—By Jacob Manuel
How often do we really take the time to nurture our brains? Today’s world is filled with so much increasing stress and an invariably increasing number of stressors. Many of us turn to our own solutions in an attempt to alleviate this stress. Some turn to exercise or hobbies, some self-medicate and may use drugs or alcohol in an attempt to escape. Unfortunately, many of the solutions we tend to rely on for relief can end up harming us in the end.
Anthony Puddicombe, a student-turned-monk offers a spiritual and evidence-based option: mindfulness meditation. The words may be familiar to you. In its essence, mindfulness meditation draws the attention to the here and now. Not making plans or thinking about memories, but really taking a moment to explore the mind and body in a nonjudgmental and yet curious way.
In his TED talk, Puddicombe notes that we spend “so little time in the present moment that it is anything but ordinary.” In a sense, he’s right. We have so many distractions to keep us from sitting with the thoughts and feelings that come naturally to the brain. I don’t know about you, but I spend more time than I would like to admit checking Facebook or text messages. In the video, Anthony quotes a Harvard research paper that found that “on average, our minds are lost almost 47% of the time.” He also notes that this mind wandering is “almost a direct cause of unhappiness.” That, as Anthony points out, is a quite unfortunate fact that we have to live with.