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Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

Sleep is magic

April 7, 2011 Leave a comment

It really is. I don’t know how parents deal with the extra sleep deprivation. They say it’s worth it, but that could just be the delirium talking.

  • I scored a full 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night (such a rare occurrence!), and this morning everything is pretty sweet. I am currently enjoying a rarely experienced feeling of actual well-being. This is nothing like the “speedy” feeling/dopamine hit I get from L-tyrosine or SAM-e supplementation.

  • I want to chase this dragon as far as I can. This is going to be my priority. So: sleep.

  • Here are the variables I’m hopelessly confounding in an effort to chase a decent amount of high quality sleep.

  • Eating a small amount of potatoes, sweet potatoes, or tapioca seems to help me sleep deeply, but eating fruit destroys my ability to sleep through the night. Is this a fructose/liver toxin thing? Because fruit makes me pee like a mofo. I like fruit and find it energizing, but for the most part (on a day-to-day basis) I love sleep more. Also, eating tubers may impede fat loss, but I’m going to make the judgment call that adequate sleep makes me happier – in a very physical sense, the world seems brighter – than fat loss.

  • I’m not sure if meditation helps sleep all that much, but having a good night’s sleep helps the next day’s meditation be more enjoyable. I’m hoping that meditation and sleep have reciprocal effects on each other.

  • To help with the meditation, I’m trying out the Vila acupressure mat recommended by Health Habits here. I’ve used this mat for the past three days, and I’m not sure what it’s doing, but it is doing something. When I lie on the acupressure mat, I get a sensation of heat, as if I had applied a camphor-menthol or capsaicin cream on the areas of contact. Interestingly, my skin is not actually hot to the touch, so this is merely the perception of heat. I also get an intermittent sensation of tingling – it feels like nerves are firing in bursts. I am not all that invested in the pain relieving qualities of the acupressure mat, as what really helps for me is cable rows at the gym, which are their own kind of magic. However, I think the acupressure mat is most useful to me as a meditation tool, as it gives me something immediately compelling on which to focus. I often try to focus on my breathing, but I do get distracted often.

  • (That said, am I in less pain? Maybe. There are one or two specific spots near my thoracic vertebrae that have been consistently painful in the past. The mat seems to help by replacing the highly localized “hot spots” of pain with a diffuse sensation of tenderness/sensitivity, followed by an equally diffuse – and slight – soreness the next day. I am at best optimistic about this and at worst highly curious about what’s happening.)

  • Yes, I do make use of blackout curtains and earplugs (and have for months). I find it hard to get comfortable in a cool room, so I dispense with that. I’m supplementing with phosphatidylserine and rhodiola, but truth be told, I’m nervous about supplements in general, and I’m really ambivalent about continuing to take them.

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    1-19-11: Monkey Mind Thoughts

    January 19, 2011 Leave a comment

    I’ve been trying to meditate for years, mainly because happiness researchers have said that meditation practitioners tend to be happier people. What I have succeeded in doing – what I actually have done – is consistently set aside 30 minutes to listen to some binaural beats (who knows if they work, but they make a decent timer), usually during my morning bus ride to work.

    Well and good. The thoughts that zoom about my mind tend to fall in 4 categories:

    •  Those about the meditation itself (“How’m I doing?”)
    •  Those about food and/or the best way to lose weight (“I should really buy some Japanese sweet potatoes, but maybe I should eat tubers only after strength training”)
    • Those about exercising and/or optimizing body composition (“Why is that adding just 5 more lbs. to lat pulldown move makes it not just harder, but actually impossible?”)
    • Work (“I should really remember to do that thing.”)

    The most distracting are probably the meta-meditation thoughts, in which I concentrate on my breathing and consequently become too self-conscious to keep up any sort of natural rhythm. Or I attempt to repeat a mantra, but am derailed by the “This is the stupidest mantra ever” thought.

    It’s tempting to label the phenomenon “Meditation FAIL,” and leave it at that, but I think that assessment wouldn’t be quite correct. If nothing else, these attempts at meditation provide me with a backdrop of negative space for my thoughts, a figure/ground analogy to contemplate. Thoughts stand out, glittering and discrete. Through examining them, I have gained the self-awareness of the types of things I consistently tend to think about. Is this an accurate measure of the kind of person I am? It’s an incomplete snapshot, but a relevent part of the picture nonetheless. Will it prove to be useful information? Only time will tell, but at least I’m setting aside 30 minutes a day to meditate on it.

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    Dessert…more OCE

    February 9, 2009 Leave a comment

    After dinner, I felt like I could use some extra coconut oil, protein, and antioxidants. I can’t tell if I really needed them, or if I am just mentally sabotaging weight loss. But! We shall see all when I weigh in tomorrow whether it was a mistake or if I really needed the nourishment.

    It tasted really good though.

    1 tbsp coconut oil
    1 tbsp cocoa powder
    1 tbsp Show Me the Whey! protein powder in chocolate
    1 tbsp frozen blueberries
    1 tbsp frozen raspberries

    All nuked for about 30 seconds and sort of mashed up with a fork to a pudding-like consistency, then eaten very, very slowly with the smallest spoon you have. Savoring is a calming, focused meditation on flavor and texture, and helps you enjoy food to your fullest capacity. BONUS: you feel in control; it is the OPPOSITE of bingeing.