Written by: Emily Peterson, LPC-IT
Did you know that over 25% of New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned by the first week of January? By the end of January, more than 50% of goals are abandoned or forgotten (Vozza, 2018). I don’t know about you, but I have definitely been disappointed when I haven’t stuck to my goals. One goal I have made for myself this year is to be more mindful and relaxed. In efforts to stick to my goal, I started practicing more meditation. Over the past few decades, scientists have achieved some groundbreaking studies in the area of meditation. Extensive research has found that meditation can reduce stress, and increase brain functioning, help manage chronic pain and other mental health concerns (Ahmad, 2019).
Wow, that sounds great, doesn’t it? The downside of meditation is that it takes regular practice to achieve the desired effect and gain mastery. Many people become frustrated or discouraged with practicing meditation because they find their mind wandering instead of focusing on meditating. However, like any coping skill, meditation must be practiced regularly in order to achieve the desired results.
One way to monitor your progress in practicing meditation is to use a device that gives you real-time feedback based on the measurement of your brain waves. The Muse: Brain Sensing Headband measures your brain activity and modifies the meditation you are listening to in order to help you meditate better (“Muse: How it works,” 2019). Sounds straight out of a movie, doesn’t it?!
How it works: The headband wraps across your forehead and has tiny sensors that measure your brain activity through an electroencephalogram (EEG). The Muse connects to your smart device via Bluetooth and provides real-time feedback while you listen to a meditation soundscape. Soundscape options are listening to a rainforest, beach waves, a city park, desert, or ambient music. During the meditation, if your mind is calm, the environment soundscape you are listening to will be peaceful and you will hear birds chirping. If your mind is active and unfocused, the soundscape will be stormy and loud. Your goal is to try to quiet the soundscape by calming your mind. This is training your brain to calm your thoughts and focus. The more we can calm down our thoughts and focus during these meditations, the more we will be able to utilize these skills in our daily lives.
What I have found is that the Muse device has helped me become more mindful in my daily activities. Like many others using the device, I have noticed a significant reduction in my stress level after meditating. I also feel more relaxed and centered when using this regularly. Also, the Muse makes meditation fun to practice and gives you real-time feedback to show your progress as well as encourage you to keep working on it!
Interested? Curious how this may impact your life? The Behavioral Health Clinic offers individualized, brief therapy with the Muse: Brain Sensing Headband which can help you see if this is the right tool for you!
Ahmad, S. (2019, July 17). Meditation and mental health: Does the science support the hype? Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com.
Muse: How it works. (2019). Retrieved from https://choosemuse.com/how-it-works/.
Vozza, S. (2018, January 18). This is when your New Year’s resolution will fail. Fast Company. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com.