Every day we apply cognitive energy to navigate through our auditory world, especially when living in a loud, chaotic, fast paced city like London. For the most part we are unaware of the mental skills and effort involved. However, as our natural ability to hear starts to reduce, we become even more reliant on our cognitive skills to make sense of the world and this increases the load on our brains which is why it comes as no surprise that untreated audiological conditions can lead to anxiety, stress, depression, poorer communication and eventual isolation.
Repeated experiences of stress is actually damaging for brain health and halts the birth of new neurons. Fortunately, our brains have the remarkable ability to change and form new healthy neural connections, we call this neuroplasticity.
The act of mindfulness and regular meditation practice promotes the relaxation response in the brain and has the potential to encourage new neural network connections and reduce the levels of anxiety and stress that are usually associated with hearing loss and tinnitus.(1)It increases our capacity to notice what is happening around us, giving us a fuller perspective on the present moment and can help us improve our attention and ability to concentrate and focus on something specific while ignoring distractions. It enables us to intentionally shape the direction of our plasticity and change the way we respond to life’s challenges. Simply put, we can use our thoughts and our breath to positively influence our mental & physical physiology.
There are a variety of Meditation techniques, styles and guidelines to help put the mind at ease, increase mental clarity and improve cognitive reserve in the most effective way. There are a few easy and accessible practices that are relevant for the modern man or women. In this article we speak to Cubex Clinical Mindfulness & Wellness Programmes Facilitator, Michael James Wong about the small steps that we can take to start a process of cultivating well-being.
Meditation Tips by Michael James Wong
Meditation Tips by Michael James Wong
We live in a crazy world and for most of us life can be chaotic at the best of times, especially in a busy city like London. And for a lot of us, we don’t actually need more things to keep us busy, we need less. We need to find some space and create a chance to decompress, find calm and clear out the chaos in our everyday lives.
For a lot of us, the idea of meditation is daunting. We don’t know what the rules are, we don’t know where to start, we don’t know how long to do it for, we just don’t have enough information. But we want to try…
So, let’s break it down.
Meditation is easy, we just have to sit, we just have to try, we just have to breathe. While there are differing techniques and styles, there are a few practices that work really well for the everyday modern man or women.
Here are some tips for beginners to start meditating.
Find a comfortable place to sit, on the floor on a cushion, upright on the sofa, a comfortable chair, back to back with a friend, just not lying down or on your side.
Set a timer for 11 minutes, but with an alarm that is soft and subtle so it doesn’t jolt you at the end.
- Close your eyes
- Start by taking 5 deep breaths
- On the inhale, recite to yourself quietly in the mind ‘inhale’
- On the exhale, recite to yourself quietly in the mind ‘exhale’
- And then you’re off, you’re in the meditation
- At times throughout the mind will wander, and that’s ok, be effortless, let go of the control
- Don’t hold onto any thoughts, just allow the mind to wander wherever it chooses to go and before you know it, the time will pass
- When the alarm rings, come back to the breath
- Take 5 deep breaths
- Let the head drop so the eyes are facing into your lap and allow the eyes to open effortlessly as you let the world back in
- Sit in the stillness quietly for another few moments
Well done, how do you feel? Let’s do it again tomorrow, twice a day, 11 minutes. Once when you wake up, once before dinner, job done.
If it helps, music is a great addition to your daily practice. My personal favourite are the sounds of Arli Liberman from his newest album Allegra.
You can also learn more through some great meditation apps Iike 1 Giant Mind and Headspace.
If you’re in London, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an introduction to Cubex Clinical Mindfulness; breath work and meditation techniques or join the masses as we sit together monthly at Just Breathe London, a community gathering where we come together to sit and be still.
Meditation. Close your eyes, see what happens.
Taking action to improve your situation and learning how to promote calm by managing the stress associated with hearing loss, tinnitus and the associated cognitive load is the most powerful way of ensuring that life is fun, fulfilling and creative. Not only is it important to promote calm, it is also important to get your hearing checked as soon as you notice any changes and as regularly as possible, to avoid any escalation of untreated problems.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to make positive lifestyle changes. Get in touch to arrange your initial consultation with one of our audiologists.
(1)Mindful (Accessed March 2016)
(2)Psychology Today: Eight Habits that Improve Cognitive Function (accessed August 2014)