It’s the 3rd January and I’m 156 days into a 365 day meditation journey with the wonderful Andy Puddicombe of Headspace [see them at https//www.headspace.com]. As I’ve embarked on this daily practice, the consistent message is one of being in the present moment. Believe me, even after thousands of hours of practice that’s hard to do. Events in the past, especially those that stir an emotional response, can pull me backwards and anticipation – pleasant or unpleasant – of the future frequently distracts me from the right now. That very human tendency is one of the reasons that I value the traditions of the New Year, they reinforce for me the concept that every day is a brand new day, a fresh start.
So what does this have to do with neuroscience? Our brains work the most effectively when we can access our whole brain. Some research indicates we may use as little as 5% of the brain’s power available to us. How can we access more of that magical brain power? One way is to bring ourselves into the present moment and access as many of our senses: vision, hearing, touch, smell and taste as we can all at once. Consider taking a moment to enjoy a beautiful sunrise, listen to the dawn chorus as the birds welcome the day, maybe stroking a pet as you inhale the intoxicating aroma and taste of a wake-up cup of coffee.
There are plenty of social media posts out there at this time of the year urging you to make new resolutions, to lose weight, exercise more, get a promotion at work, earn that college degree, the list is endless and can feel overwhelming, even demotivating. If this resonates with you, consider an alternate approach. Take a few minutes each morning – ~10 minutes is all you need – to set your goals to one side [temporarily] and enjoy the New Day for what it is – a fresh, new day that presents an opportunity to engage all of your senses in the present moment.
Take this first step towards increased brain performance and start your day with both brain hemispheres switched on and ready to go!
To follow the DYP journey to improved brain fitness in 2021 sign up here.