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Meditate On This... at NPL

July 20, 2023

The main physical, scientifically understandable link between our mind and our body is believed to be the neuroendocrine system. This is the network of nerve cells that produce and secrete hormones into the bloodstream. The release of different hormones is triggered by activity in the brain, so changes in brain activity can drive changes in the body's functioning. So our hormones can literally influence not just our internal bodily system and how we think, but how we act day to day. Imagine all the decisions you've made because of your hormones... [insert vomit emoji]... 

Life can be stressful sometimes and stress can trigger long-term abnormalities in the neuroendocrine system. A stressed system in permanent arousal is ready to "fight or flight" when necessary, and, as a result, levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, are usually higher than normal. This can feel nuts. Personally, when I have a large amount of cortisol in my blood I feel like my head got pumped with 9000psi of boiled air. Sustained stress can lead to memory loss, depression, anxiety, and the things my mom likes to call "American problems." She believes that people in Egypt aren't stressed and don't know what stress is because they "leave all their problems for God." Can God please reach out to Transworld Systems and tell them to forgive my debt? 

The link between stress and mood is thought to be the result of stress affecting the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical that influences a person's emotional state: a happy mind is associated with increased levels or serotonin and an unhappy one with decreased levels. If you are stressed, the levels of of serotonin in your brain become significantly reduced, leading to depression, compromised immune system, and being mean to your cats for no reason. 

In addition to relaxing the nervous system and improving our mood, meditation can have many more benefits for mental health including enhancing mindfulness and self-awareness, improving focus and concentration, improving self-esteem and promoting self-compassion and forgiveness by reducing negative ruminating thoughts, better sleep, reducing chronic pain, and experiencing a sense of inner peace that helps us be more empathetic to each other and the beautiful world around us. 

So- are our current healthcare, political, or educational systems, just to name a few, doing enough to address this issue? You guessed But our library system is! Ah, the library, the ultimate mind liberator. 

We have mindfulness meditations, guided meditations, walking meditations, creative meditations, and so many more meditations at so many of our branches. From Jo-Jo Jackson's deeply nourishing guided meditation or the coloring meditations with lofi-and-chill sessions at Bordeaux and Inglewood, to mindfulness practice with Matt Tenney at Bellevue, walking meditations at Old Hickory and Pruitt, Meditation Sundays at Edmondson and Main, or laughter yoga at Inglewood, to our many different types of gentle relaxation classes and sound bath sessions across the branches, NPL transforms into a blissful space that calms your nerves, maybe helping you think twice about that so-called crush you have on that person who won't stop talking about themselves...  




Bassam is a storyteller who loves to explore histories, ideologies, and creative offerings devoted to inviting relief, balance, and wellness into life. He is inspired by a path of healing and wholeness by challenging and growing his understanding of true health and wellness. He is satisfied by purring and meowing with his friend Chef and playing the piano.