When the mind begins to wander, a person can become very distracted. This not only makes it more difficult for them to deal with their everyday responsibilities, it can also lead to profound unhappiness.
A distracted mind is unable to focus on the present moment, making it difficult to enjoy anything fully.
Two of the most common mental disorders, anxiety and depression, are characterized by an inability to keep one’s focus on the present.
Excessive ruminating on the past is a common symptom of depression, while looking to the future with dread is the basis of anxiety.
Fortunately, basic meditation techniques can help individuals overcome these types of mental problems.
Meditation for Depression and Anxiety
A recent study from a team of Yale University researchers showed that individuals who are practiced at meditation have lower activation levels of a neurological system known as the default mode network. Prior research had shown that higher activation levels in this area of the brain are responsible for wandering thoughts and attention lapses.
For the study, the researchers took MRI scans of participants’ brains during states of restfulness and meditation. The team reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that individuals who were experienced at meditation had much lower activation levels in areas of the brain associated with the default mode network.
The researchers wrote in their report that mind-wandering appears to be the natural mental state for humans. In most cases it is very difficult for a person to avoid this type of thought pattern. However, the inability to maintain attention is strongly linked to unhappiness.
Since meditation techniques are among the most effective strategies for bringing attention back to the present moment, there may be no more powerful tool for affecting happiness.
Despite these types of benefits, many people still feel reluctant to try meditation.
Common pursuits of happiness generally include spending time with family or engaging in fun activities. However, meditation exercises require none of that. Sitting quietly and avoiding unnecessary thoughts may not seem like the quickest route to happiness, but it may have the most sustained effects.
It may come as little wonder that so few people in today’s society are truly happy given the fact that so few people have experience meditating on a regular basis.
However, it is never too late for an individual to try meditation techniques.
By providing them with a sharper focus on the present moment, meditation can be a powerful tool to guard against unhealthy states of mind.
Dahn Yoga is one of the largest yoga and tai chi companies in the world with its own unique style and brand of yoga. Dahn Yoga is rooted in the rich history of an ancient Asian mind-body practice, Sun Do, and in the wisdom of the Chun Bu Kyung.