July 10, 2014
At the beginning of our programs, all participants create development plans. Many times these plans are grand in nature. I’ve seen things like “I’m going to run a marathon.” or “I’m going to do an Iron Man Triathlon.” or “I’m going to work out EVERY DAY!” These are amazing goals to have. And I applaud these participants for allowing themselves to dream big. At the same time, some of these folks are starting from nothing. They are doing no exercise at all and yet their goal is to do an Iron Man. For those folks, we tell them to start small and always have a plan A, B, and C.
Plan A may be to train for the Iron Man. Plan B may be to run three times a week. Plan C may be to walk every day for 10 minutes at lunch. Another example is: Plan A is to work out every day. Plan B is to work out three times per week. Plan C is to do 25 push ups in the morning. While these lofty goals are admirable, sometimes they can be discouraging. When the participants don’t accomplish these goals, they feel like failures. And they are not failures.
Real, lasting, sustainable change comes from tiny things done consistently. If you can choose to eat right most days, if you can commit to walk for 10 to 20 minutes most days, if you can commit to meditate or manage your stress well most days, you are going to create some amazing, lasting changes in your life.
So have those lofty goals, and always have a plan B and C to fall back on and do those consistently.
March 20, 2014
This is the last blog for now on meditation. See the past blogs for other types of meditation. There are many types of meditation. Golf can be meditative. Walking, swimming, or music can be very meditative. You have to find what works for you. Here is another meditation. It’s called a guided meditation. It takes you through a progressive relaxation followed by a visualization. Remember the Seattle Seahawks? They used meditation and visualization to help them win the Superbowl. You can use it to create powerful changes in your life. There are thousands of guided meditations out there. Find out what works for you. Please don’t do this while you are driving.
Here is the story on the Seahawks:
February 27, 2014
OK, check out past blogs for meditation through breathing and counting, and visual meditation. Now here’s a meditation with sound. Check out this sound. It’s the sound of OM, the sound that the universe makes. It’s a sacred sound.
Click on the video, close your eyes (after dismissing the ad) and breathe. Focus on the sound alone. As other thoughts enter your mind, go back to focusing on the sound. Do this for three minutes and then ask yourself how you feel. And keep in mind, the reason we do these different kinds of meditation is to find what works for you. So ask yourself which one was the best? Breathing and counting? Candle concentration (visual)? Meditation with sound? Stay tuned for another meditation technique in the next blog.
February 21, 2014
The last blog, we discussed a very simple meditation involving deep diaphragmatic breaths and counting. Mediation actually changes us on a genetic level and likely helps to prevent auto immune diseases. It increases DHEA, the youth hormone and decreases cortisol, the stress hormone.
Now we will talk about a visual meditation. Click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfpLea9OurA
Stare at the candle and start your deep breathing. Thoughts will enter your mind other than this meditation. Just politely dismiss the thoughts and only think about the candle. You can think about it giving light and heat, focus on the various colors, enjoy the music, but it can only be about this focus on the candle. Do this for at least three minutes. Set a timer if necessary. Afterward, ask yourself how you are feeling.
I talk a lot more about meditation in my book, Stress Management, Time Management, and Life Balance for Tough Guys, available on my website http://www.brentdarnell.com.
February 13, 2014
So, now we know from the Harvard Medical School that meditation does all kinds of amazing things to our bodies. It actually affects us on a genetic level. It changes the expression of our genes, which may contribute to less chronic diseases, especially auto-immune diseases. So shouldn’t you look into this amazingly simple thing?
Meditation also lowers resting heart rate, decreases cortisol levels (the stress hormone), increases DHEA (the youth hormone). I don’t know about you, but I could use a little less stress and a little more youth. It increases focus and decreases those endless loops of thought. And remember, it takes energy to think. According to a few recent studies, people who meditate regularly, on average, show a physical age of 10 years less than their chronological age. Now that’s for me.
So how do you meditate? Here is a simple meditation technique. All you need is three minutes. Close your eyes. Start to breathe deeply. With each exhale, count and think of the numbers one through four. First exhale, think the number one, second exhale, think the number two, third exhale, think the number three, fourth exhale, think the number four. Then start over at one. What’s going to happen is that your mind will wander and start to think of all kinds of things. Just politely dismiss those thoughts and go back to your breathing and counting. Do this for three minutes. Set a timer if you want.
At the end of the three minutes, check in with how you feel. You will likely be relaxed and focused. You can check in with your stress and download some good support materials such as a meditation CD on my website, http://www.change-u.com.
Next time we’ll talk about some more meditation techniques. Stay relaxed!
February 6, 2014
So why is Russell Wilson, the quarterback of the Superbowl champion Seattle Seahawks, on this blog? Keep reading and you’ll find out.
It’s a proven fact now. Meditation is good for you in many ways. It can actually change the expression of your genes. Wow! That’s pretty powerful stuff. And this isn’t from enlightenment.com. This is from studies at the Harvard Medical School. Herbert Benson has been studying the relaxation response for decades. He told us at an emotional intelligence conference this past year that this approach to meditation and the relaxation response is universal. All you need to do is focus on your breathing and the repeat something (a sound, a mantra, a psalm, a quote, a word). All of this creates a level of focus and relaxation. Your body changes within minutes. Some meditation techniques we teach are visual, some are aural. Some just focus on breathing. Whatever the technique, mediation increases focus and decreases those endless loops of thought. Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? Remember, it takes energy to think. No wonder you are exhausted at the end of the day.
According to Benson:
•“. . . [The] physiologic state of deep rest induced by practices such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing and prayer—produces immediate changes in the expression of genes involved in immune function, energy metabolism, and insulin secretion.” This means that regular mediation practice helps to increase your immunity, increase your metabolism, and decrease inflammation (the source of many diseases).
Seattle uses meditation and visualization techniques for success. It looks like it really paid off for them. Check out this article on this unique approach.
More on meditation later. I’ll cover some basic meditation techniques in the next blog or you can go to http://www.change-u.com. I have a meditation CD that you can download from the audio resources.