We live in a world where time feels extremely limited. There are only 24 hours in a day, yet you can’t survive on 2 hours of sleep, and you still have to go to the grocery store, drop off (and then pick up) the kids at dance/music/SCUBA lessons and somewhere, in the midst of the scramble, find time for yourself.
And while many of us, myself included, may understand that mindfulness-based stress relief and meditation can be extremely beneficial, it can be really hard to make the time for it on a regular basis.
So I went digging to find if there was a minimum “dose” of mindfulness needed to be effective, and good news for us all, there is!
What is meditation? It’s not the task of clearing your mind completely while you float 2 inches above your seat. It’s as simple as paying attention to one thing for a certain amount of time.
Seems easy enough, right? But if you’ve tried to sit quietly and focus on a singular task such as breathing you know how hard it is to quiet the monkey mind.
It’s like the minute you close your eyes, a new to-do list item that you’ve completely forgotten about pops into your head. Or you start replaying that really awkward conversation with your boss two weeks ago that you are still regretting. Or, maybe you’re thinking about what’s for dinner.
But in a moment (and honestly, sometimes it really is just a fleeting moment) you are able to follow one breath in and out before the next thought pops into your head. And that, my friend, is meditation!
Think of it as brain training that will allow your brain to be more focused, less stressed and better able to make rational decisions.
So back to the idea of the minimum dose – research shows that every bit counts.
One study found that 10 minutes of daily mindfulness not only improved focus but also reduced the amount of energy it took the brain to do it.
In another study, two dozen people took part in a 5-week meditation program, with half starting right away and the rest 5 weeks later. Participants completed seven, 30-minute guided meditation sessions across the five-week period (about 5 hrs 16 mins in total) and brain activity was measured at the end of the 5 week period. The meditation training changed the way the brain function, with a shift of activity in the frontal regions of the brain towards a pattern indicative of greater positive, approach-oriented emotional states. Rewire your brain in 5 hours? Sign me up!
So whether its 10 minutes a day or 30 minutes a few times a week, practicing mindfulness will change the way your brain is wired. And in a world where everything is blasting us at 9000 miles an hour, wouldn’t you like to slow down for a bit?
If you’re ready to rewire your brain, the best thing you can do is get started! Try sitting quietly and breathing while you enjoy your morning cup of coffee, or better yet, close your eyes and just breathe! While there are many apps out there that can help you meditate, the biggest hurdle to overcome is just getting started.
Here’s a quick 10-minute video to get you started:
So tell me, how has your brain changed since you began your meditation practice? (and if you haven’t started, get to it and come back to me in a few days with your response!)
PS Whenever you’re ready, here are four ways I can help you move better and feel better this year.
- Join the AE Wellness Body Nerds and connect with other movement nerds on a quest to make self-care easy.
- Join me for my free online class, Why Crunches are Not the Best Way to Build Core Strength and learn how to make core work super effective so you can stand tall, be strong and stop peeing every time you sneeze.
- Make your health and well-being a priority by starting with 15-days of mobility, movement, and mindfulness with the Self-Care Startup Guide. Learn more about the Guide here.
- Are you in the Los Angeles area? Let’s chat about one-on-one coaching, classes or a workshop! Click here to learn more.