I enjoy a sense of calmness, serenity and peace. It’s not always easy to be in that state when I have 101 things going on in my head. But I learned to make time. Even just 5 minutes of mindful breathing, does wonders. Meditation allows our thinking brain to calm down. Imagine a train station during peak hours—that’s how noisy and chaotic our thinking brain is. It needs a break. And that’s what meditation does.
Research shows that meditation builds grey matter in your cerebral cortex. Grey matter is a major part of the central nervous system and it includes regions of the brain involved in: muscle control, memory, speech, pain tolerance, vision and hearing, emotions, decision-making and self-control. Research also suggests that meditation results in improved self-regulation. Why is this important? Dopamine acts as your body’s reward system. Dysfunction of this reward system is associated with addiction. Meditation regulates dopamine.
You don’t need to sit still with your eyes closed when meditating. There are other ways you can meditate. You can go for a walk, do gardening, you can draw, you can count your breath, fold your laundry, anything. It is about concentrating and focusing and being aware of your action, not turning off your thoughts.
I love painting. I paint when I am happy, angry, sad, stressed and depleted. I feel relaxed and at peace when I’m mixing paint with my palette knife. The action of steady folding and smudging paint on the palette is so therapeutic. I hear nothing else but the sound of my knife and feel nothing else but the texture of the paint. My focus is only on the paint and the knife. I am aware I am mixing paint. I am observing how the colours come out. I am calm, I am relaxed. I am meditating.
Whatever you choose to do, find your “flow”. It’s that state when only you and what you’re doing exist. You lose track of time, you don’t feel tired, you don’t feel hungry, you don’t feel thirsty. I reach my “flow” every time I’m detailing a painting and oftentimes, it lasts until the details are done. What that means for me is hours of calmness and relaxation–I am meditating. “Flow” is elusive when you force it. Find it, but don’t influence it. Just let it happen.
- Science of Yoga by Ann Swanson
- How Yoga Changes Your Brain: https://draxe.com/fitness/how-yoga-changes-your-brain/
- Which Type of Meditation is Right for Me?: https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/types-of-meditation