To all my readers I want to wish everyone a Happy Thangsgiving. I hope whatever you do on Thanksgiving gives you minimal stress and maximum enjoyment. I think this time of year it’s important to reflect on what the true nature of the holidays are. It’s not about the presents, the decorations, or the perfect party it’s about re-connecting with family and friends.
Once again Happy Thanksgiving 2014 Everyone!
Harvard Scientists have discovered something that was almost a certainty by many of us that practice meditation on a regular basis. Meditation can fight extreme stress levels. Meditation is so powerful that Harvard Scientists discovered that meditation can change the physiology of one’s brain resulting in less anxiety and depression. With these kinds of results instead of doctors first proscribing anti-depressants (1 in 10 Americans) send the patient to a meditation retreat.
The Harvard Study:
– 24 participants were to practice “mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR)” or meditation for 8 weeks. It’s funny scientists can’t even call it what it is, meditation.
– 2 1/2 hours each week practicing “body scanning, sitting meditation, walking meditation and mindful stretching movements.”
– MRIs performed before and after the 8 week course.
– Each participant answered a survey about their stress and anxiety levels before and after the course.
– The control group practiced no meditation during the 8 weeks.
The comparison demonstrated “an increase of cortical thickness in the right insular lobe and somatosensory cortex” of the meditation group. The part of the brain that controls emotion and perception was thicker after meditation. There was “a significant after-training reduction of several psychological indices related to worry, state anxiety, depression and alexithymia.”
The keyword is significant. With these kinds of results which people who practice meditation have known for centuries everyone should meditate. There is no excuse now not to meditate. It’s just as important to your overall health as physical exercise.
Breathing Techniques can help calm our bodies in stressful situations, allowing our minds and bodies to relax. During stressful situations we don’t think about what happens to our bodies and only focus on that stress or stressful situation or incident, but breathing techniques will help center and calm your mind so that it doesn’t become overwhelmed. When you practice breathing techniques, you can rejuvenate your circulatory and respiratory systems and counter any unhealthy effects of stress.
Breathing exercises have actually been practiced for thousands of years and are prescribed to patients with numerous disorders like anxiety, depression, GAD, panic attacks and more. They can also help reduce anxiety, irritability fatigue and muscular tension. One popular technique is the box breathing technique, otherwise known as four-square breathing. It’s a simple technique that can be done at any time and is really helpful whenever you’re feeling stressed. And the best thing is that it’s easy to learn. This technique emphasizes breathing control via counts of four, which actually helps your body make full use of the air that you breathe in. The breathing technique is also allows you to work on your chest and abdominal muscles a bit since it requires a strong core.
This type of deep breathing is great for combating travel anxiety or even panic attacks and is great for managing anger. Psychologists actually teach box breathing as a technique to use with mediation since it helps cultivate awareness and lets your thoughts, feelings and sensations around you all come into play to help you feel calmer and more at peace.
When your body is stressed, it has this “fight or flight” response that can cause you to have physical reactions like a rapid hearth beat, trouble breathing, headaches, hold and cold feelings, etc. Breathing counteracts these symptoms and improves your blood flow and indigestion as it helps calm your body down.
To practice box breathing, you first need to inhale your breath slowly for a count of four. After, hold your breath for an equal count of four before you release your breath out all the way via pursed lips, while still counting to four. Before you do anything or say anything, wait another four seconds. Then repeat the cycle a few more times or as long as you need to fully relax. To correctly practice box breathing, you must breathe from your lower belly and not from your upper chest. To make sure that you are breathing correctly, it usually helps to put one of your hands on your abdomen or sides so that you can feel it rise as you breathe in.
To help you during your box breathing session, download the square breathing app for Windows phones and it will guide you via step-by-step instructions when you are feeling the most stressed. It’ll help you combat dress and provide you with helpful insight on the technique.
The Philae Lander is attempting to drill on comet 67P. The Philae Lander’s batteries are about to die so this is literally a race against time. The European Space Agency (ESA) is drilling even though there is risk that it will topple the lander. Even if the lander is able to drill and test the results on it’s laboratory there is no guarantee with the low battery that the data will get back to Earth. Commands were uploaded to the lander on Friday and it appears the drill has extended 25 cm from the base of Philae. It will not be known until the evening if the drill samples and data were collected successfully.
Stephan Ulamec, the Philae lander manager, states: “The drill has been active today. Whether it will sample and will succeed in bringing these samples to ovens (laboratory). We shall know this evening.
Lander 40 m from comet surface
Move over Jibo the worlds first family robot, Amazon Echo is here. Technology should just work. No flipping through menus to get what you want, no endless mouse clicks, swipes, or taps. The future is speaking to personal AI assistants to get what you want done. The technology does all the heavy lifting not you.
That’s why when I was offered to purchase the Echo with my Amazon Prime subscription I put in my request. Amazon sent a notification letting me know I could purchase it in a couple weeks for $99 if selected. I’m not sure how Amazon plans to pick its first customers, but I hope I get to try one. The reason why I want one is the Echo makes a lot of things simple, even easier then your cell phone. The Echo is always on, plugged in (No charging), always there, you just tell it what to do and it does it. Like play the news, check the weather, alarms, play music, put this item on my shopping list, how do you spell something, math conversions, reminders, etc.
Argument Against Amazon Echo
The argument against Echo is why not just use your smart phone? Think about it you first have to find where you left your phone last, check if it has a full charge, check your data limit if playing music, answering incoming calls, texts, FB messaged, Tweets and other distractions. A phone is not a dedicated personal assistant it’s more of a distraction creator. To use some virtual phone assistants you first turn on the phone, press the assistant button, and ask a question. That’s the problem with technology right there. The turning on, the endless menus, swiping, and tapping. The whole point of technology is to just work, if I have to endlessly program technology in order for it to function properly it has already failed.
Amazon Echo Commercial
A couple weeks ago I had my first experience inside a float tank here in the Seattle area. I first had the idea of floating after listening to the popular Joe Rogan podcast. Joe Rogan raves about his tank going as far as actually installing a tank inside his own home. The first time Joe Rogan went inside a tank he couldn’t believe why more people aren’t on board with this idea. To him the float tank was life changing and it seems the word is finally spreading around the country.
I purchased my float tank Groupon, scheduled my time/date online and I was set. When I arrived I was lead into a reception area where the décor was industrial, modern, and inviting. I waited around a while and was lead into a smaller room where I was invited to drink some tea before my float. I poured myself a cup and it was time to go into the float room. They company has multiple rooms, this room was much larger than I expected. There’s a shower off to the right and a changing area with a bench to the left. I got ready put in my earplugs and it was time for my hour float.
The Float Tank Isolation Experience
The tank first off looks like recycled NASA parts from the International Space Station. I went in like I was going into some NASA lunar module. I opened up the door to the “capsul” or whatever you want to call it and walked in. This tank is unlike many in that you can almost stand up in it, it’s like being inside a very small room. I laid down, pushed the lights off button and I was ready for my float experience.
First Thoughts Of Floating
My first thought I had is this is so weird! The feeling of being in pitch black darkness and floating inside a tank with enough salt that you don’t sink is so strange. It literally is something that I’ve never experienced before, it’s definitely novel. So for the first 10 min. I was just smiling because it’s kind of like losing your body. You’re floating so you can’t feel the tank, can’t hear anything, and can’t see anything. All you have are your thoughts.
I know the goal of the whole isolation tank experience is to quite your mind, but I took it as an opportunity to just think. I noticed with no outside stimulus how much more vivid your thoughts can become. It’s almost like I could connect more with the emotions of current life experiences with the lack of outside distractions. If you are one of those people that likes to walk to clear your mind I think floatation could give you better results.
Floating in the tank isn’t like floating in your bathtub. You are laying in water with tons of salt and as a result you float. You’d spend a fortune on salt just to recreate this in your own house. Also, it’s silent and pitch black and the water temperature matches your skin so you can’t feel it.
Would I Do It Again
Absolutely!! I would do it again in a heartbeat, but at this time there simply isn’t enough competition to drive prices down. Floats go anywhere from $50 – $100 depending it you buy packages, subscriptions, or one time floats. It’s really freaking expensive. I know how hard it is to run a business so I understand that these places need to charge something, but I just wish they could figure out a cheaper pricing strategy. May be like a $30 float Sundays or something. Once they figure the pricing and more float tank companies open up I really think this could catch on.
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