Updated: Nov 25, 2020
Meditation is heralded by many as being a ‘cure all’ – a panacea that can prevent all of your woes and help you to find peace and enlightenment.
They’re not wrong per say. Compared with many other strategies, meditation is certainly one of the most effective when it comes to overcoming anxiety and getting a better perspective on things. But unfortunately, nothing is perfect. That includes meditation.
Meditation is all about getting ‘out of your own head’ and focusing. It’s about being in the moment and not reflecting on problems.
But here’s the thing: reflecting on problems is useful. Even a little bit of stress is useful – it’s called eustress.
And the biggest potential casualty when it comes to meditation is creativity and the default mode network. The default mode network is the selection of brain areas that light up when you daydream, or think about your own future. People associate this part of the brain with a) being distracted from what’s happening, and b) being negative.
But the truth? The default mode network is also where many of us come up with our very best ideas – including Albert Einstein. Daydreaming about the future is how we learn more about who we are, and what we want to accomplish.
The truth is that the brain has many different states and we perform best when we’re able to choose those states and jump between them as needed.