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Learn how to be calm in just 10 minutes a day

Founder of Headspace

Fast meditation
Close eyes

Friday January 10 2014

Monday How to be a better parent — and partner

Andy Puddicombe

When was the last time you sat down undistracted and undisturbed, with no television, telephone, computer, friends, family or problem to think about or resolve? We’re so busy that we no longer know what it means to be still, simply resting the mind. We’ve become addicted to “doing stuff”, even if it’s just thinking. Imagine how it would be to drop all the stories, the arguments, the judgments that take up so much space in the mind. This is what it means to be “mindful”. But after a lifetime of being lost in thought, the right kind of conditions are needed to learn how to step back in this way. That’s where meditation comes in. There’s nothing mystical about it. Meditation is simply a technique to provide you with the optimum conditions for practising the skill of mindfulness. If mindfulness is the ability to be present, to rest in the moment whatever you’re doing, and meditation is the best way of learning that skill, then “headspace” could be considered the outcome. I’m using the word in the broadest possible context here. In fact, many people may choose to use the word “happiness” instead. The problem with the word “happiness” is that it tends to get confused with the emotion of happiness. Don’t get me wrong: enjoying yourself is a wonderful aspect of life, but we can’t have fun all the time. As much as we try to ignore the fact, life can be stressful and painful at times. So the type of happiness that just comes and goes depending on our circumstances and mood is too temporary, too unstable to offer us any lasting sense of calm or clarity. That’s why I prefer the word “headspace”. It describes an underlying sense of peace, a feeling of fulfilment or unshakeable contentment, no matter what

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Why meditate?

Sit tall

Meditation can be as effective as drugs to beat the blues A study led by Dr Madhav Goyal, the lead researcher from Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, says “Meditation appeared to provide as much relief from some anxiety and depression symptoms as other studies found from antidepressants.”

Breathe deeply

It can halve the time it takes to get to sleep Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School developed an effective approach to sleep that incorporated meditation as an integral component. The study found that 58 per cent of diagnosed insomniacs reported significant improvements and 91 per cent of those using medication either reduced their dose or stopped taking it completely.

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emotion might be in play at that time. Headspace is not a quality of mind dependent on surface emotions; this means it can be experienced just as clearly in periods of sadness or anger as it can in times of excitement and laughter. Essentially, it’s being OK with whatever thoughts

or emotions you’re having. That’s why meditation feels so good. There are also a host of health benefits associated with meditation. This week an influential study found that meditating for just half an hour a day can offer people with depression as much relief as taking a pill. Regular mindfulness

meditation has been shown to relieve anxiety, stress and even pain. I want to give people the tools to experience greater health and happiness and a shortcut to that is meditation. The good news is that you don’t need to spend an hour a day doing it. You can feel the benefits in just ten minutes a day.

It boosts the brain In several mindfulness-based studies, researchers found that practitioners showed significant improvements in their cognitive skills after just four days of training. They performed particularly well on physical and mental tasks requiring sustained attention — and also in stressful tasks performed under time constraints.