4 Simple Ways to Develop Concentration


Many people notice they experience a lot of thoughts during their meditation practice. This is very common. Below are a list of tips to help you develop concentration so you can benefit more out of your meditation practice.

1. Focus on the candle flame prior to the meditation practice

Traditionally, beginners to meditation are taught to focus on the candle flame as an exercise to develop concentration. Light a candle and place it on your meditation table. With your eyes open, gently gaze at the candle flame for a few minutes prior to your meditation practice. When thoughts arise during this exercise, instead of following your thoughts, bring your mind back to the candle flame.

2. Use your physical activities as concentrated exercises

Throughout the day, use the physical activities you are engaging in as concentrated exercises. For example, instead of multitasking while eating your lunch during a work day, take your eyes off the mobile device or computer and just eat. Take a few moments to appreciate your meal. How does your meal smell like? Does the color combination of your meal look pleasing to your eyes? Have a moment of gratitude to the person who has made your meal. Take the first bite of your meal with total concentration and appreciation. How does the meal taste like?

Another example, when washing dishes, treat it as a concentration exercise. Focus on applying the dishwashing liquid on the dishes thoroughly. Use the sponge to fully wash dishes inside and out. Rinse the dishes with water. Feel the water running through your fingers. When your mind drift to something else, bring your mind back to the activity of dishwashing.

3. Do one thing at the time

Take a few minutes to observe how you work. Do you write a document, answer emails, answer instant messages, and facilitate a conference call at the same time? The myth is: the more you multitask, the more you accomplish. The fact is multitasking slows down and prolongs the duration to complete a task. Multitasking is designed for computers and is not for human beings. Focus on doing one task at the time. You will accomplish the task sooner and with higher quality.

4. Developing concentration is a process

Developing concentration is a process. It takes time and patience to master concentration. Develop the power of concentration gradually. As you develop your concentration, you can apply the concentration to the meditation techniques during your meditation practice. Focus on the techniques as hard as you can during your meditation practice. The better you’re able to concentrate, the better you’ll be able to focus on the meditation techniques during your meditation practice.

Not only developing concentration will help you meditate better and be more productive, it will also help you live in the moment. Bill Keane says, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift.” Don’t miss out the possibility of living in the present moment fully.

Your Mind Before, During, and After Meditation


The mind just happens to be one of the biggest obstacles that people face when first starting to meditate. There is no real way to predict what the mind will do. Will it find meditation boring? Will it embrace meditative concepts immediately? Does it sit there and laugh hysterically at the idea you can actually be still for more than 5 minutes?

With a little preparation, you and your mind can come to a consensus as to what meditation should be. Here are some ideas to help you take charge before, during, and after each meditation effort to encourage the mind to cooperate.

Before You Start to Meditate

The best thing to do for the mind is to give it some transition time. It’s very difficult to immediately transition from one task to another. The average amount of time it takes for a person to regain their focus after a transition is 15 minutes. Expecting the mind to “snap to it” instantly to meditate isn’t a reasonable expectation.

Try having a cup of hot tea when you come home. Get out of your work clothes, read a book for a few minutes, and then engage with meditation for a better experience.

During Your Meditation Session

Your mind isn’t just going to shut down when you meditate. The goal isn’t to fall asleep or become a mindless vegetable. You are bridging the gap between your inner and outer consciousness. It’s something that the mind finds exciting and so it kicks thoughts into overdrive.

Expecting all thoughts to cease will often cause people to give up on meditation. Try to recognize each thought that comes from the mind and label it. Listen to what your inner consciousness is trying to say. Restore the friendship that you have with yourself.

Yes – the mind should try to focus on a single point. Deep breathing exercises while monitoring your heartbeat is a great way to being training the mind to accept this change in perception. You’ll notice distracting thoughts will come your way as you do this. Acknowledge that thought, identify it, and then file it away for later.

Most importantly, you must be willing to forgive yourself if your meditation is not what you hoped it would be. It is easy to feel like a failure if personal experiences don’t fit with the instructions. Come back tomorrow and try again.

After You Have Finished Meditating

It can be very tempting to get back into the hustle and bustle of life once you’ve finished meditating Resist that temptation if you can. Let your mind enjoy the peace a little longer. Go take a short walk somewhere. Grab a glass of juice if you prefer. Sit there in the quiet of the moment. Allow your mind to transition back to a faster pace by giving it a little time.

Meditation takes practice. You and your mind will get better at it with every session you make time to have. Take into consideration the before, during, and after periods of this important time and you may just find that meditating doesn’t have to be difficult at all.

Could Your Stress Relief Be Making You Unhappy?

wandering mind

Allowing the mind to wander is often a way to remove oneself from a difficult situation. We can create a fantasy environment where the bad stuff disappears and we are happy. These daydreams can help to fill many voids, but they might also do something else: make us unhappy.

Here’s the problem: daydreams aren’t real life. This makes them more of a distraction than a real coping skill. By allowing the mind to wander without direction, what we’re really doing is equal to watching a couple hours of TV or listening to some songs on the radio. Eventually those problems are going to come back around.

Instead of letting your mind wander and create fantastic daydreams about how things could have been, try these tips to help you make the real moment, the right now, become a more attractive place to be.

#1. Experience this moment. The moment you have right now will never come back again. History is created with every second that ticks off the clock. Every moment has something special about it that deserves to be found. Instead of ignoring these moments by letting the mind wander, consider observing the moments to see the different kinds of perfection it may contain.

#2. Be proactive about resolving issues. When you know a problem is lurking around the corner, it becomes very easy to focus on the problem. You dread the work it will take to resolve the issue. You might even hate the steps required to resolve the issue that is coming up. When you decide to be proactive and take those steps, however, the problem is never as big and the negative feelings are never as strong.

#3. Create a plan. Although some days it doesn’t feel like it, there is always some free time around that can be enjoyed. By creating plans now about what direction our lives should go when this free time can be utilized, there will be a greater joy felt because there is satisfaction in seeing a well-executed plan go your way. This also works for structuring your work day, organizing your schedule, and any other tasks you may need to accomplish.

#4. Take off your shoes. Sometimes just getting back to our roots is enough to bring the mind back to its center. Take your shoes off at some point in the day and feel the ground beneath your feet – though maybe not in a public bathroom! Experience the grass, soil, or carpeting. You’re feeling the foundation of what makes up “you.”

#5. Use your memories to your advantage. Your experiences also help to define who you are. Remembering them and the lessons learned can help you avoid future issues with regret, anxiety, and fear. We all make mistakes. We all choose the hardest path possible sometimes. Once you begin to choose the hardest path over and over again, it’s no longer a mistake. It’s a choice you’re personally making for some reason. Use your time daydreaming to relieve memories, although difficult, so that the future can be improved instead of defined by the past.

Letting your mind wander aimlessly might feel good for a moment or two, but what happens when the stress comes back? Implement these strategies and every day may become a little happier.

Exploring Mindfulness At Work

mindfulness at work

Relaxation at work might seem impossible, but it can be done when mindfulness is involved. When the day just doesn’t seem to be going your way, don’t let the stress wear you down. Find a place where you can experience some peace right there in that bad moment. Here are some simple ways that can help you achieve that calm moment that can make all the difference in the world.

#1. Forgive yourself.

You are your own worst critic. It’s true for all of us. We tend to be harder on ourselves than anyone else around. This makes it very difficult to find any sense of peace because all of your free time is being used to beat yourself up with mental mind punches. The most important thing you can do at work is learn to forgive yourself for the mistakes you’re going to make. Look instead at the positive things you’ve done so far that day. It’s an easy way to take away the negative energy.

#2. Explore the moment.

There is perfection in every moment. Sometimes this perfection is difficult, if not impossible, to see, but it is there. As you’re drawing up your to-do list for the day, considered creating a to-be list at the same time. Set goals for yourself on how you’ll react to negative or emotional moments. Don’t just keep this to-be list in your mind either as writing it down or typing it up can reinforce the goals internally that you’re planning on setting.

#3. Learn to listen.

Most of the communication that humans give one another isn’t verbal in nature. Our body language and tone of voice are just as important as the actual words that are being said. Sometimes the stress that gets experienced at work happens because someone has misread your non-verbal communication. At other times, we haven’t realized what our body language is actually communicating. Close your eyes, listen to what your body is telling you, and take a deep breath. Repeat 3x. You may be surprised at what your body is trying to say.

#4. Make your own luck.

We all have superstitions that we follow to bring about good luck. Some people have favorite pants, socks, or a shirt that they believe will bring them luck. Others won’t wash their favorite shirt for luck. At work, it’s probably better to do the former rather than the latter. Putting on your favorite things works because you make yourself believe that something good is going to happen. This is the first step in a journey of mindfulness where you begin to seek out the perfection in each moment of the day.

#5. Disconnect.

This is absolutely required every day in some way. We are all hyper-connected to each other thanks to the internet today and there comes a time when you need to shut down that noise. Social media, business networking, emails, news alerts, and instant messaging give us virtually no free time whatsoever – even if we’re at home. Try to disconnect for 20 minutes to decompress and make this protected time so you get left alone.

There are ways that mindfulness can be explored at work. Consider these options today and you may just find that a sense of calmness and peace won’t be far behind.

7 Habits of Those Who Are Consistently Happy

Choose Happiness

Happiness really can be a choice that we each make for ourselves every day. We can choose to be happy in all things. Far too often, however, we tend to look at the darker side of life. The people who experience the most happiness are following specific habits right now that can help them take advantage of the power of positivity. Here are the 7 habits you’ll want to consider adding to your life as well.

#1. Confront fear.

Life is too short to be worrying about everything. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to any of us. Instead of trying to hide from fear, those who are consistently happy are willing to confront it head-on. This allows us to gain more knowledge about what makes us be afraid and that knowledge builds confidence. In return, the fears can be conquered.

#2. Let the past go.

We all have regrets. We can’t change our actions from yesterday. We can learn from mistakes so that they aren’t repeated today or tomorrow. Holding onto regret will only cause happiness to stay away for good.

#3. Forgive yourself.

Despite our best efforts, sometimes we wind up making the same mistake more than once. This is because we all learn in different ways. Sometimes the first habit that must be established is the habit of never giving up. Learn to forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made and work hard not to keep repeating them.

#4. Take a risk.

Every choice presents a new opportunity. With more than 20,000 choices made every day, there are plenty of roads to explore. Instead of letting others dictate what choices you should make, follow your own path instead. Pursue a passion. Cultivate a hobby. Go after that dream job. Sometimes the best steps we take on our journey through life are actually leaps of faith.

#5. Create balance.

Is life too busy? Not busy enough? We are in control of our life’s balance, but sometimes we lose sight of that control. Structure your day to let every passion have a chance to grow and happiness will soon follow.

#6. Have a conversation.

Humans are social creatures and it doesn’t matter if you’re an extrovert or an introvert. Have a real conversation with someone. Talk about anything that is important to you. Actively listen so others can do the same. Together you may find depths of happiness within a single conversation that you never imagined could exist.

#7. Trust your intuition.

The only person who really knows you is you. You know what you want. You create plans. You make choices. We just start learning not to listen to our intuition because everyone seems to say that those intuitions are wrong. Trust yourself, trust your intuitions, and the noise of the outside world will fade into the distance.

You can choose to find consistent happiness. You can become the person you want to be every day. These habits will help you to discover your passions and give you permission to pursue them. Now is the day to begin because tomorrow might just be too late.

5 Ways Productivity Improves With Meditation

meditation work

Organizations are turning to meditation like never before thanks to what science is discovering about this ancient practice. When an employee is encouraged to take time from their working day to meditate, many organizations have discovered that their productivity levels per employee increase in return. There are also numerous benefits that will be directly experienced by the employee. Could you benefit from these productivity boosters?

#1. Meditation reduces individual stress levels.

Stress is something that everyone at work experiences at just some level. It’s also something that happens outside of the professional environment. If employees are focused on stress, then they aren’t focused on work. By encouraging meditation, stress levels can be reduced so that a greater focus on the project at hand can be achieved. As a side effect, employees may also notice less tension, lower blood pressure, and other health improvements.

#2. Meditation helps with concentration.

“How would you describe your multitasking skills?” It’s a common interview question because the demands on the average employee are higher than ever before. The only problem is that 98% of workers need time to switch between two different tasks. That time gap can be as large as 15 minutes for some individuals. Through meditation, the brain can transition more quickly between tasks, be able to shut out distractions, and therefore be more efficient.

#3. Meditation improves emotional intelligence.

Being in touch with personal emotions and the emotions of those around them is important to the professional environment. Meditation helps employees get to know themselves better, which then helps them get to know everyone else around them a little better as well. Compassion naturally increases with meditation because people understand each other a little more. This emotional intelligence allows an employee to be more productive because they have more wisdom.

#4. Meditation encourages higher levels of creativity.

It can be difficult for an employee to be creative if they have a mind full of clutter. Racing thoughts and worries cloud the creative process. Meditation is like a strong wind which blows all of that away. In return, an employee can become more creative because their mind isn’t overloaded with other issues that are being processed. In return, the organization will receive new points of view that they may have never encountered before, allowing it to become more competitive within its industry.

#5. Meditation improves health.

This benefit will definitely impact the overall budget. Employees who meditate regularly take fewer sick days when compared to employees who say they don’t meditate at all. It’s a practice that slows down the aging process, strengthens immune function, and can even reduce inflammation. After meditating, employees feel refreshed and ready to take on a challenge.

Meditation helps to calm the mind and from a professional perspective, a calm mind is a productive mind. By having a meditation room or allowing specific break times to encourage meditation, productivity levels could potentially go through the roof.

5 Things About Meditation No One Talks About


Meditation is highly promoted as a cure-all for everything that might possibly cause you physical, mental, or emotional problems in this world. Many are trying it for the first time and discovering that this one-sized-fits-all idea of meditating just doesn’t work. There are some facts about meditation that don’t often get mentioned when talking about all of the benefits that can be achieved, so let’s look at those issues right here.

#1. It isn’t going to be a relaxing experience.

In the future, meditation might be relaxing. For those first few attempts at meditating, it is going to be gut-wrenching and torturous experience. Sitting still or finding a quiet environment for 15-20 minutes seems virtually impossible. Your mind goes everywhere. You begin making a list of things you’d rather be doing. Pretty soon even washing the dishes seems preferable.

Stick with it, don’t get discouraged, and the benefits will come. It’s like exercising again after a long time away from it. It hurts now, but it gets a little better every day.

#2. Your mind doesn’t erase itself.

The idea of having a clear mind is intriguing. That’s because the mind is never really blank. You can’t suppress thoughts. The mind is like a computer that doesn’t ever shut off. You might go into sleep mode, but there are still background processes going on. After all – you’re still breathing and your heart is beating, right?

Instead of trying to create a blank mind, try to identify the thoughts that come your way. The goal is to see the processes of the mind working instead of keeping a clear mind. Don’t suppress. Just observe.

#3. Meditation isn’t all about the lotus position.

There are no set rules for how you must be positioned when meditating. If you don’t like sitting in the traditional lotus position, then try something else so you can be comfortable. You can even meditate with your eyes open if you prefer. As long as the environment has distractions minimized, the opportunity to meditate will present itself no matter where you might be.

There is one exception to this rule: to explore your thoughts and observe the functioning of the mind, it is easier to accomplish this with your eyes closed.

#4. It doesn’t take as long as you think.

Some people talk about how they meditate for at least 60 minutes every day and you think, “Who has time for that?” Maybe some folks can meditate for hours on end and good for them. Don’t judge yourself based on what others do. Even meditating for 5 minutes every day can be of benefit. The goal here is to stop making excuses about why meditation isn’t happening. Throw on some headphones if necessary to drown out the surrounding environment and get to work.

#5. It needs to become a habit eventually.

What would happen if you only ate food once every four days? Or had one drink of water every other day? Eventually the physical body would wear out and mental processes would begin to slow. Meditation helps to feed the spiritual components of your existence. Just as you eat and drink every day, you should meditate every day for maximum benefit.

When you have the full picture of what meditation can do and how it can be implemented, then it becomes a little easier to set reasonable expectations for what you can accomplish with every session. Get started today and you may be surprised at how quickly meditation can become part of your life.

Here’s How You Can Slow Down Those Racing Thoughts


After a long day at work or a busy day with the family, it can be a difficult task to shift the mind into a lower gear. Stressful emotions, excitement, or worries about the next day will all create racing thoughts that can be difficult to control. When the mind is racing, meditation seems like an almost impossible task.

Now here’s some good news: no matter how many racing thoughts you have, there is still an opportunity to slow down the mind so that a level of calmness can be achieved. Here’s how to make that happen.

#1. Identify the source of the agitation.

Whether it is being overwhelmed with commitments, worrying about the next day, or reliving stressful memories, mental agitation is the cause of those racing thoughts. We need to be able to identify the specific triggers that have caused this condition to happen in order to cope with them. Something as simple as background noise can sometimes be what triggers an overactive mind. If you can remove the trigger or settle the issue, the agitation will go away and so will the racing thoughts.

#2. Block out your schedule for meditation.

One of the easiest traps to fall into is over-commitment. Meditation seems like an extraneous activity, so it gets cut out of the schedule. The result? The mind is exposed to even more stress, worry, and guilt – the very fuel needed for racing thoughts. Try blocking out a specific time in your schedule for meditation and then protect it. Make that time be your time. As the mind can decompress, you may find the racing thoughts will begin to slow down.

#3. Anticipating distractions can be more bothersome than real distractions.

If you have kids at home and you’re the only one watching them, then meditating can be difficult even though you’re not being disturbed. This is because the mind is anticipating a distraction. It’s coming up with ways to counter that anticipated distraction as you’re trying to meditate. Even if something doesn’t happen, you can’t focus because you think trouble can come at any moment. You can counter this issue by initiating plans before your meditation time that can resolve the common distractions you may face during your blocked out time.

#4. Slow, deep breaths can help to slow down the mind.

Racing thoughts are caused by multiple distractions and worries. If you can bring the mind to focus on a singular conscious task, then you can begin to slow down the racing thoughts. Deep breaths are a great way to begin a meditation session because it calms the body and provides that focus point.

#5. Get some exercise.

Meditation is a great way to release stress, but so is exercise. If you’re too stressed out to sit still and try meditating, then go out for a walk or some other exercise. This will help the mind process the stressful situation and then you’ll be able to come back to meditate later on in the day.

Racing thoughts can make it really difficult to meditate for even 5 minutes. If you implement these strategies when your mind won’t slow down, then you may find that your meditation time can start to be more productive for you on a regular basis.

Meditation Is the Not-So-Secret Path To Success

guy meditating

We all need time to decompress and gather ourselves over the course of a day. Meditation gives us this chance because it encourages clear thinking, enhances creativity, and helps us maintain emotional balance. Stopping everything for a 20 minute meditation break might seem like a waste of time on the surface of things, but what people have learned is that there is great value in the 20 minute meditation break.

Meditation Doesn’t Have To Be a Spiritual Experience

This might be the biggest misconception of all when it comes to meditation. Although it has roots in spiritual practices, meditation doesn’t have to be a spiritual or religious experience. It can be a business decision that provides someone with an extra level of mindfulness and clarity so profitable thoughts can come forward. There doesn’t have to be any chanting, incense, or music featuring xylophones for meditation to work.

You can just be yourself. You can choose to be in the present moment. You can choose to focus on the solution to a problem instead of the problem itself.

It doesn’t take a special skill set to begin meditating. There are no secrets that only “meditation masters” know that they must teach you in order for meditation to begin. Something as simple as sitting in a quiet moment to observe your thoughts as they come by is basic meditation. Taking a walk and paying attention to your breathing patterns and the feeling of air on your skin is basic meditation. Even sitting under a tree and closing your eyes to enjoy the sounds of nature could count as meditation.

You Don’t Need To Make a Large Time Investment

If the alarm goes off at 7am and you need to be on the road at 7:30, then spending 20 minutes to meditate in the morning doesn’t make much sense. You could get up earlier, but you could also split up your meditation time. Some people find that having 10 minutes to meditate in the morning prepares them for their responsibilities and then 10 minutes in the evening helps them to recover from the stresses of the day.

What matters more than setting a specific time goal is setting a specific habit that encourages daily meditation at some point. You can always choose to extend your meditation time when you wish. Looking forward to meditation instead of dreading the thought of adding it is one small step toward the chance to experience more success.

If you’re feeling tired, stressed out, or overwhelmed because of what happens to you every day, then consider giving meditation an honest look. You may just find that it can become your not-so-secret path to success as well.

Create More Time For Meditation With These 7 Tips

make time for meditation

Are you trying to find time to meditate daily and discovering that the time commitment is more difficult than you envisioned? You can create more time for meditation and here are 7 methods that will help to get you started right now.

#1. Make it a daily routine.

Of course it is better to create a time for meditation that is the same every day. If you can’t make that happen, then shift to a daily routine. Make meditation a responsibility that needs to be fulfilled, like cooking dinner or picking the kids up from soccer practice. If you miss a day, get back on it the next day for sure.

#2. Schedule it into your calendars.

With calendars syncing across all platforms, you can put meditation into a 15 minute window and block it out from overlapping. This gives you protected time every day that can be used for meditation. It’s a responsibility to maintain this schedule, but this protected time is also a gift to yourself.

#3. One breath can change everything.

All it takes is one small breath with the intent to begin meditating to change your life. The effects of meditation accumulate throughout the day. If all you can do is pause for a moment and take one unpressured breath, you can find some amazing benefits even if you’re only taking 20 seconds at a time to get them.

#4. Adjust your morning to adapt.

The morning is the best time to meditate and it’s the easiest place to carve out a few minutes. There’s something that you’re doing in the morning that can be compressed or eliminated. Even in the worst case scenario, just set your alarm clock back 10 minutes to give yourself time to begin meditating.

#5. Use it as an extension.

You have numerous habits that you complete every day, often without thinking about them. If you can add meditation onto the end of one of these habits, then it becomes a lot easier to extend the time you’re able to meditate. Any existing activity can have meditation anchored to it so that you’re able to create more time for this beneficial practice.

#6. Tune out the world.

We all have relatively busy lives today. Information flows freely and we are inundated with it. Sometimes you’ve got to just shut it all down, put on some headphones, and tune out the world. When you can do this, then you can meditate virtually anywhere.

#7. Cut out some time from something you’re already doing.

Did you know the average person spends almost 40 minutes per day just on Facebook if they have an active profile? There are ways that you can carve out some time from what you’re doing to add meditation if you’re willing to give it a fair look. If you watch 2 hours of TV every night, you could make it 90 minutes instead and have 30 minutes for meditation. 40 minutes on Facebook could become 20 minutes. Instead of shopping on your preferred online store, you could be meditating. Be honest with yourself, trim down the extra time, and you’ll get the best of all worlds.

Meditation is something that you can practice at virtually any moment. Mindfulness allows us to find perfection in each moment that passes us by. If nothing else, dwell for a moment on a sensation, a flavor, or the warmth from the sun on your face and you’ll be meditating. Small moments can lead to larger ones and eventually that encourages us all to create more time for meditation.

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