DAY 7: Meditation in Motion
Day 7 Self Reflection:
On Day 7 in your workbook, check of all the activities you already do that “count” as meditation. I think you’ll be surprised to find out that you are already a “meditator” and didn’t even know it.
Day 7 Micro-Science: Why Meditation Works
I use to think of meditation as only something Zens Monks or spacey Yogis did in their spare time when they weren’t too busy being blissed out on their own superiority. Turns out I have been doing meditation all along and didn’t know it. Who would have thought at age five I was a blossoming mediator when I was transfixed on my Transformer toy at age five. Turns out what counts as meditation is just a brain change where a person moves from the default mode network (rumination, self doubt, and creativity) towards the task approach network (one point of focus). The default mode network isn’t completely the villain of the brain, but if we spend too much time there, things can get ugly. So therefore training your brain to switch modes and balance out where your attention goes is quite good for your mental health. That is all meditation is, “practicing switching your attention.” If you think of the default mode network as automatic pilot, the task approach network is just switching to manual transmission. Its a signal to your unconscious brain that you have things under control in this outside world and the brain can stop worrying about what hasn’t happen yet and focus on whats right in front of you.
FACT: Meditation activates and strengthens in the Insula cortex (feeling positive body sensations and empathy), Corpus Collosum (brain fibers connection left and right hemisphere) and the lateral prefrontal cortex (important in focusing attention).
TAKEAWAY: When you meditate consistently the amount of gray matter in your brain will increase. This means these parts of your brain will actually expand in size and therefore causing them to be more likely to be used in the future. So regular meditators feel better and have more successful relationships, come up with solutions to problems quicker because both hemispheres can communicate faster, and are better at focusing on the task at hand and completing tasks quicker.
REASONS PEOPLE GIVE OF WHY THEY DON’T MEDITATE
#1) No time
Reality Check: People who start meditating regularly sleep on average on 1.5 hours less than they use to, due to pushing the reset button throughout the day. So therefore meditating actually creates more time in your day to complete the tasks you thought you had no time to do.
#2) I feel like I’m doing it wrong
Reality Check: Even if a meditator sits down for ten minutes and can’t focus on their mantra or breathe, they are still doing meditation “right.” This is due to the fact that your not following the orders from your brain as it commands you to “take out the laundry” or “call your next client”. If you just sit there silently you can listen to this obnoxious inner voice but not give it strength but doing its every command.
#3) I don’t know how
Reality check: Well now you do, so you can give up on that excuse. Meditation is simply focusing on one point of reference, whether that is one word, listening to the person in front of you, or watching a sunset. All of this “focusing your attention” helps the brain “do what your doing.”
Day 7 Meditation: Guided Five Minute Meditation
In the beginning its hard to start a regular formal mediation by yourself, but your in luck there are tons of guided meditations out there that help you focus your attention without much work on your part. Overtime, I have found that I enjoy listening to silence a bit more than someone elses voice, but that will all come in time!
FACT: Meditation increases the size of the brain’s hippocampus, lowers cortisol levels and raises serotonin levels.
TAKEAWAY: Meditation helps the learning/memory center of your brain expand, helps you feel less stressed and more content overall.
Day 7 Meditation: Watch the five minute youtube guided meditation above.
Day 7 Movement Task: Download Meditation App
FACT:Meditation helps increase the myelination (speed of information) between a persons prefrontal cortex (rational centers) and amygdala (fear centers).
TAKEAWAY: If you meditate regularly the thinking center of your brain can more easily communicate with the fear center of your brain, effectively making your brain better at calming itself down.
Day 7 Movement Task: Go to app store in phone and download the free meditation app called “Insight Timer.” Check it out and see what you think. Hopefully you can use this app regularly in place of the other time consuming, soul sucking apps out there that just want our money and time.
Day 7 Bonus Material:
#1) Ted Talk: Meditation
Check out this Ted Talk by Andy Puddicombe about the power of meditation and being mindful in our everyday lives.
#2) 20 Scientific Reasons to Start Meditating Today: Psychology Today
Check out this article by Greater Good about the benefits of starting a regular meditation practice and implementing it into your daily lives. Its not gonna be easy but its gonna be worth it!!