Image: Woman meditating by a mountain pond with a big sky before her.

The Simplest Way to Train Your Brain! 

Why do so many people swear by meditation as a way to live better? Is it really all it’s hyped up to be? Could taking 20 minutes to literally do nothing seriously help us be more successful in all areas of our lives? Maybe even sleep better? Here’s a practical look at how meditation can integrate into anyone’s life from one of our favorite creators!

Have you ever found yourself so absorbed in something that your sense of time just disappeared?

Your thoughts quieted down; it was just you and the task at hand, totally focused on the feeling and process of running,  reading, cooking, or whatever floats your boat. What if you could access that feeling with more ease, whenever you’d like? And what if it didn’t cost a dime (or much time) to do?

Well, my friend, it’s time to talk about this whole “meditation” gig. How do people do it? Why?! And could it be easier? From what I’ve found putting this piece together, there are many ways that we can go about feeling the positive effects of meditation—even a piece of technology in the works that will help us tap into those benefits way faster!

Image: Woman meditating by a mountain pond with a big sky before her.
Source: Wikimedia

First things first: Is it really worth my time?

Multiple studies have shown that the simple act of meditation can literally change the structure of our brains, improve our memory, fend off depression 1 and anxiety, reduce pain, increase immunity 2, and even help us fight addiction. 3

But we’re busy! We’ve got jobs, news to catch up on, kids to take care of, friends to chat with, shows to watch, gardens to tend to, books to read, trails to hike, lakes to paddle, and piles of dishes to wash—how could we seriously spend 20 minutes doing nothing?!

It’s the age-old battle of time vs. pay-off: Is the time that I’m investing in this really worth the outcome?

Well, Craig Benzine of Wheezy Waiter put meditation to the test for us. He challenged himself to 30 days of meditation, over which he experiences the highs, lows, and life hurdles of starting to meditate. How do you avoid falling asleep? Feeling agitated? Can you actually find a routine that works for you?

If just hearing about the benefits from a bunch of scientists doesn’t get you itching to try out meditation, maybe Craig’s experience will have you giving it a try.

This guy is one of my favorites to catch up with—he’s so practical! He explores the social fads we all come across with an open mind and realistic eye and then packages up his experiences for us into entertaining and hilarious videos for us.

Here’s what happened!

Via: WheezyWaiter 4

If you’re wanting more from Craig, I highly suggest jumping over and subscribing to his YouTube channel! It’s a breath of fresh air in the wild world of internet sensations. We recently published an article featuring his dive into the world of yoga—check it out!

Why Yoga?

Does all that stretching, turning upside down, and breathing really do anything? Why do people think yoga is so great? What kind of benefits can the average, unflexible, person get from yoga? Why not ask an average, unflexible dad what he thinks after doing it for 30 days?

Read More

It’s as simple as figuring out what works for you—meditation isn’t just sitting still!

Craig saw some obvious benefits to his practice by the end of the month. Now, how can that be you? Could you begin training your brain to better handle stress, as well?

When we’re getting started with anything, it’s helpful to have a guide. Apps have been great for me! Personally, I’ve only tried out Headspace and they’ve helped me a ton. I find it easier when someone is guiding me through my meditation! At least, whenever I’m getting back into the practice. (I do agree with Craig that people speaking when I’m trying to focus gets a little frustrating once you get the hang of it.) This post from Headspace goes through a few different meditations you can try out without downloading the app to think about what would be best for you!

If being active is more your jam, there are also moving meditations to try out!

The main goal is to focus on the sensations: your feet on the ground, your breath, your arms swinging at your sides, the texture of the street, or the bark on the trees. This guide from the Great Good Science Center is a really great intro to the practice to try on your next walk to the store!

Image: Person walking down a dirt road
Source: Pixabay

Whether you find those quiet moments while you’re hiking, biking, collaging, writing, dancing, or gardening, there are so many that we can take advantage of!

This resource is full of ways to train your brain and get those good benefits that don’t require sitting still!

But training our brains isn’t as easy as a few walks in the park. That’s why so many of us find ourselves losing interest after a few weeks (or days, let’s be real).

“Meditation is like a gym in which you develop the powerful mental muscles of calm and insight.”

—Ajahn Brahm

The benefits of meditation don’t come instantly; it will take time, commitment, practice, and patience but the important part is just trying and getting started! We have to get into the habit of carving out a little bit of time every day to focus on something other than our thoughts and what we have to do. And then, when we get there, trying to quiet our thoughts and get into the benefit ~zone~ is its own roller coaster journey. But what if there was a way to make that easier?

Dr. Jay Sanguinetti is a neuroscientist based at the University of Arizona who is working on something special: a piece of technology that can help us access the gift basket of benefits meditation has in store for us, quickly.

Teaming up with the renowned meditation teacher, Shinzen Young (known for weaving science into his practice), Jay is developing a way to stimulate the brain with low-grade ultrasound in order to tap into the meditative state with more ease. The goal is purely a scientific one, with the intention to be used first in helping people overcome their addictions and battles with mental illness.

Doses of this “Technoboost” stimulate the region of the brain that’s activated in deep meditation, helping the wearer of the device to bridge that connection and find more ease in getting there when they try to later on. As the name implies, it’s a “boost”!

Jay took to the TED stage to dive deeper into their in-progress innovation. Listen to his talk here!

Get the most out of this amazing world!

So often, I think we forget that we’re a part of what makes it this way. Our minds are amazing! Our species has accomplished so much: harnessed the power of the universe, created light, the ability to fly, and a worldwide web that connects us all. People have been hustling to survive and thrive for millennia; we’re accustomed to it. So much so that it’s hard for us to just… stop. To do something or nothing with the only purpose being to give our mind a break and exist in the moment, not on what’s happening in 5 years or what happened to us as children.

We don’t always need to be moving around to move forward. Sometimes, the key is to let your mind be still, to realize where you are, that you’re alive right now, and that your thoughts don’t have to control your experience.

If you’re reading this, I challenge you to try meditating for 5 minutes, right now. Here’s a guided one for you! See how you feel when you open your eyes again.

For more simple life hacks, check out these articles next!

The Secret Power of Checklists

The fastest way to start reducing your stress and increasing productivity doesn’t require any expensive new planners or apps. All you need to start working with the accuracy skill of a doctor or an astronaut is a piece of paper and a pen!

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Life Advice from the Slowest Mammal on Earth!

What can sloths teach us about dealing with the chaos of modern life? Here’s a hilarious TED Talk that will have you becoming a champion of the sloth lifestyle for yourself.

Read More
Hack Your Way to a Better Day!

Can we hack our biological clock to be more productive, sleep better, and be healthier? There’s no need to jump on the next big health craze. To get started, all we need is some simple science!

Read More

As always, my friend, stay open to new possibilities! This world can be an awesome place, and I want you to get the most out of it.

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” —Albert Einstein 

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  1. Harvard Health Publishing. “How Meditation Helps with Depression – Harvard Health.” Harvard Health, Harvard Health, 2020, Accessed 14 July 2020.
  2. Jeanie Lerche Davis. “Meditation Balances the Body’s Systems.” WebMD, WebMD, 24 Jan. 2005, Accessed 14 July 2020.
  3. “Meditation: In Depth.” NCCIH, NCCIH, 2017, Accessed 14 July 2020.
  4. WheezyWaiter. “I Meditated Every Day for a Month. Here’s What Happened.” YouTube, 26 July 2019, Accessed 14 July 2020.
Published: August 2, 2020

Image: Samantha Burns

Sam Burns

Former Editor-In-Chief

Sam wrote and edited hundreds of articles during her time on the Goodness Exchange team from 2016-2021. She wrote about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the Goodness Exchange, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and procurer of cheeses.

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