In my last column, I wrote about how I've been using social media to find positive articles about topics I'm interested in—ones that can improve my life and mental health.
I've also written about how practicing mindfulness is a lifestyle, and taking control of social media and the information I consume has been an important part of that.
There are countless books and articles about mindfulness, meditation and related topics. I've been consuming a ton of them and saving the ones I like best.
Here are six articles/columns that might help you gain a better understanding of meditation and mindfulness.
May the readings enlighten and inspire you.
This column from Dr. Loretta Breuning, founder of the Inner Mammal Institute and author of "The Science of Positivity" and "Habits of a Happy Brain," touches on one of the main reasons I've fallen in love with meditation/mindfulness: The practices help rewire and strengthen our brains the way weightlifting does for our muscles.
Training our brains can help us become more resilient, lessen anxiety and create a more positive outlook.
Breuning doesn't specifically discuss meditation and mindfulness. Instead, she focuses on other ways we can train our brains to stop focusing on negativity.
It connected with me because in studying mindfulness and meditation, I've learned that our brains enjoy drama and negativity, as she notes at the beginning of the piece.
This article is called "Rewire Your Brain for Love," and it discusses how we can use techniques learned in mindfulness/meditation to improve our relationships.
Author Cheryl Fraser writes: "We can rewire our brain for love using mindfulness practices to break out of early attachment patterns. By bringing nonjudgmental, present moment awareness to the old fears that attack when we’re triggered, we can learn to self-soothe and respond skillfully."
Um. Yes, please.
Another from Forbes.com
I still see a good amount of skepticism about mindfulness and meditation, which can be personally frustrating because the practices have been life-changing for me.
I love reading science-based articles on mindfulness and meditation because I want to be armed with information beyond hippie-dippie ramblings I might be prone to if someone asks me about the practices.
This article from Alice G. Walton is about eight scientific ways, including meditation, to quiet the monkey mind.
If you aren't familiar with the phrase "monkey mind," read more here. Essentially, it's the idea that our minds are constantly swinging from thought to thought, which can create restlessness, anxiety and feelings of being out of control.
Read the Forbes article for more insight on how to get control of those constantly moving thoughts.
From The Huffington Post
This one is a video with advice from Tibetan Buddhist Master Mingyur Rinpoche. Monkey mind is mentioned, but Rinpoche also discusses misconceptions about meditation and discusses simple ways to practice.
Check it out here.
For all the incredible benefits of meditation/mindfulness I've experienced and read about, I have also had uncomfortable experiences as the result of meditation and mindfulness—and this article does a great job of describing that phenomenon.
I found this tidbit of Lila MacLellan's piece especially interesting: "Zen Buddhism has a word for the warped perceptions that can arise during meditation: makyo, which combines the Japanese words for 'devil' and 'objective world.' Philip Kapleau, the late American Zen master, once described confronting makyo as 'a dredging and cleansing process that releases stressful experiences in deep layers of the mind.'"
When I initially experienced feelings of discomfort, confusion and anxiety as a result of my practices, I was taken aback by it. It is something you don't hear about much, compared to the countless glowing reviews of the practices.
But it makes sense to me that—after getting used to the way our minds swirl and living in a world where it's easy, if not encouraged, to avoid slowing down and shutting off—there would be some growing pains throughout the process.
But I'm convinced that the feelings of discomfort can be a sign of positive change. Click here to read more about that.
One more from The Huffington Post
Lastly, Suzy Strutner wrote about what happened when she made the commitment to meditate daily at least for a few minutes. Click here to read her experiences.
I hope to replicate that experiment and share the results soon.
For anyone who is interested in starting mindfulness or meditation, don't be overwhelmed. Five minutes a day is a good start.
Click here for some of my past suggestions on how to get started.
The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.