For the past few years there have been numerous scientifically and statistically valid studies showing the positive effects of what many in the neurosciences are referring to as “mindfulness.” We have noted here on The Wireboard that, whether you want to call it mindfulness or meditation, awareness or centering prayer, there is growing consensus that practicing some daily ritual to still the active mind leads to incredible mental and physical health benefits. For instance, here are just a few quick examples of some recent studies in the case you wish to dive in deeper.
A brief summary of the research on mindfulness in multiple disciplines
https://www.headspace.com/science (this last one is from an app I've been using over the past year)
And this is just the tip of a very large iceberg that is being studied. And yet, when we are speaking with groups of people in our workshops and we bring up this concept, many don’t believe they have the capacity for such stillness. And when I ask why they think they can’t have a mindfulness practice, the common responses I hear fall along the lines of:
- I don’t have an hour to just sit there.
- Even if I had an hour, I don’t like sitting.
- I don’t have access to a mountain top or monastery for meditating.
The common dynamic here (and most of us do this) is that we’re making the practice or habit bigger than it needs to be. We’ll write more about “tiny habits” in coming weeks, but, for now, the important thing is to start small. It may still be hard to do, but you needn’t start with an hour. Begin with just a few minutes. And you don’t need a mountaintop or private Zen garden. Any reasonably quiet space will do. That’s right, even just a few minutes of stillness a day will get your brain Rewiring in some amazing ways. You will reduce cortisol, you will sleep better, you will think better.
So give it a go. Check out this quick-start guide, or download an app (there are quite a few free ones) and begin.
Our ADD world will tell you that you are wasting your time by simply sitting still and meditating. It will not feel like you are “doing” anything and that IS the point. That’s how you get the benefits! You may not get rich in less than a week from practicing it, but you can begin this journey towards the benefits it provides. It is in the still and quiet places where the mind heals itself and builds a foundation for more-productive thought and action.