Tag Archives: Positivity

Why Meditate?

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I’ve just returned from Dr. John Preston’s Brain Conference on Positive Emotions. He shared research on brain health–linking it to foods, medicinals, and what else? meditation. He suggests 10-15 minutes a day.

Why meditate?

Stimulating the front lobes suppresses activity in the amygdala. The amygdala is impulsive, reactive, prone to false alarms, and loves to ruminate. Worry, impulsive behavior, bad moods, and anxiety are your amydala running the show.

Whenever you calm yourself down, interrupt negativity, or stop yourself from impulsive behavior, you’re frontal lobes are activated and excreting BNFD (a protective hormone). A feeling of calm and well-being can replace negative states of mind. Whats the best way to get lots and lots of this feeling? Meditate.

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Practicing detaching from your thoughts,  can be protective to your brain’s health. Protective. Strange, huh?

Our amygdalas get coated with early experiences in our families, creating high sensitivity and pattern recognition to stimulus. Small things can make us freak out with emotional reactivity. Its responsible for a lot of negative self talk and relationship drama.

Our frontal cortexes need training to exert “top down control.” Meditation is the most effective, powerful tool for increasing your capacity to regain~and maintain equanimity.

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There are several ways to meditate, if you think about it. Walking meditation, eating meditation, laying in bed meditation, riding the bus meditation, sitting on the lawn meditation.

Don’t get stuck thinking you have to sit a special way or wear yoga pants. Phooey. As long as you follow these two ideas, you’re meditating and receiving the benefit:
1. breath slowly and deeply
2. detach from your thoughts, watch them, but don’t follow them, just for 10 minutes, let them go by. Repeat #1.

Anywhere you go, you can fit in a little meditation. Next time your up in the hills on a hike and see a beautiful view, sit down and empty your mind. Now you’ve exercised your body and protected your brain.

At the brain health conference, 200 of us closed our eyes, practiced detaching and breathing several times during the day. It was kinda powerful. Try adding little meditations through your day?  Getting present this way activates your frontal lobes ~and your well-being.

Animals do it all the time!

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Practicing Positivity

I found an engaging, uplifting article in UTNE on positivity. Positive emotions can change our brains, says researcher Barbara Fredrickson. She broke it down into doable tasks that help increase positive experiences that in turn enhance overall life happiness. Read the whole article here if you want:

http://www.utne.com/mind-and-body/finding-happiness-cultivating-positive-emotions-psychology.aspx

Here’s an excerpt:

What are the specific benefits of positive emotions?

When people increase their daily diets of positive emotions, they find more meaning and purpose in life. They also find that they receive more social support—or perhaps they just notice it more, because they’re more attuned to the give-and-take between people. They report fewer aches and pains, headaches, and other physical symptoms. They show mindful awareness of the present moment and increased positive relations with others. They feel more effective at what they do. They’re better able to savor the good things in life and can see more possible solutions to problems. And they sleep better.

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How can we increase positivity?

One way is to be aware of the present moment, because most moments are positive. We miss many opportunities to experience positive emotions now by thinking too much about the past or worrying about the future, rather than being open to what is. 

Another way is to pay attention to human kindness—not only what others have done for you, which helps unlock feelings of gratitude, but also what you can do for other people, how you can make somebody’s day. We found that even just paying attention to when you are kind—not necessarily increasing how often you’re kind, but just paying attention to the times when you are—can make you more positive.

Another simple technique is going outside in good weather. One of my former students, Matt Keller, who’s now on the faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder, found that people who spend even just 30 minutes outside when the weather is good show an improvement in their mood.

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There are more-involved ways to increase your positive emotions, such as to practice either mindfulness meditation or loving-kindness meditation. You can also rearrange your life around your strengths. Ask yourself: Am I really doing what I do best? Being employed in a job that uses your skills is a great source of enduring positive emotions.”

Here are 2 more that I would add:

Use your morning meditation to conjure warm emotions towards people and pets that you love–creates a way of opening those circuits daily!

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Learning to savor. Savoring a positive moment, reflecting on a hug you gave as you walk away, savoring the moments of laughter, savoring the taste of a chocolate cake, savoring a memory of a walk with a friend, etc. Throughout the day, after a sweet moment, close your eyes briefly and savor it.

For more on Positivity, and Fredrickson’s latest book called Love 2.0 go to here website:

http://www.positivityresonance.com

I just ordered her book Love 2.0 and look forward to more inspirations on connections and love!

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