How Meditation Can Rewire Your Brain In One Month
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. Oprah Winfrey. Sir Paul McCartney. Katy Perry. What do these people have in common?
They all meditate.
There is a strong argument for meditation. It can produce laser-like focus, increase productivity, improve self- awareness, boost energy, reduce stress, and even slow down ageing. Studies have shown that meditation for adults can produce similar changes found during the brain development in early childhood, proving that this simple act of stillness can make the brain composition more prolific and insulated to enjoy a lifetime of mental clarity and emotional stability.
“In a world that’s full of noise, our distracted minds and indulgent egos are always pushing aside the present to worry about the future or the past. The meditative mind is willing to accept its situation, and cultivates powerful habits in discipline, self-control and growth”
Each month on our programs, we focus on a different aspect of your personal growth journey to challenge your behaviour and mindset, and meditation is one of them. We believe discovering what a remarkable career means to you starts with expanding your self-awareness, listening to your inner dialogue and un-cluttering your mind to start digging out those answers.
Here are 5 of our favourite tips to get you started on making meditation a daily practice.
Tip #1 - Be realistic and start small
A quick Google search shows that 20 to 30 minutes a day seems to be the golden rule, but you can start by consciously taking 10 deep, relaxed breaths. You can do it in the shower, when you’re in line waiting for your coffee, just make it the same time each day and go from there.
You might think that 10 breaths is trivial but the act of consciously paying attention to your breath means you’re bringing yourself to be fully aware of the present and momentarily shutting down mental to-do lists and rehashing what’s happened in your day. When you’re ready to meditate longer, set a timer for 2 to 5 minutes and continue building on as you go.
Tip #2 - Meditate anytime during the day
Don’t limit yourself to mornings and evenings. Everyone can take out a few minutes in their day so the “I don’t have enough time” excuse really doesn’t cut it. You can habit stack this with something you already do daily, such as brushing your teeth or washing the dishes, activities where your mind generally goes on auto-pilot.
Yes, it’s nice to find a quiet room, sit down on a comfortable pillow, play some soothing music and light a candle to remove all distractions, especially when you’re just starting out. But meditation is essentially being mindful of the present so you can use these daily activities as meditative practices to train our brains to focus more.
Tip #3 - Use mantras to help you focus
Repeating a positive, empowering statement in your mind during meditation not only helps to anchor your focus, but promotes self-awareness by ingraining this phrase into your mindset over time to inspire and motivate you to become your best self.
“I am the hero of my own life”, “I am strong”, “I am kind”, repeat an affirmation that gives you a spring in your step and describes the way you want to live your life”
Tip #4 - Clearing the mind is not the goal
Lots of people think meditation is about clearing the mind and stopping all thoughts from entering. It’s not.
Being able to access and clear your subconscious mind can sometimes happen, but it’s not the end goal. Our brains are designed to be thought factories, especially in this day and age with our fast-paced lifestyles, short attention spans and obsession with instant gratification.
When thoughts arise, acknowledge them and simply bring your attention back to the breath. Over time, the more you let your mind wander and take its course during meditation, the more you can learn how your mind works. It’s probably murky, a little embarrassing and brings about feelings you’d rather avoid, but it’s a chance to understand your inner dialogue and discover yourself more.
Tip #5 - Write down your motivation
The reason we want to meditate today may not be the same reason next week. Our motivations change over time depending on circumstances or with our perspectives shifting. Despite this, ask yourself why, peel back the layers of the onion and find the reason behind your intention. The stronger and clearer it is, the easier it can be to continue the practice as it serves as a constant reminder on the skills and mindset you want to achieve through the experience.
“The more time you give to dive inside yourself, the more comfortable you become showing who you are to the world”
Finding a moment of stillness or slowing down can feel like a waste of time or a luxury. However, when you give yourself the chance to spend time alone with your thoughts, you may be surprised by the emotional clarity, compassion and creative energy that could be discovered.