Tag Archives: Self Improvement

Yoga Meditation: start changing your life today

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“Yoga meditation is about quieting a busy mind,’ says Wade Imre Morissette,” [Best Health]

When I started yoga a few years back, I envied  my instructor SO much. He had this aura of absolute calm around him. He spoke softly, slowly and seemed in total control of his thoughts. I would glare at him with green envy while he went serenely about the business of teaching a bunch of old ladies to bend and stretch the old limbs into weird positions.

My mind has NEVER been quiet. I always have a thousand things running through it: what to make for lunch/dinner, where to buy wool for my crochet group, what to tell my next client, how to get funding for my charity. On and on, a constant rumble of ideas, memories, reminders, not to mention those ‘eureka’-thoughts that popped up now and then. In the end it turned out that calming all this chaos in my head was the more difficult part of yoga class. The bending and stretching I did without trouble (oh, I did fall over a few times), but that meditation part…eish!

After much giggling (mostly me), frowning (the rest of the class) and sighing (my ever serene instructor), I finally got it right. After about 6 months (YES SIX!). And boy, how it changed my life. I learned to treasure those moments of utter stillness. Meditation is like cultivating a ‘dream garden’ to which one can return to once in a while to recharge your ‘batteries’.

I noticed that, after half an hour of meditation, sometimes only 15 minutes, I can make sense of all those thoughts and ideas rushing through my mind. It is almost as if meditation causes the thoughts to behave, to stand in line, so that I can tackle each one in turn. These days, if I feel overwhelmed by the craziness of life, I switch off my computer, put my phone on silent and breathe. For just a few  minutes I take a quick stroll through my dream garden. It works like a charm.

Being a lifelong sufferer of insomnia,  I decided to put aside some time for meditation at night, just before bedtime. I’ve been sleeping like a baby ever since. I wake up rested and feeling in control of my life and my thoughts.

I don’t think I will ever be able to achieve my teacher’s serenity, but through his example and calm instruction, I’ve managed to change my daily life from a wild dash to a gentle trot.

Feel like giving it a shot? Why not have a look at this brilliant article, published in Reader’s Digest’s Best Health Magazine? Don’t worry, they explain everything in great detail and you will see, you CAN do it. It may take time, but the article shows you how to begin slowly and, after a bit, you will find yourself wandering your own little ‘dream garden’! I challenge you to try it.

Remember: “Considering that serious yogis spend a lifetime honing the art of meditation, there’s no sense in pressuring yourself to perfect your own meditation technique after just a few sessions.” [Best Health] You see! All you have to do is keep on trying and you WILL reap the benefits. I can vouch for that. So, why wait! Read the full article here.

SOURCE:

Best Health Magazine.  Yoga meditation: A beginner’s guide.  [Web:] bit.ly/2sSLDEP  [Date of Access:]  June 21, 2017.

* Image source: Best Health

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“Who am I?” question answered

By Deepak Chopra, MD [via The Chopra Foundation]

Not many people reflect philosophically on the age-old question, “Who am I?” For practical purposes, everyday life depends on accepting the self that gets up in the morning, eats breakfast, and goes off to work. This makes it seem as if “Who am I?” is a given. But in fact, it isn’t. You are shifting unconsciously from one persona to the next all the time. There is tremendous importance in this fact, because the shifting self isn’t the real you.

Continue reading here.

SOURCE:

CHOPRA, Deepak Dr.  2017. A surprising answer to “Who am I?”  [Web:] The Chopra Foundation.  [Date of Access:]  June 14, 2017.

science20spirituality

NewYear, NewBeginning

I’ve seen the phenomena many times; people come to see the counselor/psychologist for whatever reason. Diagnosis is often anxiety or depression, which is quite correct, but what many individuals fail to understand is that the root of many of their problems lie in the choices they have made themselves.

Life is about choices, and granted, sometimes making such choices take some chemical intervention. Less anxiety, better choices….making certain choices can be really hard, but the bottom-line is, they are CHOICES. You can decide to cut off connections with a poisonous friend or to stop drinking alcohol, smoking, negative thinking, whatever your vice maybe. Whether you need the support of a professional and a pill or two, well, that is also entirely up to you. In the end, you see, you have the power to change your life, whether you believe it or not.

The problem is, people rarely take responsibility for their own miserable dispositions. They blame it on colleagues, exes, family members, past traumatic events, illness, and so forth. All these are valid reasons to be depressed, yes, and you may have been completely innocent of causing any of these bad events and/or relationship break-ups, but you are still responsible for your own decision to cling to it. I understand that letting go is never easy, therefore you have the option to get help; someone you can talk to who can guide you through your healing process.

Why not decide today to take back control of your life, reclaim your power and move forward, leaving those old hurts behind. Trust me, you CAN, yes, you cannot change the past, it is done, but you can decide today to change your future.

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Come on friends, life can be such a beautiful adventure, a wonderful and precious gift, don’t let old grudges, pains and sorrows it away from you. And if you need help? Don’t ever be embarrassed to reach out; talk to somebody.

This then is my challenge to all: don’t let the past steal your joy, close the door on it and start living YOUR life with gratitude, peace and happiness.

IMAGE SOURCE:

COLEMAN, Chrystal.  2012.  Persephone Magazine: Positivity Challenge Week 7: Staying Positive at Your Non-Ideal Job.  [Web:] http://bit.ly/2iXoEQZ  [Date of Access:] January 10, 2017.

VIDEO SOURCE:

MIND INNOVATION.  2014.  Excuses and Negativity – Inspirational Video. [Web:] https:

10 Habits To Make You A Calmer Person

If you’re like me, always running from point A to B, constantly rushing things, categorizing and re-ordering my thoughts and, of course, those endless lists….tasks to be ticked off, done and re-done and the checking up on people….mind-blowing. I simply flop into bed each night, exhausted but unable to fall asleep, for fear that I’ve missed something urgent during the day and those thoughts…sometimes I’m sure my husband can HEAR me think.

There were times in my life that I wish I could just switch off, like a robot, and reboot myself into a calmer frame of mind. I’ve tried yoga, and yes, it did indeed work a little, but I think my instructor heaves a sigh of relief when I say my goodbyes. I can be exhausting!

So when I read these tips by Jacqueline Stone, author for MindBodyGreen.com, I thought….yes, this is just the thing.

Jacqueline says: ‘’Truly calm people are a rare and exotic species that you can learn a lot from. Learn their common behaviours and attitudes, and you too can become an expert in responding to everyday stress and frustrations.” [MindBodyGreen]

Have a read, you may also benefit from these:

[Do read the full article here.]

  • Take a walk…walk the dog, walk to the store, walk for fun.
  • Don’t rush things; give yourself plenty of time when you have an appointment. Do not wait until the last minute to finish a task….not rushing will probably mean you do a better job too.
  • Prioritize self-care; think good nutrition, exercise, sleep….do not be tempted to let anything get in the way of taking care of your health.
  • Use routines; plan ahead, meals, what to wear, daily programmes….this is not only meant to provide security for children, it can also give adults a sense of calm purpose to know where they are going and what they are going to do.
  • Practice being in the moment; enjoy the now….try meditation, gardening, anything to take your mind of daily stressors and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy…..life must not simply pass by, be in the moment and love your life.
  • Use your phone judiciously; do not let your phone rule your life. Most of us use our phones these days as an extension of our body, always brandishing it like a weapon, forever being interrupted by calls. Make a point to answer only when you HAVE to and do turn that phone off from time to time. If your boss calls you at midnight, well, you are NOT on the job and I’m sure that file can be collected in the morning.
  • Self-regulate and exercise healthy boundaries; learn to say no. Stop worrying that people will think you’re lazy or that people would like you less if you refuse to be available 24/7. If people don’t have respect for your boundaries, they are, in fact, not really friends. Make time for yourself and for the people close to you….be with the people that add value to your life.
  • Always understand that life is not perfect, that things can (and probably will) go wrong sometimes. You can plan all you want, but be prepared that things will not always work out the way you want to. If it doesn’t, it is not the end of the world, adapt your plan, go with the flow.
  • Connect with world in a meaningful, authentic way; spend some time with a precious family member, call a parent, spend some time in charity work. Do something every day that has nothing to do with making money or increasing your social standing, do something that has value, that can bring purpose and meaning to your life.
  • Embrace your small place in the world; accept and embrace your responsibilities at work or within your family and remain aware that there is more outside of your little circle of peace. Be happy, content and thankful that you have your place in the universe, but do not take yourself too seriously. While you remain aware of others and their needs, do not carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Do what you can for others, but keep in mind that you alone cannot change the world.

I am sure that, by practicing these behaviourisms, we A-types will be able to bring about a sense of calm in our lives. It is only when we are kind to ourselves, that we will be able to reach out and help others with true compassion.

Now, where’s my diary, time to make a list of things to calm me down!

Source:

10 Everyday Habits To Make You A Calmer Person – mindbodygreen.com

6 Spiritual Practices To Balance Your Emotions

Via @MindBodyGreen

By #Jennie Lee

6 Spiritual Practices To Balance Your Emotions

(Excerpt) ‘’Up and down … up and down. Isn’t this how we feel most of the time? We fluctuate between feeling good and bad, happy and sad. We like this and dislike that. We try to attract joy and we attempt to avoid suffering. We act and react, over and over again …

These opposite states of experience are described in yoga philosophy as obstacles along our path to freedom….

Raga and dvesa are among the five kleshas or blocks that Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras identifies as states of being that contribute to our spiritual ignorance (avidya). Until we can bring these emotional fluctuations under conscious control, we are at the mercy of our preconditioned patterns.

According to the Yoga Sutras, the purpose of yoga is to still the fluctuations of the mind to perceive our true nature. We will never be able to dwell within our changeless essence if we are always tossed around by that which changes, otherwise known as the ego self.

We must practice even-mindedness to overcome our tendencies to move toward raga or dvesa.’’

Click here to read about the six spiritual practices to help balance your emotions and leave you more even-keeled.

6 Spiritual Practices To Balance Your Emotions

How To Stay Motivated When You’re Not In The Mood To Do Anything

Via @MindBodyGreen

@MindBodyGreen @alignyourlife How To Stay Motivated When You’re Not In The Mood To Do Anything

BY AMITA PATEL 
APRIL 4, 2015

No matter how motivated we consider ourselves as people, there are always going to be times when are less than excited to take action.

Maybe sitting on the couch sounds more appealing than going for a run. Maybe the overwhelm of a large project prevents you from taking that first step, so you decide to “start tomorrow.” Or maybe it’s a more abstract lack of motivation, and you feel unable to focus on your true passions and desires.

To get down to business, it’s a good (and practical) idea to actually stop and think about what makes some people seemingly better able to stay focused, organized, and goal-oriented. Is it superior self-control? Do they have more motivation muscles? Are they inherently more inspired?

The answer to all of these questions is no. So why do we struggle with this issue?

·         Most of us were never taught these skills. Sure, I know how the capitals of the fifty states and I can hold my own in long division, but the skills associated with executive functioning are never formally taught. It’s assumed that you came out of the womb knowing how to manage your time, prioritize and push through discomfort.

·         We don’t plan our time, or if we do, we don’t learn how to stick to the plan.

·         We take on too much and then feel pulled in too many directions.

For most people, fear is the biggest culprit behind our motivation, time-management and general life struggles. Many of us unconsciously believe that we “should” be doing something other than what we want, we procrastinate to avoid pain, or we don’t believe we deserve to take time for ourselves.

The truth is that motivation isn’t about productivity, it’s the failure to use your personal power, giving up your freedom in the process.’ [1]

Click here to read more on how Amita Patel reminds those of us who have self-doubts, fears, those who tend to procrastinate, those of us who eagerly accepts the invitation to slump in front of a television rather getting on with business, that we are responsible for our own vision. In ms Patel’s own words, she wants to: ‘remind them of the reasons why they wanted to stop playing small in the first place.[1]

Find full article here.

SOURCE:

[1] Patel, Amita. 2015. How to stay motivated when you’re not in the mood to do anything. [Web:] www.mindbodygreen.com  [Date of Access:] 6 April 2015

@MindBodyGreen

 

  

The 10 Easiest Ways To Reduce Stress

Via @MindBodyGreen by Domonique Bertolucci

The 10 Easiest Ways To Reduce Stress

Ugh, life can be SO stressful! I mean, here we are, only in the second month of the new year and we are already totally frazzled.

Can you remember the festive season? The peaceful thoughts you had over Christmas? Somehow I suspect that the huge parties thrown over New Year’s can be the culprit (though not in all cases, of course….some people just don’t party so hard!). The moment you landed back behind your desk, your life turned upside down again. Same-old-same-old and ….worse.

Well, do I have a few nice tips for YOU! Now, I am not one to hold any person to new year’s resolutions (I don’t believe in them myself – they are usually meant to be broken, causing endless self-chastising. In the end, the only trip you take in the new year is a guilt trip!)….however….I do suggest that you give these few pointers a try. They are easy as pie…anyone can do it and it is quite possible to actually de-stress yourself. YES, IT IS REALLY THAT EASY!

Have a look at what Domonique Bertolucci says in her article for Mind Body Green:

Click here for full article.

About 10 years ago, I made the decision to simplify my life. Initially this was driven by logistics, as my husband and I had moved from London to Sydney, and into a tiny apartment with absolutely no storage. But soon keeping my life simple and as stress free as possible became a way of life.

With morning walks by the harbor and a short stroll from the bedroom to the living room as my daily “commute,” I had plenty of time both to think and not think, and for the first time in years I found myself with a calm and quiet mind.

After the toxic cocktail of adrenaline and cortisol that had been coursing through my veins during my past life in the corporate world, this new state could only be described as bliss.

I’ve long given up the pseudo-excitement of a high-stress life and I am so much happier and healthier for it.” (MindBodyGreen, 2015 Feb, 3)

Here are 10 easy ways you can reduce the stress in your life:

1. Live in the moment.

Just because there are still things you want to do or have doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your life as it is right now.

2. Recharge your batteries.

When you live a busy life, it’s important to take time out to unwind. Regularly.

3. Learn to say no.

Don’t try to be all things to all people. It’s OK to say “no” sometimes. In fact, it’s OK to say “no” whenever you want to.

4. Do your best.

Stop trying to be perfect. There really is no such thing as perfection. It’s entirely subjective, which makes it an impossible goal.

5. Learn to breathe.

Not only is worry exhausting for your mind, it also has a debilitating effect on the body. When you find your mind turning and churning, stop for a moment and feel the effects these cyclical thoughts have on your body.

6. Dump your endless to-do list.

Stop worrying about all the things you should be doing, procrastinating about the things you don’t want to be doing or kicking yourself for things that you should have done.

7. See the upside.

There will always be two ways to see everything you experience in life: the upside and the downside.

8. Clear the clutter.

It’s much easier to have a calm, clear mind when you live in a calm, clear environment, so don’t hold onto things you don’t want or need.

9. Have a power-down.

Cast your mind back to a time before voice mail, texts and instant messages were a part of everyday life. Back then, if a person couldn’t get a hold of you when they wanted to, they simply tried again later. It doesn’t have to be so different now

10. Spend time with the people you love.

 

At the end of your life it won’t matter if you earned a lot of money, got a promotion, had a tidy house or were the perfect size six. What will matter is that you lived a life filled with love, laughter and joy……continue reading – Click here

Click here to read more about the author: Domonique Bertolucci

Dominique Bertolucci

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