Would you like to get your math homework finished faster, strategize a tough assignment, or come up with an essay that’ll impress your English teacher? We do creative thinking with our neocortex, the part of the brain that is concerned with problem solving, visioning, hypothesizing, and strategizing. Meditation can have profound effects on the neocortex.
Blogger Branain Radcliffe shows how meditation boosts your creativity and focus in seven specific ways.
Increase self-confidence. Teens who lack self-confidence often hold back from using talents. Gaining self-assurance means embracing your best qualities and skills
Ease anxiety. Being creative is a risky enterprise. By creating a safe space within, meditation provides a platform from which to take risks.
Allow you to be yourself. Meditation puts you in touch with your true and authentic self, which is what makes each person unique. Knowing your true self makes it possible to express yourself in creative ways.
Make you less vulnerable. Teens often face criticism from peers. Because meditation puts you in touch with what matters to you as an individual, you can become less vulnerable to other people’s comments, whether positive or negative.
Foster kindness to yourself. Sometimes the creative juices flow and sometimes they don’t. Being hard on yourself makes it even harder to connect with your creativity. Meditation makes you kinder to yourself (and others).
Change brain activity. Studies show that meditation increases brain activity in the areas of the brain that are associated with creativity, and focus.
Keep the world at bay. By learning to focus on the present moment, meditation increases concentration and makes you less distracted.
Doron Libshtein is a wellness mentor and author who’s worked closely with the world’s top creative luminaries, including Deepak Chopra, spiritual mentor Byron Katie, and Marcia Weider, founder of Dream University. He believes that “everyone should meditate and, oftentimes, creative people are the best meditators. Meditation can help you get ‘the quiet’ you need to help reduce stress.”
Libshtein says the number one benefit of meditation is “a state of stillness and calm. When you alleviate stress through meditation, it makes space for creative thoughts and inspiration.” Libshtein explains that meditation greatly improves attention disorders, and provides clarity. When anxiety and lack of focus dissolve, there’s more room for inspiring ideas. “Creative ideas can come from meditation,” Libshtein says, “and connection to the source of your inner voice and thoughts.”
Good-bye, fear. Hello, focus.
Twenty-One Pilots’ song Stressed Out speaks to the teen reality. Meditation is a way to get calm, and focused. It trains your mind to relax, turning anxious energy into inspired thought.
Meditation has even been used to help deal with fear from taking tests. Even better, by focusing on your breathing you may find that your patience, clarity, insight, and outlook are greatly improved. Meditation can also you find your own personal purpose to determine what’s next and what to do in life.
Stress can result in conditions like depression, ADHD, eating disorders and many other dysfunctions and challenges. Meditation can be an effective solution for teens who experience depression. In fact, a review study last year at Johns Hopkinslooked at the relationship between mindfulness meditation and its ability to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain. Researcher Madhav Goyal and his team found that the measurable effect of meditation was exactly the same as prescription antidepressants. That’s pretty good.
Meditating for just a few minutes a day can help you feel more in control—even when you’re not actually meditating.
TeensHealth.org says, “Making meditation one of your daily routines (like brushing your teeth) can help you feel more grounded when it seems like you’re being pulled in a million directions.”
OK, so how do I do it?
Teens have plenty going on. You might be saying, “I don’t have time to learn meditation.”
Meditation can happen anywhere. Get comfortable, and close your eyes or just stare at a spot on the floor in front of you. Wellness mentor Libshtein recommends using a mantra. He suggests saying something as simple as, “Om,” or “I am calm.” Repeating this word (or words) helps you relax and gives you something to focus on. Just repeat your mantra, whatever it is, on the inhale and the exhale. Do this a few times a day for a couple of minutes at each session. Build up your time as you get comfortable with your practice.
There are many meditation apps from various websites. Libshtein says, “The Mentors Channel can help you calm down while also adopting the habit of meditation. On this site, you can find 2,000 meditations. There are also resources on YouTube, and Vimeo. One online class that teens seem to love is the dynamic meditation from Osho.”
One myth is that meditation is “no thought.” This actually ends up blocking the practice of meditation as you can really not stop thinking. Meditation is simply about quieting your thinking, which allows creativity and inspiration to take root.
Good to Know
Here’s why it’s good to breathe:
Meditation has the same measurable effects as prescription antidepressants. That means you can make a real, quantifiable change in your life, starting today.
Breathe your way to better grades. The part of the brain that is concerned with creative thinking, problem solving, visioning, hypothesizing, and strategizing is profoundly affected by meditation.
Be yourself. Meditation puts you in touch with your true and authentic self, and makes you less vulnerable to other people’s comments.
You’re going to breathe today, of that much you can be sure. Enjoy a few minutes of mindfulness and score all the benefits of meditation.
is an author, music journalist, parent, and deep breather. Get acquainted at The Written Word.