November 2020 TDM
The "Post-Election" Issue
Welcome to the November 2020 issue of The Daily Meditator. This is your monthly resource for fun, quirky, interesting, and noteworthy happenings in and around the worldwide meditation community—created by author and meditator teacher, Light Watkins. Written and edited by Jordan Pletzer, Kristen Vandivier, Stephanie Johnson, and Light (our bios are at the bottom).
Our mission is simple: to help broaden the horizon of what a daily meditator looks like while providing you with relevant information and timely inspiration for staying committed to your daily practice.
The “post-election” issue: We feel hopeful, inspired, and confident post-election, but now the real work begins. We still have overworked doctors, and two other pandemics to deal with. And our practice is more necessary now than ever. Enjoy this issue and let us know your thoughts.
[ MEDITATION & NEWS ]
Healing the Healers: Keeping Our Doctors Sane During the Pandemic
Curious as to how our front liners are battling the stress in this pandemic? We definitely are! We kind of take for granted that our doctors are “all there” mentally and emotionally. But with COVID-19 continuing to push healthcare systems to the breaking point, the physical and emotional toll on healthcare workers has been unprecedented. Desperate to reduce stress and combat feelings of isolation, Medicalbag reports that some providers have turned to two nontraditional methods of healing: expressive writing and mindfulness meditation. In other words, the methods used to treat war trauma have been shown as effective for docs during the pandemic.
Bottom Line: Even superheroes need to write down their feelings or say a few namastes to keep it together, so give frontline workers your biggest air hug whenever you can.
Three Pandemics?! Deepak’s Advice on How to Cope
As if COVID-19 wasn’t enough. According to Deepak Chopra, Americans are currently suffering from three pandemics.
1. COVID-19 pandemic
2. Financial Crisis
3. Stress: financial ruin, racism, and fear of death are causing a tidal wave of anxiety
To be very clear, this is all bad. Very bad. The worst. Which is why we need to override the “overstimulation” in our body. And it’s surprisingly simple: Get restful sleep, exercise, and practice deep breathing and meditation. Even simple quite acts of reflection (Who am I? What do I want, etc.) can have almost immediate benefits.
Bottom Line: The fear of getting sick may actually be making us sick, so keep it simple and keep it chill.
10 Habits That Will Help Stop Doomscrolling And Boost Mental Health
Does constantly scouring social media make you miserable? Can’t stop doing it to save your life?With post-election drama and COVID-19 spikes, we all need to lower stress levels. Apparently, we are hardwired to doomscroll. Our brain thinks we are scanning for threats. But our brains did not evolve to work this way, which is why it can lead to depression, insomnia, and worse. How to make it stop? Here are our some suggestions, courtesy of Huffpost:
Set aside a realistic block of time to spend scrolling.
Examine thoughts that come up.
Try a 10-second meditation.
Carve out time for creative activities.
Get outside during the day for a few minutes.
Bottom Line: Get off the internet and save your sanity. Right after you finish reading this newsletter :)
[ MEDITATION & RESEARCH ]
Four Meditation Health Claims Backed by Science
The idea of mindfulness meditation evokes a healthy vibe, but does the science back that up?Medical News Today put together a list of meditation health claims and the research supporting them. The findings are overwhelmingly positive.
Resilience to Stress? Science gives a resounding YES on this one. Multiple studies have shown that our bodies react to regular meditation by reducing stress-producing molecules.
Reduce Pain and Distress? Again, chalk up a YES. Research shows that meditation can make nerve cells healthier and reduce pain severity.
Improve Self-Control? You betcha! Mindfulness has been shown in several studies to help minimize depression and anxiety. It can even help to manage addictive impulses.
Increase Brain Health? Hell yeah. Researchers have found that long term meditation practice can improve neuroplasticity and attention as we age.
Bottom line:Researchers could have just asked daily practitioners if meditation has positive health effects and saved a ton of time and money... but, we’re happy to have you on the team, Science!
[ MEDITATION & POP CULTURE ]
Does AOC have a daily meditation practice?
How do you find time for yourself when you are literally on call 24/7? Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest member of Congress and a rising progressive rock star, grapples with this conundrum daily. “I am an aspiring morning person,” she told Vanity Fair, admitting that she is naturally a night owl with a major case of FOMO. With a life split between her native New York City and her office in Washington, DC, setting and maintaining a regular schedule is tricky.
Regardless of whether she’s up all night or trying her best to get up early, AOC does set aside special time in the morning for mindful reflection. Her meditation: she slowly drinks lemon water and watches the clouds to calm her mind, even if just for a moment.
Bottom line: When faced with a stressful situation, just stay flexible and watch the clouds go by with AOC.
[ MEDITATION & TECHNOLOGY ]
9 Mental Health Resources to Recover from Election Stress
Election stress was a real thing. Now that election day has come and gone, the stress train shows no signs of slowing. SELF gathered 9 of the best stress-crushing resources to continue the uphill self-care battle.
Ten Percent Happier: Meditation app with a ton of “election sanity” offerings
Shine: BIPOC-owned app to help determine what self-care you need
Coa: a self-described “gym for mental health”
Real: a unique virtual mental health experience
Headspace: popular guided meditation app
Bottom line: Someday we’ll all look back on this and laugh, but until then, take care of yourself with these great coping tools.
[ MEDITATION & TECHNIQUE ]
What’s More Relaxing Than Skinny Dipping? Forest Bathing
Ever heard of 'forest bathing'? If not, it's making it's comeback! The popular practice of “forest bathing” has, sadly, nothing to do with woodland exhibitionism. Instead, the practice involves “slowing down” in the forest and using our senses to “soak in” the details around us. Shinrin-yoku, meaning literally “forest bath,” became popular in the 1980s, when Japan launched a national program to combat mental health issues. It has since spread far and wide.
Researchers have found that immersing yourself mindfully in nature can have spectacular effects on health, problem-solving, and creativity. Compared to time in a city, this forest therapy can lower blood pressure, boost immunity, improve mood, and reduce stress.
Bottom line: Getting out of the house and stopping to smell the roses will benefit your health and keep your mind off Presidential tweets for at least a little while.
[ REALITY CHECK ]
How to meditate without meditating?
What if you didn’t really have to meditate? Contrary to popular belief, we don’t think that a person needs to meditate in order to be considered “spiritual.” Your meditation can be embodied in the way you live your life. Little things, like doing what you said you were going to do, and volunteering, and following your heart, and by saying “Yes” to your inner guidance—those are all ways of being mindful. When you’re being present while you’re washing dishes or taking a shower, you’re essentially meditating. In other words, your day-to-day life can be treated as a spiritual practice. So if you can’t squeeze it in from time to time, just be more mindful while you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing.
Bottom line: Now for the caveat—a daily seated meditation practice makes it a lot easier to do all of those things.
[ READ. WATCH. LISTEN. ]
Read: Spiritually Sassy: 8 Radical Steps to Activate Your Innate Superpowers
Spiritually Sassy is a guide for a generation that celebrates diversity, authenticity, and freedom both in life and on the spiritual path. Queer, brown, flamboyant, immigrant spiritual seeker Sah D'Simone is a voice for anyone who wants to grow in creative ways. We love Sah and his book shows us how to be of service and make an impact on the world. Read more
Watch: Boys State
Boys State is a 2020 American documentary film, directed, and produced by Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine. It follows a thousand teenage boys attending a Boys/Girls State program in Texas, coming to build a representative government from the ground up—especially relevant nowadays. Watch now
Listen: Mustafa’s Meditative Songs of Mourning
In this Pitchfork interview, the Toronto poet-turned-singer-songwriter talks about getting to the heart of his community’s grief, rage, and love on his upcoming debut project, When Smoke Rises. Listen now
[ REPORT FROM THE FIELD ]
“My ability to move through stress has greatly improved.”
What have you gotten from meditation? I’ve gotten more ease in life. Stress happens, and my ability to move through stress has greatly improved.
Strangest meditation moment? It was feeling as though I was flying. My arms opened involuntarily and moved as though they were wings during this particular meditation. It was a trip.
Most unexpected benefit of meditation? It’s seeing how my practice has induced and ignited other people into their own practices. It’s like catching an energetic wave. I love it.
[ WHO TO FOLLOW ]
Two of our favorite Instagram accounts with a purpose
Liz is a Mexican American television personality and journalist. And her latest adventure is called WORDAFUL, which is a storytelling platform that enlightens us about the power of words. Follow her for lots of real talk and inspiration. See Liz’s profile
Lewis started the mega popular School of Greatness platform, which includes his inspiring podcast and a yearly inspirational summit. Lewis is a huge fan of meditation (he’s been trained as a teacher in India) and posts inspirational content each day. If you haven’t tuned in to his weekly podcast, you’re missing out on a lot of greatness. See Lewis’s profile
“The only journey is the one within.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
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