How To Meditate Without Moving To The Himalayas

Brian Johnson | en*theos

Meditation. At this stage, most of us are aware of the fact that meditation is supposed to be pretty good for us. Whether or not we actually meditate is a whole ‘nother conversation!
I say it’s time to demystify meditation. Fact is, you don’t need to be a levitating monk to get a LOT of uber-practical benefits.

So, let’s take a quick look at why I think meditation rocks and then we’ll look at my Top 10 tips on HOW to get your meditation on without moving to the Himalayas.

“Suppose you read about a pill that you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment. Would you take it? Suppose further that the pill has a great variety of side effects, all of them good: increased self-esteem, empathy, and trust; it even improves memory. Suppose, finally, that the pill is all natural and costs nothing. Now would you take it? The pill exists. It’s called meditation.”
 – Jonathan Haidt from The Happiness Hypothesis

My Top 5 Reasons Why Meditation Is Awesome

“A person can make himself happy, or miserable, regardless of what is actually happening ‘outside,’ just by changing the contents of consciousness… To develop this trait, one must find ways to order consciousness so as to be in control of feelings and thoughts. It is best not to expect shortcuts will do the trick.”
  – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi from Flow

1. Strengthen Your Mind. Scientists tell us that being able to put our attention where we want, when we want is one of the keys to sustainable happiness. Fact is, if you can’t tame those little gremlins running around in your head, you’re not going to get very far in this whole optimal living game.

The #1 way to optimize our attention? Meditation. It’s like going to the gym for your attention muscles.

“Neuroscientists have discovered that when you ask the brain to meditate, it gets better not just at meditating, but at a wide range of self-control skills, including attention, focus, stress management, impulse control, and self-awareness. People who meditate regularly aren’t just better at these things. Over time, their brains become finely tuned willpower machines. Regular meditators have more gray matter in the prefrontal cortex, as well as regions of the brain that support self-awareness.” – Kelly McGonigal from The Willpower Instinct

2. Build Willpower. Willpower is known as the Queen of all virtues. It’s one of the greatest predictors of our well-being in every aspect of our lives—from how healthy and wealthy we are to how great our relationships are. Huge. The #1 way to build your willpower? Bang. You guessed it. Meditation. While you’re strengthening your attention muscles up there in your prefrontal cortex, you’re also building your willpower muscles. And, that’s a good thing.

3. Optimize Your Immune System. We live in a hyper-stimulating environment that keeps us in fight-or-flight pretty much all day long. It’s *really* important to take some time every day to get out of that fight-or-flight mode and into what Herbert Benson from Harvard calls “the Relaxation Response.” It’s like giving your immune system a nice relaxing bath.

4. Change Your DNA. Herbert Benson and his team also tell us that a consistent meditation practice can change our genetic expression. Yep. Your genes aren’t fixed. Via a process called “epigenetics,” our thoughts and behaviors and environment are constantly influencing how our genes are expressed. Not surprisingly, mind-body practitioners have a healthier expression of their genetic code. What’s awesome is the fact that, with as little as 12-15 minutes of meditation a day for 8 weeks we can begin to optimize hundreds of our genes to more closely match those of lifelong mind-body practitioners. (Sign me up!)

5. Connect to Something Bigger than You! Finally, meditation is a great way to connect to something bigger than us. Fact is, when we’re constantly jumping from work to Facebook to the news to this TV show to that movie, it’s kinda hard to really tap into that somethin’ somethin’ that’s much bigger than us. Meditation is an essential way to optimize that connection.

So, there’s a quick look at the WHY. Sold yet? If so, here are my Top 10 Big Ideas on HOW to rock it.

Read the rest of the article… 

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  1. The Benefits of Meditation | CRYSTI·OLOGY | October 29, 2013

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