Today we’re going to talk all about doing nothing and sitting still! How fun will that be?!
We’re gonna talk about mindfulness, which is all the rage right now. Everybody’s talking about it, it’s super faddish. It’s like some big thing going on. The mainstream media is covering it, corporations are bringing meditation teachers into the place. It’s everywhere all the time. I feel a little bit like I’m jumping on the bandwagon, but I’ve got solid roots in this practice. I’ve been meditating for over 30 years so I know a little bit about mindfulness.
There’s something in our brains called the default mode network. It’s a couple interconnected parts— regions of our brain. Mostly the prefrontal cortex but some access to memory and emotions – and it is the human condition. It’s the way that we have this constant voice in our heads more more or less like the play-by-play commentator in a sports game. We’re constantly being told about our own lives from our perspective. Me me me and the world! What’s what the default mode network does and it usually makes us friggin miserable! That’s the truth about it. It’s the thing that says: “Why did she say that to me yesterday? That was really rude and now my feelings are hurt and I’m gonna have to go talk to her.” or “Oh gee that was terrible that I made that mistake yesterday and now I’m feeling really bad about that.” “I know I should have really done better and if I could have done it backwards and well maybe I should have said this or that and that would have been really smart….” or – even the things that’s like worrying about the lists of things I need to do. “Oh I’ve got this to do I’m not going to do in this…” Bla bla bla bla!!
We’re talking to ourselves all the time!
It’s mostly miserable conversation it’s either ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. And, it’s not very frigging helpful at all. But that’s the human condition. Unless we do something about it, and that’s what mindfulness is all about. Mindfulness is simply training the muscle of the brain. Training the mind to be a bit more still and quiet. The research shows that people who learn basic mindfulness practices start to shut down this default mode network.
They literally start to have less noise— less of that play-by-play negative commentary in their lives and this happens not only when they’re formally practicing mindfulness, but also outside of those times. That the default mode network just starts to become quieter and quieter, and with more and more practice we kind-of defeat this nasty play-by-play commentator that’s in our lives. So there are huge benefits and I mean huge benefits. We’ve been researching mindfulness for over 40 years. There’s great science and here I’m gonna give you just a few. You get greater calm and resilience. You have improved clarity of thinking, including perceiving more problem-solving options. You get improved immune response which means fewer colds and flus. You get a reduced heart rate, better pain management, when things are going poorly better sleep and here this one pay attention! ENHANCED SEXUAL FUNCTION!
If all the rest of the benefits so far didn’t get you that one might get a few of you.
Reduced depressive symptoms, lowered anxiety, improved working memory. Elongation of sustained task focus. Improved emotional regulation, enhanced self-esteem, reduced distractibility, quicker recovery from physical and emotional trauma, improved interpersonal relationships which includes greater empathy and compassion. And finally, faster mental processing. I’ll tell you wow! That’s not all, but that’s enough for now.
There are amazing benefits from mindfulness and if you would believe it. I’m convinced of this that in just a few years in the same way that a doctor would be sued for malpractice if they didn’t provide consultation and advice on exercise and nutrition, the same is going to be true if they don’t provide consultation and counseling with respect to mindfulness practices. The evidence is just simply so good that mindfulness has got so many benefits for us that we simply have to be going in that direction. So I’ve given you a little introduction. I’m going to give you a little bit about the actual work of learning mindfulness practices in the next two weeks.
I’m your happiness expert,