Mind Fitness: How Meditation Boosts Your Focus, Resilience, and Brain | Daniel Goleman

Mind Fitness: How Meditation Boosts Your Focus, Resilience, and Brain | Daniel Goleman

Altered states refers to a mode of consciousness
or awareness that takes us out of our ordinary everyday sense of the world, sense of ourselves. We can enter altered states when we get intensely
focused on something—deep concentration will bring you into an altered state, sometimes
people like to talk how athletes get “into the zone” or they “get into flow”, those
are everyday altered states, but they come from being intensely focused on some activity
or in the moment itself. And of course altered states can come from
drugs or from being in an unusual physiological state. A fever can bring on an altered state. And of course, the ‘60s and ‘70s saw a
huge upsurge of people interested in exploring altered states through psychedelics. So altered states are temporary conditions,
and when whatever it was that brought on the special state of awareness leaves, then the
state fades. So if you get into a flow state rock climbing,
when you come down from the mountain, it’s gone—or whatever may have caused it: your
temperature might have gone up, and put you into maybe not a pleasant altered state, but
still an altered state. The temperature goes down, it’s gone. Altered traits on the other hand are lasting
changes or transformations of being, and they come classically through having cultivated
an altered state through meditation, which then has a consequence for how you are day-to-day—and
that’s different than how you were before you tried the meditation. And what we find in our research, as we say
in the book Altered Traits, is that the more you meditate, the more lifetime hours you
put into it, the stronger the lasting traits become. When we surveyed more than 6000 peer reviewed
articles published to date on meditation we used very strict rigorous methodological standards
and we whittled them down to about 60, so maybe one percent of all those articles were
really well done. And they document very strongly that altered
traits are a lasting consequences of regular meditation and it’s not that it’s the
altered states that’s the point. If you look at the classic traditions from
which meditation comes to us in the West all of them talk about the quality of being, the
person you’ve become. And we see it in the data in many ways. We see it in cognitive changes, we see in
behavioral changes and most importantly we see it in neurological changes the neuroscience
of meditation is really getting stronger and stronger. It’s pretty spectacular and it shows that
brain function and perhaps even structure in the long-term meditators becomes different
and becomes different in ways that are actually predicted in classic meditation texts. The good news is that there’s a dose response
relationship in meditation. Apparently from what we can tell the longer
you do it the more benefits you get. So for example, right from the beginning there
are intentional benefits, there are stress benefits, you’re more resilient under stress,
but we see this even more strikingly in people who have been longer-term meditators, people
who have done meditation daily for say several years. There you see in terms of attention things
that don’t show up with the beginner so much you see that, for example, they’re
more present. There’s a strict test of this in cognitive
science called the intentional blink. The intentional blink means you get lost in
one thought and you don’t notice what’s happening the next moment. And this happens, of course, to all of us
ordinarily, but longer-term meditators seem to have this less, it means they’re more
present to the moment. Longer-term meditators are able to better
focus in the midst of distractions. This is kind of common sense because meditation
in essence is training in attention. The basic move in meditation is you’re focusing
on one thing or on a particular intentional stance, the mind wandering circuitry, which
is well known in neuroscience, the mind wandering circuitry kicks in, people’s mind wanders
on average 50 percent of the time research at Harvard tells us. So at some point when you’re trying to do
your meditation your mind will wander. We’re wired that way. The key is do you notice that it wonders? Once you notice your mind has wandered off
and you bring it back your strengthening the circuitry for focus for attention. And just like going to the gym and working
out for years and years doing reps you get bigger muscles and more strength and fitness,
the same thing happens in the mind. The mind is a mental gym and meditation is
a basic work out. So if you’re a long-term meditator you get
more benefits than people who are just starting out. It’s just common sense. And we see it in the scientific findings. So longer-term meditators are better able
to focus on that one thing and not be distracted even when there’s a hubbub around them;
they’re are better able to concentrate; they’re better able to be present to what’s
happening. So the attentional benefits just get stronger
and stronger and even more important they become traits. We see them not when a person is meditating
but months after or just in their everyday life when they come into a lab without meditating
we see that the attentional benefits still last. The same thing is true of stress. In long-term meditators the benefits for handling
stress get stronger and stronger as time goes on. Of course we see some signs of this in people
right from the get go, beginners in meditation, but the longer you’ve been a meditator the
more, for example, you’re able to snap back from an upset. And this is really the sign of resilience. Resilience is measured scientifically by how
long it takes you to get back to what we call your baseline that pleasant mood you’re
in before that thing flipped you out. And the shorter that is the more resilient
you are. And we see this as a lasting trait in long-term
meditators they are able to bounce back from stress. Also we see that their amygdala, that trigger
point for the stress reaction is less reactive; they’re calmer in the face of stress. So the stress benefits get stronger and stronger
and become traits in long-term meditators.

57 comments on “Mind Fitness: How Meditation Boosts Your Focus, Resilience, and Brain | Daniel Goleman

  1. Velox_0 Post author

    There is a great podcast with Sam Harris, Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson on their book. The episode is called "The science of meditation". Check it out!

  2. Dieudonne Asanji Post author

    Do you people ever take your own advice? Cuz the way i see it, it's my people who built it when they were slaves and since we are taking down statues, I thought maybe we should…

  3. Fire Horse Post author

    Thank you Dr Goleman , I'm pretty new to meditation and this will keep me inspired! Thank you also for your years of very valuable work.

  4. Sachin Sundaresann Post author

    Thank you for making this video. I also practice meditation and it feels very calming and soothing.

  5. edc rfv Post author

    I was a huge sceptic of that "woo woo" meditation couple of months ago. But i decided to try it. Now i have a 45 days streak and honestly i feel much better and calmer 🙂

  6. Drrck11 Post author

    I practice meditation. It has helped me reduce stress and think more clearly. I definitely recommend it.

  7. 1p6t1gms Post author

    I’ve observed that this is a pendulum in regards to mind fitness of feelings, and that a euphoria in the feelings that religious settings may bring on and resulting in false confidences. This occurs to the most common individuals among us and seems to me quite dangerous when in settings of societal leaders. They are prone to be mentally consumed by this imbalance of inner nature and unable to snap back while their decisions are placed into the laws of the land, I guess that covers just about everyone there today and more than likely everyone in the yesteryear.

  8. Nasty Cupid Post author

    I was focused on this video for 7 minutes and 17 seconds …. And I haven't even started meditating!

  9. kllrbny Post author

    Meditation and mindfulness is not a panacea like many like to make it seem. First, it only really has a big effect for those who have lifestyles that don't afford them time to think. That some people need meditation these days is only because we cram our brains with non-stop stimulation and afford no time to think. So meditation is actually a bit like going on a crash diet to lose weight, when really what you should have been doing all along is just eating properly to start with… but that's the modern world for you. But critical to understand is the "altered traits" that are being talked about being gained through meditation and mindfulness generally revolve around reducing self-judgement. For many people, those with solid morals and low self-confidence (and related: anxiety and depression), this is a good thing. BUT, for people with criminal inclinations, or narcissistic or sociopathic tendencies, mindfulness actually tends to remove some of the self-doubt that prevents those people from giving in fully to their afflictions. Experimental mindfulness programs in jails actually increased the "criminality" of inmates.: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28918714

    "Believe in yourself" is a great maxim, as long as your brain isn't telling you you're better than everyone else.
    "Follow your dreams" is a great maxim, as long as your dreams aren't to be a murderer.

    You should always be skeptical of simple advice and simple solutions.

  10. StaticDreamsEntert Post author

    I want the meditation benefits so bad because my mind races so fast it's even hard for me to communicate sometimes .
    But every time I start practicing within a week I start to become very self conscious through the day ( in a negative way ) and have more anxiety.
    I do breathe concentration meditation .
    Does anybody have any insight of what am I doing wrong ? Or suggest a different type of meditation ?
    Thanks !

  11. Nejc Havaši Post author

    Meditation probably saved my life. At my nadir I felt lonely, my social circle was causing me to stagnate at best intelectually, my life started revolving around video games and pornography and I sought excitement in regularly using marijuana, which I stopped enjoying because it only exacerbated my anxiety and depression. Then I decided it's do or die and started meditating. Since then I quit video games, started reading more, my grades got better, I abandoned my old clique and started seeking a more intellectual company, I got more confident, I got a girlfriend, I started working out more and in general I'm enjoying everything a whole lot more. I'm so glad everytime I see someone talk about the benefits of meditation, it truly works wonders. If you haven't tried it yet, you should, it will change your life.

  12. Hamsa Ibro Post author

    I don’t know something change my life other then meditation. I was in state of what this doctor called intentional blink for many years at a point I don’t what I am talking about , but when I tarted meditation i realised what meditation done to my brain as well as my mind . Furthermore I now able to monitor my emotions. But you should know that meditation is just like prepaid card not debit, you have to do in routine way . I remember once before I stopped it for one mouth, then I back to my old road

  13. Psychopath Post author

    Isn't mind wandering important to things like creativity and invention? Intensifying your focus like this is starting to sound more like it just gives you tunnel vision than a super brain like everyone is raving about.

  14. 1p6t1gms Post author

    What you will do is retrain your subconscious with the consciousness for enhancement of thoughts, which affect your feelings of this type on purpose to control thoughts and reduce the suffering.

  15. Aldus Ric Post author

    Wow absolutely awesome video. I would like to learn here techniques for meditate effectively. Thanks for this video again!

  16. haku Post author


    i share that article (and the comments u find below it) hoping to finally give some acknowledgement to those who, like me, tend feel uncomfortable when meditating but feel pressured to keep doing it because everyone says it's good for u, or even necessary for ur well-being.. so i hope to help those people feel more free to quit if they dislike meditating

  17. zdulcun Post author

    This is either a reupload or he just gave roughly the same speak he did not long ago.
    And I still think it's brilliant, but… what?

  18. Skweepa Post author

    I have trouble maintaining attention during meditation, but when I tried Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE), the autonomic shaking/moving helped me stay focused. I loved it as a form of meditation. I don't know if I believe in TRE as TRE, but the autonomic movements by my own body were fascinating and relaxing, but constant, so I could use them as a focal point.

  19. megaslayercho Post author

    Been meditating every day for the last 2 years.
    I agree with everything said in this video.
    It's the number 1 most lifechanging habbit a person can pick up ,meditating for a good mental health should be as obvious and well known, as the idea of exercising for good physical health.

  20. David Hughes Post author

    I think I just fell in love! Ashley is a driver for a company I use. She seems like she is very fun. I can't stop thinking about her.

  21. Richard Conner Post author


  22. Bit Nasg Post author

    Meditation has calmed my stress and anxiety. But now I'm no longer motivated to quickly resolve problems at work because I don't care.

  23. yf Post author

    I’m personally put off by the label “meditation”. It’s like having a sealed box of gold and selling it with the label “shit”. It puts people of, even if the product is priceless.

    Why not change the label to one of: development, training, practice, exercise, cultivation, familiarisation, habituation, and other countless, beautiful words that capture what it’s about and remove any religious connotations. Secular is the way it should be.

  24. Gabriel Post author

    Big think is probably the only channel that draws my attention with a nice topic but exposes it in an incredibly uninteresting and boring way…

  25. study mode on Post author

    i do meditation daily it help a lot
    this is a life changing habit for me
    i do meditation for 8 months

  26. Martin Lichtblau Post author

    Don't just sit down and meditate. Learn to be in a meditative state whenever you want. By that you can train much more and in real life situations; and not just while sitting down. So, ee the classic meditation just as a starter

  27. Rob G Post author

    My issue with meditation is the time. Most people only have a limited amount and I think the proven benefits of getting enough sleep, excercise, eating well and spending time on hobbies are much better investments. I tried – I really did!

  28. Taj Overton Post author

    I've always meditated. Just on a small level. Constantly thinking and not engaging in anything that doesn't make sense. I do need to fully meditate tho. Soon

  29. 5 Minute Focus Post author

    A visual tool for meditation :

    Apple : https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/5-minute-focus/id1449928273?ls=1&mt=8

    Android : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.LawZhiyang.FiveMinuteFocus


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