Posts Tagged ‘Mindfulness’

Meditation improves your brain power

How meditation improves your brain power

Posted on 30th November 2017 in Emotional Intelligence, Mediation Training

So many people I know consider meditation as hippy and flowery and don’t really understand it at all. ‘What, closing your eyes and trying not to think of anything for thirty minutes, listening to the softest music with birds and waterfalls in the background…You what?’ I can hear a couple of my male friends say..!

Meditation is an enlightening practice which can change people’s lives for the better and should be part of everyone’s daily lives. We should all take the time to get away from digital screens, tv ads, traffic and general day to day hecticness and take time out to just be at one with ourselves. A little bit of time out each day means you can actually cope with more, much more easily.

The practice of meditation has always been associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation. Yogis have practiced meditation for centuries with the practice originates from Hindu traditions of Vedantism (Hindu philosophy and religious practice) around 1500 BCE. Meditation of course, is not only a religious practice today, it is being used as a way to exercise the brain and mind to help us cope with our fast-paced modern lives.

Well documented for reducing levels of anxiety, stress and depression, meditation can be used as a free, daily tool to totally improve your well-being. By regularly meditating you can decrease activity in your DMN (default mode network) which is the part of our brain which allows our thoughts to wander from one thought to another with no particular aim. Mind-wandering is associated with depression and ruminating over and over again about the past and the future.

You could use meditation to reduce nerves before a meeting or a big presentation. As soon as you close your eyes and start breathing deeply you will see how your body instantly relaxes.

However there is more to meditation than that just relaxation. For years practitioners have claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits which persist throughout the day.

Meditation improves your brain power

Meditation improves your brain power

Meditation helps us concentrate, focus better and improves our memory which can assist any of us in our daily lives.

A recent study from a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology reveals that meditation practitioners experienced a thickening of the cerebral cortex in areas associated with attention and emotional integration. The participants spent an average of 27 minutes per day practicing mindfulness exercises, and this is all it took to stimulate a major increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus.

Meditators who have been meditating daily for an average of 20 years are shown to have more gray matter volume throughout the brain.

“It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life,” says Britta Hölzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany. You can read more about the remarkable study by visiting

If you are looking to reduce your stress levels, improve your brain power, feel happier and more in control of your life, then meditation couldn’t be better for you. 20 scientific reasons to start meditating today

There are a few apps which help beginners get started with meditation such as Headspace which can be found here:

Inner Space (a charitable organisation which promotes meditation) is also a brilliant place to start. You can book courses, listen to free talks which get you in the right zone and most imporatntly get you started on your journey into peace and enlightenment.


Meditation improves your brain power

mindfulness emotionally aware

Mindfulness… How to Be More Emotionally Aware…

Mindfulness seems to be a buzzword of the moment. But putting its “zeitgeistness” to one side, what actually is mindfulness and how can it benefit us?

Amongst an array of definitions, the following is perhaps useful:

“Mindfulness is paying attention to and acknowledging thoughts and emotions as they arise and as they dissipate, thereby savouring the present moment and allowing all else to just be.”

Being In The Moment

Mindfulness is about allowing whatever is taking place within us to take place and to accept that this is happening without judgment and without any internal conversation with ourselves about it. Thereby we live in the only moment that has ever existed, the present moment. To practice conscious awareness is another way of articulating this. Mindfulness is naturally a composite of practices such as meditation, yoga and the martial arts where an inner focus on the breath is fundamental. Thoughts cannot be controlled directly so there’s no point in trying. Equally all thought and emotion is valid and allowable because you are experiencing them.

How To Practice Mindfulness…

So, how does one do it? A simple way to begin is to take 10 minutes first thing in the morning to meditate. Avoid the phone, email, TV, newspaper etc for just a little while. Sit in a comfortable position on the floor, ensure you have quiet around you, place your gaze on a point about one foot in front of you on the floor, smile a little smile and breathe. Now close your eyes and focus on your breathing, allowing all other thoughts, whatever they may be, to come and go like traffic at a roundabout. After a few minutes focus on every sound you can hear around you – breathing, other sounds in the room, the house and then exterior sounds like traffic, passing airplanes etc. Allow your ears to hear these sounds and then let them pass. After 10 minutes, very gradually open your eyes and then slowly get up and begin your day. Congratulations, you’ve just consciously spent very high quality time with yourself and this will act as an anchor throughout your day.
If possible, build a small 5 minute window to do the same as above to help reconnect with that inner peace – especially useful when undergoing stressful times. Many theatre directors will begin a run through in rehearsals with a minute or two of absolute silence before beginning the run, to calm group anxiety. Simple and effective, it seems that often all we have to do is to get out of our own way.
To put in harder leadership terms, conscious awareness or mindfulness refreshes our thought cycle leading to creative thinking and better decision making. We are more prone to listen well to others and practice active listening.

The Benefits of Mindfulness…

1. Enhances productivity, creativity and innovation
2. Fosters a culture of meaningful communication
3. Reduces tension within individuals and within relationships
4. Nurtures the increasingly vital skills of flexibility, adaptability and improvisation
5. Enables us to better manage challenges, pressure and stress
Ask yourself, just how mindful are you? How mindful could you be? Now, are you ready to make the adjustments to gain the benefits?
Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.

Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication