Meditation: It’s So Easy Even Mice Can Do It
OK, that might be an overstatement, but in this case, animated lab mice teach us the benefits of meditation and how to get started on a meditation practice. In this delightful video from mindful.org, Dan Harris and Happify give us the directions needed to begin a daily meditation routine.
The point of meditation is to “exercise” the brain, to make it work in new and different ways, instead of forever being in a haze of racing thoughts. In general, our minds wander. Even as we try to concentrate on work or a conversation, we often find ourselves thinking of other things. As one of the mice says in the video:
“The whole game is to notice when you’ve gotten lost, and to start over. And then to start over again, and again, and again. And every time you do that it’s like a bicep curl for your brain.”
Just as with weightlifting exercises, the brain gets its own workout through the meditation process. The goal is to continually break in on the brain’s wanderings by focusing on something in particular, in this case, the breath. As soon as we notice our mind is wandering, we go back to the breath. In a certain way, noticing each “failure” to maintain focus on the breath is actually a success!
There are dozens of studies that show that meditation aids in improving overall health, but meditation needs to be done with some regularity. This video suggests five to ten minutes a day. The best results are gained by those who meditation more like thirty minutes at a stretch, once or twice a day. Infrequent practice, like once a week, does not garner great results.
If you want to improve your health, consider meditation. There are no negative side-effects and the improvement in over-all well-being can be tremendous.