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A quick and free attentional fitness test

To assess cardiorespiratory fitness, doctors usually turn to height, weight, and blood chemistry instead of scheduling a more reliable but inconvenient and expensive stress test. It turns out there might be a quick and free way to accurately evaluate your heart health.

A ten-year study of over a thousand firefighters showed that the more pushups you can do, the less likely you are to have a heart attack or stroke

It’s no surprise that we need to challenge our hearts and lungs in order to assess them. It turns out, however, that the challenge doesn’t need to be elaborate. In just a handful of minutes, you can observe your body’s critical capacities in action.

It’s the same with attentional fitness. If you want to predict how you'll respond to life’s inevitable challenges, there's a quick way to observe your mindful awareness and self-regulation skills at any time. 

Find something that pushes your buttons and pause to feel your emotional reactions in real-time.

The longer you’re able to inhabit discomfort, the greater your ability to respond, adapt, and bounce back from threats and challenges. 

It doesn’t take very many pushups to clarify our physical limitations. Likewise, it doesn’t take a dramatic trigger to recognize our ability to self-regulate. Both types of tests are uncomfortable, even when we're strong and resilient. 

Being more clear about our base level abilities, though, can help us come up with realistic ways gradually elevate them. 

In order to develop physical capacities, we need to exercise our bodies regularly. To develop resilience, we can practice pausing to notice sensory experiences—including the unpleasant ones—more often than never.  

Investigating sensations when you’re uncomfortable doesn’t magically make them comfortable, but it can help you recognize them sooner, fight with them less, and avoid making painful matters worse. 

You can turn some of the circumstances that make good stories about your difficult life into exercises that strengthen your ability to inhabit your whole life more fully.

Check out my recent guest contribution to the 10% Happier 
Meditation Weekly
newsletter: "Embracing the Suck"

Recent attention grabbers

"Human beings are special. We can embrace ambiguity, we understand paradox, we're conscious, we're weird, we're quirky. There should be a place for humans in the digital future."

Douglas Rushkoff, from "How to be 'Team Human' in the Digital Future" 

See also: Rushkoff, D. (2019). Team human. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Workshops and practice sessions

Exercise Internal Friendliness
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM, Amelita Mirolo Barn

Practice an attention exercise that helps you embrace vulnerability and erode the walls we all build to protect ourselves. Learn tips for navigating the common challenges of cultivating emotional warmth. Register online or call (614) 583-5331.

Awareness of Awareness
Friday, Mar. 22, 2019, 10 AM – 12:00 PM, Mount Carmel St. Ann's

The scope of mindfulness goes way beyond breath awareness and relaxation. This workshop explores an approach that contrasts and complements our efforts to develop concentration. In fact, it's an invitation to allow your attention to wander without fighting it. To register for this free workshop call (614) 234-5433.

Mindfulness Practice Group
Thursday, Feb. 28,  2019, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Mount Carmel Healthy Living Center 

This free practice session sponsored by Mount Carmel Health is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness with others, compare notes, and ask questions.

Unplug and Recharge: A Day of Mindfulness
Saturday, Mar. 30, 2019, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM, OSU Wetlands Research Park

This free day of mindfulness for cancer survivors and their caregivers is sponsored by JamesCare for Life.  We can all get better at recognizing windows of opportunity for savoring restfulness even when it seems to be in short supply. Learn simple, mindful eating strategies and gentle stretches to support an ongoing exploration of finding rest in the midst of unrest. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided. Register online

Mindfulness Strategies for Insomnia & Worry, Amelita Mirolo Barn
Wednesday, May 22, 2019, 6:30 PM  – 8:30 PM

Explore how your habits for relating to emotional discomfort and uncertainty reinforce worry and insomnia. Learn Jedi moves for calling off internal battles and setting the stage for getting more rest. Register online or call (614) 583-5331.

Ongoing Practice Sessions

If you live in the Columbus, Ohio area, I hope you'll check out the free practice sessions I host in my home. They're usually the first three Wednesdays of every month, but please check my website for exceptions.

Upcoming practice session dates: 

  • March 6, 13, 20
  • April 3, 10, 17
  • May 1, 8, 15

Sessions include guided exercises, practice in silence, and discussion. All experience levels and meditation strategies are welcome.

Email or call (614) 284-9618 for address and parking details. 

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Take care,


Copyright © 2019 Attentional Fitness Training, All rights reserved.

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