Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Ten mindful minutes per day

Meditation has a lot of positive effects on our health and well-being. Maybe you have considered learning how to meditate, but never got started because you thought it would be difficult, time-consuming and you would have to hang out with a bunch of weird people. In fact, it is quite easy to get started, and it is even possible to have modern technology help you with it. In a TED Talk, former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe explains what meditation is all about and how you can learn it.



First, Andy Puddicombe points out why meditation is important: We depend upon our mind, but we don’t take any time to look after it. We are very often far from the present moment. On average, our minds are lost in thought about 47% of the time. We reported on this study in an earlier post. The problem is that mind wandering is a direct cause of unhappiness. This is what will change once you start meditating: You begin to value the present moment. You are not distracted and you are not overwhelmed by your emotions. Instead, you learn to be mindful and to be in the present moment. The positive effects of meditation are even scientifically proven.

Andy Puddicombe explains that meditation is not getting rid of thought and emotion, but it is more like stepping back and seeing the thoughts and emotions clearly, like from a distance. It allows us a bit of relaxation where thoughts can come and go without all the usual involvement. His conclusion is: We can’t change many of the things that happen to us in the world, but we can change the way we perceive them.

Andy Puddicombe has set up a website, Headspace, on which he offers little tools anyone can use to learn how to meditate. If you sign up, please share your experience with us!

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