My mind talks rubbish. That’s one of the reasons my sister and I are writing a book about meditation. Her mind talks rubbish, too, of course. We’re both over-analyse, ruminate and generally look up our own bums with microscopes until everything vanishes up there. It turns out that’s what everyone’s minds do.
We’re a couple of months into writing the book and have arrived at the thrilling ‘science bit’. So we are researching, reading and cramming all we can get our greedy little paws on to discover what meditating actually does to your mind – if anything.
One of the most exciting books we read is Altered Traits by New York Times bestselling authors, Daniel Goleman and Richard J Davidson. They dig into how meditating can literally rewire your brain. These guys write about how meditation impacts an area of the brain knowns as the amygdala, the bit that lights up when you feel fear, anxiety or love. It’s the danger-sensing part. Regular meditation calms the amygdala’s stress responses.
It’s now proven that meditating increased gamma oscillations, creating a clear state of mind athletes often refer to as being ‘in the zone’. Funnily enough, laughing also engages the brain in a similar way.
Even if you don’t enjoy it – it’s working!
The book is ground-breaking. And it confirms what we thought already – that even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time, meditating really does make you happier and calmer. The more you do it, the better the results. But even five minutes a day will be enough to see some benefits. Hell, even trying it just once is good if you need a break from your rubbish thoughts!