Study: You're breathing wrong
Simple 1:2 breathing is where it's at, according to a major university study.
The many benefits of meditation might be well documented, but the breathing exercises associated with mediation might be what's actually doing all the good work to your body and your mind.
Ever wondered why you can focus better when you meditate, or why people who meditate frequently seem so relaxed? In a recent study from the Institute of Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland, it was found that instead of mantras and calming music, it was the deep breaths one performs during meditation that are the actual key to achieving "focus" and clarity. Repeating a mantra can help, but mostly only to stop your mind from wandering.
How you breathe has a direct effect on your heart rate, which in turn can influence every major system in your body in a sort-of sad chain reaction. When people have or experience anxiety or stress, they tend to inhale sharply and then hold their breath (this explains a "gasp!" reflex when you have a minor accident). If repeated, this can cause stress on your heart, your body, and your mind. Rapid breathing isn't good for your body unless you have good reason to, like for exercise, so all your doing is purposefully overloading your system. What's even worse is that you can loop this behavior very easily, because most of us don't know how to check ourselves when we're freaking out.
So, how do you breathe right?
Simply breathing at a 1:2 ratio of inhale time to exhale time can substantially change your heart rate, and thus your mood. Try exhaling for twice as long as you inhale, and now concentrate on repeating that length of exhale for, say, fifteen to thirty seconds. You'll notice your heart rate slow immediately.
Unscientifically speaking for a second: this is perfect if the yoga-pants-and-incense vibes of meditation have put you off trying to meditate. Just put a 20 minute timer on your phone and try the 1:2 breathing exercise. If you need a mantra to repeat to stay in the zone, try a phrase with four or five syllables; your correspondent here can attest that "pepperoni" works, although you're likely going to get hungry. What you're doing isn't that different than Transcendental Meditation, which can often cost $1,400 just to learn, and their mantras aren't a whole lot different than "pepperoni".
Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.
- Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
- At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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You can say 'no' to things, and you should. Do it like this.
- Give yourself permission to say "no" to things. Saying yes to everything is a fast way to burn out.
- Learn to say no in a way that keeps the door of opportunity open: No should never be a one-word answer. Say "No, but I could do this instead," or, "No, but let me connect you to someone who can help."
- If you really want to say yes but can't manage another commitment, try qualifiers like "yes, if," or "yes, after."
Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.
- Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
- Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
- Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.
- Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop, though these rates can vary among men and women, and among individuals.
- Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
- The findings raise complex ethical questions about the way our criminal justice systems punishes criminals in their late teens and early 20s.
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