5 Mindfulness Exercises That Will Change Your Life

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It’s very easy to just sail through a day on cruise control. In some ways, it makes the day a lot easier to handle because stress and anxiety can be ignored. On the other hand, however, many of the details that make each day special get missed when a mind is stuck on autopilot! These 5 mindfulness exercises will help you connect to your world without the threat of being overwhelmed by fearful emotions.

#1. Meditation

The benefits of meditation are proven, but mindfulness meditation takes these benefits to a new level. Each breath that you focus upon will keep you in the present instead of focusing on the regrets of the past or the worries of the future. With daily practice, you can make each moment become a perfect moment because you can experience all of the details in that moment with an excited, eager mind.

#2. Improve Your Posture

For many, the reason why they have aches and pains that occur throughout the day is because their posture isn’t suitable for their body. The human body is very adaptable and can adjust to changing circumstances, but it also wasn’t meant to sit slouched in an office chair for 8 hours per day while typing at an uncomfortable position. Be aware of what your body is saying, listen by adjusting your posture as needed, and don’t be afraid to take a break when needed.

#3. Waiting In Line Isn’t a Waste of Time

When was the last time you spent several minutes waiting in line for something that you needed to purchase? Even when you’re in a queue, you have the opportunity to bring your attention back to the present and experience a perfect moment. You can focus on how your body is feeling at this very moment. You can take joy in the excited laugh of a child or a favorite smell and then keep that positive emotion flowing as you wait. Deep breaths will further enhance this process and keep you mindful of the good instead of the bad.

#4. Keep the Music Off

Although music can help to facilitate meditation, it can be a distraction to mindfulness. Think about your favorite song right now for a couple minutes. Think about the lyrics and the melody… and now you’ll think about that song periodically for the next several hours. Music engages the entire mind, but it doesn’t always help to bring someone to focus on the present. Instead of hearing the tones of a good composition, listen to the composition of the perfect moments of the world going around you at this very second. That’s what mindfulness can do.

#5. Eliminate the Phone

Even if your smartphone isn’t sounding right now, it presents a distraction to mindfulness. Do I have any Facebook notifications? As my boss texted me yet? These are all items that take you away from the moment. Turn your phone to silent if you must carry it with you, but remove the phone from the equation whenever possible to maximize the benefit you receive with it missing. When you’re experiencing the details of a perfect moment, you won’t notice it missing!

These 5 exercises can help you improve the mindfulness you experience every day so you don’t have to stay on cruise control. Begin practicing them today and you’ll quickly see what you’ve been missing!

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Are You Ready to Reduce Stress in 5 Minutes?

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There’s just one mental practice that’s been able to stand the tests of clinical research and that is meditation. When there is a focus on mindfulness, there is a proven ability for anyone practicing meditation to improve their mental performance, increase their focus, and stop depression, anxiety, and stress dead in its tracks.

One of the most common questions that is asked by those who’ve never practiced meditation before involves the time commitment. “How much time do I have to dedicate to meditation to have it help me?” The answer might just surprise you: 5 minutes.

What Could You Do In the Next 5 Minutes?

How often have you wasted 5 minutes in your day? It happens all of the time. Whether you’re reading a Facebook post that ends up being a worthless sales pitch or you just sit at your desk and space off, there are at least 4 or 5 periods of this time that people have every day that aren’t used at all. Instead of wasting this time, try putting an emphasis on mindfulness meditation in there.

What’s interesting about the practice of meditation is that it does more than just reduce current stress levels. It also reduces the amount of perceived stress that people feel during the average day. When you change your focus from a negative, anxiety-based perspective that has worry as the #1 object of attention to a meditation-based focus that looks at positive energy as the top priority, a life can change very quickly.

More Meditation Means More Results

5 minutes is a good place to start, but you’ve also got to build upon each success that you have. Let your 5 minute meditation sessions become the foundation of longer sessions. Why? Because research has shown that those who meditate more on a daily basis have lower levels of cortisol in their bodies. Cortisol is that fuel that makes stress and anxiety burn. If you lower the fuel levels, then you lower the amount of stress.

Meditating for a long period of time can be physically and mentally challenging. You must commit to meditation as you would any other chore. The only difference is that instead of washing dishes or doing laundry, you’re providing your mind with strength that it can use to fight off the cortisol-induced issues that can flood your life patterns.

There is even some thought that a habit of mindfulness can be developed with long-term meditation so that it becomes a natural part of life. In other words, over time it is believed that the mind will automatically shift into a mode of meditation whenever there is an opportunity for rest. How do you get to this end result? By starting your journey today with your very first steps!

Take 5 minutes to meditate at some point in this day. You choose the time, but make it happen. You might just find that it will change your life.

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7 Benefits of Daily Meditation

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Meditating every day is a proven way to help cope with stress, handle difficult feelings, and create a better overall well-being. Any meditation can help with providing more life stability, but a routine of daily meditation will give you added mental strength to face any challenges.

It all begins with your ability to set aside a few minutes every day to make time for meditation. It doesn’t have to be long, just 15-20 minutes, and it can fit in anywhere during your schedule. Morning, evening, or even a short break during the workday will all bring forth benefits.

1. Meditation Daily Reduces Stress

Daily meditation gives you more access to the items that are most important to you. Troubles at work, with money, or a looming deadline for school will all pass away. The relationships you’ve built with friends, family, and yourself will continue to remain and meditation helps you explore them.

2. Gain More Energy

There is an abundant source of energy inside your body that is inaccessible when you are stressed out. Meditation allows you to cleanse your soul, eliminate the nerve stresses, and give you power to keep going once you hit the wall.

3. Better Stability

Fatigue, anger, and stress all work against the human body to create emotional instability. Daily meditation helps to counter these negative influences because you are giving yourself the opportunity to recognize difficult emotions and then resolve them before they make a physical outburst.

4. Rejuvenation

Meditation is another way for your body to rest. Whenever your body is at rest, it begins to recharge. This recharge helps your body to work better, potentially heal faster, and sleep better. People will definitely notice the changes that are going on with your health!

5. No More Insomnia

If you struggle with sleeping the night through, try meditating when you wake up instead of sleep medication. Meditation helps to calm racing thoughts that can keep people away, create a more stable mindset, and this helps to give you a much deeper sleep.

6. Better Awareness

As difficult emotions increase, the higher levels of reasoning skills that are present in the human mind begin to decrease. Awareness is more than just noticing the finer details of life. It is also a way to start recognizing and defeating bothersome fears that can impact your quality of life.

7. Higher Focus

Everyone suffers from a short attention span at some point in time. If you suffer from a chronic level of low focus, daily meditation can help because you’ll be working to compartmentalize your thoughts, organize your plans, and focus on the one thing at a time that needs to be resolved.

As you continue your meditation on a daily basis, you’ll soon begin to notice that everything seems to work together naturally and in harmony. It’s often not the world that is having the problem with balance, but the individuals within that world. They might be out of balance, but daily meditation can help to set things right. Begin today, perhaps for the very first time, and you will change your world!

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4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Meditation

Tips for Meditation

Meditation is arguably the single most important thing you can do for your body and mind; while obviously taking care of your physical self through proper nutrition and exercise is vital, meditation is the tool that can help you to reduce stress, properly integrate your life experiences and help to maintain a healthy perspective while strengthening and reinforcing the mind-body connection.

Studies have shown that people who meditate regularly are more adaptable, have better control over their emotions and experience an increase in grey matter in the brain. I have put together a list of four tips for those who are new to meditation in order to help you get the most out of your experience:

Tip 1: You Will Have Thoughts

One thing that those just starting out often get concerned about is the presence of thoughts. While it’s true that meditation is ultimately about emptying the mind in order to promote clarity, this doesn’t mean you won’t have thoughts. The mind is what it is and it is in the mind’s nature to think.

Stillness of the mind during the process comes from having worked through all your thoughts and mental complications. This level of awareness and control normally comes from many years of dedicated practice and can’t be achieved overnight. Don’t beat yourself up if your mind won’t stay quiet. Instead understand that it’s a natural part of your development.

Tip 2: Relax

Learning to meditate is not about forcing your mind into all sorts of twists and knots it’s not ready for. Meditation is about relaxing and allowing the mind to flow naturally without strain.

Meditation is about nourishing the mind-body connection and enabling a healthy and empowering sense of energy and perspective. This result is achieved through a slow and steady nurturing pace and any attempts to rush or stress the process can make things far more difficult than they need to be.

Tip 3: Explore

Meditation is at its root core an exploration of your mind. By letting go of expectations and allowing your mind to develop at its own pace and in its own way, you’ll experience a wealth of understanding over time as far as the way your mind works and how best to control negativity and stress.

For a truly great meditation experience, let your mind go and explore the different facets of your assumptions, biases and established thought patterns.

Tip 4: Stay With It

While in the short term, meditation may help you relax and stay calmer, many of the long-term benefits of meditation, such as increased focus and concentration and higher overall levels of contentedness, may take a bit longer.  No matter how discouraged you may get, stick with the process.

Many people don’t fully understand that meditation involves completely retraining your mind. After a lifetime of thinking a certain way, your brain can be very used to its own groove. So no matter what happens just stick with it and you’ll reap enormous benefits!

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3 Things to Avoid When Learning to Meditate

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People learn to meditate for various reasons, and meditation can have huge benefits for your physical, mental and emotional health. While there are many books and articles available on how to meditate, it’s also important to be aware of some of the pitfalls that meditation can involve, and what not to do. We’ll take a look at three things that often derail new meditators, and what you should do to avoid them.

This is not to try to put anyone off meditating – just the opposite in fact. To have the best chance of sticking with it, and getting the most from your sessions, you need to know what to expect when learning to meditate, and what are realistic expectations about what you can expect to experience.

So, here are three things to try to avoid when learning to meditate.

1. Impatience

First and foremost, don’t expect results too soon. Like anything else, meditation is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced. While some people seem to be naturally gifted at keeping their thoughts focused, for most of us it’s more difficult, and it takes time to learn to quiet the mind and experience the full benefits of meditation.

So, what should you expect instead? You should be prepared to meditate every day without any real expectations to begin with. This might sound a bit odd to those who are typically goal-orientated, but meditation is really one of those things that should be done for its own sake, at least at the start. Later on, you might want to meditate for specific purposes, such as reducing anxiety or cultivating inner peace, but for now, just focus on sitting in meditation without an end goal in mind. This way, you’ll feel less frustrated on those inevitable days where you sit there with thoughts racing madly around your head, and feel like ‘nothing’s happening’.

2. Inconsistency

Second, you should avoid inconsistency – this means making it a priority to set some time aside each day for your meditation practice. Why? Simply because the more often you meditate, the easier it becomes to quiet the mind and connect with your inner self. If you just meditate when you’re ‘in the mood’, chances are you’ll never move beyond that frustrating beginner stage where your mind is jumping around all over the place.

So try committing to meditating every day for at least several weeks before making any judgments about whether it’s ‘working’ for you or not.

3. Negativity From Others

Third, you should avoid letting others influence your meditation practice. This may not be an issue for everybody, but meditation is still viewed with a skeptical by many people. So if you have others in your life who make disparaging remarks about meditation, you should ignore them. If you let the opinions of others influence you away from doing something you really want to do, chances are you’ll end up being unhappy, because you’re not living in accordance with your real values.

So, resist any attempts by others at derailing you from your meditation practice, and eventually you’ll probably find that they’ll come to respect your decision to stick with it – and if they don’t, it’s really not your problem.

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5 Tips for Finding Inner Peace

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Does it feel like your life is like a hurricane? Would you love to be able to find the calm that comes when you can be in the eye of the storm? It is possible to find inner peace that is truly blissful and it doesn’t have to be a chance encounter. You can really find inner piece consistently by utilizing these tips to your advantage.

Tip #1: Change Only What You Can

There are things that you can change and there are things you can’t change in your life. Take charge of the changes you can make and give yourself the freedom to let go of the things that you cannot change. You’re not experiencing failure if you let things go without putting your personal stamp on their reality. You’re experiencing forgiveness instead.

Tip #2: Enjoy the Outdoors

Being indoors isn’t a bad thing, but there are a lot of distractions that come from being inside all the time. How many times do you check your email when you’re not at work? Or look for social media notifications? Or browse mindlessly on the search engines because you don’t have anything better to do? Even 15 minutes in the outdoors, in a tranquil place, will eliminate the distractions and let you enjoy a higher level of inner peace.

Tip #3: Allow Yourself to Smile

There is good in everything around each one of us. Although we have to work to reject the bad things to sometimes see the good, we should rejoice in these good moments because they are truly precious. As we work to accept the good and reject the bad, you may just find that you’re also allowing yourself to smile more because you’re seeing the positive things happening around you instead of being stuck in a negative rut.

Tip #4: Take In This Moment

The past is history, buried in the seas of time to never be changed. The future is on the horizon before you, waiting for the choices that you’ll make in this moment right now. Will you choose to take in the joy of this moment and allow yourself to be content? Or will you let the worries about tomorrow creep in that you may not be able to control? Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, so take in this moment and enjoy it for the perfect moment it is.

Tip #5: Make Time To Meditate

Meditation can take a number of forms, from prayer to fasting to stillness. Find your inner peace by taking time to explore the events that have happened to you. Resolve inner conflicts and difficult emotions. Plan out your racing thoughts so you can focus on right now instead of 5 minutes from now. Even a deep breath will help you achieve a moment of stillness that you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t take a moment for yourself.

These 5 tips will help you achieve a level of inner peace from the first moment you try them. Begin implementing them starting today and you may just find a beautiful peace settling down on your soul.

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Could Mindfulness Make Monday Mornings Exciting Again?

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There’s something about Monday morning that makes it worse than the rest of the week. Part of it is the return to work after a couple of days off with the family, absolutely! There’s also another component that involves stress. You see, people also have from the time they get off on Friday afternoon until they arrive at work Monday morning to begin worrying about the next work week. It’s a hidden minefield that’s disguised in family fun, but there nonetheless.

How could this anticipatory stress be reduced? Through an increased practice of mindfulness.

What Do You Actually Do Every Weekend?

The whole idea of the weekend is to give people a couple days off to relax and rejuvenate. It’s a place where we’re in full control of almost all of our circumstances. There’s no deadlines, no professional workload, and no project demands, but that doesn’t mean you don’t worry about upcoming deadlines, workload responsibilities, and project demands.

Every time you think about work during your time off, you’re increasing your stress levels because you’re anticipating stress when you return to work.

How can mindfulness prevent this from occurring? It works because instead of looking toward the future and the stresses of an upcoming work week, you’re paying more attention to the present moments that you have. Instead of the project due on Tuesday, for example, you’re consciously focusing on the smell of the roses, the crack of a baseball bat, or the flavors of that hamburger you’re having for lunch with the kids.

Mindfulness Is Like a Reset Button

There are only so many seconds available to any given day and there’s a good chance that what you’re doing right now at work may be forgotten by this time next year. Mindfulness slows down the rush toward stress because you’re focusing on the details of right now that matter. With mindfulness a regular habit, you’ll be consciously slowing down your intentions of each action so that you are more aware of the environment around you.

How does that help make Monday morning better? Because it gives your mind time to breathe. Instead of being anxious for Monday, you’ll be seeking out the small, very perfect moments that are surrounding you right now, even as you read this article. The greatest undiscovered frontier isn’t beyond our solar system or beneath our seas: it’s within your soul, the inner core of self that gets ignored because of the frantic rushing that many believe is necessary to find success.

Mindfulness has a different definition of success. It helps you extend your joy because you’re solely focused on the beauty that any given moment can provide. When you work toward this achievement, you’ll notice that Monday morning is no longer a time you hate to experience!

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Should Your Kids Be Focusing On Mindfulness Too?

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The impact of stress on adults and the proven ways mindfulness can help these levels is helping millions, but are today’s children being left behind in the process? Kids deal with a lot of stress these days too in our interconnected world. Gossip doesn’t just get confined to school hallways. Social media pages, tweets, and even SnapChat have modern kids worrying about what their friends are saying about them. Technology assignments in school are becoming more complicated as the tech gets better. Should your kids be focusing on mindfulness like maybe you are already?

How Effective Is Mindfulness In Kids?

When it comes to interventions that really work with children, meditation is at or near the top of every list. It has even been proven to help kids who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum concerns find a way to balance their inner world with their outer world! One of the primary issues that today’s kids face is a lack of rhythm. There’s no harmony because there are new experiences being thrown at them every day. Mindfulness brings the child back to the present and allows their inner rhythm to establish a helpful exterior rhythm.

This process helps all children, not just those with an autism spectrum diagnosis. When an internal rhythm can be established, it allows kids to have a better focus on the tasks that are due every day. From homework to test scores to chores that need to be done around the home, the children that have a focus on mindfulness every day have higher overall scores, reduced stress, and better levels of happiness when compared to children who do not. This means mindfulness gives them a competitive edge in a global world that is becoming more competitive by the second!

Where Does Your Child Put His Focus?

There are so many distractions in the world today that it could be argued we all have some form of an attention deficit that needs to be addressed. If mindfulness works to keep adults focused instead of multi-tasking and losing valuable minutes every day, couldn’t it also work with children who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD? There are no long-term effects that medication can provide children with this diagnosis, but it can be self-managed with an emphasis on mindfulness.

Most importantly, however, mindfulness helps to repair the relationship between parent and child on a daily basis. This needs to be done in order for a positive relationship to grow and flourish and it doesn’t take a lot to make this happen. Even having a family conversation over dinner instead of in front of the television or having cell phones present can help increase mindfulness from a family perspective. Meditation, yoga, or even simple breathing practices are activities that families can do together as well, which just furthers the bond.

Healing can come in many forms and one of the most effective today is through mindfulness. Incorporate this into your child’s routine and there really will be no limit to what they can achieve throughout life!

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Book Review: Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple

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Russell Simmons is a hip-hop mogul, best-selling author, entrepreneur, philanthropist and dedicated family man. So what does he credit with his ability to find such success? The answer is meditation. In his new book Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple, Simmons provides readers with all the information they need to achieve success through the practice of meditation.

Simmons explained the reason he has been a meditator for fifteen years: “It has given me energy, strength, health, wisdom, and access to my inner stillness, inner silence, inner bliss. It is my connection to myself; it is my connection to the universe.” He insists that this practice, which he views as a way to trick the mind to be still, can help almost anyone find great success.

Simmons lays out facts that prove the medical benefits of meditation, which include everything from lower blood pressure to increased posture and flexibility. He further explains that with just 20 minutes of stillness a day, you will become acutely aware of the needs of your body, making it more likely that you will stick to your diet and exercise routines because meditation eliminates the “outside noise” that typically interferes with your plans.

One of the cornerstones of Success Through Stillness is that there is no wrong way to meditate. Simmons promotes meditation by any means possible, whether it means having a dedicated meditation room or finding solace in the solitude of your car. He generously shares his meditation routine to illustrate just how easy it is to increase your happiness levels by committing to daily meditation.

The idea that Simmons has is that true success isn’t found during times of busyness. The goal is to instead be focused on silence. He’s so committed to this idea that he wants to see every kid in America to have time in school every day where all they do is sit in silence. The San Francisco Unified School District has started using a quiet time with their middle school students and the results are outstanding.

Silence and stillness help people face their challenges because it prevents them from running away. It’s so easy to distract one’s attention away from problems that life can bring with modern technology. From TV shows on an iPad to checking email constantly instead of working, it’s incredibly easy to lose the ability to produce every day. Simmons says sometimes you’ve just go to stop, wherever you happen to be, and just let silence reign supreme.

Would you be able to lift a 200-pound set of weights the first time you go to the gym? Just like muscle needs to be developed in order to create strength, Simmons says that meditation must be developed to create results. Instead of struggling to find time to meditate every day, you’ll instead create time automatically once you are in the habit of sitting in stillness and you’ll start reaping its benefits. Once people see the benefits of meditation in their own lives, Simmons has no doubt that it will top their priority list and become part of their daily routine.

Simmons brings his real-life experience to everyone. His perspective is unique and proven, which makes it a very worthwhile read. If you’re struggling with your days, Simmon’s advice to you is simple: sit in silence, let the problem come to you, and then solve it.

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This Is the Problem To Work On During Meditation

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You’ve finally gotten the kids to bed. The house is quiet, the world seems to be at peace, and you’ve got the chance to meditate. You settle down into a comfortable position, begin to let your body relax, and you get control of your breathing like you’ve been taught to do. Your mind begins to wander around a bit and you start to explore. Then BOOM! You remember that you’ve got to get the dishwasher started and – oh yeah – there’s still lunch to make for the kids tomorrow and did you remember to add fabric softener in with the last load?

You get frustrated at the thoughts that begin to race and for the fact you forget to do a couple things. Your mood is gone. The peace and tranquility aren’t coming back! This is where most people find themselves in the world of meditation… and it doesn’t need to be that way.

Having Thoughts During Meditation Is Natural

The issue of this frustration that can shatter a mood comes from the expectation that people are taught during the beginning of their journey toward meditation. Many teachers, articles, and books encourage people to eliminate all thoughts so they can explore the subconscious in a pure state. This might be the end goal of the journey, of course, but who begins a journey of a 1,000 steps on step #998? No one.

To expect thoughts not to creep in during a meditation is an unreasonable expectation. It’s ok to have thoughts about making lunch or wondering about the fabric softener. How you react to these thoughts is what is important.

Instead of Frustration, Look For Resolution

If you’ve got racing thoughts during a meditation session, the first thing to do is to just take another deep breath and relax. It’s your brain doing what it does naturally! It’s really ok. What you need to do is work on finding a resolution to these thoughts so that they will go away. If you forgot to make lunch for the kids, create a plan of action that will quickly resolve the thought. If you don’t remember putting fabric softener in, will it really be the end of the world?

Thoughts that bring on self-doubt are really thoughts that generate negative self-talk. The frustration isn’t aimed at the tasks. The emotion is geared inward because you are considering yourself a failure. This is what causes the meditation cycle to break, which just reinforces the negative stereotype that is developing.

Stay open to the thoughts. Listen to them. Resolve them if you believe they could lead you into a negative state of mind. Be casual about the entire experience, but most importantly, be honest about it with yourself as well. If you are accepting of yourself, then you will create more stability in each meditation session over time as you continue to build up your mental strength.

Your journey will take time. Allow yourself to develop, grow, and explore and you’ll experience even new depths as you continue to meditate!

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