How to meditate – Meditate with Nate – Episode 1

How to meditate – Meditate with Nate – Episode 1 1280 800 Nate Guadagni

Meditate with Nate Episode 1 – 100 Count Breath What is meditation, and how do I do it?

“Meditation refers to a family of self-regulation practices that focus on training attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control and thereby foster general mental well-being and development and/or specific capacities such as calm, clarity, and concentration.”

-Roger Walsh & Shauna L. Shapiro. American Psychologist.

This is one description that I like, and there are many more.

Some research on meditation has shown that it can:

1. Help you sleep better.

2. Reduce stress.

3. Slim your waistline.

4. Decrease Pain

5. Reduce Anxiety.

6. Lift Depression.

7. Improve your love life.

* Research references at the bottom

I hope that you enjoy this 100 Count Breath, and let me know how it goes for you. Please share your experience in the comments and ask me any questions that you may have.

See you next time!







* Research References:

1. S. Patra, S. Telles, Positive impact of cyclic meditation on subsequent sleep, Medical Science Monitor 2009; 15(7): CR375-381, June 2009

2. L. Flook, S. B. Goldberg, L. Pinger, K. Bonus and R. J. Davidson. (2013). Mindfulness for Teachers: A Pilot Study to Assess Effects on Stress, Burnout, and Teaching Efficacy. Mind, Brain, and Education, Volume 7, Issue 3, pages 182–195, September 2013.

3. 2. Jennifer Daubenmier, Jean Kristeller, Frederick M. Hecht, Nicole Maninger, Margaret Kuwata, Kinnari Jhaveri, Robert H. Lustig, Margaret Kemeny, Lori Karan, and Elissa Epel. (2013). Mindfulness Intervention for Stress Eating to Reduce Cortisol and Abdominal Fat among Overweight and Obese Women: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Study. Journal of Obesity Volume 2011, Article ID 651936, 13 pages.

4. Zeidan, J.A. Grant, C.A. Brown, J.G. McHaffie, and R.C. Coghill. (2012). Mindfulness meditation-related pain relief: Evidence for unique brain mechanisms in the regulation of pain. Neurosci Lett. Jun 29; 520(2): 165–173.

5. Hoge EA, Bui E, Marques L, Metcalf CA, Morris LK, Robinaugh DJ, Worthington JJ, Pollack MH, Simon NM. (2013). Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Meditation for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Effects on Anxiety and Stress Reactivity. J Clin Psychiatry. Aug;74(8):786-92. doi: 10.4088/JCP.12m08083.

6. Killingsworth, Matthew A. and Gilbert, Daniel T. (2010). A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind. Science 12 Nov. Vol. 330 no. 6006 p. 932.

7. Freeman, Elizabeth. “Meditation Improves Emotional Behaviors in Teachers, Study Finds.” University of California San Francisco. UCSF, 28 Mar. 2012.

50,000 Thoughts Per Day

50,000 Thoughts Per Day 1000 562 Nate Guadagni

Some say, “you are what you eat.” and others say “the shoes make the man.”

Although there may be some truth in these statements, upon deeper reflection I would say “you are what you think,” – or as Rene’ would say : “I think, therefore I am.”

The National Science Foundation reports that we have between 30,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day, about twenty million thoughts per year. As shockingly high as this may seem, it’s not surprising given the fact that our minds almost never stop thinking. Even more amazingly, we repeat 95 percent of the same thoughts we had the day before!

If our thoughts are practically the same day to day, it is likely that our attitude on most subjects has become ingrained, etched into the wiring of our brains. So, attitude is the way we typically think about what we encounter in the world: People with negative attitudes have minds dominated by negative thoughts, and people with positive attitudes have minds dominated by positive thoughts.

An attitude is nothing more than an evaluation of a subject or object that ranges from extremely negative to extremely positive. Although our attitude is divided into negative and positive polarities, the world actually isn’t divided into negative and positive things. When it rains, the sunglass salesman is unhappy while the raincoat saleswoman is overjoyed. When it snows, the skier is happy and the trucker is annoyed. Circumstances do not determine our negative or positive attitude because there are no inherently negative or positive circumstances.

So, who then decides your attitude? You do! We perceive things as negative or positive only because of our own interpretation, and realizing this is a huge step toward being able to create a more beneficial attitude. Prominent psychologist Gordon Allport describes attitude as “the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary social psychology.” Learning to create a new habit — the habit of positive attitude — is critical to changing ourselves for a better life.

Your thoughts are mainly structured in words that comprise your inner voice and self-talk. It’s the voice that is reading this book to you in your head right now. It’s also the voice that may pipe up right before you have a speech to say either “you can do this, and it will be fun” or “you’re going to mess this up, and everyone will think you’re an idiot.” This is the voice that is talking to you non-stop, 50,000 thoughts a day, 20 million times per year, with almost nothing new to say. If you want to develop the resilient, can-do attitude you need to succeed, you need to train this inner voice to support you unconditionally.

Marci Shimoff, bestselling author of Happy for No Reason, says, “Research shows 80 percent of our thoughts are weighted toward the negative.” This means that if we have 50,000 thoughts a day, 40,000 are leaning negative. It may not seem like negative thoughts can do any real harm since they are just thoughts, but this is not the case. They have serious impact on our physical and mental health. Researchers have linked negative attitudes to addictions, psychosomatic disorders, anxiety, depression, and a host of other mental and physical problems.

Shimoff states that a positive attitude “is a specific, measurable physiological state characterized by distinct brain activity, heart rhythms, and body chemistry. People who are happy for no reason tend to have greater activity in the left prefrontal cortex, orderly heart wave patterns, and specific neurotransmitters associated with well-being such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins.” The Mayo Clinic adds that “positive thinking can result in longer life, elevated moods, lowered stress, a boosted immune system, a stronger sense of wellbeing, and better coping skills during stressful events.”

The Mayo Clinic categorizes negative thinking in four categories: filtering, personalizing, catastrophizing, and polarizing. Understanding these types of negative thinking can help you recognize, and possibly change, how they play out in any negative attitudes that are affecting your life. Here is an explanation of each one:

Filtering means that you filter out the positive parts of a situation and focus only on the negative parts. For instance, after working on a long project, you might reject all of the compliments that you received and only remember the criticism.

Personalizing is the tendency to automatically blame yourself when something bad happens. For example, if an evening with friends is cancelled, you might assume that it’s because nobody wants to be around you.

Catastrophizing is expecting the worst possible outcome to any situation. For example, if your spouse doesn’t come home on time, you might think that he or she is cheating on you or has crashed the car.

Polarizing is a type of black and white thinking that equates anything less than perfection with failure. For instance, if you were to say something awkward at a party, you might feel the whole night is ruined.

Do you recognize any of these mental habits in your own attitudes? More than likely, if you are honest with yourself, you will recognize that you have fallen into these psychological traps at some time or another, if not often. Don’t feel bad about that; every person on the planet, me included, has at one time or another. You might even call these tendencies “human nature.” The important thing is to be able to see yourself clearly enough to realize when you are using them. Then, you will have taken the first major leap toward changing them.

The good news is that it’s just as easy to think positively as it is to think negatively. Look back at the four categories to negative thinking, and simply reverse them to apply them to positive thinking. Instead of filtering for the negative parts of a situation, try to sift through and highlight the positive parts of it. While everyone is griping about the bad acting in the movie, you can point out something that you appreciated, such as the great music or the beautiful cinematography. Instead of personalizing a situation and blaming yourself, de-personalize the situation and let go of it: “They didn’t cancel the dinner because I was going. I’m sure something else must have come up.” Instead of catastrophizing things, zoom back and put them in a larger perspective. “I may have lost a client, but I haven’t lost my job.” And instead of polarizing things into good and bad categories, see things in shades of grey. “I didn’t win the game, but there are lots of things that I learned, and I had some fun, too.”

People often reject positive thinking as unrealistic or as a way of living in denial, yet it’s important to remember that nothing is inherently good or bad. It’s only good or bad depending on the investment and relationship to the people involved. Reframing things from negatives to positives also doesn’t require any bending of the truth; it is just as accurate to point out a positive feature as a negative one. The main difference between negative and positive thinking is the effect they have on our attitude, our energy levels, and eventually our health.

The most powerful way to improve your attitude is to practice appreciation. Appreciation shines light on any subject to reveal hidden positives, and it instantly begins to improve your

mood and puts things into perspective. And best of all, appreciation costs nothing and requires virtually no effort to implement. Nothing in your life needs to change for you to change how much you appreciate the things that are already in your life.

This ability to choose our attitude is the essence of Bo Yoga Philosophy. Here is a picture that I have framed in my room to remind me to choose a positive attitude no matter what happens to me.

Philosophy of a Bo Yoga Practitioner

Every irritation: a lesson in patience

Every setback: a lesson in persistence

Every fear: a lesson in courage

Every hatred: a lesson in love

Every judgment: a lesson in acceptance

Every failure: a lesson in excellence

Every injury: a lesson in awareness

Every loss: a lesson in self-reliance

Every insult: a lesson in confidence

Every pain: a lesson in pleasure

Every sickness: a lesson in health

Every death: a lesson in life

Every person: a lesson in self

For your own PDF download to print, save or share, click here: Philosophy of a Bo Yoga Practitioner

Woman’s Head Explodes! Doctors Say Stress a Major Factor.

Woman’s Head Explodes! Doctors Say Stress a Major Factor. 1430 575 Charlize Lawrence

Okay, so my head didn’t literally explode but only because the steam coming out of my ears alleviated the pressure. I am an expert at reacting badly to stress so I set out on a quest to understand stress and find my inner Zen.
The first thing I learned was that I am not alone. The World Health Organization has called stress the “health epidemic of the 21st century.” Stress is a sobering health risk and one that we are only recently beginning to understand. Like all health risks, the more I know about it, the better I can cope with it.
The second thing I learned is that a stress response is controlled by dual parts of the nervous system – the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic set of nerves creates the stress “fight/flight/freeze” response. The parasympathetic set of nerves causes the relaxation “rest/digest” response. The important thing to know is that only one set of nerves can be active at one time. It is not possible to be in both states at once.
I made a list of all things that stress me out in my life: work, co-workers, boss, HR, what to eat for lunch (okay I might be a little neurotic), my family, and my son. When I listed my son that was when I realized that I was putting the blame on everything around me but realistically am I ever going to be able to live a life completely free of stress? No, it’s impossible.
That led me to the question, is it really the situation causing me stress or is it my resistance to the situation? Consider the scenario of two co-workers, Tina and Zach. Tina lives for deadlines and thrives under the pressure of monthly quotas. Zach likes to take his time and go over every detail. Monthly deadlines make him feel overwhelmed and he often gets sick at the end of the month. Both Tina and Zach work under the same conditions but their resistance to the situation differs greatly. While there are countless stressors, there is basically only one stress response articulated by REI’s clever motto: “There is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.” There is no bad stress, just inappropriate coping.
The third thing I learned is that not all stress is negative. Benefits include things such as motivation to get things done and excitement. However, striking balance between stress and relaxation in our lives is paramount. The ideal balance is called “relaxed focus” and is attainable with practice and awareness.
Here are some ways to cope with stressed, gain relaxed focus, and find that inner Zen that I love!
• Exercise that involves mind-body training, such as Yoga. At the beginning of every yoga class, I close my eyes and I concentrate on my breathing. Once I feel that calm, I allow my mind to probe my body to determine where I’m tense or in pain. I consciously relax where I am tense and send love to anywhere in pain. During the yoga practice (, I attempt to keep my focus inward and to listen to what my body is telling me. The results are an amazing release of any stress I was feeling.
• Meditation that involves movement. Many of us envision sitting lotus style with eyes closed and palms up. However, when we are stressed it sometimes seems impossible to not follow every thought in our head. Meditation can also be done while in motion. The movement during meditation is usually a free flowing and fluid motion without thought. Let the calmness you feel flow out to your limbs and just move.
• Surround yourself with the positive. Sometimes we spend time in an environment, such as work or school, where everything takes on a negativity. Remove yourself from the negative and surround yourself with people and ideas that contribute positively to your world. I consider facebook a very positive space for me because I am careful to only friend those that have a positive message to share. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have issues that they share with their friends but their outlook and the way they treat others and the planet is with a very positive mindset. When I am at work and stressed, I will take a brief break and check out the posts on my facebook (I do this on my phone as I’m not sure it is appropriate to use work resources for this activity). Usually the positive messages I see from my friends helps me to quickly shake off the stress and put events into perspective. Another quick way to gain positivity is through laughter!
And finally, I learned that life isn’t that serious unless we make it that way so now I’m off to find my sense of humor!