Imagine having the ability to be poised and confident all the time even in the most difficult of situations.
Then imagine someone asking you how you manage to be so cool under pressure.
How would you feel?
Pretty amazing, right?
The key to this is creating space between your actions and reactions. How do you do that?
I used to feel resistant to meditation. It was always something I'd get to eventually. I'm so glad I finally committed myself.
I'm not going to say I'm always poised and cool under pressure, but I've noticed a 95% difference in how I respond to even the most difficult situations.
If you've ever said you can't meditate, then this is for you.
If you’re anything like me, you've likely some resistance when it comes to meditating too. We’re going to talk about what that is and why that’s normal.
The reason I’m doing this podcast is because if you’ve been putting off learning meditation, then I want you to consider that now’s the time. Now’s the time to create big change in your life.
Meditating is the quickest way to start seeing your thoughts and recognizing where you want or NEED to make change.
In a few episodes I’m going to talk about burnout and overwhelm. Meditating is a key component of coming out of burnout.
I WISH I committed to meditating sooner because once I did, I noticed astronomical shifts.
I made something for you to help you out too. Click below to find a link to get 5 free meditations I’ve created. They’re short and sweet and can help you find a meditation that’s right for you.
Let’s talk about why you can’t meditate:
- I can’t sit still
- I don’t have time
- I don’t know how
- I can’t get my brain to stop thinking
- I don't think meditating is for me
I’ve been there too. I’ve experienced every single one of these thoughts. And now I meditate regularly.
What changed? How did I get past all this? I’m about to tell you.
All of these thoughts are normal.
It’s resistance – our reptilian brain wants to keep us comfortable. It has a job to do and that’s to keep solving problems and keep us feeling good.
We’ve talked about the fight or flight response and how we buffer (in this episode) — meaning using excuses like food, work, relationships, etc to distract us from our emotions. Any time we think about trying something new — especially something that threatens our brain’s perceived function to think all the time — our brain is going to resist because it brings us emotions. More specifically: fear of something new. It’s going to trigger a fight or flight response. This response used to be awesome when we were avoiding predators and could come in handy in the future if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse, but now that we’re in a cushy zone, our brain uses this response in a very unhelpful way.
Whenever something new is introduced there’s a tinge of fear and then our brain starts working to keep us comfortable. That is the exact thing that’s happening when a lot of us hear the word meditation.
You may feel uncomfortable even hearing the word and come up with one of the excuses I’ve already listed.
If you want to move forward in your life, create big changes, then it’s time to work on your brain and how your brain thinks.
We’re going to:
- Create a big enough why to generate the emotion you need to create this change, and
- Counter the thoughts I mentioned above with thoughts that serve you.
Big areas it helps in
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Which in turn helps us focus
- improve our overall health, and
- Improves our temperament, which in turn
- Improves our relationships
Doesn’t that sound magical.
I mean, if there were a pill to do all of this we’d go out and buy it. Why aren’t we meditating then?
If the United States Army introduced meditation to increase the resilience of its troops, then it’s certainly something lawyers need to increase their resiliency in trial and in negotiations. I’ll talk to you more about this in a few minutes.
I won’t bore you with studies that you’re probably already aware of. Obviously the fact that it’s being studied isn’t enough to get everyone to meditate.
There’s another way to look at this and that’s:
What does stress do to our body and work performance?
- Stress causes disease
- Stress depletes our focus and therefore:
- Stress reduces our overall performance
First: Stress places us at high risk of heart disease, stroke and other other illnesses.
I attribute my breast cancer diagnosis 10 years ago to stress, and I talk about that in an episode which I’ll link to here.
Our bodies have a physical response to meditation. Meditation reduces blood pressure, heart rate, and brain activity.
Second: Stress depletes our focus
At the beginning of this episode I mentioned that the U.S. Army actually incorporated mindfulness meditation into their practices. On their website, they say mindfulness “has proven to be a promising mental health intervention for Soldiers post-deployment, helping them to deal with the psychological toll that deployment can take on mental health…however, the period before a soldier is deployed is just as demanding and stressful.
Psychologically preparing to face dangerous, high-performance, high-stress situations, while also having to leave loved ones and the familiarity of home behind, can be an overwhelming and anxiety plagued time…” They’re research showed that “mindfulness meditation exercises positively support active-duty soldiers for high stress combat situations while also improving overall cognitive resilience and performance.”
The US Army is researching how stress depletes focus and if and how mindfulness training can strengthen it. If we’re in an intense job, shouldn’t we be incorporating it?
Third: Stress reduces our performance.
In the US Army Study, they said this:
“Just as daily physical exercise is important for physical fitness, neuroscientists are finding that regularly engaging in mental exercises may improve brain-fitness. The more ‘fit’ one’s brain, the better one may be at recovering from stress, solving complex problems in challenging circumstances, and handling high demands.”
You can learn more about the Army’s research here.
If meditation counteracts stress, why aren’t we incorporating it to increase our mental resources?
Now that we’ve covered the WHY, let’s talk about what to do when one of the unhelpful thoughts pops up in our head:
- I can’t sit still: It’s okay not to sit still. Baby steps.
- I don’t have time: Why do I always tell myself I don’t have enough time? What can I do to make the time?
- I don’t know how to: Everyone starts with not knowing how to meditate. No one is born meditating. I can learn to meditate.
- I can’t get my brain to stop: Our brain is supposed to think. I’m not supposed to stop thinking. All I have to do is notice my thoughts and breath.
WHERE TO START?
- 5 different guided meditations so you can see what they’re like
- Apps – but I like to stay off the phone as much as possible, so I don't enjoy using them. The most I use is a gentle timer on my phone if I want that. But you may like them. You can try Headspace and Calm.
- Sit for a few minutes before you go to bed or after you wake up. Tip: try meditating after a bubble bath. It's easier to relax.
I can't wait to talk to you next week. I'm getting ready to tell you more about the Lawyer's Soul Roadmap Digital Coaching Course that I've been working on, and I'm excited to share more with you.
If you have a second, snap a pic of you listening to my podcast and tag me in your Instastory @dina.cataldo. I'd love to hear from you!
- SR Podcast #017 – Why We Buffer, and How to Stop
- SR Podcast #025 – Too busy to pay attention to your health? How I navigated a breast cancer diagnosis as an attorney
- US Army Study
- Calm App
- Headspace App
- Tag me on Instagram