Meditation For Better Performance
New Year – New Happiness? To reach your personal goals, to fulfill your wishes, to promote your well-being and your health you don’t need a Life Coach, an online training or anything else.
Everyone wants to perform, be healthy, successful and good-looking in this performance society. But how do you do it all?
We believe that the biggest role to play is what you have or what you want to achieve is the calm or restlessness that you have in your head.
The clearer you are, the more composed and sublime your inner dialogues will be.
Did you know we talk an average of 16,000 words a day?
That’s a lot – but most of all we talk to ourselves.
The inner dialogue, what we tell each other every day, talk up, and process is more than we are with other speeches.
1. What Is Meditation?
Your brain is like a supercomputer that records, stores and processes everything. Everything you have ever seen, heard and experienced is stored and affects you.
The meditation has the goal to give your supercomputer a break, to reduce the constant high performance and to make a short reset possible.
Meditation does not reflect today’s widespread opinion.
Over the centuries, ancient cultural traditions and different personalities have created and shaped different ways of meditation.
They are different in details and mostly have religious backgrounds.
Meditation in the West, Zen Buddhism and research understand it as follows:
It’s about letting go, giving up control over thoughts, sounds and everything that affects us, and instead only observing and perceiving what is coming in.
- Meditation erases and structures the daily flood of information
- Meditation is training to improve mindfulness, competence and attention. It sharpens basic instincts such as astuteness, responsiveness, hyper wakefulness and presence of mind.
I’ll show you:
The immune system becomes stronger and the brain mass increases (especially grey cells which are essential for learning, memory and emotions) by immobilizing the mind.
Real physiological changes in the hippocampus and cinguli gyrus are measured.
Studies show an increased brain activity, reduction of anxiety and depression and faster regenerative ability as well as stronger immune activity in meditating subjects.
In addition, rehabilitation is 4x faster.
Meditating volunteers have perceived the contents of number/letter tests by less and shorter eye blinking better than non-meditating volunteers who blinked a lot and saw the numbers blurred after a while.
The blinking of the eyes is for the brain like a kind of lightning charge with cameras
The processing of the information stream is better if you meditate, because you train to perceive stimuli more consciously.
The physical “signature of meditation” are synchronized gamma waves (higher frequency) in the brain.
In the encephalogram, all possible stimuli and signals were sent and received criss-crossed in non-meditating people.
Non-meditating people showed the same wavelength patterns in the processing of stimuli and signals as those produced by street noise and flashlight thunderstorms.
Synchronized brain waves (in meditating) respond to larger neural networks because more cells are tuned to this “transmitter”.
2. Again To Make It Clear: Meditating vs. Not Meditating
If our brain is exposed to several stimuli, the reaction to a single external stimulus is just as difficult as it is to realize individually which small streams of water hit a rock in a churned up sea.
If you throw a stone into the smooth surface of a lake you can follow the waves very closely – such a calm brain is like a calm sea
3. What Is The Use Of Meditation?
The ideal state for brain and body does not lie between noise and silence, between stress or relaxation, between cheatmeal or hunger, between waking or sleeping, but in the balance of everything.
It is about a balanced state of the extreme that affect us daily and about how our body is adjusted to it and deals with it.
What we want is “latent vigilance”.
Positive stress. A drive that gives us control over everything that comes our way every day.
Using our cortisol value (level of stress hormones) you can measure and prove how mediation helps to maintain balance.
The yardstick for our aging process is telomeres – structural elements at the end of the DNA strand.
These are important for the stability of a chromosome during division and reproduction in connection with cell growth.
They keep the gene code that every cell carries intact.
Telomeres are shortened by the natural aging process and lifestyle factors such as poor nutrition, sleep deprivation, superficial relationships, obesity, sluggishness, etc.
The telomeres are also affected by the ageing process.
Lifestyle contributes to the fact that we age “faster”, because our cells are consumed faster.
Stress can be measured by telomere shortening as well as by the cortisol level – and by lack of sleep, because you pay for it in stress.
An above-average level of telomerase could be measured among participants of meditation events.
Telomerase is an enzyme secreted by the body to protect the telomeres.
Excessive telomerase signals that the lifetime does not run faster and is a reaction of the body to balance the harmful lifestyle factors.
If you have a stressful lifestyle, poor diet and little exercise, you promote the production of oxidative stress that shortens telomeres.
If you meditate, your body will release an enzyme – telomerase – to protect premature cell aging from your bad lifestyle.
Meditation provides balance!
4. Effect Of Meditation On The Structure Of The Brain
The brain reacts to meditation like a muscle to training – this is the finding of neuroscientists from studies on neuroplasticity and neurogenesis (more about neuroplasticity and neurogenesis in our blog post “Increase In Brain Performance Through Sport“).
At the same time, it is wrong to say that the brain is built only through meditation.
The brain changes through all kinds of things (nutrition, lifestyle, stress), but mainly through relationships with each other.
Our brain is rebuilt from the ground up – it is a process that begins before birth and the entire information flow “LIFE” helps to rebuild.
The degree of healthy and intact relationships, especially during childhood, determines the degree of brain health.
In contrast to this, meditation is characterized by the fact that we consciously promote the state of our brain.
“Either you train your dog or your dog trains you.”
The latest, inescapable findings from neuroscience and meditation research show that we can influence our brain as much as we want through mental exercises. Davidson, University of Wisconsin
You can influence your mental state (capacity, abstract thinking, happiness, memory, etc.) yourself.
Take more responsibility for your brain instead of letting it be shaped by all sorts of daily influences.
5. Effect Of Meditation On Empathy
A standard psychology test to measure meditation:
3 test persons get 50 Euro, they distribute the money in reaction to the way the other players act.
The testers manipulate the game in such a way that one of the other players has to appear stingy by depriving the third player of a fair share.
One of the test persons now has the choice whether to ensure fair distribution with his own money.
Performing the test with meditation practitioners results in a better distribution of money
– > This is evidence of increased empathy among meditators.
Meditation does not teach justice or empathy but calms and adjusts the mind.
After eliminating the annoying background noise, the brain goes into the self-repair mode that evolution has implanted in us.
This self-repair mode is called empathy, because in harmonious community survival is safer than in enmity.
6. Effect Of Meditation On Mindfulness
Mindfulness today is secularized from the descent of religious spheres, and was associated by Ellen Langer with a healthy and optimal state of mind.
For illustration the chambermaid – experiment:
None of the chambermaids examined did sports, although the daily work met all the requirements for sufficient and healthy exercise.
Body Fat, BMI, chest, hip and blood pressure were examined. The subjects were divided into 2 groups.
Group 1 was accompanied in their daily work and constantly made aware of the extent to which certain exercises resembled the sporting exercises in a gym.
Group 2 didn’t know about it.
Month later, Group 1’s blood pressure, weight and waist size ratio decreased.
Exactly as if they were doing sports during that time.
There were no changes in the control group.
The mind changes the body.
For confirmation: The “Turn back clock experiment”:
A group of men lived in an environment that was just as prepared and furnished as the typical style 20 years before. After a while the men looked younger and behaved 20 years younger.
Langer’s definition of mindfulness:
You don’t need to teach test persons how to meditate, you just need to draw their attention to the fact that they should prepare themselves for something new.
Paying attention to something new increased the chances of survival for hunters and gatherers in the wild.
Paying attention to the new now increases the results of our actions.
For example Daniel Simons and Christer Chabaris:
Test persons should count how often the ball is thrown in and out of the basketball game.
None of the test persons noticed how a player dressed as a gorilla came and disappeared again.
How Meditation Works
- There is no particular goal, no spiritual acrobatics like mental arithmetic, solving puzzles, sending pious messages to a god, or anything else.
- The goal is to eradicate background noise that disturbs the thought stream
- Memory, performance, perception and mental state are improved by stimulating the mind to do nothing.
- Meditation erases and structures the daily flood of information
Take the classic cross-legged yogi position.
A meditation cushion (sofa or pillow also does it) helps to “bear” the pose or make it more comfortable.
It is important to sit freely and not lean against the wall or the like.
Try to have an upright back.
Start slowly and try not to concentrate on anything for 5 minutes.
If this is difficult for you, you can concentrate on one point between your eyes.
Another help is that you imagine yourself meditating in the forest or sitting on the beach.
Try to imagine the environment.
Warmth, smells, noises.
Increase slowly by 5 minutes.
Until you arrive at 30 minutes meditation time, it can take half a year.
The installation of breathing exercises not only helps to let go of the thoughts, but also releases the tensions in your chakras (energy centers of the body; these can “clog up” through environmental toxins and negative emotions or show malfunctions).
- Inhale for over 4 seconds until abdomen and lungs are full (in order)
- Hold air in your stomach for 4 seconds and press outwards against your navel.
- Exhale for 4 seconds until abdomen and lungs are empty.
- Exhale for 4 seconds, pressing the navel against the spine.
Repeat that as often as you can.
Increase this breathing sequence until you have reached 8 seconds per step.
“Help, I can’t stop my thoughts.”
It is quite normal that especially at the beginning your thought stream shoots cross and cross.
Observe your thoughts. Valueless.
When a thought comes, immediately try to find a solution for the situation.
If there is none, let the thought pass.
If there is one, super, it remembers you and puts it into practice – topic checked off, let the thought pass again.
Like the sea, there are calm and troubled days. Don’t get stressed.
There is no good or bad meditation.