instruction in the beginning can be helpful. Let the instructor know if you are new to meditation, they can offer tips and suggestions. Most instructors recommend starting out by spending just a few minutes at a time. When you become more comfortable you can begin to increase your meditation time. But keep in mind that meditation is not goal oriented. This can be difficult, particularly for westerners. It’s not about striving, but letting go.
Marbles is also here to help.
Check out Motif Cubes! The best part about Motif Cubes is that there’s no right answer or winning move—just endless ways to explore, create and exercise your visual perception skills. Relaxing and brain beneficial, these nine cubes will have you twisting and turning to form what seems like an endless number of designs.