In the first half, co-anchor of ABC News Nightline and the weekend edition of Good Morning America, Dan Harris talked about his research into meditation, and how it helped him to combat panic attacks and stress. About a decade ago, he had some life problems that culminated in an on-air panic attack, which eventually led him to look into meditation, even though he was skeptical about its benefits. He discovered that scientific studies have found that meditation can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and reduce the release of the stress hormone cortisol; and neuroscience has shown that the practice can literally rewire the brain, increasing areas associated with well being, self-awareness, and compassion, while shrinking the area linked to stress.
A person can reap some benefits of meditation with a mere five-minute daily practice, said Harris. He outlined a three step process-- sit down with your back straight and your eyes closed; try to feel your breath going in and coming out; then observe the pattern of your thoughts. This observation of thoughts can help break a lifelong pattern of projections into the future, and ruminations about the past. With a meditation practice, "it's not like nothing bothers you anymore, but you get better at seeing when...your mind is running off and giving you bad suggestions," he detailed.
In the latter half, keynote speaker, author and expert in neuroperformance, Scott Schmaren, discussed his journey to transform his life, maintain a weight loss of over 170 pounds, and conquer life's challenges. He cited Napoleon Hill's study of successful people-- each had a chief aim or a major purpose in life, and before they went to bed each night they would focus all their attention on what their vision was, and what they wanted to accomplish. "I think success is a mindset," and people in all different walks of life and occupations can achieve it, Schmaren commented.
Writing out affirmations about your values, beliefs, and goals on a daily basis, stating them in the present tense, starting with "I am..." can help focus your intentions and bring them into reality, he suggested. Your mental focus whether negative or positive affects your awareness and interpretation of the world, he explained. "When you have a purpose, your life has meaning, and when your life has meaning, you do things to make that purpose a reality," he added.