Find out how you can develop “mental armor” against anxiety, distraction and bias with 12-minute mindfulness skills.
…you’re going to find out why you’re missing 50% of your life to fractured attention and distraction and what it’s doing to your brain.
Podcast guest Amishi Jha, Ph.D., a neuroscientist and professor of psychology at the University of Miami, researches how people pay attention. She co-founded the Contemplative Neuroscience for the Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative at the University of Miami and serves as its director. For more than 25 years, she’s researched the science of attention through intensive work with the U.S. Military, first responders, medical professionals, business leaders, and elite sports teams.
She’s found that attention Is both your superpower and your kryptonite.
As a superpower, attention allows you to time-travel in your mind (future and past), highlights what’s important, helps you problem solve, and shuts out distractions, she explains in her book, “Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own your Attention, Invest 12 Minutes a Day.”
When attention is compromised, it’s your kryptonite because it impacts your cognitive function, social engagement, and emotional balance, she points out. The three main forces that degrade attention include, 1) the amount of stress you’re under (and how you’re managing it); 2) being in a crappy mood; and 3) threats real or imagined.
And when your attention gets fractured, you often default to tactics that fail to pull it back together. Amishi’s got great insights in her book that allow you to understand why this happening. Knowing what’s going on makes it easier to find your focus. For example:
It’s absolutely possible to change your brain to become more attentive, present and productive through mindful techniques and daily focusing practices.
Amishi’s research shows that mindfulness gives you a sense of control over your mind and allows you to stop negative thinking before it hijacks your brain and body.
The type of mindfulness practice you choose isn’t as important as how consistently you actually do it. The minimum effective dose equals 12 minutes a day, five days a week.
“The intention for these practices is not to achieve a special state,” Amishi says. “That is not what we’re intending to do. So, if you go in thinking, “Okay, I’m going to be blissed out in five minutes if I start practicing,” or, “I’m going to feel better,” or, “I’m going to be X, Y, or Z…” Going in with that expectation may actually not allow the emergence of what we’re really trying to cultivate, which is more awareness of what’s going on in this moment.”
Listen on to a conversation that gives you practical tips on how to re-capture your attention, train your brain and perform at your peak.
More about Amishi Jha, Ph.D.: Amishi earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Psychology then went on to earn a Ph.D. in Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience) from the University of California–Davis. She completed post-doctoral training at the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center at Duke University in functional neuroimaging. She’s earned grants from the U.S. Department of Defense and private foundations. She leads research on the neural bases of attention and the effects of mindfulness-based training programs on cognition, emotion, resilience, and performance. Her work has been featured at NATO, the World Economic Forum, and the U.S. Pentagon.
Enjoy the show!
LISTEN: “Follow” or “subscribe” to The Human Upgrade™ with Dave Asprey on your favorite podcast platform.
REVIEW: Go to Apple Podcasts at daveasprey.com/apple and leave a (hopefully) 5-star rating and a creative review.
FEEDBACK: Got a comment, idea or question for the podcast? Submit via this form!
JOIN: Learn directly from Dave Asprey alongside others in a membership group: ourupgradecollective.com.