So what's the fuss with meditation all about??

One of my clients said to me: "You always find a way to bring things back to meditation."

I thought it was a funny observation, yet I realized that while I often encourage our clients to engage in a practice of meditation or mindfulness, I don't always share some of the research or science behind it.

Research shows meditation works. It can help you reduce stress, be happier & less reactive. It also has shown to increase decision-making, compassion, and even reduce cravings for chocolate and other things.

Interestingly, MEDITATION was the secret-superpower, that we sport psychologists used to teach athletes to give them an edge over their competitors, and my friend and colleague Dr. Mike Gervais, has gotten the Seattle Seahawks to do incredible feats that they all attribute to meditation.

Well... let's take a look at what all the hype is about and see how neuroscience and mindfulness line up, figure out why our brains so often get anxious, sad, or angry and learn the research-backed way to be happier -- and stay that way.

Let's get to it...

So...our brain hemispheres are divided into right and left...

You have heard it right?

right-left brain

The left side of the brain is the "rational" -language based brain, and the Right side of the brain is the "creative" or non-verbal side of the brain.

So for years, we have given way more credence and weight to the left side of our brain. However, we now have some compelling research:

Michael Gazzinaga, one of the top neuroscientists, has conducted some compelling experiments.  (From "The Neurotic's Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment)

Our right and left brain hemisphere's are connected by what's called the "corpus collosum" and we have now recognized that it helps the information to travel freely from one side of the brain to the other. But when there were some patients in which this was damaged, it allowed them to realize some incredible findings:

Gazzinaga and his colleagues found that the left side of the brain is responsible for "interpreting" information and creating explanations (stories) and reasons to help us make sense of what is happening.

However, turns out that these are not always accurate, and in fact, they are inaccurate A LOT of the time!

An example might be:

Right brain: People at the party, are frowning and appear somewhat irritated.

Left brain: I have completely screwed up, no-one is having fun, everyone hates me and they will never attend another party I throw!

Certainly you have experienced this...and if you have been trained to "trust" your rational brain...then we are all in for a WORLD OF TROUBLE!

Certainly, we have experienced this one or two times haven't we?

And the reality is that the brain in some ways, is trying to make its work simpler...so it likes to "cut and paste" from past experiences, and similar feelings...therefore we end up creating stories, explanations and attributions of events that are completely false.

If we allow ourselves to believe that these are true, and live our lives from the perspective of this "interpreter" then we will certainly be creating problems where there are none, and generating an inordinate amount of stress and stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine (responsible for increased heart rate, breath rate, heart palpitations, sweat, and fat deposition around our middles, only to name a few).

What does all of this have to do with Meditation?

Well, turns out that our Right brain who is simply perceiving information, without any judgment or categorization...(what some may call inefficient), may be a little better...

Our right side of the brain is interested in simply experiencing things...from a purely sensory and non-verbal place.


I often say that meditation is the "training ground" and mindfulness is the "practical application". 

What I mean by this is that MEDITATION is the practice that allows us to TRAIN our minds, (like we would our bodies) to simply OBSERVE, take things in, without making a single judgment, and without getting caught up in a story.

It allows us to TRAIN OUR FOCUS on either our breath, or a single cue word, or sensation, so that we can experience and recognize that WE are in fact in control of our thoughts, our feelings and our actions.

It teaches us to SLOW DOWN, and simply experience...neither good, nor bad, and help us get out of the dualistic mindset that is such a problem for us today.


This is the actual application of our meditation practice. For example, many years ago I made a commitment to meditating EVERY day before I started my day.

I didn't do it with a certain outcome in mind, but I wanted to train myself to have a routine, and also had read some of the beneficial outcomes of meditation for the brain, so I figured why not?

It was like trying to carve my eyes out with a spoon! I struggled tremendously...and was quickly aware of how undisciplined my monkey brain was!!

What I found was that when I meditate I tend to deal with life in a much more optimistic, and un-reactive way, without DETACHING from my emotions or being numb.

I value being an enthusiastic and loving person so I was not interested in NUMBING...I was interested in ELEVATING...and I got so much more than that!

The "story-weaver" doesn't wreck havoc in my life anymore. I can simply take events as they are, and then test out any assumptions, observe my thoughts & feelings and recognize underlying belief patterns that may not be serving me.

Mindfulness is about PRESENT to the Moment-to-moment experience without being caught in the tornado of story, emotions, or other people's drama. It allows you to CHOOSE how you want to react, respond and BE.

Overall, I am NOT an unusual case: Most people who meditate have indicated similar results:

  1. Decreased judgments and assumptions about what is happening.
  2. Decreased drama and increased emotional mastery.
  3. Increased resilience - and ability to tolerate discomfort, deal with unexpected situations and unknowns.
  4. Increased positive emotions & happiness.
  5. Increased gratitude and compassion.
  6. Became more confident and trusting of themselves.
  7. Had more peak experiences (Flow)

So what meditation and mindfulness teaches us, is what I have been teaching my clients for decades:

"What we focus on, is what grows."

So...what do you want to create more of in your life?

Want more joy and happiness? Try this:

  1. At the end of the day write 3 things that you are most grateful for, or people who have supported you in some way that you have gratitude for.
  2. Start Meditating for 5-10 min every day. Focus on a word, or a feeling you want to have more of.
  3. Create a celebration journal/ or celebration jar where you write things you feel good about doing.
  4. Focus on 1-3 things you can do to improve the lives of others. (When you begin to focus on how to help others, you shift your attention from all your judgments to sharing your gifts.)
  5. Recognize and remember that YOU are in charge of creating your happiness, by what YOU CHOOSE TO FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION ON.

So What will you Choose?

I'd say that given the world that we live in...MEDITATION should be in everyone's curriculum, so we can all contribute to a better and happier world.

Meditation & Mindfulness are just simple tools to help you re-connect to your authentic self, to get you to recognize your faulty thinking patterns, and allow you to re-wire those thoughts and beliefs, to create the results and outcomes you most desire.

If you are interested in expanding your knowledge or learning more tools on how you can transform your fear and learn to meditate check out our program:

Mindful Meditation Program




Post your biggest take-aways, Your questions, comments...

What is ONE thing you would like to implement in your life?

Wishing you love, light and brilliant success!

Dr. Elena 


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