“Meditation is concentrated happiness training” Christine Carter, PH.D.
The following paragraph is taken from Christine Carter’s book, “Raising Happiness” This is an amazing book. It is a guide for parents and caregivers to teach their children happiness habits. I will be writing and vlogging (video blogging) more about it on my Parent/Caregiver page.
“Take some quiet time for yourself. What does a monk who has clocked thousands of hours meditating have that you don’t? Let’s see: he has peace and quiet. His clothing is surely free from someone else’s spit-up and sandbox dirt. Also, the part of his brain that is responsible for happiness is bigger. This is because the brain is like a muscle, and if you train your mind the way monks do, you will change your brain.”
Sociologist and positive psychologist, Christine Carter and Shawn Achor, both write about the research that neuroscientists conducted with Monks. Neuroscientists have found that after years of meditating, Monks grew their left prefrontal cortex, this is the part of the brain responsible for feeling happy! The importance of this information is that Neuroscience of yesteryear held that our brains were done growing once we reached full height. Now, though, it is clear that we can change and grow our brains with practice and training! Therefore, meditation is concentrated happiness training.
Okay, now that you see how wonderful and important meditation is, you ask how can I do it? Some of you may have tried it in the past and did not keep it up. Maybe some of you simply think it is impossible for your busy mind to be still? Here are some ways you CAN be successful with meditation. (Notice that positive sentence…ha ha)
Positive psychologists say if you can take just 5 minutes each day, sit (or lie) in a comfortable position, and concentrate only on your breath going in and out, and stay non-judgemental. While trying this, if your mind wanders don’t judge yourself, just use your self-awareness and bring your focus back to your breath. They say even if you do this 5 minutes a day you will have amazing health benefits. You should feel calmer and more contentment, be better able to cope with stress, and happier, of course.
I have tried relaxation meditation with my own children and they were very open to it…….at bedtime! Anytime you want to try something like this with your own children, bedtime is the perfect time. Tell them they get to stay up a little later to try something new. Relaxation Meditation works by teaching your child to relax specific parts of their body, one at a time, starting from their heads and ending with their toes. Also, it is important to show children how to take a deep breath to relax. If a child is resistant still, try asking for them to try it for one minute. The next time, ask your child to try for two minutes and so on until they can do it for 5.
Another meditation that has worked for me is by using a guided meditation CD. I found these for adults and children at http://www.healthjourneys.com by Belleruth Naparstek. You can find general meditation CDs as well as meditations for specific health issues.
If you try these ideas and it is still not working for you. Christine Carter recommends taking some quiet time and keep a gratitude journal. She states “people who practice gratitude” feel considerably happier than those who do not; they are more joyful, enthusiastic, interested and determined.” It can also lead to being more optimistic about your future! There are even books written on this! Please let me know if you would like me to write a post on how to have an attitude of gratitude.
I would really like to read some comments about this post, especially if you try meditating or you are already successful at it. I would appreciate reading how it works for you. I want to thank my friend, Kim, who asked me if I was going to post about meditation. She shared her knowledge of it and felt like it would be helpful to blog about it. I admitted that I hadn’t used meditation consistently yet, but after writing this post I realize I should at least try for 5 minutes a day. Will you? I will let you know how that works out. I appreciate her support and for giving me a little push in this direction. 🙂