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Intense mid-30s muscle guy (nickname: TNT)
To boost energy (mental and physical) and mindfulness. In a recent Harvard study, people who meditated 30 minutes a day for two months showed measurable changes in the parts of the brain associated with learning and memory, sense of self, emotional regulation and stress.
According to study author Dr Britta Hölzel, the trick isn’t to block out distractions or “stop thinking”, but rather to nurture a greater sense of awareness and become unconditionally present in the here and now.
(1) Start by sitting quietly in a chair or on the floor (eyes open or closed), your hands on your lap. (2) Now focus on your breath. Feel it go in and out. As your mind wanders (and it will), notice that your thoughts have drifted away and gently bring your attention back to your breathing and body.
(3) You’ll reap the greatest benefit from 30 minutes of meditation a day, but beginners can start with 10 to 15 minutes and work their way up.
“I started with 15-minute sessions, which were initially filled with a parade of random thoughts – Phone Dad. R12 for petrol? I want some cashews. Scarlett Johansson. Pay the phone bill. ScarJo… But after a week or so, these became less intrusive as I learned to observe my thoughts rather than get lost in them. Now each 30-minute session is like a mental oasis. At work I feel more creative and productive. At home I feel more present and engaged.”