1. It’s the least convenient way to enhance your brain.
Sleeping regularly, cutting back on your caffeine intake, committing to regular aerobic exercise, and maintaining healthy relationships with friends or significant others are all sources of brain enhancement that most of us do anyway. Even laughter is shown to enhance brain performance. So as long as you aren’t limiting yourself to 2 hours of sleep a night, living in a Snuggie on your couch alone with an IV tube of coffee pumping into your bloodstream, while suppressing any urge to crack a smile, your brain will still be enhanced. Sitting cross-legged in a yoga studio for twenty minutes isn’t going to drastically improve your mental stability more so than what you’re already probably doing.
2. No matter what your therapist says, it isn’t the definitive answer to your anxiety.
Mental illness stigmas are still infuriating to overcome, and the fact that meditation is more often than not utilized as the ultimate fix to anxiety is considerably belittling and undermining to the struggle of having the disorder. Certain degrees of an anxiety disorder can completely overrun your life and impair daily decision-making— and for some, being alone can actually activate high level of anxiousness, so in what medical mindset does it make sense to recommend spending more time alone?
3. It isn’t the answer to your depression, either.
Some have associated regular meditation with a decreased likelihood of depression. No. First of all, what does “decreased likelihood” really mean when 40% of depression diagnoses are traced to hereditary sources? People with depressed parents or siblings are three times more likely to also be diagnosed with the condition, and the other 60% of diagnoses are attributed to outside environmental or other physical factors. How can a daily ritual of “clearing your head” be a viable option to possibly preventing such a complicated mental illness???
4. It won’t make you a more compassionate person.
Compassion, although an emotion, has been proven to be an “emotional skill” that can be taught, but it includes hours and weeks of training, and most importantly, demands practicing human interactions. Ultimately it is getting accustomed to actually doing things for other people that increases compassionate feelings. You’re not suddenly going to be a better person now that you started going to yoga.
5. It pales in comparison to other methods of dealing with stress.
In terms of coping with stress-related issues, sitting in silence while you’re stressed seems like it would only make you panic about all the things you could (and should) be doing during those sessions. More helpful solutions than meditating would involve actually taking action by tackling the sources of stress in your life. Crossing off to-do lists, writing, venting to a friend—these are all action-based tasks that help alleviate stresses ranging from the seemingly trivial to the monstrous and overwhelming.
6. It’s not going to change how you think.
Creative thinking is supposedly promoted via meditation, but creative thinking skills are a state of mind all on their own. If you’re more of a critical thinker, quietly secluding yourself daily isn’t going to swing your personality and mindset to the complete opposite side of the spectrum. You’re never going to open your eyes after a major meditation session and *magically* begin seeing the world in a whole new light.
7. It won’t erase your physical pain.
Meditation is thought to minimize chronic pain, but so do a multitude of certified, prescribed medications… The brain is a powerful organ, but expecting it to be a long-term solution to something as serious and as debilitating as chronic pain is unrealistic.
8. It’s not the miracle health cure people make it out to be.
In addition to minimizing chronic pain, meditation is also thought to lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Did you know that drinking alcohol also helps your heart? (One drink per night if you’re a lady, two if you’re a dude.) Some studies have even shown that eating chocolate more than once a week can lower your risk of heart disease by almost 40% and of a stroke by about 30%. So, enough about meditation being the end-all medical miracle.