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How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners

10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation

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Name It to Tame It

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi! 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.

Melli O'Brien

4.6

Name It to Tame It

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi! 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.

Melli O'Brien

4.6

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