11 Feb Keep Your Brain Sharp
A recent study at UCLA shows the impact that mediation has on the brain’s gray matter and subsequent aging process. Loss of gray matter can lead to early onset of dementia and other conditions of memory impairment. The need for relaxation and mental focus is essential in delaying loss of functionality. Meditation can be hard to get into at first, but it just takes practice.
Here are some tips for getting started:
- Set the Atmosphere: Whether it’s soothing music, a warm bath or dim lighting with scented candles, allow yourself to relax. Quiet your mind and body—get comfortable with your being and steady your breathing. Once you feel tension-free and still, let yourself zone out. Don’t worry about checking the clock, as the time may stress you out and awaken your mind. Work your way up to a desirable time each day. Set an alarm for an ending time, but don’t focus on the real start time.
- Silence Your Phone: Don’t let any disturbances arouse you. Disassociate yourself from reality and allow for “me” time.
- Tailor to Your Needs: If clearing your mind of all thought is too hard for you, find a new way to mediate that will work for you. Perhaps it is doing a gratitude exercise, where you repeat the phrase “I am grateful for…” and end with happy thoughts. Anything that lets your mind rest and feel at peace will be beneficial.
- Embrace Nature: If the idea of sitting in your home seems boring, take your mediation outside. Whether you park yourself under a tree or sit on a bench by the water, the fresh oxygen supply will enhance your steady breathing. However, be mindful of noise—outside chatter can be a disturbance for beginners.
- Partner with Others: Yoga classes often offer mediation sessions or “candlelight yoga.” Sometimes the presence of others’ and the use of the body can really help connect the mind and body into a state of tranquility. Feel the stretch in your body and keep your mind free of anxiety with each repetitious action.