One of the most imperative tools for well-being in the modern world today is meditation. Meditation goes to the root of our consciousness and connects us with our higher self which then aligns us with healing forces. Our attention and vitality easily get lost in the world today in the lower aspect of ourselves with so much emphasis on external stimuli and material gain. It's so critical for mental wellness to have a practice that brings us back to our higher consciousness, which is where our true essence resides.
Default Mode Network
A major aspect of our overall brain function is the activation of the Default Mode Network (DMN).
When the brain has nothing to do and no external stimuli to process, the DMN switches the focus to our internal world. During this "idle mode" our brain has the opportunity to wander and we can do things like self-reflection, social evaluations, recall memories, and envision the future, but the problem is, the human mind does everything it can to avoid being in the present.
So when you truly have a moment to be in the here and now, the brain chooses to instead do anything but that. It’s perpetually driven to live in a time other than the present whether it's ruminating over the past or worrying about the future.
Why Meditation is So Powerful
But there is a way to strengthen this region of our brain so that we can tame our mind to be our servant (not the other way around) and increase our ability to be in the moment.
The most powerful tool we can use to boost the brain is meditation. Meditation strengthens the brain’s ‘present moment’ muscle.
Meditation affects the default mode network by altering the way we process our thoughts while our minds wander. It can help refocus the brain and keep the mind from wandering into stressful territory of the past or future. The effects of meditation are cumulative, so even if you do just 5 -10 minutes a day, you will reap more and more benefits of meditation over time.
And if you're one of those saying, "I can't meditate, it's too hard, my brain is too busy.", then meditation is exactly what you need. Your 'present moment' muscle needs some pumping up. One of the first things I ask my clients who say this kind of thing to me is if they're taking in stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, certain prescription meds). Trying to meditate with stimulants in your body is like swimming upstream, it definitely makes it harder, if not impossible. Stimulates aggravate and ramp up the nervous system, the opposite of what we're trying to do with meditation. If you're able to safely remove stimulants from your daily routine, this is of course then highly recommended when trying to calm the mind.
See my article here on how to safely remove caffeine from your daily routine.
If you'd like some more one-on-one guidance on removing stimulants from your diet, connect with me here.
Reap the Benefits
Meditation allows us to harness all the benefits of a strong and disciplined mind. It helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and can increase self-awareness, creativity, and tolerance. It also lowers our resting heart rate, reduces negative emotions, and helps us gain new perspectives.
Meditation truly allows you to become your best self by quieting the 'monkey mind' so that you can spend more time in your higher consciousness where you tune into your deepest wisdom and intuition.
If you’re new to this and interested in giving meditation a try, please see my article here for a super simple practice that is perfect for beginners.