Resoluciones de Año Nuevo

¿Te has encontrado alguna vez postergando las metas y resoluciones de año nuevo para el próximo?

Esto se debe, a que muchas veces no nos tomamos el tiempo necesario para realizar todo el proceso que implica establecer nuevas misiones y crear nuevos hábitos para lograr los objetivos del año que comienza.

En este artículo te invito a realizar cada uno de los pasos y ejercicios que  me han servido para mantener constancia durante los doce meses, que si nos descuidamos se van volando.

Todos nacemos con ciertas características que nos diferencian de los demás, inclusive de nuestros hermanos criados por nuestros mismos padres y en el mismo entorno. Por lo tanto, es responsabilidad de cada quien reconocer sus virtudes y sus retos sin avergonzarse de quien realmente es y además, ser consciente de los compromisos personales y sociales que se requieren para transitar esta vida. 

Primero, debes preguntarte: ¿Cuáles son los anhelos de tu corazón? 

Para transformar deseos en acciones primero debes conocerte a ti mismo y esto involucra todas las áreas, toma algún tiempo, pero te sugiero que comiences con una idea general y luego continúes el proceso de auto-observación para ir profundizando en cada una.

En este artículo clasifico las áreas de la vida en siete grupos:

1) Finanzas

Todos tenemos necesidades básicas por las cuales debemos tener una estabilidad financiera. Como por ejemplo la alimentación, educación, vivienda, etc. Ahorrar, mantener las finanzas en orden, asociarse con gente que realice las mismas actividades, son buenas prácticas que te ayudarán a administrar los recursos para vivir en balance y sin estrés. Tú relación con el dinero es como una relación de amistad, necesita atención y agradecimiento. El dinero te puede generar muchas oportunidades pero debes mantener esta relación limpia y positiva. 

Ejercicio: 

Dedícate a observar tu relación con el dinero, como hablas de el, si le echas la culpa por tus problemas o si más bien agradeces por lo que tienes y hasta dónde has podido llegar.

2) Crecimiento espiritual y personal

Todos tenemos la capacidad para ser instrumentos de increíble compasión y perdón, no debemos limitarnos a la creencia popular de que ser espiritual implica vivir en un monasterio o internarse en una montaña sin contacto con el mundo hasta que encontramos aquello llamado “iluminación”, pero el crecimiento personal implica actividades para cultivar paz interior, unirse a una organización sin fines de lucro o simplemente el hecho de mostrar gratitud y compasión hacia otros. 

Ejercicio: 

Te sugiero buscar un retiro donde puedas re-conectar contigo mismo, sin interrupciones, sin distracciones, donde puedas alejarte de los horarios, de las compras, del teléfono… Un espacio donde te dediques solo y únicamente a ti mismo. La práctica de la meditación te puede ayudar a controlar los pensamientos, incrementar la creatividad, crear estabilidad emocional y por consiguiente, mejorar la relación contigo mismo y con los demás.

3) Salud

Sabías que estar saludable es sinónimo de felicidad? La salud no solamente implica el buen estado físico, si no también a nivel mental; del mismo modo que le dedicamos tiempo al cuidado y limpieza del cuerpo debemos purificar y disciplinar la mente. De esto depende todos nuestros pensamientos, palabras y acciones. Si la mente y el cuerpo están en balance, podría decirse que nos encontramos en buena salud.

Ejercicio: 

Asegúrate de dormir suficiente cada día, presta atención a las situaciones que te generan estrés y al manejo del mismo, come natural y sin exceso, elimina las fuentes de toxinas como el alcohol y la comida procesada, mantente activo realizando algún ejercicio físico como el yoga u otro deporte, y práctica la meditación 

4) Familia y amigos

Desde que nacemos formamos parte de una familia, somos seres interdependientes. Compartimos el mismo espacio, los mismos valores y la misma genética. Cuando nos quedamos en nuestra zona de confort, empeñados en nuestro propio bienestar, es como ir en contra de la corriente; debemos aprender a compartir y respetar el espacio y la ideología de vida de nuestra familia y valorar todo el aprendizaje generado en base a esta relación. 

Ejercicio: 

Tómate unos minutos para hacer una lista de las personas que verdaderamente te importan (no incluyas a tus hijos, si tienes). Probablemente te darás cuenta de lo que ya sabías, pero es importante tenerlo actualizado. Ahora dale vuelta a la página y anota una lista de las 10 personas para las cuales crees ser importante. No tiene que coincidir una lista con la otra. Compara las dos listas y te darás cuenta que las relaciones no son necesariamente recíprocas. Con este ejercicio podrás decidir el tiempo, la energía y la fuerza que usas en cada una de tus relaciones. 

¡Rodéate de personas positivas que te ayuden a crecer!

5) Profesión

La profesión requiere pasión y compromiso. Comienza cuando nos apasionamos por una actividad para la cual tenemos la habilidad y el conocimiento hasta que poco a poco se va convirtiendo en un trabajo. Busca la luz en lo que ya haces y conviértelo en tu profesión. Comenzar a tener éxito en lo que haces es la clave para mantener viva tu profesión. 

Ejercicio:

Qué te apasiona? Cómo lo puedes aprender?  Realiza pequeños pasos a la vez, busca tus talentos. 

6) Diversión y Recreación 

Un determinante en nuestro bienestar físico, mental y espiritual es la forma de ver y resolver la vida, la manera de aceptar los retos con una mente clara y desarrollar la creatividad para resolver esos mismos retos. Estar contento viene desde adentro, sin embargo, existe un sinnúmero de actividades externas que nos permiten reír y disfrutar de la vida de una forma sana y divertida. Estar contento es una parte innata y representa como nos expresamos de nosotros mismos. Observa un bebé y como disfruta de cosas pequeñas, sus emociones son verdaderas y auténticas. 

Ejercicio:

Busca un actividad por semana que te genere placer para tus sentidos (que no sea trabajo), de pronto asistir a una clase de baile, montar a caballo, ir al cine, encuentra algo con lo cual te relaciones y que de pronto hayas dejado en el olvido. 

¡Diviértete!

7) Romance

En una relación de pareja, la comunicación es clave, el respeto mutuo y el entendimiento por reconocer las necesidades de cada uno es clave para que perdure el amor. Establecer pilares fuertes de afecto, entendimiento, valores y creencias son fundamentales para el crecimiento en pareja, así como el respeto a los objetivos y sueños individuales.

“Una relación de pareja es la unión en un momento determinado entre dos seres que han descubierto su amor propio y están comprometidos a cultivar y mantener ese amor para poder dar y recibir sin expectativas”.

Si cada parte comparte el mismo nivel de disciplina y perspectiva es muy probable que la relación funcione. Pero nos esforzamos por querer mantener relaciones románticas con personas completamente opuestas a nosotros. 

Ejercicio:

Has un listado con tus necesidades y otra lista con las características que te gustaría encontrar en una pareja romántica. Luego compara las listas y trata de observar si lo que pides es algo que estarías dispuesto a dar. Te sorprenderá saber que a veces no estamos lo suficientemente claros de lo que somos ni de lo que estamos buscando en otros. 

8) Entorno Físico

Existe un concepto hindú llamado Vastu Sastra, y se refiere a la organización de espacios y arquitectura y en los textos habla de cómo el espacio físico nos afecta tanto a nivel físico, mental, emocional y espiritual. La congestión y desorganización de objetos en el hogar y áreas de trabajo podría bloquear la creatividad y la claridad mental. Limpiar los espacios genera paz y un entorno ordenado. Estudios han demostrado que mantener los espacios ordenados pueden reducir la irritabilidad, el estrés, mejorar la productividad y evitar las distracciones. 

Ejercicio:

Es tiempo de eliminar el desorden; comienza por uno o dos cajones y selecciona lo que puedes regalar, botar y guardar. Asegúrate de dejar solo lo que necesitas y acomódalo de acuerdo a la frecuencia de uso. Luego toma un momento para conectar con tus sentimientos, te sientes más ligero? Con más energía? Inspirado a continuar el proceso de limpieza? Y así continúa en todos los espacios del hogar y del trabajo hasta que logres completarlo todo. 

Te animo a que revises cada área y califiques tu nivel de satisfacción en una escala del uno al diez, donde uno es igual a insatisfecho y diez es igual a completamente satisfecho. 

En este cierre de año te invito a realizar un pequeño ritual donde agradeces por todo lo que tienes, tus relaciones y las metas cumplidas en el presente año. Luego, escribe una lista con tus resoluciones de nuevo año tomando en cuenta todas las áreas y luego busca un lugar tranquilo donde puedas cerrar los ojos, inhala y exhala algunas veces hasta sentirte en calma y trata de visualizarte cumpliendo todas las nuevas metas. Cómo sería tu vida si todos los obstáculos fueran removidos? Créete capaz de lograr cuánto te propones, si no sientes ahora mismo esa confianza, comienza por crear una lista de tus logros anteriores donde te has sentido victorioso. 

Finalmente, conecta con esas cualidades que te hacen sentir orgulloso de ti mismo y crea afirmaciones que te motiven a diario a cumplir tus deseos. 

“Desde el ser que habita en mi, honro y agradezco al ser que habita en ti.”

Namaste 

Why Everyone Needs to Practice Meditation

Based on my own experience as a meditation trainer, people wonder a lot about when and why one needs to maintain meditation practice. Should that also be a misunderstanding of what meditation is all about? Possibly. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, meditation means, “engage in contemplation or reflection, or to plan or project in the mind”. But this is not what we are talking about. In fact, the real word which stands for meditation is actually called Samadhi, which means “standstill, peaceful and focused at one point. In this article, we are basing our argument on some facts about the function of our brain which is, in a way, conditioned by the state of our mind.

The three main parts of our brain

In her article “How meditation boosts creativity and innovation”[1], Bianca Rothschild (2014), explains the three main parts of the brain and their functions:

1) Neocortex: the newest part of the brain which is essentially concerned with what can be considered the important stuff: creative thinking, problem solving, visioning, hypothesising, strategizing.

2)The limbic system: located below the neocortex, and is simply said to be the area of processing our emotions,  motivations and memories. If we are feeling emotionally out of balance or distressed, this part of the brain gets activated, and our brain becomes ‘busy’ dealing with the stress and emotions at hand; it won’t allocate any resources to our creative thinking.

3) The reptilian brain: the oldest part of our brain, concerned with our survival and primarily activated by the adrenaline hormone; it is where our fight or flight responses originate. This is the laziest part of our brain; it only wants to process things which it deems critical to our survival.  The reptilian brain also includes sex impulses, and if the idea is ‘mate-able’, dangerous or threatening our survival in any way, it will get passed upwards, and hence has a hard time getting to the neocortex.

Enhanced creativity and emotional intelligence

Mindfulness meditation has been scientifically proved to be a great technique to improve creativity. “The kinds of things that happen when you meditate do have effects throughout the body, not just in the brain.”[2].  Elsewhere, the study published in May 2016 in the medical journal PloS One[3]  showed that one session of relaxation­response practice was enough to enhance the expression of genes involved in energy metabolism and insulin secretion and reduce expression of genes linked to inflammatory response and stress. There was an effect even  among novices who had never practiced meditation before.

Certainly, meditation has positive side effects: it reduces the reactivity of the reptilian brain, increases resilience, stimulates the neocortex, as well as improves emotional intelligence[4]. All these factors assist in getting ideas flowing directly to our best creative thinking brain – the neocortex. According to the research conducted on American company’s employees regarding their ability of problem solving, the result shows that non-meditators had more cognitive rigidity than regular meditators; they also had tendency to apply difficult or outdated solutions to easy problems, based on their past experiences, which was not the case of regular meditators who are more creative.

Conclusion

Everyone deserves happiness and peace of mind on one side and creative thinking on the other side. Unfortunately, our everyday life has so many happenings which are often unpleasant and at the end deprive us from being joyful and creative as our brain becomes busy dealing with stress and emotions. The good news is that everyone has a solution in their hands, and it is meditation practice.  So, the choice is YOURS.

 

References

[1] Bianca Rothschild, How meditation boosts creativity and innovation, july 2014

[2] The Benson-Henry Institute for mind-body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital

[3] In http://www.bl oomber g.com/news/ar ti cl es/2013­ 11­ 22/har var d­ yoga­ sci enti sts­ fi nd­ pr oof­ of­ medi tation­ benefit

[4] Bianca Rothschild (2014)  in Op.cit

Beyond Happiness, Above Rainbow

I remember way back while in high school, I would get sick just from worrying. I had a harsh inner critic that challenged most of the things I did and planned to do. It was very easy for me to appreciate and admire others but seldom did I find anything I did good enough. Even when people praised me for something I did, it didn’t make me feel any better or less depressed. This negativity that plagued me affected every aspect of my life and eventually I would go to sleep hoping to wake up in the skin of someone I admired. Often I would imagine myself chasing happiness like it is a rainbow, hoping to catch it―wear it round my neck like a shawl against self-loathing―then live happily ever after.

Most people can attest to have experienced depression, stress or anxiety at some point in life. It is the silent ail of humanity no one bothers to talk about because unlike cancer, it is not visual―maybe not as deadly―but this is a misconception. Daily we search for happiness. It is our human nature to do so, but too often, we get lost on our journey to finding it, habitually due to expectations from family, friends, work and relationships.  In an effort to please everyone we lose our focus and in the process; lose ourselves. To which I would say “There is no greater tragedy!”

In the words of Steve Jobs: “If you want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader, sell ice cream!”

In our quest for social validation, we shift our attention to material possessions. We fill our wardrobes with designer clothes and shoes; get a fleet of cars, amass academic diplomas, get married, have kids, tick off every item in society’s happiness checklist. Still, we lack inner peace, that little ingredient that makes life valuable.

Because we are here to live our best lives, we owe it to ourselves to live consciously and deliberately and most importantly, wean ourselves from the delusion that happiness is a destination because it is not. Happiness is an infinite journey with beautiful surprises, it is you when you free yourself from worry and fear; it is you when you realize that your happiness depends solely on you. That is when you do not need to chase the rainbow anymore; – it is always there!

Photo by Leo Wieling on Unsplash

Punctuality and Its Effects on Our Mind

While concepts of being on time vary across cultures and nations, punctuality is regarded as a universal value whose effects remain positive regardless of where we find ourselves. Being punctual may have different meaning in many areas of the globe. In some cultures, lateness may be tolerated to some extend while in others, it is absolutely unacceptable. We define punctuality as the quality of adhering to the appointed time or scheduled activities and explore how it affects our mind and hence, our live.

What is punctuality?
Several studies confirm that punctuality is a virtue that is possessed by most successful and respectful people. This virtue leads to efficiency and good mental health because one’s mind is freed from pressure or tension. Such stress and fears emerge from not honoring set times or meeting deadlines among other causes.  Punctuality is therefore seen as a time saver.

Punctuality as a bane to the mind’s stillness
Being chronically late can be caused by a nurtured habit, which unfortunately can ruin one’s life if not well checked on time and dealt with early. In most cases, procrastination often leads to lateness. Procrastination is the tendency to defer an activity to later times by giving excuses.  No matter the causes, punctuality can affects one’s state of mind. A disturbed mind could lack concentration, be stressed, or afraid in circumstances where lateness is prohibited. 

How punctuality helps one’s mind.
Being on time makes one’s mind relax as there is ample time to prepare (the lessons, meeting, presentations, classes, lectures…), to recollect, and reevaluate actions and work before submission. One feels calm within when not rushing to attend, or catching up a flight etc. It also conveys politeness and respect unto others. It can earn us a reputation, respect and can reveal about our integrity. We become reliable, dependable and trustworthy. We are seen as serious people with discipline and a sense of commitment to our activities. All these above stated benefits make our mind happy and still.

Why is it unsafe to be late?
Those of us always late, have a tendency to formulate blame on other factors, forge lies to justify the tardiness. Once this becomes an everyday thing, we become liars, which does not really help anyone including ourselves. Lateness can also lead to accidents especially when people rush and may be hit by motorists among other accidents on the road.  Late to bed, means late to waking up and late to waking up may be late to being at work. However, whilst punctuality may simply means being on time, to be too early to the time may also not be preferred by some people though it has lesser bad effects compared to being late.

How can one overcome lateness?

Any long developed habit takes time to change. Once tardiness becomes a part of one’s life, it takes a lot of sacrifices and efforts to adjust as it may need a change a style of life which, does not happen overnight. While many people prefer to use alarm clocks as a reminder, we can naturally learn to build this reflex of being on time by simply deciding to change our life style and practice of being on time. Another way is by preparing a well planned to-do list for the following day in the evening of day before. In cases where lateness  comes from multi-tasking several projects, we recommend meditation to nurture inner calmness, attentiveness, attention and focus. With this state of mind, we may learn to prioritize what matters at the time leading to a well-planned and orderly life.

 

Photo credits

Research Shows That You May Need A Holiday Soon

Peter is in the office with Talia finishing up on his work. Both of them are expatriates mostly travelling through several countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. They are working on huge emerging projects that involve several people, and reports can be frustrating. Actually travelling, as cool as it may sound, ceased to be fun as most of their time is spent in between boardrooms, meetings and the rush to beat crucial deadlines. Talia, with a sigh, looks up at Peter and says, “There’s a lot going on, I need a vacation!”

Collegetimes.com

And don’t we sometimes anyway?

Holidays are breaks, time taken off from work, away from home on leisure and recreation. These are the times to rest, recharge and refocus.

Sadly, several statistics indicate that stress and anxiety in the workplace have escalated progressively over the past few decades. American Psychology Association 2015, reports that 65% of workers feel stressed and nearly half of them say they need tools on how to manage stress. Additionally, the number keeps rising every year across several workplaces in the world. Imagine what that means for their families, their friendship and the state of their health. It’s like running a thousand miles in the right direction, only to spring back double in the opposite direction.

The conversation on stress and vacations is an old one, and several people take lavish time off to treat themselves to spas, trips and beaches. However, what we are yet to figure out is the quality of the time spent out on such vacations.

Here is a scenario: Peter and Talia, decides to take one weekend off the work to go to Chiang Mai, an exotic tourist destination in Thailand. Friday afternoon, finishing up on the work in the office, they hardly notice the work anymore, because their minds are on the flight to Chiang Mai already. Flash-forward, Sunday evening, they are having dinner in Chiang Mai, and they look sad, because their midnight flight to work awaits them.

New approach to a holiday

As this happens in the real world, World Peace Initiative Foundation has created a new approach to a holiday. On the 18th to 20th May 2018, the organization hosted a 3 days mindfulness meditation holiday with Buddhist wisdom on how to live mindfully and relax your soul.

The unique experience combined meditation, mindfulness, Buddhist philosophy and Thai cultural excursion together in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

The retreat center was carefully selected to give participants a chance to access Ayutthaya Historical Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Floating Market.

From Buddhist wisdom, physical exercises and individual talks with a Teaching Monk to fun-filled excursions and guided meditation sessions combined with unique mindfulness practices meant to leave a lifetime mark in the participants’ lives.

Here is some of what the participants said about the retreat:

“The program is very good and very organized. The schedule was perfect, allowing us to do things at our own pace. I sought to learn meditation and was able to have a good meditation that I didn’t expect…At some point, I got a light relaxing silence that I couldn’t hear my breath or my disturbing inner voices. For once, my inner voice was not talking…” Nary 

“Catching moments when I had no distractions brought lightness to me. The monks were very inspiring and practical…” Aylin Boya

To find out about upcoming meditation holidays, click here.

How do you spend your holidays?

Share your experience with us in the comment section below and do not forget to share this post with your loved ones to bring more self-efficacy and a recharged life to our communities.

Featured image: HealthGuidance.org

How Successful People Stay Calm Under Pressure

How successful people stay calm under pressure

Imagine you are the pilot of an airplane. One or more of the engines have failed and you have to find a place to land. Being able to function successfully and making the right decision in such a situation could mean the difference between life and death. Neuroscience has revealed that remaining calm under high pressure situations is not an inborn trait, it is a learned skill which anyone can acquire.

Communication with colleagues at work or family members at home, there are always some thoughts and ideas which we will directly convey to other people. There will also be beliefs and conclusions which we can directly voice to other people. These may be our own personal opinions and reflections. It is this undeclared personal assessment which sometimes leads a person into a feeling under pressure. Depending on how dearly we value each one of these silent feelings the situation may get out of our hand.

Understanding the Situation Impartially

Before trying to confront the situation based on highly influential emotions, it is important to understand the situation objectively. Take a step back and exclude yourself from the situation. Try to look at only the facts and reality. Do not think of all the things that could have, would have or should have happened. Instead try to focus directly on the dilemma at hand, disassociate yourself from the situation. Sometimes we have held back on our feelings for so long that they may show up their ugly head in an unwanted way and make the entire situation even worse. Now try to understand all the FACTS that are associated with the incident without associating emotions. Making emotional decisions can have serious long term repercussions which we will begin to regret.

Understanding the Consequences of Actions

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” These are the words of the German quantum theorist Max Planck, who was also a Nobel Peace Prize winner in the year of 1918. In life, if you approach any project with a clichéd negative approach, you will seldom produce any positive results. Perseverance is the fundamental key but attitudes also play a huge role in success.

Successful people understand that anger is contradictory to success. They refrain from making impulse decisions based solely on their feelings of resentment and outrage. Making such enraged decisions may give them temporary satisfaction for the time being. But in the long run they will be more destructive. The foundation of a good decision lies in evaluating the pros and cons of a situation and based on sound judgement. There is no room for emotions when making consequential future judgements.

Curbing Caffeine & Other Stimulants Intake

Science has conclusively proven that caffeine does in fact affect our brain and the way we will approach our next state of affairs. Caffeine is not all bad. There are certain limits of caffeine which will actually make an individual more productive with heightened awareness. But excessive use of caffeine or any other stimulant can have adverse effects on the body and it will cloud the decision making process. So you have to ask yourself with other beverages and coffee, how much is too much?

It is advisable to limit your coffee intake and instead of turning to coffee or any other beverage to help you face extraordinary circumstances, use it to help you relax. Excessive use of coffee throughout the course of the day can have a damaging effect on sleep patterns. Contrary to popular belief adults also need to get a healthy night’s sleep to function productively throughout the course of the day.

Individuals Emotionally Motivated for Success

Regardless of what are your goals and intentions, everyone faces criticism in life. There will always be people who think they know it all. They will be more than willing to provide their advice free of charge. All the time this advice will always be negative ideas and comments. From family members to friends and even colleagues and associates; everyone will concur that you will need assignment assistance one way or the other and that you cannot do it all by yourself.

Successful people never give in to criticism. There will always be somebody ready to tell these people that it can’t be done. Successful people will always put their faith in their own goals and objectives rather than what other people think. They understand that these people who are berating them are only doing it because they are jealous and they have a nuisance value in their life. To put it in the words of Albert Einstein, “I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.”

Productive People Maintain a Personal Diary

Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Mark Twain were all people who maintained an intricate daily diary. There are times throughout the day when we have some of our best ideas. The instances when we do get the best ideas we are often busy doing something else. A person might get a brilliant future investment idea while gardening or travelling. At the time it might not seem important and the person is already entwined in a productive activity.

Prosperous personalities understand the significance of each and every idea that comes to them throughout the course of the day. Writing in a daily diary captures each idea you had in the course of the day which would have otherwise been lost in the mindless daily anarchy. There are some ideas and thoughts which we cannot express to anyone but ourselves. Keeping a diary helps soothe the mind as you have personally addressed your feelings in your diary about how you feel about a particular person or concern.

Why Taking Time for Yourself and Meditation Is Not a Selfish Act?

“You can’t pour from an empty kettle” is a common saying, but one that nobody seems to live by. Increasingly, it seems that taking time out for yourself is a selfish act. Meditation is often seen as an even more selfish act because modern people don’t often understand the benefits of meditation. The ability to sustain silence, quiet, and look inward is a self-survival tool. In fact, meditation is an effective stress management tool, and stress is linked to a number of diseases. A stressed out person is not operating at full capacity which means every part of their life is suffering from health to all types of relationships.

Stress is not success

Stress has been linked to depression, anxiety, heart diseases, and the exacerbation of countless injuries, diseases, and disorders. Still, we live in an era where “stress” is equated with hard work, and hard work is revered. Another common saying is to work better, not harder, and that “mantra” is often ignored, too. Somehow, we’ve developed into a society where the mark of a “good person” is that they’re constantly on the go and busy. That’s not necessarily the mark of a good or even successful person. It might just be the sign of a person who doesn’t take time for themselves, doesn’t know how to say no, and isn’t giving 100 percent to any of their endeavours.

Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish. Meditation isn’t selfish. Rather, taking time for yourself and giving yourself permission to meditate means that you are making sure your machine is working at top capacity before giving away any of your resources. Consider if you had a collaborative project meeting at six in the morning. However, you were so busy the day before with other tasks that you didn’t go to sleep until midnight. You were so worried about an unrelated event earlier in the day that your sleep was compromised. When you do get to the early morning meeting, you’re tired and might be on your third cup of coffee (the caffeine further stressing you out).

Do you think you’d be a very good or effective team member? Probably not. Simply showing up doesn’t mean that you’re successfully joining the meeting.

Types of Meditation

However, if you take time for yourself, you allow the body to recuperate. Meditation is the practice of sitting in comfortable, sustained relative silence. You’ll have outside thoughts creep in. Acknowledge them and send them on their way. Pranayama, or breath control, can be part of a meditation practice (either before or during). Relaxing pranayamas such as three-part breath allow you to concentrate on counting breaths and the inhalation, hold, and exhalation which helps keep outside thoughts at bay.

Others prefer to meditate with japa beads, which are 108 beads similar to a rosary. You recite a mantra, internally or externally, as you roll the bead between your fingers. The mantra should be positive, short and sweet. Some people prefer to chant the names of Hindu deities, while others prefer a secular but heartfelt saying.

Making Time for Yourself

Making time for yourself and meditation don’t have to eat up a lot of time. You don’t need to travel far or black out a large chunk of time for these mini-retreats. A lot of people prefer to meditate first thing in the morning and right before bed. For newcomers to meditation, five minutes is a great starting point. Moreover, taking time for yourself doesn’t always have to include meditation, though it can. It does need to be a relaxing, enjoyable experience though where you feel the stress in your body reducing. It can be virtually anything from a manicure session to a walk around the neighborhood. The only rule? No multitasking with tasks that can cause stress.

 

You want to give the best of yourself to the people in your life, particularly your loved ones. However, if you don’t take time for yourself, how present will you be at date night? How about at your child’s recital or during that important meeting? Selfish is putting yourself before others regularly with no care to how that affects your relationships with them — taking time for yourself couldn’t be farther from this definition. When you take care of yourself, you’re ensuring a higher quality relationship with yourself and with others. When you meditate, you re-learn how to appreciate and recover by way of quiet and reflecting inwards. Both are important tools in a society where we’re expected to be “on” all the time. Consider them a means of survival and bettering every other part of your life.

This is a collaborative post supporting our Peace In Peace Out initiative.

5 Ways to Develop Your Inner Power and Strength

Everyone in the world would desire to attain success in their life. People face a lot of problems in achieving their goals. Moreover, some of the people often get confused about what they want to do in their life. Others make a plan, but fail to execute it. All these problems can be overcome by developing inner power in you.

In this article, we will talk about your inner power which will help you in achieving the goals of your life. Hence, the inner power is referred to a state of mind which enhances your work ability. It keeps moving you ahead in the right direction in life. Precisely, the spiritual power is what makes you more confident. It makes you optimistic and positive in life. The inner power increases your focus on work instead of thinking about all the other unnecessary things in life.  You just need to follow some simple tips, and you will be on the right track of doing things.

1. Meditate daily

Meditation increases your focus; it makes you stress-free, it enhances your mental capacity. Please follow these steps to start your meditation practice:

  • Find your most comfortable posture either sitting on a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed and place your hands on the knees;
  • Start breathing and forget about everything else;
  • Count the breaths so that your focus remains entirely on the breathing;
  • You will feel quite relaxed in your mind, with freshness and clarity. All the things that were annoying you before are now gone away from your mind;
  • Repeat these steps to feel better.

If you are not able to continue your daily practice then try reading some inspirational meditation quotes.

2. Breath deeply

Sometimes you need to take a deep breath to make your thinking ability more active.  Here are some steps to follow:

  • Breathe through your nose until you feel full, you will feel that your abdominal area will fly out and chest will rise;
  • While exhaling draw your lower abdominal area followed by your upper area. Stay in that position for half a second and then continue with the exercise again.

This exercise will open up the narrow cells of your brain and increase the blood flow in your brain.

3. Laugh freely

It is quite an easy technique to increase your internal strength. Laughter also helps you to increase the energy level of your mind as it increases the endorphins in your mind. When you laugh genuinely, your heart rate and blood flow increases.

4. Learn to forget

When you feel hate or anger towards someone, there is some weight on you. Any kind of grudge for someone can be hazardous for you. It makes you weak from inside. When you feel that somebody has done something wrong to you, you start feeling sad or feel like a victim. In order to forget and let go, learn to forgive the ones who have disappointed you in the past.

5. Handle obstacles

In different phases of life, you will face different kind of obstacles. You have to believe that there is no obstacle so big to stop you. Be confident enough that you can do it and don’t make yourself indulged in any kind of controversies.  Think positive to attract positive things in your life.

Image Source:  openheartedrebel.com

Need A Break from A Stressful Week? Turn to Your Favorite Comfort Food

Food is one of the greatest pleasures of life. The sheer pleasure of sitting down with a plate of your favorite foods, combined with a related activity that ranges from the highly social (sharing a meal with others) to the ultimately antisocial (curling up alone with a movie, TV show, or a book), is unrivaled by any other activity. And the fact that humans are required to engage in this activity on average three times a day in order to survive: food is truly marvelous.

What Defines a Comfort Food?

Some foods are inherently calming and comforting, and sometimes it all comes down to relative temperature. A hot bowl of soup on a cold winter’s night, for example, warms your heart while literally warming your stomach. A tall icy glass of lemonade on a scorching summer’s day has the same effect but in a completely opposite way.

Other foods provide comfort for emotional or sentimental reasons. Did your mother used to give you a certain food when she was pleased with you? Perhaps you’d be treated to pizza or French fries if you brought home a good report card, or perhaps a cosy, happy family meal always included apple pie for dessert. It makes sense that these foods still hold special meaning for you.

There’s nothing wrong with reaching for comfort foods when you need a little pick-me-up, or when you want to reward or treat yourself. If your comfort food of choice is a particularly sinful one – high in calories, fat, or salt – then it’s a good idea to saver your comfort foods for when you really need them, and make a point of sticking with a healthy diet the rest of the time. The U.S. Government has a range of information on its Dietary Guidelines to help you adhere to a healthy eating plan most of the time.

On the other hand, if you have room to move in your quest for comfort food, you may be surprised to learn that there is a wide variety of comfort foods that won’t set your diet and healthy eating plan back too far.

Comfort Foods with Superpowers

Fried Rice with Quinoa

If fried rice is your ultimate comfort food, switch up the rice with superfood quinoa for a more filling, higher protein version of the classic favorite. Check out the recipe here.

Turkey

What’s the holidays without turkey? For many people, turkey conjures images of family togetherness and holiday cheer. Thankfully, turkey is actually an excellent source of protein, and a surprising mood-booster that has nothing to do with the holidays. L-tryptophan is an amino acid found in most high-protein foods, but turkey has particularly high doses. L-tryptophan encourages the production of serotonin, your body’s natural “happy drug” that regulates your mood.

Cashews and Other Nuts

Nuts are an interesting comfort food. Whether the attraction comes from their natural crunch and saltiness, or whether there are underlying happy memories associated with shelling and eating raw peanuts or roasting chestnuts on a wintry night, remains to be seen.

Luckily, nuts are full of protein and are truly filling, making them a wonderful food for anyone to enjoy. Cashews in particular are an excellent source of zinc and, with research from Oregon State University suggesting that 12% of people in the United States are zinc deficient, it’s something to keep in mind.

Comfort for The Sake of Comfort

Chocolate
For many people, chocolate is the ultimate comfort food. While there are admittedly some health benefits from eating chocolate – such as the antioxidants contained in dark chocolate that can lower blood pressure and assist with mood regulation – generally it’s the taste, creamy texture, and sugary goodness that draws people directly to chocolate.
If chocolate is your comfort food, don’t fight it, but do try to limit your quantities. It’s better to allow yourself a few squares of chocolate when you really feel like it than to eat a whole block in one go and regret it later.

Pizza and Salty Fried Food

Do you head straight for a fast food joint when the need for comfort food strikes? You’re not alone. There’s a reason why the fast food formula works, and a lot of it comes down to consistency. You can walk into almost any fast food chain in America, order your “usual,” and it will come out the same.
There aren’t too many redeeming features in pizza and other salty fried food, so save these comfort foods for a treat and try to choose another, slightly healthier comfort food for other days.

What Are Your Favorite Comfort Foods?

Now it’s your turn. Grab your favorite comfort food, have some mouth wipes at the ready, and comment below to let us know which foods you turn to when you need to indulge. And don’t forget to share this article with your favorite foodie friends!

Resources
7 Healthy Comfort Foods To Help You De-Stress Without Gaining Extra Pounds
11 Healthy Ways to De-Stress With Food
27 Comfort Foods That Are Actually Good For You
The 25 Best Comfort Foods, In Order 

5 Powerful Ways Meditation Can Change Your Life

Show of hands – don’t you think our difficult experiences always cause us to deeply ponder how we got there? Those experiences may not have been the most favourable circumstances to begin a meditation in the first place – but it is true that the moment we sit down and genuinely think about what has happened is crucial in helping us move forward, overcome pain, and ultimately find inner peace.

By definition, meditation is “bringing your mind to a calm and peaceful state”. However, meditation is what you make of it and sometimes you need to let yourself rage in emotions before going straight into peacefulness. This goes to show that meditation isn’t strictly limited to calming the mind, but it is a mental outlet that aids in handling uncomfortable emotions, thinking through difficult situations without pressure from outside sources, and overall finding the answers to questions that make life so hard.

In retrospect, the idea of simple thoughts profoundly affecting our lives and actions may seem a bit far-fetched. But truthfully, our actions are a direct result of our thoughts. We are dictated by what we feel and believe in, and we should care to make sure they all come from a good place. Additionally, the complete self-awareness in ourselves and the world around us contributes to our lives in only the most positive ways. Here are five of the many ways meditation can change your life.

 1. You develop a transparent and honest relationship with yourself

Developing self-awareness is one of the most difficult things we can do as human beings. That’s because facing inadequacies head-on and focusing on the present moment may not exactly elicit the fondest of feelings. We are all prone to insecurities and doubts and that is completely okay (and expected). With meditation, you are able to be honest with yourself in a way that you aren’t with others. You have no one’s opinion to rely on but your own. Don’t be frightened by that fact, you’re a lot smarter than you give yourself credit for.

A transparent and honest relationship with yourself enables you to learn and recognize what you deserve and should not tolerate in life. Honesty is powerful because you learn to see yourself and things for what they actually are, causing you to think twice before making a decision, make you choose the right people as friends, and acknowledge everything for what it truly is – just to name a few circumstances. Consequently, you come to understand that the world is a lot more painful, but also more rewarding at the same time.

2. Episodes of anxiety and stress become less severe and intimidating

How often do we go into a panic mode during difficult moments, allowing our bodies to completely surrender to negative emotions? More so than we all like to admit, that’s for sure. With meditation, you can analyze your mind and realize that any trigger of stress or anxiety is temporary and you will get through it. Additionally, you can equip yourself with mental tools to combat these sources of anxiety! You learn that allowing your emotions get the best of you is going to happen sometimes, but being hard on yourself isn’t necessary anymore. Stress is a part of life, just like happiness.

3. Thinking rationally will come naturally over time

You find yourself making more concise, logical, and reasonable decisions. You can roll with the punches of your emotions, knowing that they shouldn’t completely dictate a choice. Not to say that emotions are a concerning element when making a decision – in fact, they might be the last deciding factor in making one. They are only toxic if you let them be, meaning you allow the wild nature of emotions to lead you into expressing an outburst that may actually hurt you and possibly others.

For example, you can scream everything you find wrong about your relationship with your significant other or friend in a violent moment of anger. You may mean everything you say, but does that make things better or damage the relationship? Making a sound choice requires both the equal balance of logic and emotion – therefore, making you understand the best possible choice can be both logical and not regretted.

4. You liberate yourself with emotional freedom

 How many of us are actually afraid of our emotions? It is common to prevent ourselves from feeling everything we actually feel, because we sometimes deem those emotions as useless, embarrassing, or a waste of time. Emotions should never be perceived in an inferior way. We’re human beings and will be prone to emotions no matter how much we try to avoid them. Neglecting emotions would only be detrimental and bottling up what you actually need to express will only make a person feel worse. By meditating on emotions, you can come to acknowledge and appreciate where they come from without judgement and strategize how to handle them.

5. The practices and philosophies of meditation translate into your everyday actions and thoughts

The connection between meditation and your everyday life is a prominent one. The ability to wake up and be grateful for the day, drive to work without raging at a person for not using their turn-signal, and shrugging off an embarrassing moment is self-empowering. In a deeper and personal perspective, meditation can also help one ease the symptoms of a chronic condition, such as mental illness or cardiovascular disease, and overcome addiction. We all co-exist with different lives that include situations and events specific to only our uniqueness of existence.

In conclusion, meditation helps us see life, our emotions, and difficult experiences as allies and opportunities to develop maturity and compassion, rather than enemies and infuriating things we naturally have assumed them all to be in the past.