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Listen To The Silent Trees!

What am I talking about when I say “Listen To the Silent Trees? Phish” It’s one of my favorite lyrics from
Phish as it says so much, with saying so little. In my opinion it means to slow down and Listen To The
Silent Trees!
So much easier said than done right? Let’s look at the benefits of meditation so we can
“Listen to the silent trees and hear our words float upon a breeze- Phish.”


Seriously what are the benefits of mediation?
1- Stress Reduction - is one of the most common reasons people try meditation.- “Silence is suddenly
smothering me and nothing I see can be taken from me- Phish.”
If we truly can tap into our meditative state
then we can accomplish this goal of- “Silence is suddenly something me and nothing I see can be taken
from me- Phish.”
It takes really wanting to create a change in your life to commit to mediation but it can
truly be life changing.


2- Controls Anxiety- For example, an eight-week study of mindfulness meditation helped participants reduce their anxiety. It also reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks. For example, yoga has been shown to help people reduce anxiety. This is likely due to benefits from both meditative practice and exercise. Meditation may also help control job-related anxiety in high-pressure work environments. “Have a cup of coffee and catch your breathe just relax your doing fine.”- Phish


3- Promotes Emotional Health - Some forms of meditation can also lead to an improved self-image
and more positive outlook on life. Those who meditated showed measurable changes in activity in
areas related to positive thinking and optimism. Some forms of meditation can improve
depression and create a more positive outlook on life. Research shows that maintaining an
ongoing habit of meditation may help you maintain these benefits long term. “I am your knight in
shining armor coming to your emotional rescue. Phish – Rolling Stones.”


4- Enhances Self Awareness- Some forms of meditation may help you develop a stronger
understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self. For example, self-inquiry
meditation explicitly aims to help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you
relate to those around you. Other forms teach you to recognize thoughts that may be harmful or
self-defeating. The idea is that as you gain greater awareness of your thought habits, you can
steer them toward more constructive patterns. Self-inquiry and related styles of meditation can
help you "know yourself." This can be a starting point for making other positive changes. “Burn it
down burn it down set your soul free we are all in this together in a sprit family- Phish.”


5- Lengthens Attention Span- Focused-attention meditation is like weight lifting for your attention span. It
helps increase the strength and endurance of your attention. For example, a study looked at the effects of an
eight-week mindfulness meditation course and found it improved participants' ability to reorient and
maintain their attention. A similar study showed that human resource workers who regularly practiced
mindfulness meditation stayed focused on a task for longer. These workers also remembered details of their
tasks better than their peers who did not practice meditation. Moreover, one review concluded that
meditation may even reverse patterns in the brain that contribute to mind-wandering, worrying and poor
attention. Several types of meditation may build your ability to redirect and maintain attention. As little as
four days of meditation may have an effect. “Thoughts Fall On My Vision and Dance in The Sun.- Phish”

6- May Reduce Age- Related Memory Loss- Improvements in attention and clarity of thinking may help
keep your mind young. Kirtan Kriya is a method of meditation that combines a mantra or chant with
repetitive motion of the fingers to focus thoughts. It improved participants' ability to perform memory tasks
in multiple studies of age-related memory loss. Furthermore, a review of 12 studies found that multiple
meditation styles increased attention, memory and mental quickness in older volunteers. The improved
focus you can gain through regular meditation may increase memory and mental clarity. These benefits can
help fight age-related memory loss and dementia. "Can’t this wait till I’m old cant I live while I’m young?


7- Can Generate Kindness- Some types of meditation may particularly increase positive feelings and actions
toward yourself and others. Metta, a type of meditation also known as loving-kindness meditation, begins
with developing kind thoughts and feelings toward yourself. Through practice, people learn to extend this
kindness and forgiveness externally, first to friends, then acquaintances and ultimately enemies. Twentytwo studies of this form of meditation have demonstrated its ability to increase peoples' compassion toward
themselves and others. One study of 100 adults randomly assigned to a program that included lovingkindness meditation found that these benefits were dose-dependent. In other words, the more effort people
put into Metta meditation, the more positive feelings they experienced. Metta, or loving-kindness
meditation, is a practice of developing positive feelings, first toward yourself and then toward others. Metta
increases positivity, empathy and compassionate behavior toward others. “Toss away stuff you don’t need
in the end and keep what’s import and know who’s your friends- Phish.”


8- May Help Fight Addictions- The mental discipline you can develop through meditation may help you
break dependencies by increasing your self-control and awareness of triggers for addictive behaviors.
Research has shown that meditation may help people learn to redirect their attention, increase their
willpower, control their emotions and impulses and increase their understanding of the causes behind their
addictive behaviors. One study that taught 19 recovering alcoholics how to meditate found that participants
who received the training got better at controlling their cravings and craving-related stress. Meditation
develops mental discipline and willpower and can help you avoid triggers for unwanted impulses. This can
help you recover from addiction, lose weight and redirect other unwanted habits. “If I could I would but I
don’t know how-Phish.”


9- Improves Sleep- Nearly half the population will struggle with insomnia at some point. One study
compared two mindfulness-based meditation programs by randomly assigning participants to one of two
groups. One group practiced meditation, while the other didn't. Participants who meditated fell asleep
sooner and stayed asleep longer, compared to those who didn't meditate. Becoming skilled in meditation
may help you control or redirect the racing or "runaway" thoughts that often lead to insomnia. Additionally,
it can help relax your body, releasing tension and placing you in a peaceful state in which you're more
likely to fall asleep. A variety of meditation techniques can help you relax and control the "runaway"
thoughts that can interfere with sleep. This can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase sleep
quality. “When your there I sleep lengthwise and when you’re gone I sleep diagonal in my bed- Phish.”

10- Helps Control Pain- Your perception of pain is connected to your state of mind, and it can be elevated in
stressful conditions. For example, one study used functional MRI techniques to observe brain activity as
participants experienced a painful stimulus. Some participants had gone through four days of mindfulness
meditation training, while others had not. The meditating patients showed increased activity in the brain
centers known to control pain. They also reported less sensitivity to pain. One larger study looked at the
effects of habitual meditation in 3,500 participants. It found that meditation was associated with decreased
complaints of chronic or intermittent pain. An additional study of meditation in patients with terminal
diseases found meditation may help mitigate chronic pain at the end of life. In each of these scenarios,
meditators and non-meditators experienced the same causes of pain, but mediators showed a greater ability
to cope with pain and even experienced a reduced sensation of pain. Meditation can diminish the perception
of pain in the brain. This may help treat chronic pain when used as a supplement to medical care or
physical therapy. “I’m floating in the blimp a lot, I feel the feeling I forgot. I’m swimming weightless
around the womb, I’m bouncing gently around the room. In a minute I’ll be free and we’ll be splashing in
the sea-Phish.”


11- Can decrease blood pressure- Meditation can also improve physical health by reducing strain on the
heart. Over time, high blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood, which can lead to poor
heart function. High blood pressure also contributes to atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries, which
can lead to heart attacks and strokes. A study of 996 volunteers found that when they meditated by
concentrating on a "silent mantra" — a repeated, non-vocalized word lowered blood pressure by about five
points, on average. In part, meditation appears to control blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that
coordinate heart function, tension in blood vessels and the "fight-or-flight" response that increases alertness
in stressful situations. Blood pressure decreases not only during meditation, but also over time in
individuals who meditate regularly. This can reduce strain on the heart and arteries, helping prevent heart
disease. “Just relax your doing fine swimming in this real thing I call life, but can I bring a few companions
on this ride-Phish”


12- You Can Mediate Anywhere- People practice many different forms of meditation, most of which don't
require specialized equipment or space. You can practice with just a few minutes daily. If you want to start
meditating, try choosing a form of meditation based on what you want to get out of it. There are two major
styles of meditation: Focused-attention meditation: Concentrates attention on a single object, thought,
sound or visualization. It emphasizes ridding your mind of attention and distraction. Meditation may focus
on breathing, a mantra or a calming sound. Open-monitoring meditation: Encourages broadened
awareness of all aspects of your environment, train of thought and sense of self. It may include becoming
aware of thoughts, feelings or impulses that you might normally try to suppress. The bottom line
Meditation is something everyone can do to improve their mental and emotional health. “I see a turtle in the
clouds, did I just say that right out loud? Phish”


You can do it anywhere, without special equipment or memberships.
There's a great variety of styles too, each with different strengths and benefits.
Trying out a style of mediation suited to your goals is a great way to improve your quality of life, even if you only
have a few minutes to do it each day. Try it and tell me about your experience!
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Jillian Sokoloff M.A.


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