“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.
5 Tips to Increase Your Focus
Low attention span or difficulty in focusing is becoming a common problem for many. With so many entertainment options readily available, it has become easy to be distracted and to procrastinate. Our work takes the hit and that, in turn, makes us feel bad. Instead of dismissing your lack of focus as something you have to deal with, learn to increase it.
Like our body, our mind needs exercise too. The areas we consider to be weak can be built up if we put our mind to it. Just because our focus isn’t as strong as we would like it to be, doesn’t mean you have to accept the fact and do nothing about it. Try to better it. There are things, practices, and exercises that if done regularly, can help you increase your focus.
If you didn’t know, meditation has different types that focus on different areas. Mindfulness meditation can help you boost your attention span significantly. Not only that, meditation in itself can help you relax, and become calm and collected. Now, that your mind has relaxed and is free of a thought jumble, it becomes easier to focus on things that actually matter.
Meditation for just 10 to 20 minutes a day will help you increase your focus and attention span. Start your mornings by focusing on your breathing for a few minutes, followed by your meditation ritual. You can also do some light breathing exercise just before doing something that requires focus to clear your mind.
2. Include practicing mindfulness in your day
While mindfulness meditation helps you become more aware and helps increase your focus. Practicing mindfulness throughout your day will help you fight distractions and focus on the tasks at hand. Mindfulness simply is being very attentive to every aspect of the task you are doing, and also noticing every small detail about your task.
It can seem like it isn’t easy, but it is. What I do is that I imagine I am writing about whatever I am doing – not informative writing but descriptive. So, suppose I am eating my lunch, I will pay attention to the cutlery, the color of my food, the smell, the taste, the texture of each ingredient. I will focus on chewing and swallowing, on the feeling it gives rise to.
What we usually do is that we focus on distractions while eating, and our primary task somehow becomes secondary. Our focus shifts towards our phones or the shows we are watching. This is what happens with many of our tasks.
3. Don’t listen to music while working
Many of us have the habit of listening to music while working on something. While it helps people most of the times and can be a good thing, it does the opposite for people with poor focus. If you know the song, then you are most probably going to sing along, and that stops you from giving your all to the task at hand.
Let’s say you are doing something that is going to be using the same parts of your brain, then will doing those things together make sense? No, right? When you are doing something that uses motor functions like your household chores, then listening to music is fine, but not while reading if you don’t have a high focus level.
4. Build your willpower
Willpower will allow you to ignore distractions like playing songs or using your phone and will help you to stay focused on the task at hand. Consciously saying no to yourself whenever you feel like doing something else is very important and a skill that you should definitely develop if you want to increase your focus level.
Your attention span will be served well with intentionally trying to focus and also having strong willpower isn’t only good for building your focus but also for being productive. At the end of the day, what you do or do not do boils down to your willpower, saying no to distractions depends entirely on your willpower.
5. Increase your focus gradually
Like any habit, you need to start slow. Like when starting exercise, you are advised to start slow because your body might not be able to take it, the same goes for anything mental. The best way to stay focused is for you to start using the Pomodoro technique. This lets you start working in bouts so that you can start with a short amount of focusing time.
You traditionally work for 25 minutes and then take a five minutes break. After you have repeated this four times, you can take a longer break. Because you know that you have to work for only 25 minutes, it becomes easier to focus. This is a great way to start out.
All it boils down to is will power and persistence. If you are really dedicated to increasing your focus, then you will find it easier to do things to help. I would say, convincing yourself is the hardest part, so start out by taking small steps. Don’t decide to start being completely focused for the whole day, that isn’t going to happen. Use these tips to slowly but gradually increase your focus.
9 Signs It’s Time To Change Your Mindset
Changing your mindset about money and relationships can be life-enriching and have a massive impact on your life. It can open up virtually limitless opportunities for you in a short period of time. There are clear signs that you can look for to know whether you are going in the right direction in life or not.
Here are 9 signs that let you know that it’s time to change your mindset.
1. You are in denial
Tough circumstances can sometimes take their toll and can make you delusional. People who are in a difficult place in life simple deny that they are unhappy. They pretend as if nothing is wrong and everything is going the way they want it to go. They are in denial. Denial is a primitive defense mechanism that has existed since prehistoric times. You know it’s time to change your mindset when you find yourself denying reality.
2. You feel no gratitude
Being grateful is the quality of being thankful for what you currently have. Having a job, no shortage of food, living in one of the best countries in the world, etc are some of the good things we are blessed to be born with. You should change your mindset if you don’t notice these good things and are too caught up in your own life. Here’s a tip to develop gratitude: Write down five things you already have that you cannot live without.
3. Your relationships are a mess
Relationships have always been key to the survival and growth of human beings as a species. They provide you physical and emotional intimacy. This keeps you sane and functional. If your relationships are a mess, you should take a step back and test the situation. Are you at fault? If yes then think about how you can change and adapt to make your relationships better.
4. You see yourself as a victim
If you find yourself blaming other people or situations and are feeling dreadful all the time, then you may have a victim mindset. Don’t get me wrong. I am not denying that bad things don’t happen to you. But it’s your response to them is what makes you a victim or a victor. Great people like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi had to go through discrimination and atrocities in their life. But they dealt with it with courage and conviction.
5. You are clinging to old friends
There is nothing wrong with staying in touch with your old friends. In fact, old friendships should always be cherished and celebrated. But the problem arises when you cling on the people you know and find it difficult to make new friends. This is because you have gotten too comfortable with what you have and are not willing to risk losing them. You can change your mindset by introducing yourself to 5 new people each week.
6. You feel guilty
Guilt is one of the most disruptive feelings that can turn into poison and destroy your entire life. People usually use it as a weapon against others to get what they want. It is extremely unhealthy to be around a person who is making you feel guilty all the time. Evaluate your social circle and see if there are such people in your group. If you are feeling guilty, you can change your mindset by not blaming yourself for every wrong thing that happens.
7. You are only seeing the dark side
Seeing only the downsides or the negative aspects in a particular thing or a situation is a learned behavior. Most people acquire it early in their childhood from their parents. It’s a symptom of being a part of a dysfunctional family. But everything you learn can be unlearned. You need to become aware of how your negativity is affecting your life. To get motivated and stay motivated in life, you must focus on the positives.
8. You are not learning new things
The day you stop learning new things, you stop growing as a person. Learning and experiencing new things makes us feel alive and awake. No matter how old you are, it is necessary for the development of your brain. Try learning musical instruments, a new sport, board games, new skills at work, etc.
9. Your life is not moving in the direction you want it to go
This is one of the most common dilemmas faced by millennials. They may have everything they want but they still feel unsatisfied with their life. If this sounds like you, you can change your mindset by knowing what you want from life. Don’t just achieve things because it will make others happy. Being better than others might momentarily make you feel good but that feeling is not long lasting.
So, if you think you exhibit one of these signs, you can begin by acknowledging and accepting that there is work to be done. You can seek help from a friend or a therapist to get to the root of the issue and solve it permanently. Most often, talking about your problems itself will lead you to the right solution.
5 Ways To Change Your Perspective During a Crisis
Is your life a constant uphill battle? Do you struggle to achieve your goals? Or maybe you are in a temporary crisis situation that you know will pass soon? Whatever it may be, you can change your circumstance by changing your perspective about everything in life.
Here are the 5 ways to change your perspective during a crisis.
1. Go on a solo backpacking journey
Going on a year-long backpacking trip is one of the best ways to change your perspective about life. Thousands of millennials from countries like the United States, Denmark and Norway have used solo travel as a way to grow and become more mature in a short period of time.
Travelling can make you forget your worries and give you a new perspective on life. As you meet people from different countries and cultures, you will learn how they deal with and overcome their personal problems. Every culture has something interesting to teach. So, book a ticket to Thailand or Cambodia and begin the process of healing today.
2. Get new friends
Almost all successful people I know have a steady flow of new friends and people in their life. Old relationships, no matter how special they are, become stale and toxic as time passes by. By temporarily or permanently distancing yourself from your old friends, you can learn and grow in different directions.
Don’t get me wrong, they might have your best interest in their mind but you will not only realize the things that you are missing out until you expand your social circle. Meeting new and interesting people will help you change your perspective about everything. There is no definitive guide on how to meet new people and make friends, but you can start by going to events and meetups related to the things that interest you.
3. Read books that will shatter your old beliefs
Lack of passion and social awareness are two main reasons why some people continue to stay narrow-minded throughout their life. Imagine how your life would look like if you had no hobbies and friends? How would you feel? If you have found yourself in this situation, you can begin with reading books like “Awaken the Giant Within” by Tony Robbins.
Reading this book will change your perspective about yourself. It will make you realize how worthy you are of success and happiness. Tony has been teaching personal development since he was a teenager. He worked with and learned from the self-help industry giant Jim Rohn. The principles and concepts from this book will make a massive difference in your life.
4. Spend at least 1-hour every day in nature
Everyone knows that walking and trekking in nature has a lot of physical benefits. But it can also powerfully impact the way you think and perceive the world. An average American spends his days working all day in an office. This makes him feel suppressed so he watches television at night to blow off the stress. This lifestyle is detrimental.
Begin by taking a brisk walk every morning in a park. If you are lucky enough to stay in an area surrounded by nature, you can just head out into the woods. This activity releases four primary chemicals in the brain called dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. The release of these happiness hormones will calm your mind and make you think more rationally.
5. Shift your focus on health and nutrition
Focusing on health and nutrition will not only change your perspective but also keep you motivated and happy throughout the day. Of course, you are going to have your bad days too but they will be infrequent. Health and nutrition included things like regular exercise, eating good food, going to bed early, maintain good hygiene, etc.
Summing it up
Being in a life crisis does not mean the end of the world for you. Everyone goes through adversities in life. In fact, your problems and the way you solve them determine the quality of your life. Negative thinking, victimizing yourself and self-loathing are some of the ways a loser tries to justify his/her failure. Becoming aware of these habits will change your perspective on everything in life.
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