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Mindfulness

Posted Dec 20 2012 5:15am

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Yesterday I read ‘The Power Of Concentration’ in the New York Times.  I thought it had some pretty great insights and so I will share the article with you today!

The article’s main point is to discuss the benefits of focusing, practicing mindfulness and meditation, and concentration.  In those who meditate daily, productivity seems to increase because they become better at focusing on one task at a time.  The entire article references Sherlock Holmes as the prime example of a master concentrator.  

“MEDITATION and mindfulness: the words conjure images of yoga retreats and Buddhist monks. But perhaps they should evoke a very different picture: a man in a deerstalker, puffing away at a curved pipe, Mr. Sherlock Holmes himself. The world’s greatest fictional detective is someone who knows the value of concentration, of “throwing his brain out of action,” as Dr. Watson puts it. He is the quintessential unitasker in a multitasking world.”

“Though the concept originates in ancient Buddhist, Hindu and Chinese traditions, when it comes to experimental psychology, mindfulness is less about spirituality and more about concentration: the ability to quiet your mind, focus your attention on the present, and dismiss any distractions that come your way. The formulation dates from the work of the psychologist Ellen Langer, who demonstrated in the 1970s that mindful thought could lead to improvements on measures of cognitive function and even vital functions in older adults.”

I have just recently become more interested in the power of meditation.  We all know it’s good for your health blah blah blah.  But how?  I think there are lots of reasons.  

“In 2011, researchers from the University of Wisconsin demonstrated that daily meditation-like thought could shift frontal brain activity toward a pattern that is associated with what cognitive scientists call positive, approach-oriented emotional states — states that make us more likely to engage the world rather than to withdraw from it.”

The article also mentions how mindfulness can help re-program your brain to give you easier access to information, thus improving your memory.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember what I did yesterday.  There are SO MANY monotonous parts of my day that I go through mindlessly, and I don’t even pay attention!

Have you ever driven home and realized you don’t remember driving home?  Yea.  That’s me. 

“Until recently, our 20s were considered the point when our brain’s wiring was basically complete. But new evidence suggests that not only can we learn into old age, but the structure of our brains can continue to change and develop. In 2006, a team of psychologists demonstrated that the neural activation patterns of older adults (specifically, activation in the prefrontal cortex), began to resemble those of much younger subjects after just five one-hour training sessions on a task of attentional control. Their brains became more efficient at coordinating multiple tasks — and the benefit transferred to untrained activities, suggesting that it was symptomatic of general improvement.”

Maybe I need to invest in a meditation pillow?  I LOVE the idea of having a more mindful mindset (did that make sense?).  I think having more awareness in general could lead to better moods, healthier life choices, and maybe more free time to have fun!  

 

What do you think?

Do you buy into the whole Mindfulness Matters Stance?  

Do you meditate?  HOW!?!  I really need to learn the best way for me to meditate for more than 10 minutes without losing my mind. 

 

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