The Wandering Mind: How Meditation Conquers Anxiety & Distraction
How Meditation Re-Focuses The Anxious, Wandering, & Distracted Mind
How The Wandering, Distracted Mind Leads To Anxiety
Blaise Pascal, the 17th century French philosopher, perhaps said it best: "Considering distraction... I have discovered that the unhappiness of man arises from one single fact, that he cannot stay quietly within his own chamber."
A Harvard University study revealed that people were happiest when in a kind of fully immersed, deeply absorbed, present mind state. Some have described this as "flow".
Whether the subjects were socializing, writing, shopping, or reading, the researchers found that the best predictor for anxiety was how distracted they were, how much their mind wandered during the activity — not the activity itself.
In an ever-growing world of Facebook/ Twitter updates, Youtube videos, Netflix movie marathons, shiny new blog posts, iTunes podcasts, up to the minute breaking news, and other mediums driving our collective attention span to all time lows — it is no surprise that anxiety levels are at an all time high.
How Technology Has Made Us A "Stranger To Our Mind"
After their morning shower, many folks shy away from the bathroom mirror because their reflection is not pleasant to behold.
Likewise, many people are uncomfortable with sitting alone in silence because they don’t like going face to face with their thoughts.
Anxiety is rooted in this fear, only made worse by our always on MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones.
While our devices do have the benefit of connecting us in ways like never before, we need to pull back the reigns to avoid becoming a society full of neurotic, information addicted basket cases. Technology is meant to be our servant, not our master.
Then, how does one solve this rubix cube? Becoming Amish or joining a Tibetan monastery would certainly solve the problem. But that would require leaving your friends, career, and family behind. Maybe not ideal.
Or you could find a way to master living in the real world, unshackling yourself from the emotional chains of technologically generated anxiety.
Meditation: The World's Best Antidote To Distraction
The very best way to fully harness and master your infinitemind power, mindfulness provides the perfect toolkit for our chronic anxiety ridden, attention diverted world.
In fact, meditation has been scientifically proven to turn off the "distracted" area of the brain!
Internationally acclaimed Harvard brain researcher, Dr. Sara Lazar, discovered that one particular brain region responsible for the "wandering mind," the posterior cingulate cortex (PCT), becomes deactivated during meditation.
Corralling the so-called "wandering mind" opens up a wonderful world of benefits, cancelling out many of the true reasons we become anxious.
How Meditation Corrals The Wandering Mind
Moreover, it is thought that meditation disables distraction by filtering stimuli long before it reaches your bottlenecking, gatekeeping "thalamus."
You know how a river dam ensures the perfect amount of water is always available to downstream households, agriculture, and industry?
In much the same way, meditation upstream filters the less important data, sending only the best information downstream.
As a result, the "gulf" of the meditative mind (thalamus) never has to micromanage the barrage of distracting, happiness-robbing information which directly contributes to chronic anxiety.