Always on the go and think meditation is a waste of time? Most of us are busy trying to check off the next item off our list. However, the typical skeptic is not too sure that “sitting still and clearing the mind” does anything for him. However, performing an internal cleanse is just as important as a mental one.
According to research, humans have roughly 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day, or 35 to 48 thoughts every minute. I bet you didn’t expect to think so much! The truth is we do think a lot. No wonder the statistics reflect that anxiety, insomnia and depression are rising each year. In fact, a social indicators research paper published in 2014 explores the rise in mental health issues in young adults:
“Across four surveys (N = 6.9 million), Americans reported substantially higher levels of depressive symptoms, particularly somatic symptoms, in the 2000s–2010s compared to the 1980s–1990s. High school students in the 2010s (vs. the 1980s) reported more somatic symptoms (e.g., trouble sleeping, thinking, and remembering; shortness of breath) and were twice as likely to have seen a professional for mental issues. College students in recent years (vs. the 1980s) were more likely to report feeling overwhelmed and to believe they were below average in mental and physical health, but were less likely to say they felt depressed.”
With approximately 3,300 thoughts racing around our noggins per hour, our “monkey minds” could use a little stillness and meditation. Wouldn’t you agree? Monkey mind is a Buddhist term that refers to how our mind often jumps from one thing to the next. It’s the overload of constant thinking that interferes with internal stillness and can throw us off balance.The Chinese psychological metaphor reveals a few adjectives that best describe the typical monkey mind that can benefit from meditation:
Meditation & Our Prefrontal Cortex
Now, most of us don’t mind being a little whimsical or fanciful once in a while. But confusion and restlessness can often bombard our brains already on thought-overload. Diving deeper into research behind how the brain responds to meditation, a Harvard study finds that regular meditators have more prefrontal cortex grey matter density. Doctors link executive decision-making and memory to the prefrontal cortex of our brain.
Meditation & Our Hippocampus
Cortical thickness increases within the hippocampus, which is associated with learning, cognitive memory and emotional regulation. Imagine how broad of a topic learning is let alone our emotions.
Emotional regulation can cover depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar, and any number of mental health issues. Studies show that the brain’s hippocampus shrinks and loses up to 20 percent of its volume as a result of depression.
Meditation & Our Amygdala
Ever hear of fight or flight? Our amygdala is responsible for this survival response. It is the hub of fear, worry and anxiety, but meditation can decrease cell volume.
Meditation & Our Default Mode Network (DMN)
What is our default mode network? It is the default reaction that our brain produces, regardless of positive events taking place in our lives, that eventually resets to a feeling dissatisfaction. In the world of psychology, Hedonic Adaptation is when you adapt to your new sports car, lottery winnings, etc. In fact, research found that lottery winners experienced Hedonic Adaptation 18 months after winning the lottery. They reported to being less happy than before they struck it rich.
“Many philosophical and contemplative traditions teach that ‘living in the moment’ increases happiness. However, the default mode of humans appears to be that of mind-wandering, which correlates with unhappiness, and with activation in a network of brain areas associated with self-referential processing. We investigated brain activity in experienced meditators and matched meditation-naive controls as they performed several different meditations (Concentration, Loving-Kindness, Choiceless Awareness). We found that the main nodes of the default-mode network (medial prefrontal and posterior cingulate cortices) were relatively deactivated in experienced meditators across all meditation types.”
In other words, those who meditate are less aimless and have sharper focus. Grounding ourselves with meditation means sitting still long enough to do just that, say nothing, think nothing and simply breathe. It is, however, quite the challenge to sit for 5 minutes in dragging silence. But, with practice meditation can benefit our mind, body, and spirit.
Preparing The Body Internally For Meditation With Detox
Cleansing the body does help to clear the mind, when you eat poorly your body becomes backed up. You can become lethargic, gain weight and experience mood swings. Sometimes it’s nice to detox our bodies by drinking super green juices and detox teas. According to health experts, fasting allows your brain to form new neural networks. This gives you new clarity, higher focus and more energy. Some even claim a boost in cognitive performance. Drinking super greens really is a drink that’s smart!
Super green juice in powder form is the best way to get your juicing experience without all the mess, especially if you are busy and have little time to juice. Try doing a 2-day juice fast that incorporates detox tea for 1 day. If you can stomach it, up your dose to 2 days. Some people like to do 3-day juice fast and detox, but it’s up to the individual.
Preparing Our Environments For Meditation
Meditation begins with putting yourself in the right atmosphere. Relaxing music is always great, but so is investing in an oil diffuser. Beachwood Essentials has a fantastic essential oil diffuser that is both affordable and available in a few different colors.
Beachwood Essentials Relaxation Oil Combo
Why Incorporate Both Meditation & Detox?
Not only does meditation and juice fasts affect the mind, but it also detoxes our bodies of impurities while equally assisting with cognitive development and boosting mental clarity. So, if you need to refocus, gain new energy and shed a few pounds, try to incorporate a juice and tea detox. Don’t forget to sit somewhere quiet, get your oil diffuser going and meditate for 5 minutes to focus on clearing the mind. You will not be sorry if you still your “monkey mind” and regain balance.