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How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners

10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation

What is Meditation?

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Melli O'Brien



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Name It to Tame It

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Welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

So, question for you: 'Have you ever been

so worried or anxious about something that

you feel like you're losing your mind?'

So, this happens, this feeling happens

because the part of your brain that

controls your ability to reason and think

clearly, can get hijacked when strong

emotions like fear or anxiety, trigger

the brain's fight or flight response.

So, early humans were exposed to the

constant threat of being harmed or

killed by wild animals or other tribes.

So, to improve the chances of survival,

the fight or flight response evolved.

It's an automatic response to physical

danger that it allows you to react

really quickly, without thinking.

So, when you feel threatened or afraid,

a part of the brain, called the amygdala,

automatically activates this fight

or flight response, by sending out

signals to release stress hormones that

prepare your body to fight or run away.

The amygdala can also disable the

brain's frontal lobes, the more

evolved and what some people refer

to as the smart part of our brain.

When that happens, you can't

think clearly or make rational

decisions or control your responses.

Control has been hijacked by the amygdala.

So, of course, the fight or flight

happens in response to direct threats,

but it can also be triggered by

psychological threats, so, when we're

thinking worrying or anxious thoughts.

But there is a powerful way that we can

train in calming the amygdala down and

bringing the frontal lobes back online.

We do this by mentally naming

what we're experiencing, or a

psychologist, Dan Siegel, likes to

say, 'we can name it to tame it'.

So research shows that by mentally

noting or labeling difficult emotions,

you can experience up to a 50% reduction

in the intensity of the emotion.

That applies to anxiety as

well as other emotions too.

So, not only that, but it brings the

brain's frontal lobes back online

so that we become less reactive and

able to think more clearly again.

So it's a really useful thing to

be able to apply this, not only in

meditation, but in daily life too.

And especially when anxiety arises.

So by labeling emotion in this

way, what we're doing here is we're

creating a little bit of mental space.

Usually, we get so caught up in

an identified with an emotion that

we kind of lose it perspective.

By recognizing anxiety when it arises

and naming it, we create a space where

we can step back from the emotion

and observe it in a different way.

So in today's meditation, we're

going to practice this technique

of mentally labeling or naming our

experience to strengthen our capacity,

to be non-reactive and anchored in

a deeper place within ourselves.

A place of coldness, calm and ease.

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