Your Weekly Wellness Vol. #9

The Meditation Issue
Volume #9

I’m a barbie girl in a wellness world
The dream house. The veterinarian-slash-astronaut career. The pink jet. For better or worse, growing up Barbie seemed to have it all. So where has “living the dream” left our childhood idol come 2020? Turns out, pretty exhausted. In a tweet from her official account, Barbie recently announced that she has taken up meditation to help her cope with an “increasingly busy, over-connected world.” Hitting stores this spring, Breathe With Me Barbie, as she’s called, is part of Mattel’s new “Wellness Collection,” which features Barbies who partake in everything from cucumber face masks to guided meditations. 

Barbie’s not the only one looking for some Headspace
Studies show that today more than ever before, more Americans find they are struggling with mental health issues like anxiety, distraction, and physical issues like chronic pain. Among the most popular practices to calm their modern-day woes? Meditation, a process of calming and stilling the mind and focusing the brain. ICYMI: Meditation is not about sitting any particular way, wearing yoga pants, burning sage, or trying to completely close your eyes and turn off your thoughts. You can find a helpful guide that details exactly what meditation is and isn’t, here.

Imagine your thoughts are clouds floating by
The meditation market is so lit that it’s now a $1 billion industry, with smartphone apps such as Calm and Headspace bringing guided meditations into the homes of Zen seekers around the world. So what are the benefits? A popular study from Johns Hopkins indicated practicing meditation reduced anxiety, depression and pain, while another often cited study conducted at the University of Washington showed that meditation can help increase focus and productivity.

Hocus pocus focus
But not everyone is convinced. Although people have practiced meditation for thousands of years (way before yoga pants), many argue it’s still unclear what meditation does to the human brain, how it influences health, and to what extent it actually helps people suffering from physical and mental challenges. This doubt is because despite meditation being around for so long, psychologists and neuroscientists have only just begun studying its effects on humans over the past few decades. Not to mention, according to this Washington Post article, that many of those studies have included a small number of subjects, lack follow-up, and have been less rigorous than other medical research.

Zen habits
Despite conflicting claims on the science behind meditation, it can be an effective tool to experiment with if you are you are interested in understanding your mind and what goes on inside of your head subconsciously, each day. This article from Zen habits breaks down how to begin practicing meditation as well as 20 ways to integrate the habit into your day-to-day life should you so choose. In terms of the optimal amount of meditation, many recent findings seem to point out it's all about frequency rather than duration. So for example, five minutes a day, every day of the week is said to be more impactful than 70 minutes one day each week. The key seems to be to start small and then build up slowly until you find your personal meditation sweet spot.



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