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How Shortening Your Meditation Can = Bigger Results

 How Shortening Your #Meditation Can = Bigger #Results | #Brain #Lifehacking #Mindfulness

It’s no secret that meditation and mindfulness are amazing practices for your brain. They make you healthier, smarter, and more fulfilled. Yet, despite best intentions, many struggle to find the time to engage in these life-changing practices.

Here’s good news: when it comes to meditation and mindfulness sessions, length doesn’t appear to matter. (And, of course, by “length”, I mean the length of time engaged in a given mindfulness exercise or meditation.) In fact, you may experience even more benefit by shortening your sessions.

Researchers in the 1990s believed it took 50-60 minutes of meditation practice a day to achieve brain benefits. Today, many people assume that you need to engage for some duration between 10 minutes to over 2 hours. But the latest research tells a different story: even 60 seconds of practice changes the brain in powerful ways.


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The research suggests that it’s the accumulated time that matters, not the session length. In fact, the data shows that shorter sessions, spread throughout the day, are much more effective in many ways.

With frequent, spread out, shorter sessions, mindfulness is more fully woven into the fabric of your life. This gives you a greater opportunity to more acutely leverage the brain-boosting effects to address everyday challenges at work or at home.

With this approach, the biggest obstacle can be remembering to engage with these states as the chaos of the day unfolds. That’s why we recommend you set some kind of timer to go off 1-4 times an hour. When it goes off, enjoy 60 seconds (give or take) to relax and engage in your choice of mindfulness practice.

 

One of my favorite tools for this is Awakeningbell.org. This site triggers Tibetan bell sounds at whatever time interval you choose. A recent study confirmed that focusing on the sound of a resonant bell helps the mind become more focused and attentive. A simple Google search will reveal several alternatives. And yes, there’s an app for that (actually several). After 60-90 days, mindful states will become your habit.

Once you set up a system, and make it a habit to engage in short mindfulness exercises throughout the day, you’ll develop a zen-like focus. You’ll be less stressed, more productive, more aware, and more socially intelligent. All it takes is seconds.


SOURCES:

Effects of brief and sham mindfulness meditation on mood and cardiovascular variables. Zeidan F, Johnson SK, Gordon NS, Goolkasian P. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Aug; 16( 8): 867-73.

Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: evidence of brief mental training. Zeidan F, Johnson SK, Diamond BJ, David Z, Goolkasian P. Conscious Cogn. 2010 Jun; 19( 2): 597-605.

The effects of brief mindfulness meditation training on experimentally induced pain. Zeidan F, Gordon NS, Merchant J, Goolkasian P. J Pain. 2010 Mar; 11( 3): 199-209.


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This post was lovingly crafted by Josiah Hultgren. He is Founder/CEO of MindFullyAlive, a Senior Lecturer at California Lutheran University, a cognitive coach, and a practical neuroscience expert. He produces and curates mindfulness content designed to improve structure and functioning of the brain.

Master These Two States of Consciousness and You Can Overcome Any Challenge

 #Accomplish almost anything by #mastering these 2 #brain states. #brainhacking #fullyalive

Society is waking up to the powerful effects of mindfulness on the brain. However, most people (even research scientists) don't realize that different forms of mindfulness yield different benefits. Which one is right for you? It depends on your goals.

There are now over 3000 studies showing that mindfulness is the most important skill that one can master to improve cognitive function, lower stress and enhance emotional intelligence. Yet, many are unclear on what mindfulness is.

Broadly defined, mindfulness is a state of awareness in which you remain anchored in the present moment, allowing thoughts and feelings to flow through your consciousness without judgement.

The two forms of this awareness are: focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM). Both types of mindfulness have very different effects on the brain, and different advantages.


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Focused Attention:

In FA, as the name implies, you literally “focus your attention” on a specific sound, object, or experience such as watching or counting your breath or listening intently to the sound of a bell. When thoughts or feelings intrude, you notice them without judgment and then bring your attention back to the focused activity. You gain greater control over your emotions and your ability to concentrate on work tasks is enhanced.

Open Monitoring:

In OM, you do the opposite of FA. You just observe all the different thoughts, feelings, sensations, or memories that constantly flow in and out of conscious awareness. You let your mind wander and daydream, observing the spontaneous shifting in consciousness and awareness. In this state, both your intuition and creative problem-solving skills can be enhanced.

 #Accomplish almost anything by #mastering these two #brain states #focus #mindfulness

Each of these forms of meditation has specific neurological and cognitive benefits. Used together they can increase your ability to integrate states of alertness and relaxation. You'll enhance your ability to observe the creativity of your mind-wandering. You may discover fascinating insights that way. Plus, you'll improve your ability to monitor excessive mind-wandering that distracts you from your goals.

If you master these states, you'll have a powerful tool to solve virtually any problem or obstacle you encounter. And as you get better at it, you'll find solutions in a matter of minutes. Over time, you'll be able to play these beautiful neuroelectrical patterns like a piano and radically accelerate your progress towards anything you want in life.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4171985/
Focused attention, open monitoring and loving kindness meditation: effects on attention, conflict monitoring, and creativity – A review
Dominique P. Lippelt, Bernhard Hommel, Lorenza S. Colzato
Front Psychol. 2014; 5: 1083. Published online 2014 Sep 23.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3328799/
Meditate to create: the impact of focused-attention and open-monitoring training on convergent and divergent thinking.
Colzato LS, Ozturk A, Hommel B.
Front Psychol. 2012 Apr 18;3:116.


josiah-hultgren

This post was lovingly crafted by Josiah Hultgren. He is Founder/CEO of MindFullyAlive, a Senior Lecturer at California Lutheran University, a cognitive coach, and a practical neuroscience expert. He produces and curates mindfulness content designed to improve structure and functioning of the brain.

How to Kill Burnout and Upgrade Your Performance the Easy Way

how-to-kill-burnout-and-upgrade-performance-the-easy-way

If you're like me, you've experienced how crippling burnout can be. Despite critical deadlines, burnout can keep your motivation at zero. Everything seems harder. And when it hits, the timing often couldn’t be worse.

Our subjective experience of burnout is validated by brain research. Burnout compromises the cognitive and emotional processes in the brain.

burnout-compromises-the-brain

But what are the most effective ways to prevent and recover from it? 

Your brain works best if you give it even the tiniest breaks (as little as 60 seconds can greatly improve your performance).

Here’s why:

Burnout is caused by too much focus on achieving goals for extended periods of time. We know from many studies that the longer you stay focused on achieving goals without taking breaks for enjoyment and relaxation, the more your work quality and performance decline. You need to turn down activity in the concentration center of your brain (the Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex [DLPF]) several times an hour to allow your glial cells to clean away the stress-related byproducts generated by the neurons in this area.

The fastest way is to take relaxation break and to fully immerse yourself in any pleasurable activity for 1-3 minutes. This could be a taking a short walk, sipping a warm drink, massaging your own head, sketching a picture, looking at travel photos, watching a video on YouTube... Anything that you enjoy!

This cat massage video may help you.

That said, the most effective way to give your DLPF a rest is to enter a trance-like daydreaming state. Research shows that repeating the word "OM" like a yogi may be the fastest way to do this (other sounds don't appear to work!). That said, you may get some strange looks if you do this around others in the office and want to fall back on a more covert strategy.

Don’t feel guilty taking tiny indulgences throughout the day. In fact, we recommend getting very intentional about them. Set a timer to take quick breaks 1-3 times an hour. When you return to concentrate on a specific goal or task, you'll feel less stress and your productivity and performance will skyrocket. You’ll feel better, get more done, and you’ll protect your brain from debilitating burnouts.


Rewire Your Brain and Become the
Best Version of You

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enhance the structure and functioning of the brain.


SOURCES:

Neurohemodynamic correlates of 'OM' chanting: A pilot functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Kalyani BG, Venkatasubramanian G, Arasappa R, Rao NP, Kalmady SV, Behere RV, Rao H, Vasudev MK, Gangadhar BN. Int J Yoga. 2011 Jan;4(1):3-6.

Can we predict burnout severity from empathy-related brain activity? Tei S, Becker C, Kawada R, Fujino J, Jankowski KF, Sugihara G, Murai T, Takahashi H. Transl Psychiatry. 2014 Jun 3;4:e393.

Structural changes of the brain in relation to occupational stress. Savic I. Cereb Cortex. 2015 Jun;25(6):1554-64.


This post was lovingly crafted by Josiah Hultgren. He is Founder/CEO of MindFullyAlive, a Senior Lecturer at California Lutheran University, a cognitive coach, and a practical neuroscience expert. He produces and curates mindfulness content designed to improve structure and functioning of the brain.