Day: March 26, 2020

12 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Few activities have stood the test of 2500 years. Today we still have running, music, writing, swimming and… mindfulness meditation (among scarce others).

Such ancient interests that are still practiced today have a good reason for thriving so many centuries later. But while our ancestors could feel the benefits of meditation, they didn’t have the luxury of modern science to support their claims; it seemed to improve their lives, so they kept doing it.

Now, as western researchers have applied scientific rigor to mindfulness meditation, the results are in… and they’re more incredible than you might have imagined. Below are twelve science-based benefits of mindfulness meditation that will blow your mind.

Make your brain younger

A Harvard neuroscientist and her team wanted to determine whether meditation can change the brain over the long run.

Amazingly, their research found that 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter (brain cells) as 25-year-olds in the prefrontal cortex (a key brain region used for decision-making and memory), which normally declines with age. The scientists concluded that “regular practice of meditation may slow the rate of neural degeneration.”

Meditation has also been shown to fight age-related cognitive decline and even slow cellular aging. While most peoples’ memory and other brain functions decline as they get older, these effects aren’t seen to the same degree in long-term meditators.

Increase pain tolerance by 57%

mindfulness meditation benefits
Meditation has been shown to increase pain tolerance.

Your read that right: After just four days of training in mindfulness meditation, participants in one study found painful hot sensations to be 57% less unpleasant on average.

This may sound too good to be true, but there’s solid neuroscience to suggest why. As you learn to meditate, your brain can begin to separate the physical sensation of pain from your emotional reaction to it. Most of the suffering we experience, scientists have found, is a result of our psychological reaction, rather than the pain itself.

See Also: Easing Back Pain: 7 Things You Can Do To Promote Comfort

Gain back half of your waking life

Harvard researchers found that we spend an average of 47% of our days lost in thought. That’s nearly half of your waking life spent in some kind of mental simulation, daydreaming about the future or past. And the same study found that many of those thoughts are negative!

Mindfulness meditation can help you regain presence and spend less time mind-wandering. As you practice, you’ll spend more time immersed fully in whatever you’re doing and get more out of your life.

Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression

In our modern western world, millions of people suffer from anxiety and depression.

This has also led many of them to take up meditation, which has been shown to help with both mental problems. One of the reasons that mindfulness meditation helps in this area is that it teaches you to identify and detach from the harmful stories you might be telling yourself. Anxiety and depression, after all, are both negative narratives that get repeated over and over again in a mental loop.

Become more self-aware

This isn’t something that can be studied in the lab, but it’s one of the first benefits that every meditator notices at some point.

Having sat for some time directing your attention inward during mindfulness meditation, you’ve trained in the art of self-awareness (or what psychologists refer to as “introspective metacognitive awareness”). To put it one way, your mind gets good at observing itself.

This benefit doesn’t just help others, who have to deal with less of your annoying habits, but it’s also a fast path to self-improvement. Us humans are the only species on earth with this skill of “5th-degree metallization,” the mind’s capacity to become aware of its own processes.

Improve your concentration and working memory

In our current distraction crisis, it’s never been more important to have control of our attention. Furthermore, working memory is your ability to hold something in your mind in the short-term and is something that seems to be declining. Could you remember a 7-digit phone number if you had to?

Mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve both of these key areas of cognitive functioning. So to all the kids drinking insane amounts of caffeine to get better test scores, try meditation instead!

Diminish inflammation

Inflammation is a major underlying cause of many illnesses, including depression, heart disease, acne, and fatty liver disease. While most people look to decrease inflammation by going on a special diet or exercising, there’s another option available that takes just a few minutes each day.

Studies have confirmed meditation’s ability to help diminish inflammation. Because of the mind-body connection, mindfulness meditation benefits your body’s health as well as your brain.

Overcome addictions

Whether to a chemical drug or something more minor, like chocolate, meditation has been shown to help reduce cravings and even addiction.

Addiction recovery centers are now using meditation, along with traditional treatments, to help addicts. Brown neuroscientist Judson Brewer, Ph.D. and his team found that mindfulness meditation was as effective as any other method for helping people quit smoking.

Reduce feelings of stress

mindfulness meditation benefit
One of the benefits of mindfulness meditation is that this happens less often.

The modern world is full of things that stress us out, from traffic jams to an unreturned text message. But your brain often can’t tell the difference between those minor issues and a lion attacking you on the savannah, as it sets into the motion the fight-or-flight response.

When you meditate, the brain goes from active beta brainwave states to slower and more rejuvenating alpha and theta brainwaves. One of the first things you’ll learn to activate on command is a state of deep relaxation that you can spend more of your time immersed in.

Boost your immune system

Nobody likes getting sick, and oftentimes we think of washing our hands as the best preventative.

But it turns out there’s another way to help bolster a healthy immune system. Some of the top meditation researchers in the world, including Richard Davidson, Ph.D. and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. found that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training significantly increased key antibodies compared to a control group.

Cultivate positive emotions, like compassion

While you won’t feel happy all the time, training a mindful mentality will gradually build up positive emotions. You’ll come to appreciate the smaller things in life more and better bear turbulent times.

Meditators commonly report feeling like they can better “surf the waves” of life, even when the ocean waters aren’t perfectly calm. And you also might uncover a natural well of untapped compassion within yourself as your practice continues.

Enhance your sleep

massage therapy deepen sleep

Sleep is something that’s often viewed as a waste of time… until we get a bad night’s sleep and realize how important it is for mental clarity, mood, and productivity.

Shockingly, 40% of U.S. workers chronically under-sleep, costing over $63 billion in lost productivity each year.

And while some people try to use various cocktails or drugs to knock themselves out, oftentimes they are just knocking themselves out rather than actually sinking into a restful state.

Better to do it the old-fashioned way with an ancient practice that’s been the hero of our story: mindfulness meditation. In a randomized clinical trial, meditation significantly improved sleep quality and lessened fatigue.

How much would you pay for a “magic pill” that accomplished all of the same benefits of mindfulness meditation? But all it takes is a few minutes each day. And if you’ve tried meditation but it didn’t seem to work, it’s likely that you weren’t taught correctly.

So if you feel like getting all of these benefits for yourself, here’s where to start:

The Best Way to Learn Meditation

Many people find it best to learn from a professional app, where they can meditate on-the-go and access some of the world’s best instructors in their pockets at any time. But most of the apps provide only surface-level instruction and are trying to make a quick buck.

That’s why we recommend one app in particular, the FitMind meditation app, which was created with the help of neuroscientists and monks and takes a more in-depth approach to meditation. Unlike the other apps, you’ll learn over 50 different methods, progressing from beginner to advanced techniques.
fitmind mindfulness meditation benefits

Via fitmindFitMind teaches this same program at Fortune 500 companies, like Amazon and Uber, and was recently named the #1 meditation app for better sleep and less stress by CNET.

If you’re trying to start a meditation practice or take your current practice to the next level to reap the full benefits of mindfulness meditation, we recommend giving the FitMind program a shot.

The post 12 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk: New York gigafactory will reopen for ventilator production

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday that the company’s factory in Buffalo, New York will open “as soon as humanly possible” to produce ventilators that are in short supply due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

His comments, which were made Wednesday via Twitter, follows previous statements by the CEO outlining plans to either donate ventilators or work to increase production of the critical piece of medical equipment needed for patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by coronavirus. COVID-19 attacks the lungs and can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome and pneumonia. And since there is no clinically proven treatment yet, ventilators are relied upon to help people breathe and fight the disease. There are about 160,000 ventilators in the United States and another 12,700 in the National Strategic Supply, the NYT reported.

Giga New York will reopen for ventilator production as soon as humanly possible. We will do anything in our power to help the citizens of New York.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2020

Last week, Tesla said in a statement it would suspend production at its Fremont, Calif. factory, where it assembles its electric vehicles, and its Buffalo, N.Y gigafactory, except for “those parts and supplies necessary for service, infrastructure and critical supply chains.”

It isn’t clear based on Musk’s statements when the Buffalo plant would reopen or how long it would take to convert a portion of its factory, which is used to produce solar panels. Musk didn’t say if this was part of a possible collaboration with Medtronic .

Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak told CNBC on Wednesday that it is increasing capacity of its critical care ventilators and partnering with others such as Tesla. He said Medtronic is open sourcing one its lower end ventilators in less acute situations for others to, to make as quickly as they can. These lower end ventilators, which are easier to produce because there are fewer components, can be used as an intermediary step in critical care.

Tesla is one of several automakers, including GM, Ford and FCA that has pledged support to either donate supplies or offer resources to make more ventilators. Earlier this week, Ford said it is working with GE Healthcare to expand production capacity of a ventilator.

GM is working with Ventec Life Systems to help increase production of respiratory care products such as ventilators. Ventec will use GM’s logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise to build more ventilators. The companies did not provide further details such as when production might be able to ramp up or how many ventilators would be produced.

‘This is sociopathic’: Seth Meyers blasts Trump’s plan to end coronavirus lockdown by Easter

'This is sociopathic': Seth Meyers blasts Trump's plan to end coronavirus lockdown by Easter

The coronavirus pandemic continues to keep countries in lockdown, with over 400,000 confirmed cases around the globe. Medical experts are warning that social distancing is pivotal to slowing the spread of the virus, which would put less strain on overburdened medical systems and save more lives. 

Of course, U.S. president Donald Trump has a much different view of the matter, aiming to send everyone back to work in time for Easter — less than three weeks away.

“It’s like those stories you hear about a small town that elects a dog as mayor every year,” quipped Late Night host Seth Meyers, taking one of this trademark Closer Looks (from home) about how utterly ill-equipped Trump is to handle this health crisis. “Sure, you know, it might seem like fun at the time. Dog mayor. But what happens when there’s a thunderstorm and you need the mayor to coordinate disaster relief, but he won’t come out from underneath the couch?” Read more…

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