Friday, December 5, 2008

A Mental Diet

I like to listen to the radio while working. My favorite station is “streamed” from out of state because it’s in the same city where our two sons live. It’s a great way of staying connected with them and their environs. I hear about their weather, their traffic tie ups, and listen to what they’re listening to. I just heard the morning host make the following comment, “We not only are, what we eat, but also what we think.” What a simple statement, but certainly one to make us pause. Living in our “diet conscious culture,” a day doesn’t go by that we’re not reminded of what and how to eat, but seldom do I hear about our mind’s diet.

What we eat enters our body through our mouth, but think of all the other influences, the external stimulants in our world that we see, hear, feel and touch. How do they affect, inspire, influence us, and who we are?

So what are some of these influences? Well, lots. How about what we read, what we listen to -- be it music, news, TV, talk radio, our colleagues, friends, family, neighbors. And how about ourselves? How often do we truly listen to our own thoughts, our own body?

Years ago, in my early 20’s, along with a few friends I signed up for a yoga class. Following the stretches and postures we would close each class with meditation. Self-consciously my friends and I sat in the circle and silently went through the actions but not truly getting into the spirit of meditation. Older and wiser, I’m now ready to consider giving it another try.

Based on the following article,
evidence from an impressive group of researchers from some of the leading institutions in the world have found that a serious effort at meditation can physically change the brain, leading to reduced stress, better mental focus, and possibly fewer effects from aging.

"One of the most important domains meditation acts upon is emotional intelligence — a set of skills far more consequential for life success than cognitive intelligence," says Richard Davidson, director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin.Davidson.

If I’m looking for proof, there it is. So, what am I waiting for?

This entry submitted by guest blogger, Cathy Colbert Inman