Warriors for hire hardly have any time to collect their thoughts since they’re constantly at work fighting in another war, but Guts finds time to rest and reflect because his mind has a deep, dark undercurrent from which he derives his strength. And when you’ve seen as much needless death, destruction and carnage as Guts has it’s enough to drive you berserk unless you take some time to process it all. They say your weapon will cut deeper if you hone its edge and keep…
If you were only allowed to take up one habit, what would it be? For me, it’s meditation. Unquestionably.
Why? Meditation has helped me perform better in every aspect of life. It helps me be more focused and get more done. It makes me more calm and peaceful so I don’t suffer from emotional fluctuations as I used to. More importantly, I have greater control over my mind so I can master the art of living in the present.
Wondering whether meditation can bring so many positive changes to one’s life? Let’s see what science says!
A Harvard research in year 2011 found that meditation can help increase the density of grey matter in the hippocampus of our brains, which is associated with the ability of learning, memory, self-awareness, compassion and introspection. Such restructuring of our brains can improve our mental health and make our minds sharper.
What’s more surprising is meditation can rebuild our brains in only eight weeks! That means you don’t need to be an expert in meditation to reap the benefits.
▲ Subjects of the study demonstrated significant change of brain structure after practicing meditation for 8 weeks.
Thinking of taking meditation as one of your habits but don’t know how to get started? Here are 6 things you can follow:
Look for a distraction-free environment
While an area with total silence is an ideal environment for meditation, it is not a must for everyone. If you think playing some light music can help relieve your stress and make you more relaxed, it’s definitely fine to do so when you meditate. Studies have shown that white noise can help lower our stress level and increase our concentration level.
If you don’t want to meditate in a totally silent environment but have no idea of what to play, you can try start with this one:
Meditate with the posture you feel comfortable
The Quarter Lotus is the most popular meditation posture. You sit on the floor cross-legged and rest your hands on your lap. And your back needs to keep straight throughout the process without slouching.
But if you are the one with chronic back pain problem, this posture may not be the best choice for you. Actually, what posture you have is not the key for meditation. You can also lie on your bed or the floor to meditate. The most important thing is the posture can make you completely relaxed. Here are some variations for you:
But please be reminded that if you choose to meditate while lying down, you should keep yourself awake throughout the process.
Focus on your breathing tempo
Having the right breathing tempo is important as it can make you highly relaxed and concentrated, which is the ideal state for meditation.
Close your eyes softly. Breathe as slowly and deeply as you can. Inhale with your nose and exhale from your mouth. If you do deep breathing correctly, you will feel your diaphragm is expanded and stretched.
Some people may even feel some…
Did you ever get in trouble in school for doodling on your homework or class notes? Hopefully, your teacher did not deter you from continuing to doodle because doodling is an amazing way to stimulate ideas and bring your experiences, impressions, and insights to life. Many of the million dollar ideas are in fact, originally doodled on napkins!
Great ideas like the Harry Potter book series, the Discovery channel’s Shark Week were originally sketched on napkins. And the founding of Southwest Airlines was also originated on the back of a cocktail napkin:
While you don’t need a fancy sketchpad to get the job done, carrying around your own basic sketchpad can be a great way to let your creativity flow whenever you have a great idea.
Doodling calms your emotion and makes you open up to more refreshing thoughts.
Since doodling is expressive, creative, and spontaneous, your mind and emotions become highly focused. Doodling changes your state of mind and emotions, while helping you make new connections. The process is somewhat similar to journaling or meditation, but using your visual sense instead.
Jesse Prinz, a philosophy professor at City University of New York Graduate Center who studies doodling in the context of research on art said,
“Doodling is an enjoyable activity, and that positive emotion…
Human has the ability to think and that’s what makes our world creative. But owing to such diversified thinking, sometimes it is inevitable for us to come across with disagreement.
It can be great or small, such as colleagues debating corporate strategy, family members discussing holiday destination, or friends arguing what to eat for dinner. Sometimes you win an argument but sometimes you don’t.
Despite the fact that disagreement happens from time to time, it is important for us to learn the art of persuasion because if we are unable to persuade, we can only be the influenced but not the influencer. Sometimes we need to compromise but sometimes we need to be recognized. If our ideas are constantly rejected, then things never happen as we wish.
Why we always fail to persuade?
It can be frustrating if our ideas are better but they are not adopted just because we lack the skills to persuade. But many of us make this mistake unknowingly–When we argue or discuss with others over an issue, we tend to take the shortcut to prove them wrong logically and at the same time we are right. This might work occasionally, for those who are rational and less emotional. But apparently not everyone is rational, at least not always.
Even if we have convincing arguments, proving others wrong is kind of explicitly telling others to change their minds. This often put them in an embarrassing situation because they have to admit that they are wrong.
The backfire effect: corrections always fail
It is compatible with the backfire effect suggested by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler at The University of Michigan and Georgia State University….
If the idea of physicalism is correct — that all of our mental states can be described in purely physical terms — then neuroscience is not only the study of our brains, but the study of our entire existence. Neuroengineering, defined as the application of engineering principles to neurological problems, then becomes how we engineer our relationship with existence itself.
Fifty years ago, nobody but computer programmers knew the personal computer was being developed, and the primary market for the device was thought to be scientists. Today, computers are a ubiquitous.
Digital technology has revolutionized nearly every facet of our lives. Today, neuroengineering is in a similar infancy. While most people would understand the basic idea of using engineering techniques to alter, improve, repair, and study neural systems, most people would lack for ideas on the application.
This article is part of a series sponsored by The Hertz Foundation. Discover more of what remarkable students can do in the sciences: — From Space Elevators to Drone Delivery, Looking for Failure Inspires Innovation
Dr. Ed Boyden is somebody who does not lack for those ideas.
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Brain Science: Optogenetics and Expansion Microscopy
MIT Professor, Media Lab Synthetic Neurobiology Group Leader
As professor of Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, Boyden has launched an award-winning series of classes at MIT which teach principles of neural engineering, starting with the basic principles of how to control and observe neural functions. While studying neuroscience at Stanford University as a Hertz Foundation Fellow, Boyden discovered that human memories are stored by a specific molecular mechanism, and that the content of a memory determines the mechanism used by the brain.
His work focuses on dramatically improving how the brain is imaged, opening a world of opportunities for people who wish to study the neural pathways that make our brains work. Dr. Boyden’s high resolution 3-D maps of the brain, unlike prior 2-D maps, allow researchers to pinpoint exactly what part of the brain they wish to…