Why Meditation Should Be Your Brain's "Scheduled Maintenance"

Posted by K R on

Technically, sleep is already our brains' regular scheduled maintenance, but if there were any other one thing you could do to improve your mental health, de-stress, and be more productive in all the right ways, meditation would be it, says author and correspondent Dan Harris. We're no strangers to meditation around here. It's not a panacea for every mental health issue, but it does have significant benefits when it comes to improving your focus, concentration, and attention span, as well as alleviating stress and anxiety. Harris explains some of the research we've covered before—namely that even short periods of meditation can stimulate lasting positive changes in parts of the brain associated with stress and anxiety, but also grew grey matter in areas of the brain associated with empathy and compassion. Neuroscience being what it is, those results don't directly translate to nicer, less stressed out people, but they are indicators improved mental health overall. Harris also explains how he was skeptical of meditation at first as well, but it was the same science that he discusses (and we've linked above) that really drew him in—and is drawing in groups as disparate as the US Marines and the US Army to the executives of companies like Ford and Twitter. Of course, once you've decided to meditate, you don't have to sit lotus on a Zafu if that't not your thing—Harris notes that the point of meditation isn't necessarily a woo-woo connecting-yourself-with-the-cosmic-ether exercise; for him—and for many people who do it for mental health—it's more about learning how (because it's an evolving process, not something you just do) to clear your mind and be right here, in the moment, for whatever you're doing. We explained in our guide to meditation for the rest of us, and in this piece on turning everyday actions into meditative practice. See more via Lifehacker.

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