The nights are getting darker, longer and let’s face it, colder. Sometimes the last thing you want to do on a chilly morning is leap out of bed and jump straight into a workout. But what if there was a way of sustaining your physical activity through those baltic winter months? Here’s why meditation could help your winter training.
If you’ve ever had a really bad day, you’ll already know that the power of negative thinking is heady stuff indeed. A bad commute, a spat with a challenging co-worker or just waking up on the wrong side of the bed can all be downward spiral catalysts New research from Stanford University may just provide the antidote. Meditation.
It seems that the mere act of thinking really does change your brain. The latest research in neuroscience suggests that it’s not just the act of thinking that has an impact on the neurology of your brain, what you are thinking about is just as important. How and what we think about affects the neuroplasticity of our brain, its ability to rearrange its own structure in response to negative or positive stimulus.
Morgan and Banerjee’s Stanford University study into the effects of rumination (that’s negative thinking to you and me) examined the effects on research subjects asked to reflect upon the negative aspects of their lives. Not surprisingly, in addition to making the subjects feel like reaching for the biggest tub of Hagen Daz they could find, something else was happening within their neurology. Extended periods of such negative thinking resulted in an increase in the activity of the amygdala (the area of the brain responsible for the fight, flight or freeze response to fear). This increased activity precipitated a rush of damaging neurochemicals into the brain. So, if negative thinking makes us feel worse and changes our neurology, what kind of results will positive thinking produce? Let’s take a look….
Tibetan Monks & Meditation
Since 2008 Zoran Josipovic, adjunct professor at New York University has been studying Tibetan Buddhist monks in an attempt to identify the effects of meditation on brain neurology. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). His ongoing research has found that meditation alters the neural networks in research subjects, strengthening the anterior cingulate, regulating anger, reducing anxiety and increasing levels of happiness (and not a tub of Hagen Daz in sight).
So the next time you start to ruminate on negative events or things that you’re not happy with, stop, take a moment or two and shift focus, try the opposite to rumination and meditate. Take a look at our ‘Are you Mindful? self assessment or our mindfulness blogs for more on this topic.
To find out more about meditation or our mindfulness and wellbeing courses check out our Events page at www.positivechangeguru.com/events