A recent study by Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert (published in the journal NeuroImage) sampled over 2,000 adults during their day-to-day activities and found that 47 percent of the time, their minds were not focused on what they were currently doing. Even more striking, when people’s minds were wandering, they reported being less happy.  The Killingsworth and Gilbert study also found that when people’s minds were wandering, they tended to be less happy, presumably because our thoughts often tend towards negative rumination or stress. That’s why mindfulness meditation has become an increasingly important treatment of mental health difficulties like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even sexual dysfunction. Studies also show that meditation training not only improves mental health difficulties, it also improves memory, intelligence, and even standardized test scores.   Meditation practice is like going to the gym, only you’re building your brain instead of your muscles.  When you practice meditation, thoughts become less sticky because your brain gets re-wired to be better at recognizing and disengaging from mind-wandering. And if you’ve ever struggled with rumination—re-living a negative experience over and over, or stressing (unproductively) about an upcoming event—you can appreciate how being able to let go of your thoughts could be a huge benefit.

If you would like to learn more about mindfulness and meditation, join us at Freedom Resource Center (2701 9th Ave So., Fargo) on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 from 1:30-3:30 pm.  Mark Bourdon will be leading participants through a number of different meditation techniques (including a tea meditation) and talking about “What’s all this mindfulness and meditation about?”

If you plan on attending, please RSVP to Cindy at Freedom Resource Center (701-478-0459).