Our minds are constantly engaged in an inner dialogue that involves stories about work, marriage, financial status or that strange look our friend gave us. Evolutionarily, our brains are wired to perceive threat in our environments. This negativity bias evolved as a survival instinct millions of years ago, as our ancestors were more focused on identifying threat than life's beauty or rewards. This focus on environmental threat proved to be effective in preventing our ancestors from being eaten or harmed by predators.
Today, it's as if our brains haven't caught up with modern day society. This negativity bias often "malfunctions," perceiving threats that actually aren't life threatening. For example, during a fight with our partner, it can feel as if our survival is threatened, but if we tap into our heartspace, it's sadness and abandonment we're experiencing. Those emotions help define what it means to be alive, to be human with past traumas and hurts.
In a world where you truly need to disconnect in order to find a signal, carving out time for stillness and quiet is imperative to our health and happiness. Meditation has the amazing capacity to be the Yin to our Yang (our over-scheduled-iPhone-crazed-hurried lives). Essentially, meditation can create a greater sense of inner peace, emotional balance, love and joy. It's energizing to realize we hold the power to increase our own sense of internal happiness, the feeling state our society is frantically striving for.
When we relinquish the need to control or manipulate thoughts, feelings, body sensations, our partners, friends, family and external circumstances, we can discover our inner essence, our inner peace. With a consistent meditation practice, one cultivates awareness of the present moment experience - rewiring the brain from scarcity consciousness and negativity bias into abundance consciousness. That's right, we can RE-WIRE our own brains to focus on positive experiences and the overall beauty of life. Even 15-30 minutes a day on your meditation cushion can make a significant difference in your emotional, psychological and physical health.
Benefits of Meditation:
Decrease stress by reducing stress hormones such as cortisol
Decrease emotional reactivity
Help to resolve addiction
Strengthen immune function
Lower blood pressure and hypertension
Create a greater capacity to give and receive love
Are you beginning your meditation journey? Check out Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Miracle of Mindfulness and Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are. For more about cultivating your own meditation practice, I invite you to follow me on Instagram (@Mindful_Healer).