If you are American, you may remember the public service announcements that stated “This is your brain on drugs”. One such PSA included an egg being smashed by a frying pan, awesome. Sure your brain on drugs is a no go, but what about things that are good for the brain. How about meditation? How would your brain be all “hopped up” on meditation?
Studies have been showing for years how meditation is helping the brain, and I kind of wonder why this isn’t a bigger deal. Meditation can actually alter your mind, making you more compassionate, joyful, and generally mindful of yourself and things around you. This is the part where you “oooo” and “aaahhh” or you shake your head and say I’m crazy. Fear not I come prepared with links to share.
The first article “Your Brain on Meditation” found “that the meditators (who practiced a wide range of traditions and had between five and 46 years of meditation experience) had more gray matter in regions of the brain that are important for attention, emotion regulation, and mental flexibility. Increased gray matter typically makes an area of the brain more efficient or powerful at processing information. Luders believes that the increased gray matter in the meditators’ brains should make them better at controlling their attention, managing their emotions, and making mindful choices.”
I could write an entire blog of quotes, but that’s not the point of the blog. What these articles tell me is a scientific explanation for what I already know, meditation helps me and my children. Emotions are a big part of our lives, I will admit I am even following a thread as the drama unfolds, we LOVE drama and out of this world emotions….that can’t really be that healthy can it?
Emotional issues have a tendency to manifest in physical ways, headaches, muscle pain, stomach upsets, etc. so the ability to control and calm ourselves is important. I have young children, so emotions often run high in the lovely package of a toddler tantrum, even I have had a meltdown now and then. In fact I just did when my toddler knocked my baby head over heels all because she wasn’t getting her way, a situation that was exasperated by my oldest who is determined to rule the roost by getting everything her way. I shrieked, something I shouldn’t have done, but I know that if I had taken the time to meditate in the last week the whole situation would have happened differently. When I take the time to meditate our lives operate differently, daily meditation over long periods of time leads to a happier household all together. I’ve even noticed how meditation helps the children.
When I’m not being the most disgraceful mother in history I can usually handle outburst easily. I sit down on the floor, I put the bottoms of my feet together and I invite the children to join me. I begin to breath deeply, sometimes the children sit with me, other times they don’t, either way I start breathing drawing my hands up as I breath in and down as I breath out…by about breath five either everyone is calm or at the very least they are sitting together. Then I clasp my hands, and the children do the same, and we say OHM together, the vibration always feels funny in my mouth, but somehow it brings us all back to peace. With my kids I can’t get more then 5-10 minutes of meditation, but the benefits are great. My toddler has started to OHM when she feels stressed, but I notice she often forgets to ground herself if I don’t make meditation part of our routine. If you have never tried meditation I highly suggest it, I know that tonight I plan on having some time to myself to meditate so that tomorrow I can try again and hopefully be a less disgraceful mother.