emotional regulation

Why Meditate?

Three reason to meditate.

First reason: Meditation enhances emotional regulation.

Tang, Y.-Y., Ma, Y., Wang, J., Fan, Y., Feng, S., Lu, Q., Yu, Q., et al. (2007). Short-term meditation training improves attention and self-regulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(43), 17152–6. doi:10.1073/pnas.0707678104

Second reason: Meditation makes you more resilient to environmental stress.

Davidson, R. J. (2003). Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65(4), 564–570. doi:10.1097/01.PSY.0000077505.67574.E3

Third reason: Meditation has been linked to enhanced cognitive performance particularly on tests that measure cognitive flexibility.

Moore, A., & Malinowski, P. (2009). Meditation, mindfulness and cognitive flexibility. Consciousness and cognition, 18(1), 176–186.

My personal suggestions:

I recommend starting small aim to sit in meditation for 10 minutes a day gradually increasing the length of your sessions to 30mins a day. Personally I have found that practicing meditation when you feel well greatly enhances your ability to remain calm during a stressful event.  This I liken to weight training. When you begin weight training initially you get very sore but as you build strength your body adapts and can tolerate much heavier loads. Meditation practice builds pumps up your emotional resilience and enables you to bounce back from heavier loads of emotional stress if practiced daily!

One of the tools that I have used to meditate and keep track of my progress is the self app on the iphone. It’s a beautiful free app that has a timer where you can track your meditation time and keep a journal on your thoughts that arise. The app has the feature that you can export the data as a csv and upload it to excel or any other spreadsheet program of your choice. You find more info about the app at http://self.gr3p.com.

Picture of Jeff Friedman in Sebastian Florida circa 2003.

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