5 Tips for a Happy & Healthy Mind

Related imageWhat kind of information do you like to fill your mind with? Do you find yourself constantly reading cheap or free newspapers only to find there is a terrible story in it that upsets you? Or perhaps you get caught up in other people’s opinions and conversations and find yourself agreeing to things that you actually don’t agree with!

Did you know that you are heavily influenced by the people you surround yourself with on a regular basis? In fact, you pick up behaviors, mannerisms, opinions, beliefs and oodles of other information that your brain unconsciously absorbs, resulting in similar behaviors.
If you want to make a change, grow or break a habit or routine, look to your environment – the people around you, where you work, what you read and how you speak to yourself. All have significant influences on what you are internalizing, and have an impact on how you live your life.

Here are five tips on keeping a healthy mind to help you on your way!
 
1. Meditation/Mindfulness
We read about the profound effects that meditation has on our mind, but how many of you actually do it on a daily basis? When you meditate, you are giving your mind time to clear, reformat itself for all the new information that is going to be taken in the following day, or day ahead.
2. Media
As important as it is to be aware of what is going on in the world, the media is very centered on pain and negativity. This fuels pessimism, and ideally it’s best to avoid subjecting your mind to it regularly. There is no point in being stressed or worried about something you have limited control over; it’s a pointless waste of energy. Also, beware of brainwashing; all is not necessarily as it seems, and the media are great at exaggerating and bending the truth. If you want to make a difference to the world in some way, you could seek out some voluntary work or donate to a charity.
3. Surround yourself with people who give you opportunities to grow.
Friendships and relationships are based on love, and love is energy. When the frequencies change, you will find that particular friends and relationships may drop away, or you don’t feel you have anything in common with them any longer. If you continue to hold on to relationships which no longer serve you, they sap your energy resources or distract you from focussing your mind. Don’t be afraid to let go if you feel the time is right; you will find that new opportunities will arise as a result. You never know who that next amazing person/teacher/friend/lover/mentor is going to be!
4.  Eat healthy
Of course, eating healthy and staying hydrated are really important for brain function.
The experience is different for everyone, which is why only you know what your body needs and would benefit from eliminating. You can experiment by cutting out a certain food or drink for as short as a week if you suspect that your body is rejecting it. The turnaround time is normally five days to completely flush it out of your system.
5.  Spend your time doing something you LOVE!
The most important thing of all is to ensure you spend time doing a hobby or activity you love. When we participate in doing something we love, we radiate so many positive emotions, all magnetizing out into the universe to bring you back more joy and happiness. So many people get stuck in a rut and lose focus on what is important and brings them pleasure. Find something you love to do, and do it daily. Make time for it, and even better, make a career out of it! Life is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. Of course, you can learn through pain, but why learn through pain when you can learn and grow through pleasure?

I HOPE YOU ENJOYED READING.  CHECK OUT MY OTHER POSTS TOO… AND PLEASE LIKE, FOLLOW AND COMMENT DOWN BELOW.”  🙂  

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Read This Before You Give Up On Your Meditation Practice

There’s a lot of information out there about meditation, and it can get very overwhelming and confusing, to say the least. Along the way, a lot of mistakes happen, even if you’re an advanced meditator. If you ask me, knowing which mistakes are the most common can take your practice to the next level and stop you from giving up on your practice.

Here are the five most common mistakes people make while meditating:

1. Not truly understanding what meditation is.

You know it’s good for you, you understand that it raises your vibration and can help you to achieve a higher consciousness level. But there’s more to it than that. When you’re meditating, you are achieving spiritual awareness on a conscious level.

This means you are aware of your spiritual body and your physical body at the same time while you’re conscious (and by that I mean not sleeping). It’s very important to understand this because you’re accessing your spiritual tools when you’re in a meditative state. You quiet the mind when you achieve a relaxed state. This allows you to become more aware of your spiritual body.

While in a meditative state, you can access both bodies and the information they hold at the same time. When you consciously become aware of your spiritual and physical body at the same time, you have a lot more access to the spiritual tools you were born with. And these tools can be very helpful in everyday life.

2. Not knowing what it means to “achieve” a meditative state.

A common misconception is someone thinking that in order to achieve a meditative state you need to be in a quiet room, sitting in a certain position, controlling your breathing. Here’s the thing: Most people are meditating every day without even knowing they’re doing it.

A meditative state can happen when you’re staring at the TV, when you’re staring into space, when you’re daydreaming or relaxing in a chair, and even right before you fall asleep. When your body is relaxing and your mind is quiet, you naturally achieve a meditative state.

But this can actually create a problem. You don’t realize that when you’re relaxing, falling asleep, or driving home from work—that’s when you’re most likely to stress out about your day. What is happening then is that most people naturally achieve a meditative state on their own. They are usually going over all of their problems, so it’s a Catch-22. And when you get into a meditative state, it’s the most powerful time to visualize.

3. Not understanding what being in a meditative state feels like.

You can feel dizzy. You can feel vibrating inside your body or even like you’re vibrating outside your body. You can feel like your arms are shaking or your legs or your body. You can feel like you’re being pulled upward.

You can also feel as if your energy spills into the entire room, as if your spiritual body protrudes from you, almost like you can touch the walls with your body. There are a lot of different variables on how meditation might feel to you. It’s not cut and dried. Some people think you’re supposed to feel a certain way or you didn’t achieve a meditative state. That’s simply not true. If you release all expectations, then you’re going to take a nap or go to sleep. Then you allow yourself to approach the edge of falling asleep, and your body will naturally go limp and relax. And your whole body will relax. It’s more natural.

4. Thinking there are strict rules for how meditation has to happen.

You must be sitting up. You must meditate at a certain time of day, each day, and be consistent. You must be sitting in a chair. You can’t eat red meat. You can’t fall asleep!

Actually, none of that matters. It’s interesting how many rules people want to meditate by, but you’re naturally a spiritual being. You access the spiritual part of yourself every single day. It’s not something you have to work to achieve, it just is. What you should work toward is being aware that it’s happening.

It’s happening whether or not you’ve ever consciously meditated a day in your life. It’s happening, and you are spiritually achieving.

5. Thinking one type of meditation is better than another.

Meditation is being spiritually aware on a conscious level, so it doesn’t matter how you achieve that awareness. If it’s guided meditation, then do guided meditation. If you don’t like guided meditation and you find your mind wandering, maybe try being more aware of your meditative state before you fall asleep.

Everyone meditates for different reasons. Everyone has a different agenda. Someone might want to have a deeper spiritual connection, someone else might want to connect with spirits, while others want to learn how to relax and lower their blood pressure.

There are no rules when it comes to achieving a meditative state. The key is awareness. Be more aware of when you achieve this state, more aware of how often throughout the day you achieve this state, and become more conscious of what you are doing and what you are thinking about while in a meditative state. Then utilize this time to the best of your ability.

Good luck!


I HOPE YOU ENJOYED READING.  CHECK OUT MY OTHER POSTS TOO… AND PLEASE LIKE, FOLLOW AND COMMENT DOWN BELOW.”  🙂  

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How to meditate in ten minutes

If you’ve decided to give meditation a shot, congratulations! You’ve also decided to improve your sleep, lower your blood pressure, increase your marital harmony and reduce your stress. In fact, setting aside a little time each day to get to know your mind is a great step on the path to an altogether healthier and happier life.

So let’s get started……

 

1. Get settled

Find a quiet space where you can relax.

Sit comfortably in a chair with your hands resting in your lap or on your knees. Keep your back straight – sitting at the front of the seat might help. Your neck should be relaxed, with your chin slightly tucked in.

Commit to spending the full time on the meditation, whether you find it difficult or easy.

2.  Breathe deeply

Defocus your eyes, gazing softly into the middle distance.

Take five deep, audible breaths: in through the nose and out through the mouth. On the last exhalation, let your eyes gently close.

3.  Check-in

Take a few moments to settle into your body. Gently observe your posture, and notice the sensations where your body touches the chair and your feet meet the ground. Feel the weight of your arms and hands resting on your legs.

Acknowledge your senses: notice anything you can smell, hear or taste, sensations of heat or cold.

4.  Scan your body

Slowly turn your mind inwards. Scan your body from head to toe, observing any tension or discomfort. Don’t try to change what you find, simply take note of it. Scan again, although this time notice which parts of the body feel relaxed. Take about 20 seconds for each scan.

Now turn your awareness to your thoughts. Notice any thoughts that arise without attempting to alter them. Gently note your underlying mood, just becoming aware of what’s there without judgment. If there’s nothing obvious, that’s fine, too.

5.  Observe the breath

Bring your attention to your breathing. Don’t make any effort to change it, just observe the rising and falling sensation that it creates in the body. Notice where these sensations occur – be it your belly, your chest, your shoulders, or anywhere else.

For a few moments, focus on the quality of each breath, noting whether it’s deep or shallow, long or short, fast or slow.

Begin silently counting the breaths: 1 as you inhale, 2 as you exhale, 3 on the next inhalation,and so on, up to 10. Then start again at 1.

While doing this, it’s completely normal for thoughts to bubble up. You don’t need to ‘do’ anything – just guide your attention back to the breath when you realize the mind has wandered off. If you can remember the number you’d counted up to and start again from there, or simply start from 1 again.

Don’t rush the breathing and just allow it to continue at its own pace and rhythm.

Continue until the timer sounds.

6. Allow your mind to be free

Spend 20-30 seconds just sitting. You might find yourself inundated with thoughts and plans, or feel calm and focused. Whatever happens is completely fine. Enjoy the rare chance to let your mind simply be.

7.  Prepare to finish

Become aware once more of the physical feelings: of the chair beneath you, where your feet make contact with the floor, your arms and your hands resting in your lap. Notice anything you can hear, smell, taste or feel.

When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes.

8.  Congratulate yourself

Well done! You just meditated for a full 10 minutes. Recognize how you feel—is it different from when you first sat down to meditate? Remind yourself of this feeling the next time you feel stressed or worried, and know that with just 10 minutes of meditation, you might feel a little bit better.


Mindful Living

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is defined as “moment to moment awareness…being fully awake…being here for the moments of our lives, without striving or judging”. By not striving, we remain present and stop searching for those things in life that have not yet happened. How often have you thought to yourself ‘If only I could go on a holiday, then I’d be happy’, only to go on a holiday, feel happy momentarily, then return to day to day life and the mood you were trying to avoid?   This is sometimes referred to as the ‘Happiness Trap’. Not judging refers to the process of allowing thoughts, whether positive or negative (but particularly negative) to pass into the mind and leave just as quickly. How often do you experience the thought ‘I’m not good enough’, and once you listen to and judge this thought, other similarly negative thoughts follow and you feel a downward spiral of mood?

Another way to view mindfulness is the act of seeing things more clearly, and paying attention moment to moment to moment. When you are mindful, you notice things as they happen, in real time. Doing so creates space and time to respond to these thoughts, feelings, people or situations, with a considered approached, rather than reacting with emotion.

Why mindfulness?

Scientific research is now able to explain some of the benefits of mindfulness. For example:

Physical health:

  • Dramatic reductions in pain levels and an enhanced ability to cope with pain that may not go away
  • Improve digestion and blood circulation
  • Decrease in auto immune responses
  • Improved energy levels

Mental health:

  • Dramatic decreases in anxiety, depression and hostility
  • More effective skills in managing stress
  • An increased ability to relax
  • Greater energy and enthusiasm for life
  • Improved self-esteem

 

Relationships:

  • Improved interpersonal relationships
  • Better ability to respond to situations and problem solve

 

Children:

  • Increased attention and concentration
  • Increased emotion regulation skills
  • Improved confidence
  • Decreased overall stress

 

How do I become ‘mindful’?

Mindfulness 2.jpeg

 

Mindfulness is a journey of self discovery – a process of becoming more and more mindful. It is not really about being mindless and becoming mindful suddenly (although that would be great)! The simple answer is: with practice! Like any new skill, the more you practice the better at it you become.

Mindfulness can be formal or informal in practice. Formal mindfulness practices require dedicated time and space to practice, such as a daily meditation ritual. Informal mindfulness practices can be done anytime, anywhere, without prior organisation. Here are some formal and information mindfulness strategies to help bring mindfulness into your life, TODAY:

 Informal Mindfulness

  • Mindful communication– When you are speaking or listening to someone else, become aware of the sound of your own voice, or the voice of the other person. Each time your mind wonders off into other thoughts, kindly guide your attention back to the conversation without criticizing yourself if you can.
  • Mindful walking– The next time you’re walking somewhere, notice the sense of touch between your feet and the ground. Observe how your weight seamlessly transfers from one foot to the other, almost effortlessly. Smell the roses. Be in the presence of the present moment.
  • Mindful exercise– The next time you’re in the gym, going for a jog, swimming or playing a sport, become mindful of what’s going on. Focus your mindful attention on your own body, thoughts, emotions or the environment around you. Become curious about your experience.
  • Mindful working– Whatever your work is, by paying more attention to what you’re doing, you’re bound to achieve better results. Try reducing the amount of effort you make to pay attention, and let the focus be effortless, relaxed and calm, as best you can.
  • Mindful holidays– It’s easy to spend half your holiday thinking about the next holiday rather than actually being there. Feel the gentle warmth of the sun, put the camera down every now and then and connect with the scenery with your own eyes. Breathe the fresh air. Be grateful for having the time and money to go on holiday.
  • Mindful waiting– You need to wait in a queue in shops, in your car, on public transport. Instead of becoming frustrated, practise some mindfulness of breath. When you’re in traffic, notice the colour of the sky or trees. When in a supermarket, feel the calming sensation of your own breath.
  • Mindful listening to music Get yourself comfortable, switch on your favourite piece of music and simply listen, moment by moment. As usual, after a while your mind will begin thinking of other things – just gently guide your mindful attention back to the sounds of the music. Be aware of both the sounds and the silence between the sounds. Notice how all sounds arise and fall back into the ever-present silence.
  • Mindful accepting of others– Allow other people to be human and make mistakes. Be prepared to accept apologies and forgive others for their indiscretions.
  • Live in the moment– Pause to sniff those roses. Take a break from speculating about the future and sifting over the past. Instead, put the full weight of your attention into the here and now.

Formal Mindfulness

  • Body Scan Meditation– This meditation involves spending about half an hour or so, becoming aware of each part of your body from the tips of your toes to the top of your head, in a mindful way. This meditation is usually practiced lying down.
  • Sitting Meditation– This involves being mindful of your chosen object of attention whilst in a sitting posture. You can be mindful of your breath, your body, sounds, thoughts, emotions, or practice choice-less awareness.
  • Mindful Movement– Taking time to do some yoga or stretching in mindful way is a powerful way of developing your capacity to be mindful, whilst at the same time becoming stronger and more flexible. Walking slowly and mindfully is also considered a wonderful way to practice formal mindfulness meditation. You don’t need to be physically still to practice meditation.
  • The Three Minute Mindful Space – Use this in moments of stress, when you are troubled in thoughts or feelings. You can use it to step out of automatic pilot; to reconnect with the present moment and your own inner wisdom.

          Follow these three steps:

MEDITATION FOR BEGINNERS – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR BUILDING A MEDITATION HABIT

Meditation for beginners - building a habit

 

Do you wish to start meditating? Perhaps you have tried to start, but simply can’t find the discipline or time to start. If that is your case, you came to the right place. This is a meditation guide for beginners, to help you build a meditation habit.

This post is for those that are not yet hyper-motivated or hyper-disciplined, but know that meditation is beneficial, and need a bit of help from habit building science to start meditating.

These principles are designed to make creating a meditation habit as easy as it can be. It will guide you to create triggers, setup small tweaks in your lifestyle (to facilitate practice and remove obstacles), and also increase your motivation. What you will learn in this post will also be useful for creating any other types of habit in your life.

Seven Steps to Starting a Meditation Habit

In building a new habit, motivation is not everything, but it is definitely important.

The best way to develop motivation is to first understand what are your true values – goals, desires, aspirations – in life, and then to link the meditation practice with your values. By “values” I don’t mean personal qualities like “honesty” and “integrity” – I mean those activities & goals that most consume your soul. It is what you are hungry for.

 STEP 1: Discover your true values

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Your values in life are those things that you love to think about, read about, talk about, and learn about. Go through the following questions to come up with your top 5 values.

  • How do you spend most of your time (apart from work)?
  • Where do you spend your money most?
  • What area in your life are you most reliable, disciplined and focused?
  • What do you most think about, desire, and dream about?
  • What do you love to learn, read about, and explore?
  • What inspires you the most?
  • Fast forward your life 10 years and look back. You are proud of achieving one thing. What is that?

Your values in life change by time, and so will your motivation to practice. So you might need to go through this process again after one or two years.

Action: List the five values that are most important in your life. 

STEP 2: Link meditation to your values

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Now that you went through this soul-searching exercise, you have a better idea of what is truly important for you. We naturally feel motivated and joyful to do the things that help us live/achieve our values. So you need to discover how meditation will serve each one of your values.

The task is to write 5 ways that meditation practice will help each one of your values. Lets go through four examples of values: “Career”, “Parenting”, “Artistic Expression”, and “Spirituality”.

Career

  • Meditation will give me the power of focus and concentration to improve my performance at work
  • Meditation will help me develop clarity in making the best decisions at every turn in my career
  • Meditation will give me the emotional balance to go through hard moments in my job (like redundancy, conflicts, etc.)
  • Meditation will improve my listening and relating skills, allowing me to be a better leader
  • Meditation will be a tool for replenishing my energies after a long day of work

Parenting

  • Meditation will prevent me from snapping at my children without any reason
  • Meditation will help me set a good example of character for my child
  • Meditation will help me understand and better connect with my child, being truly present for him/her
  • Meditation will keep me sane when everything goes wrong
  • Meditation will give me knowledge about my biases, preventing me to force my children to go through things that aren’t for them

Artistic Expression

  • Meditation will give me more clarity over my own emotions and how to express them
  • Meditation will improve my creativity
  • Meditation will allow me to discover my unique voice and deeper drives in my art
  • Meditation will allow me to connect to higher states of consciousness, and bring that energy into my art
  • Meditation will open my eyes to appreciate art in newer ways

Spirituality

  • Meditation will help me see reality as it is, in a deeper level
  • Meditation will help me have a better control over my emotions and instincts, to live a spiritual life
  • Meditation will strengthen my self-awareness, which is the base of all virtues and transformations
  • Meditation will allow me to be who I am, truly
  • Meditation will free me from bondage to negative mental states

That’s the idea. Give some time to develop this. It may seem like a needless exercise, but this is actually hard wiring, in your brain, the importance of meditation. It is making it an essential tool for powerful drives that are already there.

The clearer you know how meditation links to your values, the easier it is to stick to the habit and prevent self-sabotage for your reptilian brain.

On the other hand, do understand that these benefits come by time, little by little.

Once you are done, have a break and really let sink in the importance of meditation for you.

Action: For each of your top five values, make a list of five reasons stating why meditation will help you fulfill that value.

To create a habit that sticks, you need to make it really easy for you to follow. It needs to fit well in your daily routine.

STEP 3: Commit to a time, place, and practice

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The need to constantly make decisions about our daily activities and routine wears away our will-power. This makes creating any habit a forceful and frustrating endeavor. It doesn’t need to be like that.

So, for the habit to meditate, we want to have four very clear definitions. They are:

  • Time of practice
  • Length of the session
  • Place of practice
  • Tools to be used (cushion or chair, guided or unguided)

Practicing meditation at the same place and time, every day, makes it easier for it to become part of your life. After a couple of weeks, when its time to meditate, your body and mind “already know” and is naturally moving towards that activity. The familiar setting of time and place also helps your mind to be in the right state for the practice.

The most critical of these four elements is the time of practice. I strongly suggest the mornings, for several reasons, but whatever makes sense for you is ok.

Be sure that your commitment is precise and specific. For instance, “I’ll meditate for 15 minutes every morning at 6am, and on weekends at 8am” is pretty solid. There is no place for doubt here – you have made your decision once, and you don’t need to think about it anymore. You can set an alarm clock on your phone, and when it rings, you get the cushion and sit. Nothing to decide. Set and forget.

If, instead ,you make a vague commitment – such as “I’ll meditate a little bit every night after dinner” – you are setting yourself up for failure. After dinner the thought may come “should I meditate now or answer my emails first?” If you decide to answer your emails…. boom, you’re gone! After you are done with this task you may be too tired to practice, or may again postpone it in favor of another task. Better to free your mind from all these inner conflicts, and make a very clear commitment to yourself.

For the session length, don’t be too ambitious in the beginning. Take baby steps; start smaller than what you are capable of doing. This is very important. Start with something you cannot fail, and slowly increase as weeks go by and as your interest grows. You can even start with two minutes a day, and increase one minute every other day.

The smaller you start with, the easier it will be for you to keep up with it and never regress. If building habits is not easy for you, then it’s better start with 2~3 minutes per day, even if you can do 20 minutes. In the beginning, simply building the habit is what you are focusing on.

Decide also the place for your practice. Will it be in your bedroom, living room, or garden? Is that place going to be available for you, without distraction, at the time of your practice? If you need to speak to anyone about your new habit (to let them know you won’t be available at that time, and need some silence), now is the time to do it.

Finally, as to tools, make sure the meditation instructions are clear for you, and that you have a cushion or chair prepared for the practice. If you will be doing guided meditation, make sure you have already downloaded the app or tracks, and have them ready to go.

Action: (1) Decide when, where and how you will meditate; (2) Speak to people you live with to make sure there will be no disturbance during your practice.

STEP 4: Setup a trigger and a reward

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At this point, it is pretty clear for you why you want to start meditation. You are motivated to do it and also have decided when, where and how to practice. You know how meditation will fit into your routine, and there is no more need to re-think or re-decide this.

So what you need to do now is to set up triggers, to make sure you don’t forget to do it. What to use as a trigger depends on you. You can get pretty creative with this. Here are some suggestions:

  • Setup an alarm clock on your phone five minutes before your meditation time.
  • Before going to sleep, put out your meditation cushion or chair next to your bed, so you see it when you wake up.
  • Paste some sticky notes on your bathroom mirror, so that after you brush your teeth you get reminded to practice. In this case, brushing your teeth is what we call an anchor habit.

Basically, you can design your environment in a way that helps you get reminded of your habit. Some call this priming.

The second element is the reward. We do things that feel good, or that give us something we value. So one way is to learn to appreciate the reward of meditation itself – how relaxed, refreshed, and calm your body feels after the practice. This is an intrinsic reward. You can also use journaling as a tool to help you appreciate meditation more, and feel good about sticking to it. For instance, you can take note of how you see meditation actually helping you to fulfil your values, and the insights you are discovering.

If you can go with the intrinsic reward, that’s ideal. If not, try attaching a extrinsic reward, such as “I’ll have a bite of chocolate after each time I meditate”.

You can also connect bigger rewards to milestones in your practice, such as 10 days, 30 days, 3 months, 6 months. For example: “After 30 days of daily meditation, I’ll give myself X [Insert here object of desire].” Get creative!

Setting up triggers and rewards is very important, both for reminding our brain of the habit, as well as for motivating it to continue doing it. According to behavior specialist BJ Fogg , and other researchers, a habit is made of three elements: cue, routine, reward.

  • Alarm rings (cue) —> sit to meditate (routine) —> feel good (reward)
  • When brushing my teeth, I see the note (cue) —> sit to meditate (routine) —> go have my favourite coffee (reward)

forming a meditation habit

So choose the triggers and rewards that make sense to you. Meditating every day will then be easier. Once you do it daily for a while, it becomes second nature and you may find that you barely need any trigger or external reward anymore.

Action: Choose and implement one or two triggers to remind you of your routine, and a reward for the practice. 

STEP 5: Be accountable

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Accountability is a power tool to keep you committed to your habits. It is the use of peer pressure to your advantage. We want to look good in the eyes of others, and we want to report success, not failure. So if we tell people that we are starting a habit, and we know they will check on us after a few days (“How is your meditation going?”), we are more likely to stick to it. Public accountability can give us the needed push to build or change our habits.

Here are a few ways to bring accountability:

  • Announce on your social media that you are starting to meditate everyday.
  • Share your decision to meditate with your partner or a friend; if they are starting to meditate at the same time, even better.
  • Hire an accountability coach on Coach.me, one who is specialized in meditation (it costs about 15 USD a week). In this platform you will “check-in” into your habit daily, and your coach will be there, as an accountability partner, to monitor your progress, help you keep on track, and answer questions.

Some people even use the power of negative people in their life, to drive their success. For instance, by announcing, to a person that puts you own or disbelieves your capacity, that you are starting to meditate. Wanting to prove them wrong can be a strong drive. This is definitely not the best type of motivation to practice, so I wouldn’t necessarily advise this approach, as it can backfire. But I recognize that for some people it might be the only thing that works – so I’ll leave it here. Personally, I started my practice with the wrong type of motivation; as the practice ripened, it transformed the motivation behind it as well.

These are ways to put your word and self-image in the line. Some people also find that putting in money makes the drive even stronger. You can do this by:

  • Hiring an accountability coach (as mentioned).
  • Making a bet with a friend (“At the end of the month, if I haven’t meditated everyday, I’ll pay you 100 USD”).
  • Using an anti-charity.

Finally, keeping daily a journal of your practice, where you log your sessions and experiences, is another way to hold yourself accountable. The app I mentioned above also allows you to keep a log of your efforts, take notes, and visualize your progress.

Action: Find a way to have public accountability in your practice, via friends, social media, or apps like Coach.me.  

STEP 6: Have the right attitude

6

The easiest way to develop a habit – once you have the above structure in place – is to make it non-negotiable. “No matter what, I will meditate every morning before starting my day”. The no matter what part is the key.

“99% is a bitch; 100% is a breeze”. – Jack Canfield

Our mind is not always our greatest friend. If you think that perhaps under some “special circumstances” it’s ok to skip, your mind will question everyday if today is not one of those “special circumstances”. You will need to go through this questioning and decision-making situation very often – it will be a waste of energy, attention, and will-power. Don’t go down that rabbit hole.

If you need to be at the airport at 6am tomorrow morning, this may mean that you do only 5 minutes of meditation, or that you will go to sleep at 10pm tonight. Be flexible with everything else, except your commitment.

Action: Commit to a “never zero” approach. Success is your only option, 100% of the time.

STEP 7: Hang out with meditators (optional)

7

People we spend time with have a deep influence on our mental states and habits (see item 5 of this post). The same goes for things we read and watch.

So, having friends that meditate, reading books/blogs about meditation, watching YouTube videos and movies that feature meditation – all this helps in building up your motivation and clarity about the practice. Similarly with joining a meditation center (Buddhist sangha, yoga class, etc.) or participating in retreats.

This step is not absolutely needed, but it can be indeed helpful – especially if you wish to go deeper into meditation.

Action: Join a meditation center or Meetup; make friends with people who are meditating.

Dealing with Obstacles

The principles above are all you need, in terms of strategies, to build the habit of meditating every day.

However, once you start, obstacles will come. I don’t have the space to go in-depth about all of them here, but I will briefly speak about the main difficulties you may meet.

 

Obstacle 1: Getting involved in other things

digital distractions from meditationWhat happens if you are supposed to meditate at 7am, and at 6:50 you decide to just “quickly check my email” or browse social media? One click leads to another and, the next thing you know, you have been on your smartphone for the last 40 minutes, are now late to work, and will have to “skip meditation today”.

Some activities – especially consuming media on your smartphone, tablet, PC or TV – suck you into a black hole, with no determined end. It’s better to avoid doing them before your meditation time. Even if you do have the discipline to stop it when you want, it is still not advisable. Checking email, social media or news before your meditation will just fill your mind with thoughts. Your meditation will thus be less enjoyable and deep, making it harder for you to get that reward that you seek.

Remove the temptation. Set a clear rule for yourself of no internet until you finish your meditation. You can set your phone on airplane mode when you go to sleep, and put it back to normal after meditation ends. This will help.

Obstacle 2: Meditation is not going well

falling asleep in meditationIf your meditation itself is not going well, don’t let that stop you. Continue doing your practice to the best of your ability. Especially in the beginning, the focus is completely on just building the habit, not so much on the “quality” of your meditation experience. Sitting = success.

You can also search for more information about your practice, experiment with another type of meditation, or talk with more experienced practitioners.

Also make sure that your belly is not full when you go meditate. If you had a large meal, wait a couple of hours before practicing. The experience is better when your body is light and calm, and your mind is sober.

Obstacle 3: Negative feelings, self-sabotage, self-criticism

self-sabotage with meditation

Become aware of your negative self-talk. What excuses do you make for not practicing, or for questioning your commitment?

Get to know the self-sabotage techniques that you typically use. Make a list of the rationalizations you find yourself making, and write some answers to them. For example:

  • I woke up late today, no time to practice…” —> “Am I going to skip practice every time I wake up late? Don’t I have even 2 minutes to practice?”
  • Today I feel sick…” —> “But I’m still breathing! Let me sit for a couple of minutes and be mindful of my breath at least.”
  • I’m too agitated/stressed/angry now to meditate!” —> “That is exactly when I need to meditate the most! Let me sit, quiet my mind, and move beyond this disturbance.”
  • I just need to have a quick look at…” —> “Cool, I’ll have a look at that, but after I meditate.”
  • I have been sitting every day. It won’t hurt to skip just today…” —> “What will prevent you from thinking the same tomorrow? Thinking like this is the beginning of failure. Let me keep firm in my commitment, because I know its good for me.”
  • I’m not sure if I can do this.” —> “Why not? I’ve been doing it so far. Just continue, day after day, and these doubts will disappear.”
  • I’m feeling bored with my practice.” —> “Meditation is not supposed to be exciting. Feelings of boredom may come, and I can sit through them. Just like with any thought or feeling, I just notice them and bring my attention back to my meditation. This boredom cannot prevent me from practicing!”
  • I’m not good at this.” —> “This is not a competition. I’m just doing what I know is good for me.”

The type of disempowering thoughts that come up varies from person to person, but you can get the idea. Having “positive self-talk” prepared beforehand can help. You have the power to ignore these thoughts and stubbornly keep to your commitment.

Obstacle 4: Things are changing in my life

life is changingCan you foresee any trips, big projects, or other potential disruptions that may make it harder for you to keep up with your habit? What are things that might pop in and keep you from accomplishing this goal? What can you do to anticipate and prepare for them?

For example, whenever I travel, my portable meditation cushion is always guaranteed to be in the suitcase.

If your decision to stick to the practice is strong (that’s why we went through steps 1 and 2), your habit will survive changes to your schedule and life circumstances.

Obstacle 5: Feeling unmotivated

no motivation to meditateIt’s absolutely normal that our motivation swings. When this happens, and the swing down is strong, re-read your values list and the reasons why meditation serves what is truly important for you. Or read some meditation quotes!

Obstacle 6: Expectations

meditation expectationsExpectation is the antithesis of meditation. If you learn to do meditation for meditation’s sake, its wonderful benefits will come to you in time (not in one week though). Think of meditation like taking a shower, or sleeping. It’s simply something you need to do every day.

There are some results from meditation that are immediate. You immediately feel better, more at ease, after most practice sessions. Other results come in a few months – actually research shows that with daily meditation, even after 8 weeks you already have some noticeable results. And some deeper results may come as years pass by.

In any case, don’t get attached to expectations. This is one of the main reasons why people quit.

Final Words

It’s time to start! You now need to take a concrete step. Either go through these exercises now, or set a date in your calendar to do it. It’s important to go through these exercises on paper/online. Dont just go through it in your head. Research says that goals written down are much more likely to be achieved.

I’ve read that an action becomes automatic after it is performed for 66 days in a row; other’s suggest that is it after 21 days or 40 days. In any case, it’s clear that the effort for keeping up the practice, no matter what, is especially important in the beginning. Each time you sit to practice, it’s a small success, and you are strengthening those neuropathways in your brain.


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ALSO READ:

10 Things You Can Do Today to Attract Positive Energy

Every moment you have a choice – to be at peace or to be in resistance. When you are at peace, you attract positive energy and when you resist you create negative vibes that reflect back on your being. It’s a simple choice and yet most people unconsciously choose to live in negativity.
It’s not your boss, colleagues, parents, ex or the traffic, but your own perception that creates stress and negative energy. Circumstances are neutral. You will generate positive vibes when your inner state is one of alignment and congruence, instead of being in resistance.


 

Here are a few tips to attract positive energy into your life by staying in touch with your inner peace and stillness.

1.) Start Your Day With Meditation

meditation

Any form of meditation is helpful but it’s best to keep it simple.

Just practice the meditation of becoming aware of your presence. You don’t have to sit in any strident posture; just relax and feel your consciousness or presence in the midst of the thoughts and emotions.

If you want, you can also consider chanting a mantra like ‘OM’ or ‘AUM’. Focus your complete attention on this sound and the vibration it creates in your body. This is a very powerful practice that creates a positive vibe throughout the body.

2.) Listen to Uplifting Music

Image result for music

The right music can heal and raise our vibrations.

Create a playlist of songs that have a positive affect on you. Listen to this playlist every morning immediately after waking up or while getting ready for the day.

Dance or move your body to the rhythm if you feel like. This is a great way to get your share of exercise for the day and in doing so, shake off that lethargic/draining energy from your body.

3.) Treat Everyone the Way You Want to be Treated

Treat everyone equally

A day is easily ruined when you start holding resentment against someone. Know that everything is oneness and though we appear as different forms, everything is the manifestation of the one true essence.

When you see others as yourself you will not harbor negative feelings and in turn your attitude will attract positive energy from the people around you.

4.) Let Go of Your Need to Control

Let go quote

Life is a flux and its nature is change. The more you resist the more a particular situation will persist.

Whenever you try to control a life situation, you will feel stressed out and this will generate a lot of negative energy.

Just imagine life to be a raging river, does it serve any purpose to struggle? Wouldn’t it be much more relaxing and peaceful if you just let go and allow yourself to float with the flow? People who stay surrendered and relaxed generate a lot of positive energy and attract the grace of life.

5.) Learn to See the Positive in Every Situation

Know that good and bad are just perceptions created in the conditioned mind. In reality every life situation is pure grace and is the manifestation of the one truth – call it God or Spirit or Energy. When you see every situation with this innocence, it will reveal its grace to you.

  • Brining Good Luck into Your Life by Changing Your Perception

6.) Visualize a Peaceful Life

Visualize a positive life

Your mind might be addicted to negative thinking; most minds are. You will have to consciously break out of this addiction if you want to attract good energy within you.

Stay conscious and see your mind churning out fearful images. Now, instead of giving energy to these thoughts divert your attention to visualizing a peaceful flow of life. Envision feeling calm and fulfilled. You will be amazed at the positive vibes you feel in your body.

 

7.) Stop Worrying About the Future

Worry has not served any purpose to this date for anyone. Whatever has to happen will happen, there is nothing you will achieve by worrying about it. In fact what you worry about will not even happen most of the times. So why waste energy dwelling on worries?

You are unconsciously creating a lot of negative energy inside you which is harmful to your whole being. Just plan practically and leave the rest to life.

  • Why do we worry and how to stop worrying

 

8.) Drop the Resentment Within

Drop the resentment within

The past is past, it has no reality than as a memory trace. Can you live in such simplicity? After all if you don’t continuously think up a bad memory you will not feel any resentment within. So just learn to forgive and move on. There is a lot positive energy in the simple act of forgiveness.

  • Letting Go Of Past Resentments and Freeing Your Mind

 

9.) Stay as the Presence Instead of the Ego

The present moment holds a lot of power within. You can tap into this power by learning to experience the present moment fully. As Eckhart Tolle puts it, ‘Be here fully!’.

Whatever task you are doing, try to become fully conscious of it. Be conscious of your surroundings, your thoughts and your actions. Of-course you cannot be present all the time, but do this exercise whenever you feel the need to relax and attract some good vibes.

10.) Be in Nature

Tune into the stillness of nature

A simple way to attract good energy is to be in nature. Just look at the nature around you for a while. A tree or a flower; it just rests in stillness and moves with the wind. There is a peace that radiates from their being. This peace will ignite your own inner true nature of stillness.

You can also consider having some indoor plants. According to color psychology green is the color of balance and harmony. Which is why, having indoor plants can bring a sense of peace to your inner being.

In addition to purifying the air of toxins some plants are known to aid the flow of positive energy as per Feng Shui.

Plants such as Bamboo palm (reed palm), Snake plant, Spider plant, Peace Lily, Aloe Vera, Devil’s Ivy, Azalea, Chinese Evergreen, English Ivy and Broad-leaf lady palm among others are an excellent option.

Note: Some plants like Peace Lily and English Ivy can be toxic to pets. So if you have pets, make sure to cross check before buying.

11.) Feel the Spaciousness in Your Body

Just close your eyes and try to feel your body from within. You will be surprised at the spaciousness of your body. It feels like a lot of empty space with a few sensations here and there. This inner body realization will free up any stored negative energy. After a few moments of inner body realization you will feel light and at ease.

These are some simple techniques to attract positive energy into your being. This list was in no particular order, but there is a reason why meditation is at the top. Constant practice of meditation can help you gain better control over your mind and the thoughts it generates. This can thereby help you stay mindful and in the present moment, eat and think consciously, release negative emotions and a lot more.


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10 Signs That You’re Fully Awake

Image result for meditation

1. You know there’s no meaningful difference between major political parties (Democrats and Republicans): It’s so easy to get caught up the left-right debate and believe there’s a difference between the two major political parties. However, debate is one thing, while actions are another. By their deeds you shall know them, and it is indisputable that there is no significant difference between political parties when it comes to action on the most important issues. Even hardened ideologues like John Cusack are beginning to wake up.

2. You understand that the Federal Reserve, or international central banking more broadly, is the engine of our economic problems: Debt slavery is the totalitarian force that threatens all of humanity, not some temporary political puppet or some greedy Wall Street trader. When a small group of people have the ability to create wealth out of nothing and charge interest on it, they have the ability to enslave the planet to their ownership despite what type of government a country claims to have.

3. You know that preemptive war is never necessary: When we realize that self-defense is the only acceptable form of violence, then we become awakened human beings. To suggest war because someone is different from you, or they may pose a threat in the future is simply ludicrous. And when did the idea of bombing civilians become humanitarian? No one wants war except for the immoral creeps that benefit from it.

4. You know that you’re being systematically poisoned, how, by whom, and why: Admittedly, there’s a lot to learn in terms of how we are secretly being poisoned. But the fact remains that we are being systematically poisoned, and it is likely for the deliberate purpose of dumbing us down and, ultimately, culling the population. Who could believe anyone is so evil to do that to innocent people, you may ask. Well, once you begin to seek the answer to that question, you’re one step closer to enlightenment.

5. You understand that government can never legislate morality, nor should they: When you realize the role of government is only to protect your liberty and work for the well being of the citizens, you’re awakened. There should be one simple law regulating morality: Do no harm. Thus, it’s impossible for the government to enforce morality with guns, cages, and taxes because those clearly cause severe harm to your liberty and our well-being.

6. You know that the mainstream media is wholly owned and manipulated by the ruling elite: A dwindling number of people still actually believe what they hear coming from the establishment media as if it’s gospel, even when they already accept that they are bought and paid for by the elite controllers. Yet, recognizing that they are nothing more than a propaganda machine and a form of mind control are the first steps in being able to critically think beyond the scientific messaging they broadcast.

7. You know that your neighbors are not your enemy even if you have fierce ideological disagreements: This is perhaps the most difficult thing to overcome in the awakening process. But it’s vital to understand that your neighbors have been indoctrinated and hypnotized like the rest of the us, until someone helps shine a light on inconsistencies in our thoughts and beliefs. Most of their ideas are not their own. They are suffering just like the rest of us. It’s okay to condemn their actions if they’re harmful, but those who are awake will not give up on spreading information that can enlighten those who might still be in the dark. None of us were born “awake” and all of us can learn even more.

8. You know that the endgame is one-world control of planet Earth: Once you understand that the endgame for the ruling elite is to have complete control of all vital facets of society through a global government, one-world currency, international armed forces, and so on, it is simple to see through the lies and propaganda surrounding even the most confusing world events. You will never go back to sleep when you fully accept this reality.

9. You recognize that there are esoteric powers manipulating our physical world: Whether you’re a religious or spiritual person, scientific or just plain curious, there are many theories about an invisible force at play in all of this. Obviously it’s impossible to prove exactly what it is. You may not want to believe it, but the ruling elite takes their occult rituals deadly serious. And they likely know something we don’t. Just by keeping an open mind about this possibility, you’ll forever keep an open mind about the things we can actually see, hear, taste and touch. Current science has shown that we can only “see” what the visible light spectrum reveals, which amounts to the tiniest fraction of all that can theoretically be seen within the full spectrum of energy. Part of any awakening is realizing that there is much more that is possible than impossible.

10. The power to change the world rests with you and you alone: For too long people have believed themselves to be weak, or relied on others to change the world for them. You’ll know that you’re fully awake when you realize that you have infinite power to change the world by simply living the change you want to see. First, you have to identify the principles that you believe in and then go out and live by them. If just a small minority took steps to do this, it would shake the establishment to its core.

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