Understanding the reasons why, the behind the scene mechanics, can be a very powerful tool for improving motivation to engage in helpful behaviours. Remember when your parents told you not to watch too much TV otherwise you'd get square eyes? Maybe if they told you too much TV would increase your likelihood to be overweight, aggressive and have learning difficulties at school you would have paid more attention (ok so the 'square eyes' threat might be more effective for a little mind!). Once we understand things we feel more empowered and engaged with it.
So as meditation gains momentum in popular culture (the Kardashian's are doing it so it must be good, right?) and is in the process often watered-down in tabloid magazines, consider this as one 'behind the scenes why': it changes your brain waves in a positive way.
Studies show that busy or anxious thinking produces beta brain waves — fast, erratic and of low amplitude, while shifting your awareness onto your senses (as you might do in mediation) produces alpha waves — slow, rhythmic and of high amplitude. You can read this shift on an Electroencephalograph (EEG) after just 20 seconds of sustained sensing.
As you can see, meditation is based on a very simple principle: that by paying attention to sensory experience we trigger the relaxation response in our body and minds.
So next time your tempted to discount meditation because the Kardashian's do it (that is sometimes my moral compass - do the opposite of what they do), you can remind yourself that there is valid scientific evidence behind meditating. A genuine WHY, not just a "because I told you so" statement.
On a side note, this photo shows a real 'brain wave': I took it while traveling through Munich. No beach for a long, long way but locals are not deterred, surfing in a river that runs through a park in the city!
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