How to Bring Happiness and Focus to Your Life in 15 Minutes a Day – Without Diet, Work or Exercise!

There’s plenty of info in my blog about making long-term, fundamental changes that will undoubtedly improve your health and general quality of life. But most of these transformations take a moderate amount of planning and willpower to execute. The following recommendation does not. Ready? Here it is:


I was hesitant to put the word “meditation” in the title because it’s so quickly dismissed as feel-good, overly-spiritual pseudoscience.

woman meditating

I don’t use meditation as a path toward “enlightenment,” nor do I use it as a vehicle under the umbrella of any religion. I use it as a practical tool that helps me – a normal guy with a job, a family, responsibilities, and not enough time – lead a happier, more productive life.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce stress by putting the brakes on the production of cortisol, a hormone that gets secreted whenever we feel anxiety, panic, fear or exhilaration. Cortisol is designed to be released in bursts when we need instant energy now – like when a tiger jumps out from behind a bush, or when a dump truck jumps out into the intersection.

However, our modern lifestyle and all its stress sources (kids, finances, traffic, relationships, work, etc.) tend to give us a low, constant drip of cortisol instead of just releasing little spurts every once in a while when needed. This impairs everything from our decision-making skills to our metabolism to our sleep cycles.

Meditation gives us the power to neutralize this drip and feel focused and empowered in our lives.

If you’re new to meditation, I urge you to just try it once. If you absolutely hate it, at least you can say you’ve tried. But stick with it, and you’ll be surprised at the clarity, direction and mental strength that meditation provides.

Here’s how to do it (it’s easier than you think, promise):

  1. Sit in a quiet place where you feel comfortable, either sitting or reclining.
  2. Set a countdown timer on your watch or phone for 15 to 20 minutes. (I love the free app Insight Timer, but any countdown clock will do. I like to have an audio alarm at the end of my session so I’m not wondering in the back of my head how long I have left.)
  3. After setting your timer, just try to relax and be still. In the first minute or so, you’ll probably have to swallow saliva or scratch an itch as you habituate to meditating. That’s fine. Adjust to your surroundings and your body. You can either close your eyes or leave them open – your call.
  4. Here’s the hardest part, and the bulk of the meditation. Clear your mind. Try to be thoughtless and idle. Note how I said try. It’s hard not to think at all, and takes some training. Some people get it right away; other need a little more practice.
  5. Ding! Time’s up, you’re done!

Some people recommend concentrating on your own breathing – deeply in and smoothly out – to get in the meditative groove. Others like to recite a chant called a mantra. “Om” is a popular one, said to be the “sound of the universe” in Hinduism, though I like to just let my mind sit idly and drift.

Invariably, thoughts will pop into your head, and you’ll automatically chastise yourself for thinking. And then you’ll realize that your chastising is a thought too, and you’ll get stuck in this negative loop of non-meditative self-punishment, and dishearteningly think, “I just can’t get it!”

Here’s how to get around this problem.

Rather than concentrating on not thinking, notice a thought as it becomes conscious and let it drift away on its own. Imagine the thought as a leaf in a river as you sit on the bank. The leaf floats in, comes close, then floats away. You don’t have to force it.

I started to notice the positive mental effects of meditation after just one week. I prefer to meditate in the morning, as I feel it helps get my entire day started on the right foot, but I know people who like afternoon or evening sessions better.

Though I’ve been meditating on and off for almost a year, but I’ve only consistently dedicated myself to doing it every day within the past few months. And I’ve found that the more regularly you can stick to a daily schedule, the larger the rewards. It can seem tough to carve 15 or 20 minutes out of a hectic day, but the way I see it, the crazier your life is, the more meditation will serve you.

After roughly a month of solid meditation, I started to have a much tighter, cooler control over my emotions and motivations. Little things that would usually upset me, like getting cut off in traffic, didn’t faze me. I felt more grounded and centered.

Perhaps the best analogy I can give is that before meditation, it felt like my brain was an Internet browser with too many tabs open. There was simply too many thoughts, worries and pressures stirring around up there for me to have the kind of direct, meaningful focus I desired.

In hindsight, it’s amazing what sitting still and doing literally nothing can do for your psyche and sense of wellbeing. Meditation’s power has been praised for centuries, and now given the scientifically validated support that it relieves stress, there’s really no reason not to give it a whirl.

Have any questions about meditation? Comments? Lemme know below!

Dr. Dave

How to Meditate

Week 16 of My Vegan Journey 

Hey I just realized I have made it to four months of being vegan. It has actually been very easy. I don’t feel as though I am missing anything at all. The only thing I am not eating is anything that comes from an animal and since I have removed all of that from my diet, I am actually feeling better than I have in my entire life.

Let me please share something that I have been also doing pretty much every day since I went vegan.

It’s called meditation.


Now don’t let that word scare you. Meditation is simply a way to calm or relax the brain.  We can call it being mindful or being aware.

This is not some mystical weird whacko stuff. There are incredible proven health benefits of meditation.

I will teach you how to meditate in a minute, but first, here are 77 benefits of meditation. I am sure there are many more!


Normalizes to your ideal weight
Harmonizes our endocrine system
Relaxes our nervous system
Produces lasting beneficial changes in brain electrical activity
Helps with infertility
Builds self-confidence.
Increases serotonin level, influences mood and behavior.
Resolve phobias & fears
Helps control own thoughts
Helps with focus & concentration
Increases creativity
Improved learning ability and memory.
Increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation.
Increased emotional stability.
Improved relationships
Mind ages at slower rate
Easier to remove bad habits
Develops intuition
Increased Productivity
Improved relations at home & at work
Able to see the larger picture in a given situation
Helps ignore petty issues
Increased ability to solve complex problems
Purifies your character
Develops will power
React more quickly and more effectively to a stressful event.
Increases one’s perceptual ability and motor performance
Increased job satisfaction
Increase in the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones
Decrease in potential mental illness
Better, more sociable behavior
Less aggressiveness
Helps in quitting smoking, alcohol addiction
Reduces need and dependency on drugs, pills & pharmaceuticals
Need less sleep to recover from sleep deprivation
Require less time to fall asleep, helps cure insomnia
Increases sense of responsibility
Reduces road rage
Decrease in restless thinking
Decreased tendency to worry
Increases listening skills and empathy
Helps make more accurate judgments
Greater tolerance
Gives composure to act in considered & constructive ways
Grows a stable, more balanced personality
Helps keep things in perspective
Provides peace of mind, happiness
Helps you discover your purpose
Increased compassion
Growing wisdom
Deeper understanding of yourself and others
Brings body, mind, spirit in harmony
Deeper Level of spiritual relaxation
Increased acceptance of oneself
Helps learn forgiveness
Changes attitude toward life
Helps living in the present moment
Increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.
Leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation.
Good for people with high blood pressure.
Reduces anxiety attacks.
Decreases muscle tension
Helps prevent chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis etc.
Reduces pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms.
Helps in post-operative healing.
Enhances the immune system.
Enhances energy, strength and vigor.
Helps with weight loss
Healthier skin
Drop in cholesterol levels, lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing.
Decreases the aging process.
Prevents, slows or controls pain of chronic diseases
Significant relief from asthma
Increased energy

How do you start?

Meditation is not difficult. If you can make time for ten minutes a day, that will do it. I meditate in the morning and evening. I would recommend that you begin with once a day. Morning is probably best because it’s a great way to start your day.

How to meditate:

Sit down in a comfortable chair, on a bed, on the floor, on a yoga mat… anywhere that is comfortable is fine. The room should be quiet. Soft relaxing music is ok.

Set a timer for ten minutes. I use an app called “Insight Timer” on the iPhone. I love it. I am sure there are plenty apps or just the built in timer on your phone.

Sit with your back straight. Do not lean over or curve your spine. Your shoulders should be back and not slumped forward. Place your hands comfortably on your thighs or on your knees. Relax your fingers. Do not make a fist.

Close your eyes and just breathe in and out very slowly through your nose. Try your best to be aware of your breath. That’s all. If random thoughts come into your mind (they will), just release them.

If you need help being aware of your breathe, you may use a mantra such as “sat” on the inhale and “nam” on the exhale. Or even easier, you can simply say “in” and “out.” Mantras should be said to yourself and not spoken out loud.

When the timer goes off, you are done. Don’t jump right up! Ease yourself gently out of your meditation pose!

Try this every day and I am sure you will begin to see many benefits over time. Do NOT expect immediate results. Meditation is not magic. It is something to be practiced every day.


Dr. Dave

An Incredibly Meditative Video and a Glimpse of Heaven!

I recently made a video that has received some incredible response. It is actually a ski video, but let me tell you… even if you have never skied in your life or have absolutely no interest in skiing, I urge you to watch it all the way through.


Because it is extremely relaxing, meditative, inspiring, and most importantly I think you will be able to see a glimpse of heaven!

Enjoy this and tell me what you think!


P.S. Be sure to check out my “Healthy at 102” page on Facebook!