“I can’t meditate! I have ADHD! I tried! It’s too hard and I suck at it!”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this excuse from people with ADHD as to why they can’t meditate. But this is just an excuse, I know because I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD myself, so I know what’s like not have an ounce of concentration. But through meditation, your concentration can be vastly improved. I did it, and so can you. Anyone can meditate, no matter how bad your concentration is.
The key in the beginning is to just do short periods, many times. Try 5 minutes. But commit to those 5 minutes. Do no get up before those 5 minutes, no matter what. Aim for 20 minutes a day (eventually longer), and do 4 sessions of 5 minutes. Then when you get better , 2 sessions of 10 minutes, and then finally one session of 20 minutes. When you can do a 20 minute session, that is when you will really notice the benefit to your day.
How To Meditate?
Now sit down in a chair, keep your back straight and just watch your breath. If thoughts come in, that’s ok. Thoughts are always going to be there unless you are an expert meditator. The goal is to just keep focusing on your breath and let your thoughts do whatever they do. Thinking is not a problem, it’s only a problem if you forget to follow the breath as you think. Of course..in the beginning this will happen quickly and often..
Maybe even after one or two breaths, your thoughts will carry you away and you will forget that you are supposed to following the breath. You will be lost in a daydream. That’s fine. When you ‘wake up’ and notice that you were lost in thought, go “aha”, congratulate yourself for noticing that you have forgotten the breath and go back to following the breath. Always positively reinforce that ‘wake up’ from daydreaming. That way your brain will want to ‘wake up’ and will do it on it’s own. Your goal in the beginning is to have as many “aha” moments as you can. To simply reduce the time you spend daydreaming and not following the breath at all.
You can also try counting the breath. Breathe in, breathe out (never forcing the breath, just letting the breath be) “1”, breathe in, breathe out “2”. Go up to 10. Can you make it to ten? Start back at one. Got to ten again. Forget what number you are on? Lost in a daydream? Start back at 1.
Over time you will get better, enjoy it, and can’t believe you spent so much of your life not meditating.
People often tell me that they are trying to find happiness. As if happiness were some lost treasure. If only it could be found, maybe in another country, another relationship, another job, then they might have it.
Happiness is not something that can be found. It is not something you need to search for, it’s not under your mattress. Thomas Jefferson was wrong too, happiness is not something to be pursued. Happiness is having a fit and healthy brain. It’s similar to having a healthy, fit body.
Would you ever say, I’m trying to find a fit body? I’m searching for a healthy body? Of course not, those statements are ridiculous.
Saying that you are trying to find happiness is just as preposterous. The key to happiness is proper diet, exercise, quality sleep, sunlight, nature, friendship, meditation. Happiness is not something you find, it is something you do.
My book the Awakened Ape is now available on paperback. It’s 280 pages, yet people have been telling me they are finishing it one sitting!
Check it out.
An interview with Tom and Giselle’s chef at boston.com revealed their diet. Here is the chef in his own words.
Campbell: So, 80 percent of what they eat is vegetables. [I buy] the freshest vegetables. If it’s not organic, I don’t use it. And whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, millet, beans. The other 20 percent is lean meats: grass-fed organic steak, duck every now and then, and chicken. As for fish, I mostly cook wild salmon.
It’s very different than a traditional American diet. But if you just eat sugar and carbs—which a lot of people do—your body is so acidic, and that causes disease…Sugar is the death of people.
What ingredients don’t you use?
Campbell: No white sugar. No white flour. No MSG. I’ll use raw olive oil, but I never cook with olive oil. I only cook with coconut oil. Fats like canola oil turn into trans fats. … I use Himalayan pink salt as the sodium. I never use iodized salt.
[Tom] doesn’t eat nightshades, because they’re not anti-inflammatory. So no tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, or eggplants. Tomatoes trickle in every now and then, but just maybe once a month. I’m very cautious about tomatoes. They cause inflammation.
Other than the whole grains, they follow the strictest Paleo advice, including the ban on nightshades, which only the most hardcore Paleo eaters adhere to. They also stay away from coffee and dairy.
A recent Study Published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared two groups of diabetic patients over the span of a few weeks. One group was given a Paleo diet to eat, comprising lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. The other group was given the diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) which contained low-fat dairy, whole grains and legumes. The results? Paleo won.
Both groups had improvements in metabolic measures, but the Paleo diet group had greater benefits on glucose control and lipid profiles. Also, on the Paleo diet, the most insulin-resistant subjects had a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity (r=0.40, P=0.02), but no such effect was seen in the most insulin-resistant subjects on the ADA diet (r=0.39, P=0.3).
Even short-term consumption of a Paleolithic-type diet improved glucose control and lipid profiles in people with type 2 diabetes compared with a conventional diet containing moderate salt intake, low-fat dairy, whole grains and legumes.
Two of the world’s greatest minds in conversation. Dawkins, especially, is at the top of his game here. The first minute of this conversation includes a poem Dawkins wrote about his recent stroke. It’s absolutely sublime.
Topics they discuss:
Genetics and IQ
The Biology of Race
How to Find Meaning without Religion.
People often debate, what sport produces the fittest athletes? Is it cyclists, marathon runners, gymnasts, Cross-fitters? In order to properly answer this question we must define fitness, which is different than athleticism.
Athleticism = Fitness + Coordination + Sport related Skills.
Fitness = The ideal mix of endurance, strength, and flexibility.
Some people may question why I have flexibility in this definition. Quite simply, one is fit in order to perform tasks. It’s hard to do anything if you are at home nursing a pulled hamstring or torn rotator cuff. Flexibility keeps you healthy..and hence..fit.
You must be well-rounded. This rules out a bunch of sports.
For instance a cyclist might have the best cardio of all and great lower body strength, but he will score poorly on any measure of upper body strength and flexibility. A gymnast scores exceptionally high on strength and flexibility, but their routines last for under a minute. Compared to other athletes, they have poor endurance.
MMA fighters, decathletes and CrossFitters are the top of the food chain. They have exceptional strength, endurance, and good flexibility. Let’s look at the pro’s and con’s of each sport.
Pro’s: Can run really, really fast. Jump very high, and throw things super far. Ashton Eaton, the reigning 2x Olympic Gold medalist can run the 100m dash in 10.21 sec, the 400m in 45.00 seconds, and the 1500 in 4:14. He can high jump 6’11, and throw a 16 pound ball over 50 feet.
Con’s: Compared to other athletes, their upper body strength is lacking. Many of the decathletes feats can be seen as measures of athleticism, and not just pure fitness. For instance, the hurdles, the pole vault, and the javelin are measures of agility and technique as much as they are of fitness. Although a Decathlete competes in 10 different events. All of the events basically boil down to variations of three skills. Running, jumping, throwing.
Pro’s: The most varied of all the sports. One has to learn how to fight standing, clinching, on the ground, and off one’s back. Champion fighters have to be able to go all out for 25 minutes straight. From years of throwing high kicks, and having their joints contorted, MMA fighters are some of the most flexible athletes around. They have an ability to withstand damage, that non-combat athletes can’t even come close to. They have both explosive and static strength (the ability to clinch and hold someone down, keeping the muscle contracted for long periods).
Con’s: MMA is a highly skilled sport, so while many MMA fighters have elite fitness, there are some, such as Demian Maia, who rely so much on skill, that you wouldn’t recognize he was a professional athlete if you ran into him on the street.
Pro’s: CF athletes train specifically for fitness. This gives them an advantage over the competition. They don’t have to spend time learning the chess-game of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu the way an MMA fighter does. CFers are stronger than all but the largest MMA fighters (Brock Lesnar/Bob Sapp). They train in a variety of different strength training events, from gymnastic movements to powerlifting, and running with weighted vests on.
Con’s: CFers tend to lean more towards strength than endurance. Ben Smith, the winner of the 2015 CrossFit games has a fairly pedestrian 5k time of 20:20. This means he would get lapped by the fastest children. The 10-year-old boy world record in the 5K is 17:34. This skew of CFers towards strength over endurance, is the CF’s biggest weakness.
Of the three, MMA fighters, decathletes and CrossFitters, who do you think has the fittest athletes?
Is there a sport I left out?
How does one become happier? How does one become healthier? How can I function at my best? How can I be more focused, calm, and productive?
Biohacking takes the mystery out of human well-being. At it’s core, the philosophy of biohacking is that human beings are biological machines, and that human well-being is not an insolvable enigma. Instead by taking a systems-thinking approach, we can break down the causes and conditions of how humans operate, what causes us to be stressed out and unhealthy, and what causes us to feel vitality.
For a concise definition, I like this one from Dave Asprey:
Biohacking (verb): To use science, biology, and self experimentation to take control of, and upgrade your mind, your body, and your life
Biohacking (noun): The art and science of becoming superhuman.
His noun version of biohacking gets into a bit of hyperbole, but you get the idea. Biohacking is about making yourself better.
Common topics that biohacker’s are interested in include: What is the optimal diet? How can I maximize efficiency in my workouts so that I don’t have to spend two hours in the gym every night? How can I get better sleep? How can I raise my IQ? How can I slow down the rate at which I age?
Biohacker’s are fond of self-experimentation and with tracking results. They’ll use sleep apps that measure how long they were asleep and how much REM they got. They’ll look for variables that could have caused a poor night’s sleep — Did I drink coffee this afternoon? Have I been more stressed out lately? In order to test for stress, they will use heart rate variability monitors and check their resting heart rate upon waking. They’ll look for correlations between mood and the amount of sunlight they got. Do I feel happier when I get sunlight first thing in the morning? How does my diet affect my mental performance? Is eating too much sugar causing me brain fog?
Biohacking is about becoming your optimal self so that you can enjoy life to the fullest. It’s hard for me to think of a more rewarding hobby to take up.
Here is a simple workout that I came up with while staying in a tiny one room cabin in the middle of the woods during a meditation retreat. It requires very little space, and no exercise equipment. So it’s perfect for when you are traveling, only have a few minutes to spare, or can’t get to the gym.
3 Sets of:
10 reps of one-legged squats, each leg.
One minute rest in between sets.
3 Sets of:
One minute rest in between sets.
3 Sets of:
15 knee push-ups
One minute rest in between sets.