“Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss. Nothing is as rich. Nothing is more real.”
― Deepak Chopra
To meditate means to bring your awareness to the present moment by getting rid of all the unnecessary thoughts in the mind. In the modern world, a lot of people are living their lives in past resentments and future despair. Meditation is the only way to align your thoughts with your life’s purpose and live a happy and fulfilling life.
A lot of people are missing out by not practicing meditation on a daily basis. Luckily for you, there are some clear signs that can let you know whether you need to add meditation to your daily routine or not. In this post, I have discussed 5 reasons why not doing it is hindering your success in life.
Following are 5 points that will help you determine whether you need to add meditation to your daily routine or not.
1. You have no gratitude
Gratitude is the feeling of gratefulness or thankfulness for the things that you have in your life. Everyone is born with certain fortunes and misfortunes, strengths and weaknesses, wealthy or poor, etc and we have no control or choice over that. Being grateful means to be aware of your current situation and choose to look at the brighter side.
Meditation helps you be present in the moment and enables you to see the world the way it is. For instance, a lot of people return feeling renewed and reinvigorated after a weekend of meditation retreat; this feeling is very important if you want to be grateful for what you have. Most people are too busy achieving their goals or working very hard to pay their bills– which are very necessary things– but without taking strategic breaks, life can get very monotonous.
Since the year 2000, scientists have done a lot of studies on how positive emotions work. And they found that having gratitude creates a sense of well-being and brings maturity in one’s life. With recitation of positive affirmations, this sense of well-being slowly increases and we become happier and peaceful.
So, grab a piece of paper and write down five things you are grateful to have in your life. Read and repeat it every morning and start your day on a positive note.
2. You get caught up in emotions
As humans, we are evolved to respond to our emotions more than logic. This worked perfectly fine until 300 years ago. But in modern times, it’s detrimental to rely only on our emotions and feelings. A balance of emotion and rationale is needed.
Daily practice of meditation can help achieve that balance, and you can live your life without being an emotionally fragile person. Imagine, no more anger or lashing out on your loved ones, handling your clients and co-workers with ease, and no more getting angry at your current circumstances. All this is easily achievable by changing your old habits and adding meditation to your current routine.
A recent study done by Michigan Technological University suggests that just an hour of mindfulness meditation session can help reduce stress and anxiety. Dr. John J. Durocher also confirmed that anxiety in the participants was significantly less after a week of daily meditation practice.
You don’t have to meditate every day for one hour if time is of the essence; just fifteen minutes of mindfulness meditation can help you overcome the emotional blockage. Furthermore, if mindfulness does not suit your liking, there are many other types of meditation techniques available that can also help achieve the same result.
3. You don’t get much work done
Do you feel aversion towards things that need to be done? Do you put work off and distract yourself with things that don’t add much value to your life? It is natural to find ways to minimize effort as we want to use our energy conservatively. But sometimes we knowingly procrastinate and cause ourselves harm in the long run.
You can read books on productivity and how to work smarter etc., but at some point, you need to get your hands dirty and do the actual work. Not meditating can keep you permanently in the beginner phase where you are just thinking about doing something but never attempt to do it.
Meditation increases productively by calming the mind so that instead of worrying about things that can go wrong you can focus on the task at hand and see it through. It gets your attention from your mind to your body. Combined with exercises like yoga or Tai Chi, meditation can increase your productivity by ten folds.
It is best to get your mind right by meditating before work but some people prefer doing in later in the night to alleviate the damaging effects of stress.
4. You don’t sleep well
Does the continuous stream of thoughts stop you from falling asleep at night and you have to resort to coping mechanisms like overeating or binge-watching television series until you fall asleep? And I am sure as a result of staying up late at night, you must have trouble waking up in the morning as well. These are common problems faced by living a stressful and competitive life; which most of us are used to living.
Meditating just before going to bed can help you fall asleep faster. Any kind of deep breathing technique done correctly at night time will not only help you get relaxed sleep but also help you quickly get out of the bed in the morning. It’s very common to feel tired after getting up in the morning especially if you worked very hard the day before. Daily meditation practice will help you wake up in the morning well-rested and relaxed.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a technique practiced very widely in western countries by people who need a quick and easy way to fall asleep. In this technique, the person suffering from insomnia is supposed to lie down in a sleeping position and focus on each of his/her muscle group by slightly tightening and relaxing them. It is based on the fact that the mind can only be calm if each part of the body is relaxed and loose. Moreover, it doesn’t take too long to be done. With this type of meditation, you can easily feel deeply relaxed after just ten minutes of doing it.
5. You consume too much caffeine
Do you start your day with a cup of coffee? Can you go without having coffee for a week? How will it affect your day? Most people who habitually drink coffee or any other caffeinated beverage to get their day started will find it almost impossible to quit. Caffeine definitely provides a quick burst of energy upon its immediate consumption but the effects are very short term and also harmful if the intake is unregulated.
Moreover, the sudden crash after the effect of caffeine wears off is unbearable for most people and it makes them crave more caffeine. This is a very common side-effect of most of the spot-fixes that seem to help for a while but are detrimental in the long run.
Meditation can help you become free from the dependence on coffee to get things done. As you will be naturally feeling fresh and energetic, you will feel less need for things like coffee, cigarettes, soft drinks, etc.
To summarize this post, meditation is definitely not the be all and end all solution to all these 5 problems. But with meditation, you can gain enough consciousness to resolve them with a calm and composed mind. Meditation can be performed for 20 minutes in the morning or at night before going to bed, or even both times.
How Thinking Critically Changes Your Life for the Better
Critical analysis can be defined as the ability to judge an issue by taking into account all factors that affect the process and outcome of the issue. A person with the ability to think critically will be able to calmly analyze from more than one perspective without letting personal preferences interfere judgment.
So, how does thinking critically make life better? For starters, it can enable you to understand topics more deeply, make you a star performer in your job and allow you to be more open and tolerant of people who hold beliefs which are quite contradictory to your own.
Understand, Don’t Just Learn
One of the first things you notice after embracing critical thinking is that you are able to understand subjects much better. A normal learning process involves reading a subject and memorizing it. On occasions, you may also understand the subject logically.
“Critical thinking takes you beyond such basic processes and enables you to understand the subject in a way that you begin seeing its implications across multiple areas.”
For example, if you are learning economics, you may come across a concept which states that the scarcity of a product raises its value, while the easy availability of a product decreases it. Now, a person without any critical thinking ability can only see its applicability in the field of economics, and will probably only be employed in that field.
But someone who can think critically will see the applicability of the theory of demand in other areas, which might at first seem unrelated. For example, they might observe that people who have grown without love from parents may hold love to be very important in their lives.
In this case, love is the commodity, the scarcity of which, increased its value. And such insights are only possible because the person had critical thinking abilities which enabled him or her to apply knowledge gained from one subject to other areas.
This concept was explored in Richard Paul and Linda Elder’s Critical Thinking Development: A Stage Theory, in which they proposed that children who have higher critical thinking abilities are able to understand subjects at a deeper level and connect ideas across multiple disciplines.
If there is one thing that contributes to a lack of tolerance in the world, it is the absence of critical thinking. Intolerant ideas are the products of narrow viewpoints which are unable to accommodate other perspectives, especially those which run counter to them.
As an article on tolerance and critical thinking notes, when people surround themselves with those who only share their views, critical thinking can suffer and they can end up thinking that only their viewpoint is the absolute reality.
A person of a specific spiritual belief may be against another person’s belief, refusing to believe it as equally valid as their own. A person who identifies with a particular sexual identity may hate those who live with a completely opposite inclination. There are many such examples of intolerance.
Critical thinking expands your ability to observe and accept other people’s views and beliefs. For example, if you are a religiously intolerant person, then critical thinking will make you see that the other person’s way of worship is not so different from yours since both of you are essentially praying to a divine power for the good of people you love.
And when you start accommodating the other viewpoint, any intolerance you feel will begin dissolving and you become more forbearing.
Developing Critical Thinking
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Developing the ability to think critically is no easy task. It requires you to slowly give up your preconceived notions and start making value-based judgments on events based on merit. For people who have grown with a strong set of prejudices, this can look impossible.
And even if you think you have developed a strong ability to think critically, you will still have to deal with the paradox of critical thinking, where you may not be able to decide whether you have arrived at a conclusion because of careful analysis or whether you have fooled yourself into thinking that you had done a critical analysis.
But whatever paradoxes you may face, one thing is for certain – it is far more beneficial for you to be able to think critically than not being able to. And as such, putting in the effort to be a solid critical thinker is well worth it.
When you start thinking critically and from various perspectives, the range of thoughts increase. More thoughts aren’t necessarily a catalyst for decision making. Hence, have your starting points and intentions in the right place, and decisions will be easier to make and you won’t get into analysis paralysis.
5 Ways to Turn Around Your Mindset
I have some bad news. The only thing holding you back from achieving everything you want is YOUR mindset. Not society, not laws, not your family, or your circumstances, it’s YOU! The biggest achievers in the world weren’t born with a silver spoon or with supernatural powers; they were mortals, many from underprivileged backgrounds or having insurmountable circumstances. Yet, they reached heights and became role models.
Now, the good news- it’s never too late to change your mindset. And, you don’t need any psychological counseling or mentoring for this. The power lies within you. Here are five superpowers you possess that can help change your mindset and make you the person you want:
1. Power of Belief
What we believe is what we become. All brilliant innovations started as an idea. People who conceived them believed in their ideas even when others didn’t. So should you. Believe that you are unique and that you can achieve anything you set your mind on.
Self-belief is a powerful defense in the face of adversity. It keeps you motivated and even bullish in pursuit of your goals. There is no dearth of challenges or critics. But let them not pull you down. Believe in yourself and in a higher power that is working towards making your dreams come true.
2. Power of Clarity
Our thoughts become actions and things. Do you have objective clarity about your goals? Not what your family wants or what society expects, but what you REALLY want. You’ll be surprised to know that you’ve been programmed- conditioned to act according to others’ expectations.
What use are time and effort spent in pursuing what doesn’t matter to you and what won’t make you happy? Rather, invest energy in attaining your goals. You can’t pursue a target that doesn’t exist. So define your objectives and their anticipated timeline, and then persevere to get them, no matter what!
3. Power of Positivity
Things happen for a reason. If you believe good things will happen, the whole universe conspires to make it possible. And this isn’t a cliché or an idealistic thought. Consider a situation where you’re going for an interview and despite feeling that you’re underqualified for the job, you bolster yourself with positive thoughts.
You think about your accomplishments and your strengths. You look back at your journey and fill yourself with pride on how far you’ve come. Things start falling into place. You reflect confidence and feel equipped to handle all challenges. You may not know everything but you’re willing to learn and grow. And that’s always a positive- an asset for any organization.
For cultivating a positive mindset, surround yourself with positive people- those who believe in you or have overcome difficulties. Their mindset is contagious. Stay away from negativity, criticism, fear, and overthinking.
4. Power to Forgive
This is not easy. It takes years of practice. We are often very hard on ourselves when things go awry. A failed marriage, a setback in business, dysfunctional relationships, or other tumultuous situations lead us to blame ourselves. Or we end up shifting the blame to another person or circumstance. In either case, we harbor a lot of negative energy that consumes our positive mindset.
Stop beating yourself and blaming others for things going wrong. Take responsibility for your actions, their outcomes, and ultimate consequences. In a perilous situation, accept that things could have been different had your attitude or response been different.
But this should not become a reason to loathe yourself. Learn your lessons and move on. If others are responsible for the debacle, they might be battling with their own demons. There’s really no need to dwell on negative situations.
5. Power to Love Yourself
We don’t mean to preach narcissism but invaluable self-love. Do you love your company? Are you sparing some ME time in busy routine? Most successful people have mastered the work-life balance equation. They have sacred morning rituals that revolve around mental, spiritual, and physical cleansing. Why is it so?
This is because you are your best friend, your ally, and your own army. If you don’t invest time in nurturing your mind, body and soul, it’s incomprehensible how you’ll handle your work, life, business, and the world. It’s quite easy to get lost in the rigmarole of daily pressures and routines and neglect ourselves. That’s why self-love has to be imbibed in the very fabric of your life; it’s non-negotiable and even sacred. Do things that you enjoy, lose yourself in the moment, quit worrying about everything, and don’t ever feel guilty about it. I promise you’ll feel sheer delight.
Changing your mindset will take deliberate efforts. It won’t happen overnight. Have patience but keep practicing. The very fact that you’re reading this post is a positive sign that you feel a need to transform. That’s a great beginning. Now, take it step by step and you’ll reach the finish line, slowly but certainly. And don’t forget to pat your back when you do!
5 Decisions That Can Fill Your Life With Regret
There will be moments in your life when you will have to make tough choices; when you will have to sacrifice something in order to get something else. While most such decisions do not usually create any long-term problems, this is not true in all situations. You might make certain decisions that can push you into depression years down the line. In this post, we look at five such typical decisions that have the power to fill your life with regret.
1. Neglecting your passion
Many people often choose to sacrifice their passion in favor of focusing on their careers when transitioning from their teenage years into adulthood. And this can eventually prove to be extremely devastating for some people.
A human being is essentially a creature of passion, filled with hundreds of ideas and a will to explore their interests to the full. When this passion is curbed, and the person is forced into doing something that they don’t like, they will ultimately find their life to be boring and stressful. A sense of purposelessness will start to rattle their minds, and many might even end up being depressed.
“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
So, when you are faced with a situation where you have to decide between your passion and your career, never reject your hobbies and interests outright. Continue practicing it in some way or the other, and eventually, you will come to realize how crucial that decision has been to your sense of self.
2. Preferring career over a loving relationship
This is another big mistake that can haunt your life forever – putting your professional life ahead of your relationships. Unfortunately, this is very common in today’s cut-throat competitive world. The excessive focus on career has been identified as one of the single biggest causes of unhappiness and loneliness among adults.
“A career is wonderful but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.”
You must understand that humans are, at the end of the day, emotional beings. A large part of a person’s life is dedicated to satisfying their emotional requirements – the need to be loved, the need to be appreciated, the need to be wanted, and so on, and as such, depriving yourself of such emotional stimulation is akin to damaging the circuitry of a PC and hoping for it to work perfectly.
As a result, you should always ensure that you never sacrifice your relationships in order to advance in your career. Instead, you should learn to manage both of them. Otherwise, you might end up feeling lonely and depressed in the middle age, blaming yourself for the times you brushed aside your relationship commitments in favor of work.
3. Holding grudges
It is said that hatred not only destroys the object but also the person who holds hatred within. And sadly, it is true. In some cases, the grudge you hold will only end up destroying you while the other party walks away unaffected.
This is why it is very important that you learn to never hold any grudge against anyone. But if you do hold a grudge, then it is possible that your hatred for the person will turn into an obsession. You will slowly start losing focus on enjoying and living your life to the fullest. Instead, you will start thinking of how to harm the other person. This is a disturbing mentality that will negatively affect all your relationships.
“Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head.”
Learn to let go of any hatred against anyone, no matter how much harm they have done to you. However, not hating does not mean that you forget what the other person did to you. It simply means that you have removed them as the focus of your life. That’s all. But, if you decide to dedicate most of your life in trying to bring down the other person, then you will essentially lead a miserable life.
4. Being stuck at a desk job
With the way the current job environment has shaped up, it is very likely that you might be engaged in work that will mostly require you to sit on a chair all day long. While this might feel extremely comfortable in the beginning, you will quickly realize how boring, monotonous, and harmful it can be.
The biggest negative effect of a desk job will be on your health. Just sitting for eight hours every day for many years will definitely cause some health issues. This is why it is important that you don’t get sucked into the appeal of a desk job.
“Give a man health and a course to steer, and he’ll never stop to trouble about whether he’s happy or not.”
-George Bernard Shaw
The best way to deal with this is to join a gym and start a workout regimen so that you keep yourself physically fit. But, if you choose to avoid exercising thinking that it is a waste of time, then you will have to face several health issues in the future. Even if you are busy, it is important to include self-care into your routine.
5. Adding on the debt to ‘enjoy’ life
It is normal for people to fall into debt under the pretext of enjoying their lives. Someone might pile up on his/her credit card debt due to their excessive affinity for expensive clothes; others might take longer-term debts to go for vacations around the world; some might even take a loan on their home to buy a BMW. Whatever may be the case, you have to understand that the extreme focus on enjoying life even at the risk of falling into debt is a very bad decision.
As you become older and enter your forties, all the debt you have piled up during the younger years will now be a burden. And you will be trapped, having to repay all those debts at a time you should be carefully planning your retirement. In the worst case scenario, you may even have to retire with little to no savings.
“A simple fact that is hard to learn is that the time to save money is when you have some.”
So, learn to control your desires and only indulge in them to the extent that you don’t end up taking debts to satisfy those desires. By doing so, you will never have to live a dissatisfied life or regret the poor financial decisions you took in your younger days.
Being mindful is really important when it comes to decisions that can impact your life for a longer term. Whenever making big decisions, try to take a pause and think about it with all the pros and cons and how it will affect your life. When you do that, instead of taking impulsive decisions, it will become easier to make decisions that won’t make you feel regret.
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