We visit the gym to work our muscles out to make sure that our bodies are healthy. Likewise, our brain also needs the same stretching and lifting to make it stronger and more resilient. While we can’t use the same dumbells that we use to train our biceps, we could, fortunately, practice meditation exercises for our brain muscles. Surely, there’s a reason why we call the meditating Buddha “The Enlightened One.”

Vishvamitra, an ancient Hindu sage, in deep meditation.

How Our Brain Functions

Side view of the whole human brain.

As defined by John Hopkins Medicine, “The brain is a complex organ that controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger and every process that regulates our body.” It is like the central command of our bodies. When we were born, our brains were (though not entirely) a vast void. It developed as we grew and learned things until those learnings became imprinted in the crevices of our brains. Remember when you were a kid and used to give your full effort and attention while buttoning your shirt? You can do that mindlessly now, as that action was already imprinted into your unconscious memory.

It is a good thing, for sure, to get used to doing things without much effort but only if they’re good things. The beautiful brain that could master the different paint brushing techniques could be the same brain that bombs people with insults effortlessly.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

The phrase could be one of the reasons why meditation exists. It teaches our brain to be flexible and learn new things, like when we were kids.

Benefits of Meditation

According to Medical News Today, studies have shown that “meditation can successfully counteract PTSD and lower depression.”

Furthermore, they reported:

“At the beginning of the study period, which lasted 3.5 months, all participants scored 44 or over on the PCL-C test, which assesses PTSD symptoms. These scores signify that PTSD is very likely. Moreover, mental health professionals had also diagnosed PTSD in each participant.

At the end of the study, most of the participants from the transcendental meditation group had PCL-C scores below 34, which is the threshold for a PTSD diagnosis, indicating that their symptoms had altogether receded.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is usually experienced by people who underwent shocking, scary, or dangerous events. These events were engraved into their memories, like falling on a bottomless trench with no means of climbing back up. Practicing meditation is training your brain biceps so that you can either carry your weight and climb back up from the trench or use your arm strength to dig a new path away from where you fell.

How to Meditate

According to Headspace, here are the things that you have to do to meditate effectively:

  • Commit to a regular practice
  • Wear whatever comfortable you like
  • Forget about sitting cross-legged; sit as you wish
  • Decide how long you would like to meditate
  • Know why you want to meditate
  • Give your mind time to learn to become less distracted and be more aware
  • Stay mindful post-meditation

With all the noise, chaos, and uncertainties that the world is facing right now, it’s easy to be carried away by fear and panic. While meditation won’t solve these problems, it could help us tackle them and survive the day-to-day struggles we encounter.

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