28 days of me

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Day 24

Glossary Of Terms

Sunday, May 24th, 2015
Show today's brain activity
Alpha 48%
Waves which occur when relaxed and calm
Beta 33%
Waves which occur when, for example, actively thinking or problem-solving
Gamma 19%
Waves which occur when involved in higher mental activity and consolidation of information

I throw some terms around quite loosely in this blog so I want to take the time to explain some of the tools and terms I am using in this experiment.

Headspace

Headspace was founded in 2010 by Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk, and Rich Pierson, a creative developer. This is definitely my go-to meditation. It is really simple to use, the animations are playful and Headspace makes meditation so accessible. A bonus is Andy’s voice is super easy to listen to. You can sign up and get the first 10 (10 minute) session for free, and then you can decide if you want to purchase a subscription.

headspace app

Image source: headspace.com

“Headspace focuses on the practise on mindfulness. In short, at Headspace we define mindfulness as the intention to be present in the here and now, fully engaged in whatever is happening, free from distraction or judgement with a soft and open mind. Meditation is a simple exercise of familiarisation with the qualities of mindfulness. It helps optimise conditions for training the mind to be calmer, clearer and kinder.”

1 Giant Mind

“1 Giant Mind is a non-profit dedicated to delivering free Learn to Meditate programs and resources to combat the negative impact of stress and increase health and wellbeing”

I really like their app – it is simple to use and you start and end each session with a mini questionnaire so you can monitor results (E.g. – how you are feeling right now, how do you feel about meditating right now). You will need to update your settings on your phone so the auto lock doesn’t come on because the app switches off once this happens.

Here is 1 Giant mind’s vimeo page where they share lots of tips and tricks on how to meditate.

Mindful in May

A one month online mindfulness challenge starting on the 1st of May each year. The great thing about this challenge is you also fundraise to help bring clean water to developing countries. Registration has closed for this year but you can still get involved by sponsoring participants. As of today, they have raised over $260,000, and they still have 7 days to go. What champs.

mindful-in-may

Image source: mindfulinmay.org

Jon Kabat-Zinn

My new hero. He has pretty much dedicated his life to understanding and teaching mindfulness.

Muse

Is a brain fitness tool that helps you train your brain to be able to become more calm and focused. For 28 Days of Meditation I am using the Muse headband to monitor by brainwaves, and display this data on a graph. Normally you would use the Muse headband in conjunction with the app. The app is really well done – you start off small (just 3 minute sessions) and the app gives you instant feedback – the stormier the weather the more active your brain, the more you manage to relax and stay calm, the more the weather ‘clears up’ and if you are really making progress, you can hear some little birdies :-). The very kind peeps at Muse have given me a Muse Headband to use for this experiment.

muse-headband

Image source: choosemuse.com

Daily brainwave graph

I am using the Muse headband to monitor my brain waves and showing this information on a graph. I am mainly interested in Alpha waves (which occur when you are calm and relaxed) and seeing if I can increase these over the course of the 28 days.

Alpha waves –  occur when relaxed and calm.
Beta waves – occur when, for example, actively thinking or problem-solving.
Gamma waves – occur when involved in higher mental activity and consolidation of information.

(Source: www.choosemuse.com)

Data visualisation

‘Cloud’ visuals that I am using as the main image on some of the daily posts.

These are generated by taking the daily brain wave activity (Alpha, Beta and Gamma waves) and displaying it randomly in a visualisation.

150503 Day 3 Clouds

Meditation

There are many different definitions of what meditation is and as a meditation newbie I don’t feel qualified to write my own definition just yet. From what I have found this one comes close for me:

“Meditation is not a technique but a way of life. Meditation means ‘a cessation of the thought process’. It describes a state of consciousness, when the mind is free of scattered thoughts and various patterns.”

This definition is from Healthandyoga.com

Mindfulness

“Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them.”

That definition is taken directly from this site, and if you have the time it is worth a read.

Today’s Meditation

Sam Harris Looking For The Self (26 minutes)

Today’s Brainwave Activity

sam harris

Blue = Alpha waves, 48% (Day 1 was 47%) — this is the one I’m trying to increase.
Yellow = Beta waves, 33% (Day 1 was 34%)
Pink = Gamma waves, 19% (Day 1 was 19%)