Easing into meditation...

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Julie G
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Easing into meditation...

Postby Julie G » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:31 pm

Waves, all! I'm participating in a fairly intensive 2 week dive into meditation and stumbled upon a TED talk that I thought some of you would find interesting. Like most of us, I'm a heavily left brained thinker trying to tap into the right side of my brain to create stress relief and neuroplasticity.

Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist, describes having a hemorrhagic stroke on the left side of her brain, leaving only the right side operational. The detailed description of her experience demonstrates what's possible and provides insight into this alternative state. Cool stuff... not sure I'll ever get there ;).

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Re: Easing into meditation...

Postby JML » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:36 pm

Amazing story!
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Re: Easing into meditation...

Postby Tincup » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:34 pm

As someone who's meditated for 28 years, I still find getting to the experience she describes as very difficult. I know people for whom this is very easy and they are very drawn to meditation.
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Re: Easing into meditation...

Postby Orangeblossom » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:34 am

I was introduced to mindfulness and meditation after struggling with depression and a physical health diagnosis. Two simple things which helped me with it, for starters.

1. You don't have to set aside time to sit and do it. You can just use things like washing dishes, walking or swimming, focus on the activity and notice thoughts come and go. in fact it was easier for me, while active.

2. Thought labelling. When you get caught up in thoughts say on health or money anything stressful, you can label that. So 'thinking about health again'. This gives you a little space from acting to those thoughts. The amygdala / stress response can be prevented just with that little space.

3. Non judgemental awareness. For me this is not beating yourself up about your thoughts. They don't define you. So thing like "Oh, I'm always thinking about health / APOE4, that doesn't help. I should stop thinking about it. etc" Sometimes that kind of thinking just makes it worse as we can berate ourselves for our thoughts. Or for example thinking about how we could be doing more, or worrying about the things we are doing and now doing them right. So just recognising when we are being hard on ourselves and need to be a bit kinder.

Hopefully those simple tips might help a bit. I find it so helpful. Even if I don't made a big deal of it and simply use these techniques day to day. Practice makes it easier and it becomes a natural way to respond. Even if you notice a bad mood and you are caught up in thought, and identify the thoughts involved, the more you do that the more you are on the way to making it work.

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Re: Easing into meditation...

Postby CarrieS » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:22 am

Orangeblossom wrote:1. You don't have to set aside time to sit and do it. You can just use things like washing dishes, walking or swimming, focus on the activity and notice thoughts come and go. in fact it was easier for me, while active.

I've found the above applies to me too. I felt stressed that I had a hard time sitting and trying to meditate. I also thought that meditating was trying to have an "out of body" type of spiritual experience. What a relief to find out that quieting my mind WAS meditating and that I actually WAS doing that when I hiked, gardened, sailed, etc.
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Re: Easing into meditation...

Postby circular » Fri Mar 02, 2018 7:13 pm

I do think 'meditation' refers to various, qualitatively different experiences that share some of the same benefits. Some meditation isn't the same as 'mindfulness meditation' and can take one to other distinct states of consciousness. All are valuable, but obviously we can't all try to fit in every conceivable kind of meditation. Mindfulness meditation is very popular in part because it can be done while moving and engaged in other activities, but there are other kinds of meditative experiences that would require being in a quiet place and not moving. For example when I am '100%' focused on what it feels like inside my right big toe, I wouldn't want to be driving. And that's just the beginning of that meditation.
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Re: Easing into meditation...

Postby Orangeblossom » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:32 am

Article on mindfulness and stress reduction

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/scienc ... tists.html

and here

"When unmindful, distracted and inattentive, the brain switches into default mode which has been associated with poor mental health (Brewer et al., 2011) as well as higher amyloid-beta deposition (Simic et al., 2014). Mindfulness training has been found to switch off default mode (Brewer et al., 2011)."

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923201/

Very interesting

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Re: Easing into meditation...

Postby hill dweller » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:19 am

Dan Harris' book "10% Happier: Meditation for Figedty Skeptics" is the best meditation primer I've found. Harris had a panic attack while reading the news on national TV and realized he needed to do something. Funny story he tells -- his brother told him the book should be titled "10% Less A**hole."

Harris' approach can be summed up as "begin again," just keep starting over and over and over, as you find your mind constantly wandering. Very low key.

There is also a soothing app (free for 30 days). I didn't subscribe to the app after the trial period, but the original content remains available at no cost. Meditation coach Joseph Goldstein has a very calming voice and leads most of the beginner sessions.

https://www.amazon.com/10-Happier-Self-Help-Actually-Works/dp/0062265431

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Re: Easing into meditation...

Postby CoachDD » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:49 am

I try to do meditation daily and highly recommend the Headspace app, Emily Fletcher's program (The M Word) and/or Mindvalley's Quest (6 Phase Meditation) for those who are left brained like me! :)

Here are the sites for ease of reference:

http://www.mindvalley.com/quests/six-ph ... ain_banner

https://zivameditation.com/zivavault/vi ... y-fletcher
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Re: Easing into meditation...

Postby NancyM » Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:28 am

Another app I’ve found that I now use regularly is called Insight Timer. It has a ton of free guided meditations as well as music and discussions, among many other features. The online version is free, and they offer an offline version for $2.99 per month. I only have used the online version since I always have access to the internet. I have been using it for a few months and I still haven’t explored all of what it has to offer. Lots of good stuff.


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