100 Breaths

Breath normally.
The other day, I was in the gym pumping iron, doing rep after rep of curls with the hope of trying to make my biceps as large as possible (likely a futile activity for me), when a thought occurred to me...  "Methinks," I thought, "A lot of people exercise day-in and day-out trying to be health-conscious."  My biceps were on fire, but I kept performing curls, 38... 39.... 40... 41... I also kept thinking: "But, I can't help but think about all of the minds out there that aren't getting some daily exercise.  What about our minds? We should be exercising our minds!"  A light-bulb appeared over my head, I dropped the dumbbells, and ran out of the gym.

With that thought, the Daily Mind Game was born.

Normal, physical exercise is great for our bodies and our brains.  However, normal exercise doesn't necessarily train our MIND: the software that runs on our brains.  The Daily Mind Game (DMG) will hope to fill that void by providing a small, daily mental work-out designed to test and improve some aspect of our thinking.  These fun challenges won't be traditional brain-teasers, instead they will be meta-cognitive exercises designed to target some aspect of our higher-order thinking with the goal of improving that type of thought.  Meditation-like challenges will be a frequent component of the DMG, but the sessions will include any task that develops our meta-cognitive-ninja-skillz: self-control, relaxation, empathy, motivation, etc.  The DMG will always be science-inspired and I will provide some "additional reading" if you are interested in learning more about why the DMG of the day is useful.  Should be fun!

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I introduce the first Daily Mind Game...

100 Breaths:

The goal: count 100 breaths.

Info:  Find a quiet spot where you will have some privacy.  Just breath normally and easily.  Don't try to slow down or speed up your breathing (although, I found myself speeding up my breathing out of impatience!).  Instead, just try to observe your breathing, don't change it.  At the conclusion of each breath, increase your count.  Don't lose count, or you must start over!

Estimated time: 5-10minutes

Purpose: Build self-control, patience and control over our attention.

More and more, meditation is being recognized as a form of mental training that can lead to improvement in attention.  In this DMG, we work on focus, patience, and self-control (i.e. not giving in to boredom!).  If you want to learn more about the brain-benefits of meditation, check out these links:


On a side note, my wife pointed out that in pilates, a session will often open with a count to 100 (called "the hundred" actually) while holding your legs in the air and pumping your arms up and down. SOOO, if someone can do that, we should be able to sit in a chair and count to 100, albeit slowly.

Links: Return to the Week of Empathy - Move to the next Daily Mind Game

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