Lessons from the Thai Wild Boar Soccer Team

I hope you are having a good week! It is rainy here in NC and the temperatures have cooled down slightly; something we love here in this hot humid climate!

 

I am sure you heard the news when the Thailand Soccer Team was stuck in the cave and the heroic efforts that saved them! What a remarkable rescue and each Navy Seal, and participate, deserves a standing ovation for their amazing work. 

 

I do want to take a moment to express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the Seal who died during the rescue efforts. The sacrifice will be remembered.

 

Another hero is the coach, 25-year-old Ekapol Chantawong, who managed to keep the boys safe, calm and with hope until the rescue. They were trapped in the cave for 9 days before they were found, and because of the difficult rescue they were trapped for 5 more days. 

 

How did he keep them calm? 

 

Ekapol was a novice Buddhist Monk and he used the practice of meditation and mindfulness to keep the boys breathing and emotionally balanced. Ekapol may have saved their lives with this heroic effort.

 

During the time they were stranded, he taught them the basic principles of meditation, to find their inner stillness and to keep themselves calm. (Taylor, 2018)

 

Mindfulness and Meditation are becoming more common than they once were. You can get apps on your phone that guide you through learning how to meditate, there are hundreds of videos on meditation, etc. 

 

So, what are the benefits of starting a meditation practice?

 

“A growing body of research suggests that even a few minutes of daily mindfulness is linked to lower stress levels, more positivity, enhanced creativity and even better focus.” (Brown, 2018)

 

Research from the Mindful Awareness Research Center reveals that Mindfulness allows us the space to consider options before reacting. The Pause.

 

Dan Siegel, PhD researcher, goes on to suggest that mindfulness is waking up from a life that is on automatic. (Sever, 2018)

 

So consider, if you find yourself standing in the kitchen, wondering what you want to eat, and you are not hungry, people who practice mindfulness have a greater ability to examine the situation, look at choices, and make a better choice. Of course all this happens in a split second!

 

David Rock, in his book “Your Brain at Work,” uses the metaphor, a Director, to describe the ability to “stand outside of your experience” and goes on to explain that this allows you to watch the events of your life and make decisions about how the brain will Respond. 

 

Not only will mindfulness help you make better choices, but research suggests that being aware of your “internal body signals”, as in mindfulness, can speed healing from surgery, or injury. (Rock, 2010)

 

Researcher Kirk Brown, at Virginia Commonwealth University, noticed that some patients would heal faster than others and it seemed for no other reason but they were more in tune with their body. He went on to develop the Mindful Awareness Attention Scale (MAAS) to measure an person’s mindfulness. As he used the scale over the years he began to think his tool was flawed;

 

it turned out that people who were “mindful” were not only healthier, but had better mental health, were happier and had better relationships! This was an amazing finding! (Rock, 2010)

 

If this is true, then 5 – 10 minutes daily can not only improve your health, but help you manage anxiety, depression, your weight, and maybe even create a happier work and home life! Now, how does that sound!

 

I heard some of you groaning…..I know the M word brings up pictures of Monks sitting in a temple chanting Olmmmmm….now while it may make good background music, it is not something most of you have aspired to! 

 

I remember one time I decided I would teach my daughters to meditate, I had no idea what I was doing and by the time we finished, well let's just say, I was so stressed that I never attempted it again!

 

One of my favorite meditation instructors, Emily Fletcher, blends the meditation of the East to our life here in the West. Say what?.......

 

She integrates visualization with meditation to make meditation easier, more fun and less stressful.  

 

I remember my vision of meditation came from the movie, City Slickers, when Bonnie meditated during the stampede, and when I tried to meditate I could not stop thinking, much less meditate through something as loud as a stampede!

 

I later realized it was foolish to think I could stop my mind from thinking….I mean, if I stopped thinking that could be bad…..know what I mean? 

 

The idea is to not quiet your mind, but rather to observe your thoughts, breath, sound, touch, and to ignite the senses. This is that “standing outside of our experience,” or observing our thoughts. 

 

Another person who has used meditation, and visualization, for to change health is Jon Gabriel, with The Gabriel Method. Using this technique he was able to lose more than 300 pounds and keep it off. Today he works to promote this technique to help people who struggle with weight meet their weight loss goals. 

 

I also use guided meditation, gratitude, and emotional eating tools to help you become aware of your thoughts, internal signals, and the world around you. This technique has enabled a “shift” for my clients and they not only lose weight, but become more confident, relaxed, sleep more soundly, and have better relationships.  

 

I like to say I “heal their relationship with food, and weight loss become a side effect, along with better relationships all the way around!”

 

Ekapol may have saved the lives of the Wild Boar Soccer Team, but he also made the world aware of the power of meditation and mindfulness. Thank you Ekapol for you wisdom and bravery. 

 

 

 

Want to learn how you can develop a fun, healing meditation practice? Contact me and we can discuss if meditation can help you manage your health. 

 

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Health and Olmmmmm,

 

Miriam

 

References:

 

Brodwin, Erin. “The Thai Soccer Coach Taught His Team to Meditate in the Flooded Cave - and It May Have Played a Powerful Role in Keeping Them Alive.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 10 July 2018, www.businessinsider.com/thai-cave-rescue-meditation-helped-keep-boys-alive-2018-7.

 

Rock, David. Your Brain at Work Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus and Working Smarter All Day Long. Harper Collins, 2010.

 

Taylor, Kristin Clark. “Perspective | Thai Soccer Coach Meditated with Boys to Calm Them in the Cave. We Can All Learn from Them.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 11 July 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2018/07/11/thai-soccer-coach-meditated-with-boys-to-calm-them-in-the-cave-we-can-all-learn-from-them/?utm_term=.bd74c2e05671.

 

Selva, J. (2018). What is Mindfulness? Explained. (20 Definitions That Clarify Mindfulness). [online] Positivepsychologyprogram.com. Available at: https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/what-is-mindfulness-definition/ [Accessed 24 Jul. 2018].

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