PT 360 - March 2020

Getting you back to the life you want to live.

360

M arch 2020

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A nd a one , and a two , and JUMP!

WHY THE MILITARY JUST GOT MORE MINDFUL

Shelly Coffman

Sitting here on the verge of spring and the dreaded daylight saving time switch, I am compelled to think about a few things. First, I am reminded how I detest the time change. Waking up an hour earlier to a suddenly “new”seemingly arbitrary time is a dreaded situation. Every. Year. It has only gotten worse in caring for a small human. I am resentful of the industrious scientist starting this whole nonsense so he could get some more work done with his bugs (for real — a 1895 New Zealand entomologist). Every daylight saving time, I think longingly of Hawaii and their steady time state, even Arizona (although I’d never survive a summer there). As humans, we are strongly driven by our circadian rhythm. All of our cells —brain cells, heart cells, digestive cells —have a circadian rhythm. Getting readjusted can be relatively quick, or relatively slow, depending on the type of cell. Adjusting the cells is akin to adjusting all the clocks in a clock shop— it can take weeks to get all of them set to the same time. It’s not so bad for the first few to be adjusted, but it can be a while to get the last ones up to speed. This brings me to my second thought: As much as I hate being pushed to doing something I am not a fan of, there is some value in being launched, particularly if it is toward something. We all have things we want but are maybe afraid of, or overwhelmed by, the amount of work it will take, or the time commitment, or even the large change it will affect. In thinking about these things, we often drag our feet on getting started. As much as we might want “the thing,“we also don’t want the other challenges, so that reluctance puts the brakes on any action.

A few years ago, I saw a TED talk by Mel Robbins on the five-second rule. It resonated with me. A lot. It is easy to have lots of great ideas. It is hard to take actionable steps, particularly if you spend a lot of time thinking about the ideas. Day to day, we function in a place that is primarily habit driven, meaning, we don’t have to think a whole lot. Our brains are comfortable there. New ideas and new actions make us feel out of control, neurologically. So, by taking action before our brains have talked us out of it (within five seconds), we generate momentum. And when we generate momentum, we have moved—we make progress. When there is progress, now there is a positive feedback loop, the carrot to do it again. In creating new habits in the place of old and a positive feedback loop in the place of negative loops, a whole new neurology is born. My wish for you is that you take this spring time to“make the leap”toward something you’ve been wanting to learn, to do, to change. Don’t let that comfortable brain talk you out of it. Be out of the room before that stodgy habit brain speaks up. After a few launches, you’ll look back and wonder why you stayed there so long. The new view is so much better. –-Shelly Coffman

T he B enefits of M indfulness

These days, the termmindfulness is more likely to conjure thoughts of smartphone apps than rooms wafting with nag-champa. Business guru Tim Ferris and journalist Dan Rather profess an almost cult- like devotion to the practice, and multinationals like Goldman Sachs, Google, and Bank of America all offer mindfulness training to their employees. Recently, another large organization has jumped on the bandwagon: the United States military. So, what’s all the fuss about? For years, mindfulness devotees professed that cultivating it as a practice could alleviate the symptoms of everything from high blood pressure to anxiety. Historically though, critics were dismissive, claiming studies on mindfulness weren’t rigorous enough because they didn’t include a placebo. Unlike participants in traditional studies, where half the group believes they are being treated but are only taking the equivalent of a sugar pill, participants in meditation studies usually know whether or not they are meditating. One researcher changed that in 2016. Neuroscientist Dr. Amishi Jha conducted a study where students at the University of Miami were split into two groups and then put through a series of cognitive tests. One

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