This 10-minute video could save your life. It reveals the single best health intervention you can make to create the widest variety and most effective health benefits. It can add years to your life, and it’s less expensive than the prescription pills in your medicine cabinet. Well worth 10 minutes.
8 Minute Meditation by Victor Davich, was the seventh book from my 2012 reading list. (It is a beginner’s how-to type meditation book.)
I loved this book! Despite some rather hokey language and explanations at the start, if you’ve ever wanted to try meditation but didn’t know how, this is the book. If you’ve ever tried meditation and didn’t know if you were doing it right, this is the book for you.
This book offers eight weeks of meditation (a different type each week) at 8 minutes per day. I really like how he gives the reader the experience of a variety of techniques. And more than anything, I like how accessible he makes meditation.
Here’s example #1: There is only one measure of whether or not you had a good meditation session – did you have it? So long as you made some attempt, that is the only measure. So it was a good meditation session if:
- your mind was distracted
- you stopped early
- you spent the whole time wishing it was over
- you forgot how you were supposed to sit
- you sang a jingle the whole time
It doesn’t matter. So long as you sat down and made the attempt. There will be better and worse meditations, but Davich’s encouragement is loud and clear. Just keep trying. And why not? Meditation only
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces chronic pain
- Reduces stress and anxiety
So give it a try. In this case, try is a guarantee of success.
As an executive coach I help people achieve breakthroughs in their leadership, business, and careers. But most of my clients also work on personal challenges, health, exercise, and diet often at the top of the list.
One of my favorite exercises for them is what I call the fork challenge.
We spend much of our eating time on autopilot. As a result we eat more food and more of the wrong food than we intend. What’s worse, we don’t even enjoy the food as much as we could.
If we are going to take in those calories, we might as well really appreciate them.
So here is the challenge. Eat an entire meal in which you put your fork down each time you put food in your mouth and do not touch it again until you have completely chewed and swallowed the food in your mouth.
We so often prepare and even begin our next bite when the last bite is still in our mouths. But not only is slower eating better for digestion, it’s better for awareness and savoring, for recognizing when you are full, and for decreasing your overall consumption.
So put the fork down. You’ll eat less, enjoy more, and feel better before, during, and after your meal.
The physical extreme most of us experience is an almost complete lack of physical activity. Most of us probably know by now about most of the things we miss out on by not exercising.
- Improved health
- Better mood
- Reduced aging effects
Here’s one more thing to add to the list.
As part of a documentary CNN correspondent Robyn Curnow followed South African artist William Kentridge who considers physical activity key to stimulating his creativity.
So get up before you take on your next big mental task. Walk around. Or get one of these, and open the door to greater health and creativity.
For a couple of weeks I’ve had this idea brewing for a blog – that I would explain what matters in life – in 7 paragraphs or less (it’s a blog after all). Then two things happened that have compelled me to write this now. First, the two things.
1. A friend of mine, younger than I am, went to the hospital with severe chest pain and was diagnosed with angina. She is stable but her doctors are concerned about her heart, and she is concerned about her life. What really matters has suddenly become a much more important and urgent topic for her.
2. I saw a TED video about long news. This organization sifts through all of the temporarily thrilling but ultimately irrelevant news to identify the stories that might still matter fifty, or a hundred, or ten thousand years from now. As examples think about how much news coverage was dedicated to Elian Gonzalez or the Miracle on the Hudson or the kid that might have accidentally launched himself in his parents’ makeshift weather balloon but in the end was hiding in their backyard. None of those stories will significantly affect the world 50+ years from now.
So that brings me to life. What really matters to us? I think there are 2 things.
1. Hedonistic pleasure. This is about what we experience. We like the feeling of eating certain foods or driving our cars or traveling to new places or having power over others or yes, having sex. We are talking about hedonism. And lots of our daily tasks are wrapped up in these pleasures. Almost all of our pursuit of money is to satisfy hedonistic pleasures for possessions or experiences we desire. Truth is, fun stuff feels good. And that’s one thing that matters to us in life.
2. Spiritual fulfillment. This is about who we are. We want to be someone who has faith or feeds the hungry or is compassionate. We meditate and pray to be a person who is in touch with god or ourselves. We give to charity and raise a family. We do things to help us view ourselves as good parents or good leaders or good neighbors or good people. All of these things matter too.
Our hedonistic pleasures and our spiritual fulfillment are both important, and living the good life or a meaningful life is not about one or the other. Rather for us to have the lives we ultimately want – to do what matters in life – we need to balance both. Ideally, you can discover experiences you enjoy that also help you define yourself as who you want to be. That’s it. My whole philosophy of what matters in life in 7 paragraphs. What do you think? What matters to you?