Mark Hyman, MD is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.
Below, Dr. Hyman shares his experience learning to meditate from Ziva’s founder Emily Fletcher, how it’s changed his life and why he recommends meditation to his patients. This video and article originally appeared on his blog.
Talking the Talk
Full confession: Once upon a time, I meditated consistently. As you probably know too well, real life can interfere with creating time for oneself or even the inclination to meditate, and for me, eventually, it fell by the wayside.
Just thinking about the zillion tasks I juggle every day makes my head spin: Managing a Functional Medicine clinic at a major hospital, seeing patients at my own practice, writing books, and attending to tons of other work obligations. I balance these duties with regular exercise, eating healthy and oh yeah, sleeping 8 to 10 hours every night.
So OK, no jury in the world would convict me when I say I don’t have time to meditate, right?
At the same time, I’ve been “prescribing” meditation to patients and readers for decades, so I always felt slightly uncomfortable recommending it when I didn’t practice meditation myself.
Among its many benefits, meditation reduces stress. Think of your brain as a computer, simultaneously keeping many windows and programs going. Meditation helps you close out the unnecessary windows so you can focus on what’s essential. When you do less with more, you enjoy life more and perform at a higher level.
Stress relief might be the most-studied1 benefit, but meditation also has been found to help reduce drug addiction2, relieve anxiety3 and boost immunity4.
I could go on, but as my new friend Emily Fletcher recently reminded me, you don’t need studies to substantiate meditation’s many benefits.
Walking the Walk
An incredible Broadway performer in her past life, Emily and I met recently while lecturing at a conference in Greece. She’s a bona fide rock star, teaching meditation to some of the world’s top players, like those working at Google and the Harvard Business School.
Emily immediately called me out on the “I don’t have time to meditate excuse”. In saying that, she said, I was only fooling myself. Even though I felt pretty good, she mentioned that meditation could help me feel better, be better and become happier.
When I returned from Greece, I told Emily I wanted to reactivate my meditation practice. I realized this would require time and commitment, but I remained determined and stuck with it.
Over the past several months, as Emily helped rekindle my meditation fire and gave me a mantra to work with, I experienced a profound, “supercharged” difference. I felt happier, calmer, less anxious and more energized or filled with energy. Before, I felt tired at the end of a long day; now I find I am alert and far more productive.
Experiencing those and other benefits makes prioritizing meditation much easier. We all say “I’m too busy to meditate.” Listen, if Oprah has time to meditate – if I have time to meditate – so do you.
The Simple Way to Learn to Meditate
At the same time, I understand how finding a compatible practice that works with your crazy schedule can be a challenge. After all, there are lots of meditation methods out there, and you could spend years selecting among them.
Emily and I want to simplify that journey for you, which is why she created zivaONLINE, online meditation training. In just fifteen days, you’ll graduate with a meditation, mindfulness and manifestation practice you can do anywhere, anytime, to boost productivity, sleep more soundly and even have great sex.
zivaONLINE helps you access a verifiable state of consciousness different from waking, sleeping or dreaming. In this state, you’re actually getting rest that’s two to five times deeper than sleep.
Over time, zivaONLINE makes life brighter and clearer. You start functioning better and enjoying more because your body doesn’t have to work so hard to handle the stress. Once you graduate, you will have a practice with a mantra that you can employ every day, culminating in a 15-minute daily practice.
One cool thing that comes with this program: is specific guided visualizations to upgrade sleep, enhance mental clarity, and better manage stress. This can be an incredibly helpful technique for those who travel a lot. As someone who’s often on the road and sometimes struggling with things like getting enough sleep or a foggy brain, these visualizations are amazing.
Ultimately, meditation is like any other skill. You’ve got to make the time and effort, but it gets easier once you make it a daily habit and begin seeing the benefits. Trust me: It changes everything. Recently I meditated on the plane and arrived in the most alert, focused and calm state I’ve felt in ages. Who needs Starbucks when you feel this good?!
I hope I’ve convinced you to learn more about this revolutionary meditation method. You’ll find a beautiful online global community in which people get support and encouragement.
You’ll quickly discover, as I recently did, that once you calm your mind, it is so much easier to make smarter choices about food and exercise. Your relationships get better. Literally everything in your life improves.
If you’re curious about learning more check out her brand new program
Emily changed my life, and her work can also change yours. I hope you’ll join me in incorporating this amazing, simple-to-apply meditation into your life. Trust me when I say it is an absolute game changer!
If you’ve ever done meditation, did you find it challenging to maintain it amidst everyday life’s constant demands? What benefits did you ultimately see from doing it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Wishing you health & happiness,
Mark Hyman, M.D.
1 JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Mar;174(3):357-68. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018.
2 J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Aug;16(8):875-82. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0443.
3 J Clin Psychiatry. 2013 Aug;74(8):786-92. doi: 10.4088/JCP.12m08083.
4 Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2016 Jun;1373(1):13-24. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12998. Epub 2016 Jan 21.