THE BLOG
07/17/2014 04:11 pm ET | Updated Sep 16, 2014

Hacking the Mind Through Meditation

Life has many joyful, even blissful moments. We also know it can contain other kinds of moments as well: times that are stressful, depleting, and downright negative. All of this can make life feel less than zen-like. With billions of positive statements found through tweets and other social media, the push for uplifting affirmations show the need to help combat those stressful moments. But can it really help to create lasting change in our well-being?

One way to promote healthy change is by engaging in regular brain-healthy habits. Using meditative processes to correct negative beliefs, bringing a sense of presence to your body and mind, and practicing mindfulness are all great examples of brain-healthy exercise. These exercises act as happiness hackers to the subconscious mind in order to create new positive programs.

Although mindfulness has been in practice for centuries, it's become a more accepted practice here in the west over the last 10 years and is quickly becoming mainstream. -- Adriana Rossi, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College


Our thoughts, and emotional reactions, tend to run like computer programs behind the software of our conscious awareness. That's why it is not enough to just simply "think positive." Most of us may have negativity buried in our subconscious, which can still live through the body. By becoming aware of our body's operating system, we begin to observe and understand ourselves better. We can begin to relate more skillfully with conscious action that leads to more insight and balance in our lives. Brain training techniques, and cultivating present-centered awareness, through a meditative practice is not about being self-indulgent or self-centered, it's about creating ways to use this sense of awareness to help us develop new insights. It can also inspire us to tap into a kind of inner treasure chest that equips us to deal with life's changes effectively. We become a power source to be flexible enough to bend not break and to bounce back and become more resilient: in order for our so-called body-mind computer to run more efficiently. Yes, you will learn much more about yourself, but it's the knowledge that will help you better understand and connect with people in your life. We can start to see how to enter into the operating system of our subconscious mind and make permanent changes to eliminate those malware programs that can short circuit our lives.

Okay, okay, I get it. Some of us still need proof that this stuff works. I realize that many of us are still looking for approaches that are grounded in sound scientific evidence. However, new research into the connection between the body, mind, consciousness and a quantum leap in our understanding of physics, all suggest expanded possibilities on how to move toward what we innately know is our real potential. A 2010 Danish study of the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program found that not only can one reduce stress, but also gain an overall sense of well being and improved quality of life.

Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now. -- Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Our ability to enhance human potential starts with tuning into ourselves to improve the lives of others. Ultimately, allowing each moment to reflect the inner peace of living from your heart, the joy of knowing your internal strength and the sheer satisfaction of making your own unique contribution to life.