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6 Lessons Everyone Should Learn From Meditation

6 Lessons Everyone Should Learn From Meditation

Life can be a little confusing at times. There are several things in your life which may be out of your control. You cannot control everything, and it is possible that you are in a life crisis. If you want to organize a scattered mind and live a peaceful life, then you need to control your thoughts. It is important to be in charge of your emotions so that you can take charge of your life. One way of doing that is to try meditation. It is an excellent and efficient way of dealing with stress. It is a mental exercise which helps in regaining your focus. It is not just good for mental health but also good for physical health.

Meditation helps in improving your perspective and teach you a lot of new things.

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1. An excellent tool for boosting the immune system

The biggest benefit of meditation is that it helps in relaxing. Relaxation is excellent for your health as it offers too many benefits. One of the advantages that you can get is improving the immune system. The immune system can get disturbed because of anxiety and stress. It makes you vulnerable to several nasty things. If you manage to reduce the stress, you will be able to lead a much healthier life. If the levels of stress-related chemicals are low, it is good for you.

2. Letting go is your choice

When you are in trouble, you may find yourself drowning in stress and anxiety. You may find it difficult to find a way out of your problems. Instead of getting rid of the problems you end up making things worse. You feel like you there is no escape route but all you need to do to sort out things and know that things will get better if you just let them go. Meditation helps in learning that letting go of your problems is your choice.

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3. An excellent relief for pain

It is an excellent tool for relieving your pain. There are different types of meditations like brainwave meditation to keep your mind calm. People can learn to train their minds to focus on some parts of their body, and it helps in relieving their pain. It is an excellent remedy for people who suffer from chronic conditions.

4. Learn to accept yourself

Meditation helps in keeping a check on your thoughts and emotions. It helps in becoming more aware of yourself.  The key of meditation is to notice your thoughts and do not get caught up in the meaning of these ideas. It will help in giving you a new perspective on things. Having a dialogue with yourself will make you a better understanding of yourself and your surroundings. You can think about things without any judgment.

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5. Making your relationships steadier and better

Meditation is an excellent tool for improving your relationships. It helps in regaining self-confidence which means you ae able to reconnect with your personality. You will get better at socializing as you are relaxed and grounded. It will make you more aware of your relationships, and you will be able to pay more attention to them. You recognize your feelings, and you learn to respect other people’s feelings.

6. You can improve your concentration span

Nowadays people have a small attention span. It is easy for them to get distracted. Meditation is excellent for improving your focus. It is easy to do that by focusing on breathing. If you include meditation in your daily schedule, then you will find that it is a useful tool for improving your concentration. It will help you in your life a lot as it will assist in paying attention to everything you do.

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Meditation has so much to offer, and it is an excellent addition to your life. You can make the life easier as it decreases your anxiety and provides emotional stability. You can lead a creative, intuitive and clear life. It will give you a new perspective on life, and you will learn to love a good and healthy life.

Featured photo credit: Alicia Gallardo via 2.bp.blogspot.com

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Adnan Manzoor

Data Analyst & Life Coach

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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