Here in paradise (a.k.a. Sarasota), we’ve had a cold (for us), rainy and very overcast day. The silver lining is that it truly was a perfect day for staying indoors and catching up on “stuff.”
My day included some of that. Some tidying up, some reading, and eventually a trip to the gym for a full on workout, for which I was somewhat overdue.
Ahh, it felt so good.
I started by doing long stride walks on the treadmill to open up my hips, my spine and my shoulders, and then I did some activation exercises to increase my range of motion throughout my entire body. After that I played a few games of basketball and then I did some specialized weight training exercises that I’ve been tinkering with to further increase my mobility, relax my muscles and increase my joint comfort. You would think that took a long time, but not counting the basketball it was only about 50 minutes. So worth it too.
One thing I’m repeatedly amazed by are all the little “tricks” that we can use to get our body and mind closer to where we want them to be. These are often referred to as Bio Hacks. Bio because they relate to the body/mind and Hacks because they allow you to “hack” into your system and extract an effect that is desirable.
For instance, research shows that moving a joint in various directions, even just for a few minutes, will stimulate the release of a fluid that both nourishes and lubricates the joint. If you don’t move the joint, you don’t get the lubricant to come out. It is triggered to release once movement begins and continues to be released until movement stops.
If you intentionally move your joints in various directions on a regular basis, you’ll have way healthier joints simply because you “hacked” into the system and extracted that particular effect.
This concept works the same way for everything that is “good” for us.
These hacks can also come from outside the body, like from certain supplements. Take an example that most of us are familiar with- caffeine. Even if you don’t consume caffeine, you are probably still aware that it has a noticeable effect on your mind and body. It increases heart rate, stimulates the release of dopamine (a feel good/energy molecule), and in some, can cause greater alertness and motivation. When you drink your coffee, tea, or other caffeinated beverage, you are “hacking” into your system and extracting all the stuff I just mentioned.
Pretty cool concept, right? It was like God gave us this amazing field that gives us back a harvest of whatever seeds we sow. We do the work and He gives us the results. Amazing!
So, let me share with you a pretty cool hack that will bring about a pretty nice “harvest” of peace, calm, healing and brain health- meditation.
Have you heard of meditation? Have you ever done it? If not, I hope to convince you to start.
Meditation, as a concept, is something that is not new. It’s been a practice that has been embraced by people of all cultures, religions and nationalities for many, many years. The word meditation can often be misleading, as it is often used to describe or label many different different types of practices. For the sake of simplicity, we are going to define meditation in this context as the intentional act of achieving an optimized brain state for an extended period of time.
Recently, scientists with really cool machines called EEG machines (kind of like an EKG, but for your brain), discovered that there is a particular brain wave frequency that is optimal for healing, brain regeneration, relaxation and stress reduction. Interestingly, this brain wave state is also the one that is observed in athletes when they are “in the zone.” If you play sports, you know what I’m talking about.
Researchers also discovered that people tended to get into this brain wave frequency quickly when they learned and applied a repeatable 7 step formula.
The article I want to share with you goes into detail about these findings and gives you this simple 7 step formula so you can do this starting today.
It’s really quite remarkable to read about how good this is for us. These observable changes in particular really blew me away-
A 37% decrease in the amount of stress hormones after just a week and a 22.8% increase in brain volume (volume = power) after 8 weeks. Wow!
Much of the effects of this hack come from its ability to decrease the activity of our sympathetic nervous system. This is the part of our system that functions to “hold down the fort” of our everyday lives, causing us to focus, concentrate, think critically about things, work, go here, go there and “get things done.” It’s great to have it going during most of the day, but if it doesn’t shut down enough than our brain, our body and our mental state will pay a big price.
Because we need more activation to our parasympathetic system than we are typically getting, even 10 minutes a day of parasympathetic activation through focused meditation can make a huge difference.
I encourage you to check out the article on this by going here- Meditation Article. Let me know how you like it!