Meditation, Harvard, & Natalie Portman

A couple news bites (also bytes, technically speaking #techmology) to share today.

Maybe one of my biggest personal takeaways from regular (if not daily) blogging is a tendency to revisit concepts or rehash ideas.
This is not (purely) out of laziness or lack of content.

More so, it correlates directly to the pace at which life seems to flow — a pace that demands my recovery program keep in lock-step with, lest it becomes relegated to some back corner of my mind.

Keeping sobriety both fresh and simple has seen a line of best fit // a path of least resistance through gentle reminders — and new ways of thinking about/looking at those reminders.

Here are two specific articles that struck me (interestingly, both sourced from Washington Post pieces connected to Harvard University):

“Sometimes, your insecurities and your inexperience may lead you, too, to embrace other people’s expectations, standards or values.  But you can harness that inexperience to carve out your own path, one that is free of the burden of knowing how things are supposed to be, a path that is defined by its own particular set of reasons.”
– Natalie Portman, Harvard Commencement 2015

That was undeniably a factor in how my relationship with alcohol developed throughout college.
Though circumstances in my life may have made me more susceptible to dependency, I am acutely aware this phenomenon of intensive, yet often underlying, ‘peer pressure’ affects no small percentage of coeds.  It is a cultural attitude held the nation over, with regard to the socialization of alcohol…with not nearly enough discussions surrounding it.
Please allow me to be a voice, then.  This is why I share my story, and why so many others share theirs — we’re not alone.

“We found long-term meditators have an increased amount of gray matter in the insula and sensory regions, the auditory and sensory cortex. Which makes sense. When you’re mindful, you’re paying attention to your breathing, to sounds, to the present moment experience, and shutting cognition down. It stands to reason your senses would be enhanced.
We also found they had more gray matter in the frontal cortex, which is associated with working memory and executive decision making.”
– Harvard neuroscientist on how meditation not only reduces stress, but changes your brain over time as well

Simplified a bit, I can say here that according to the study, 30-40 minutes a day mindfully meditating can help to reduce the damage done to your brain by a culture of non-stop work/consumption/production/competition.  It can literally help reset your brainwaves to more flexible patterns.

Keep practicing // stay grateful out there.

———

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