How Mindfulness Meditation Leads To Real Happiness

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Have you ever noticed how so many people spend their day trying to find a way to be happy? Sometimes that happiness can never be found. Here’s a secret that makes finding happiness easier: it’s a choice.

We choose not to be happy. We choose to remain unbalanced. Many times we don’t even realize we are making these choices. Negative attention is better than no attention, so often we’ll choose to be unhappy because at least that allows others to send some attention our way.

This is where mindfulness meditation can really help. Instead of trying to find joy in fleeting moments, mindfulness helps us be able to discover the perfect joy that exists in every moment. Even when the bad things of life strike and pain is everywhere, there are still moments of joy that can be found. Why? Because mindfulness meditation helps us to choose happiness over any other emotion.

How Does Mindfulness Meditation Transform People?

There are thousands of articles online today that talk about how stress, emotional stability, and mental healing can all come from the practice of meditation. These are all wonderful benefits, but they are not benefits that transform people. What mindfulness meditation does is connect your mind to rest of the world.

It’s a practice that Carl Jung once called “individuation.” In essence, it’s the quest to seek out what we each consider to be divine. Many people use individuation as a way to seek out a supernatural being or long lost prophet. It’s a way to connect the spiritual side with the physical side so that every moment of the physical and spiritual worlds can eventually be experienced.

Individuation doesn’t have to be the pursuit of a deity. It can also be the pursuit of your own local awareness. Focus on the closest window next to you right now. Is it cold? Firm? Warm? Now go beyond these sensations. How does the firmness of the window feel against your fingertips? Does the cold of the window send chills through your nervous system? Then do not allow the moment to stop. Choose to keep experiencing it.

That’s What Leads To Choosing Happiness

In order for an athlete to become a professional, they must put in thousands of hours of practice to achieve their goals. Mindfulness meditation is not going to lead to happiness overnight. It isn’t a magic solution to all of life’s problems. What it does do is provide exposure to the mechanisms that are necessary for mindfulness to begin growing roots so it becomes easier to choose happiness over time.

If you’re ready to get started, then today is as good a day as any to explore mindfulness meditation. Take a few moments right now, close your eyes, and let the outside world fade away. What do you hear? What do you feel? Now take these feelings and find the perfection that exists within them. In doing so, you’ll be taking the first steps toward a life that is filled with real happiness.

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How To Make Meditation A Daily Habit

 

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It’s no secret that meditation has a lot of benefits and can help you with many aspects of your life. That’s why it is important to include meditation in your daily activities. A lot of people have the misconception that they have to dedicate hours a day in order to be good at meditation, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You don’t have to take up your entire day or go out and purchase hundreds of dollars in equipment; all you need to do is take a few minutes of time each day and meditate in a quiet and relaxing area.  Let’s talk about some of the ways that you can include meditation into your daily schedule.

One of the things you’re going to want to do when you’re first starting out with meditation is to pace yourself. You don’t need to spend hours meditating, in fact its best that you ease into it because you can certainly burn yourself out if you try to spend too much time meditating. It’s best to keep it short and start out with 5 minute sessions to begin with. Just like lifting weights, you’re going to want to start out slow and work your way up. The quality of your meditation always is better than the quantity of time you spend in meditation.

It’s very important that you set a schedule you’ll be able to stick to. Put 5 or 10 minutes aside each day to have your meditation session. You don’t have to have your meditation session at the exact same time every day, but it’s best that you try to keep it generally at the same time of day. After you wake up or after you get home from work is a great time of day to base your meditation schedule around. As long as you’re making an effort to meditate once a day, at around the same time you are doing a good job.

A lot of people believe that they need to have a special room, candles and other meditation equipment to have a successful meditation session, but this is untrue. You don’t have to setup an elaborate area for meditation; it just needs to be somewhere quiet. You have the option to sit on the floor or on a chair while you meditate; there are no rules as long as you’re comfortable. Try to find an area that doesn’t have a lot of noise and is free from distractions.

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7 Reasons Why Your Mondays Can Be Better With Meditation

meditation mondays

The alarm goes off on Monday morning. You groan, hit the snooze button, and lie in bed with a bad feeling in your gut. You are dreading this day. It’s more than just the realization that the two days of freedom from work you just experienced. Professional responsibilities bring stress, anxiety, anger, and even sadness. This roller coaster of emotions, combined with the feelings of dread that Mondays can produce serves no good purpose.

That’s why meditation as part of your morning routine can be so beneficial. It does more than just take you off of that roller coaster. It helps to make Mondays happier. Here’s how.

#1. You get to collect your thoughts. Meditation slows the mind and body down so that the real issues of the day can be faced. The flood of worry and fear that grips the mind is difficult to navigate, which means the core issues are never really addresses. Meditation is the GPS that lets you get through that flood of negative emotion.

#2. You can forget about Monday. Meditation will always take someone to a place they don’t expect. Instead of worrying about what is going to happen on Monday [or any other day], an emphasis on gratitude, contentment, or loving-kindness can be achieved.

#3. It provides a barrier. Taking care of your initial anxiety can help to make a Monday better, but what about the worries that you will face throughout the day? Meditation helps to create a barrier for the mind so that it can better resist anxiety, unhealthy fear, and other negative emotions that can be bothersome so you can focus on the task at hand.

#4. There is a moment to speak with yourself. Life gets pretty busy today. We all get focused on the tasks that need to be completed more than anything else. In the hustle and bustle of life, we can even lose touch with our core being. Meditation forces you to slow down, breathe deeply, and listen to who you really are.

#5. You can remember more things. How distracting is your environment? From televisions to social media to kids screaming in your ear, there are many things that can take the mind’s focus away from the task at hand. Meditation gives the mind a tool to help filter out these distractions so that the critical information can be better retained and recalled.

#6. It can help with hypertension. A busy lifestyle often means a high blood pressure reading. The benefits of meditation can start to be experienced in just 4 days. Nitric oxide, which helps the blood to flow better, begins to build up from that point in time until it effectively reduces blood pressure in 90-120 days for many people.

#7. You can see perfection. Meditation doesn’t look for a long-term view. It seeks to find perfect moments that exist around every person right now. With regular practice, you can begin to experience these small miracles of time yourself.

How long should you be meditating? A goal of 20 minutes is what many set, but even just 2 minutes of meditation can be beneficial. Incorporate time into your routine every day for meditation and you may just find that Mondays will no longer be a day to be dreaded.

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Why You Should Not Judge Your Meditations

Sunrise-Meditating

Have you ever found yourself thinking what a lousy job you did after you have finished meditating? Perhaps you had countless thoughts running through your mind and you just can’t sit still. Maybe you had a great meditation session and you start to think too highly of yourself. It is best to not judge your meditation. Here are 3 reasons why:

 1. There are no bad meditations.

You should not feel that you had a bad meditation. The only bad meditations are the ones you don’t do. As long as you are trying to meditate, you are making progress. All meditations are good and valuable because they cultivate the skill of being present. Instead of judging your meditation, practice gratitude for having the privilege to meditate everyday.

2. Length of time is not important.

How long you can meditate is not a good indicator of your progress. Someone who meditates for 30 minutes a day is not more advanced than someone who does it for 5 minutes a day. It is better to have a short meditation session in which you are totally focused than to have a long meditation where your mind wanders all over the place. In meditation, more time is not necessarily better.

3. Do not compare your meditation practice to others.

The most important thing is to try to meditate as well as you can each and everyday. It is not a good use of your time and energy to compare your meditation with someone else. This immediately creates a feeling of unhappiness and inferiority by comparison. Rather than spending so much time focusing on others, you can redirect that energy inwards.

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Walking Meditation

walking meditation

When you think of meditation, you might picture a person sitting down in a lotus posture, their hands in a certain position and their eyes closed. This is the common image of meditation. There are other meditation techniques and not all of them require you to be sitting still.  Walking may not be the first image that comes to mind when you think about meditation. However, the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other can be a meditative practice that enables you to be in the moment and connect with yourself.

Walking meditation has health benefits even beyond the benefits of sitting meditation. The slow, methodical movements relieve stress, calm the body, and focus the mind—all of which are essential for optimal health and well-being. Many practitioners find mindful walking to be more relaxing than sitting, especially during times of high stress.

In walking meditation, we use the experience of walking as our focus. We become mindful of our experience while walking, and try to keep our awareness involved with the experience of walking. The goal is to use walking meditation to gently shift the focus of our attention from worrying about the past or the future, and to focus on what is actually happening in the present moment. Walking meditation is a great way to develop mindfulness. Mindfulness is when we pay attention to what is happening in the present moment.

Some people new to meditation find walking meditation is easier to practice than sitting meditation. When your body is in motion, it is generally easier to be aware of it compared to when you are sitting still. Mindful walking relaxes the body by channeling anxiety and nervous energy into physical activity and calms the mind by promoting focused awareness.

When we’re sitting still in meditation the sensations that arise in the body are much more subtle and harder to pay attention to than those that arise while we’re walking. The great thing about walking meditation is that it can be done anytime when we are walking. It is an easy practice that can be done to improve our physical and mental well-being. Here are some tips for walking meditation.

Tip 1: Find a quiet place to walk where you won’t be disturbed. For example, an early morning walk at the beach or park.

Tip 2: As you walk, notice your surroundings. Mindful walking is about being in the present—paying attention to the thoughts, feelings, and sensations we are experiencing right now

Tip 3: Be aware of your breath. Use this focus on the breath as an anchor to stabilize your attention. Pay attention to the sensations of your feet touching the ground. Notice how your body feels as you move. Your goal is to be present in your body as you notice your experience of walking slowly in this moment.

Tip 4: If any thoughts come to your mind, notice it, and let it go. Try to stay focus at the present moment. Don’t let your thoughts take control of you.

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6 Tips If You Are New To Meditation

How To Not Turn Meditation Time Into Thinking Time

1. Make time to meditate. Turn your phone to silent and let anyone else in your home know you are not to be disturbed during your meditation time. Schedule your meditation as though it is an appointment you have with yourself, even writing it in your calendar if that will help you stick to it. Meditating at the same time each day will help you quickly make a habit of it.

2. Your environment matters. Choose a quiet place where you feel safe and comfortable and where you will not be disturbed. You do not need to contort your body into advanced yoga positions in order to meditate successfully, but you do need to be comfortable enough that you are not distracted by aches, pains, and discomfort.

3. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply and deliberately, inhaling through your nose and exhaling from your mouth. It can be difficult to breathe deeply at first, but after a few breaths your breathing should become deeper and fuller. Focus simply on the in and out of your breathing.

4. Do not get frustrated with yourself. Your mind will wander. This is normal and it is all right. As thoughts pass your mind, instead of focusing or dwelling on them, let them enter your mind and pass right out again. Learn to acknowledge your thoughts as you have them and then let them go instead of holding onto them and considering them. If you find yourself becoming too distracted, try repeating a mantra or concentrating again on your breathing until you have regained your inner peace.

5. Do not expect major results immediately. Starting a meditation practice is much like beginning an exercise routine. You should get into it slowly. 5 minutes of meditation is all that is required when you are new to meditation. Keep working at it and gradually you will be able to meditate for longer periods of time and achieve deeper states of consciousness. Above all, do not worry about meeting your expectations on a particular timetable. Simply relax and learn how to meditate by practicing regularly and dedicating yourself to it.

6. Get up slowly after you are done meditating. At the end of your session, do not jump up to answer the phone or start cook dinner or have a conversation. Allow yourself to return to regular consciousness gradually and gently. Open your eyes, stretch slowly, and reflect on how you feel. Meditation can be an amazing tool for rich and meaningful observations about yourself and the world around you. Always allow yourself the time to absorb whatever you have learned.

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5 Ways to Boost Your Meditation Practice

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Has your meditation time become shorter than it has been in the past? Are you maybe struggling with meditation practices because you just can’t sit still? Meditation does have certain key components to it that make it such a helpful practice, but ultimately meditation is tailored to be individualized and unique. These 5 tips will help you become more comfortable while meditating and hopefully breathe some life back into your practice.

Tip #1: It’s Ok To Let Some Thoughts Creep In

One of the first pieces of advice you’ll get when learning to meditation is to try to “silent your mind.” It’s nearly impossible to keep our thoughts from popping up during meditation because we have been trained to think since we were little. It’s ok to let some thoughts creep into your mind. Instead of thinking about negative thoughts, however, try thinking about things that makes you happy.

Tip #2: Let It Come Naturally

Meditation causes the mind and body to settle down naturally. Each body is unique, which means the settling pattern that your body needs is something that you’ll need to discover for yourself. Taking the advice of others is a good place to start when it comes to meditation, but don’t try to force yourself to meditate a certain way if it’s just not working! Let the relaxation seep in naturally, keep track of what started that process, and you’ll be able to adapt the “right” way to “your” way.

Tip #3: Be Reasonable With Your Expectations

The expectations you have about your meditation will likely dictate how successful or unsuccessful each session happens to be. There’s nothing wrong with setting high expectations as a beginner, but to experience expert-level status meditation benefits on your second ever meditation session isn’t a realistic expectation! If anything, simply aim to be a little bit better tomorrow than you are today with your meditation practices and you’ll soon discover that your growth charts will be way outside the curve!

Tip #4: Practice Positive Self-Talk

When failure hits, and failure will always hit you at some point during the journey toward better meditation, don’t let the negative self-talk begin. You’re not “stupid.” You’re not a “failure.” You can meditate and you can be a success! Speak positively to yourself whenever you feel like being in a negative mood and you’ll increase your chances of having a successful meditation session.

Tip #5: Keep Going!

In order to get good at something, you’ve got to keep practicing. The more you practice every day, the better each subsequent meditation session will seem. You’ll experience deeper relaxation, more energy, and potentially even more happiness! So what if it wasn’t a perfect meditation session today? Learn from what happened today so that it doesn’t get repeated tomorrow!

Daily meditation can be maximized when you consistently use these tips. Take the good out of this advice today so that tomorrow, your next meditation session can potentially be the best ever!

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6 Things You Can Do Before You Meditate

 

what to do before meditating

If you take the time to prepare for your meditation, you will have a better meditation experience. You might be thinking to yourself, “I barely have enough time to meditate. Now I need to set aside additional time before I can meditate!” The truth is that it doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes. Below are a few things that you can do to prepare for your meditation.

1. Exercise. When we exercise, we release a lot of toxins that is stored in our body. You will notice that your meditation tends to be better when you have done some physical exercise. Exercise has the power to alter your mood and make you feel elated. You will experience a natural high similar to a drug high but without any of the negative side effects. You will have greater mental clarity, feel more relaxed, have more energy and a stronger focus.

2. Take a shower or bath. Water has an amazing ability to purify your body and mind. It also helps to keep us alert and relives stress. After a shower or bath, we feel better, refreshed and calm. Bathing can bring you the restful solitude you need to reflect and relax. You can literally close the door on the outside world and disappear for a while.

3. Yoga. Yoga has a calming effect on the mind. Even doing some simple stretches will allow you to release any tension and stress that has accumulated in your body. Physical and mental tension blocks the free flow of energy in the body and draws our awareness outward. We are trying to redirect our energy inward in meditation, so tension of any kind hinders our efforts. Practicing yoga postures before meditation is a marvelous way to release these energy blocks.

4. Read. Reading has the ability to soothe the mind like no other. Reading forces us to be still. This stillness will carry over to our meditation practice. Read something inspirational or spiritual that will turn your mind towards matters of the soul before you begin to meditate. It’s a good idea to spend 5 or 10 minutes just reading and absorbing the lessons of what you’ve read.

5.Write. If your mind can’t slow down before you meditate, try writing down everything that is in your head. When you do a mental brain dump, it has the effect of calming yourself down. When we put thoughts to paper—or type them—we are able to clear our mind and and gain perspective on any given situation

6. Breathe. Take a few deep breaths before you begin your meditation. You will find your whole body and mind will slow down, which makes it very easy  to enter into a meditative state. By focusing on the breath you become aware of the mind’s tendency to jump from one thing to another. The simple discipline of concentration brings us back to the present moment.

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5 Ways Meditation Can Change Your Physical Body

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Most people are aware of the many benefits of meditation. Meditation is now commonly used to treat mental health disorders, addiction, and everyday stress, as well as to heal physical ailments and promote better sleep. It is a practice that has many backers because there is a clear physical component to this ancient form of connecting the mind, body and spirit. Here are 5 ways meditation can change your physical body.

#1. Meditation helps the body reduces pain. Many people practice meditation because it provides a good balance for their hectic world, but did you know that it can also help people tolerate more pain? In research on meditation and pain, scientists discovered that by activating and reinforcing some areas of the brain used in pain processing, meditation has the overall effect of helping to reduce pain intensity in people. The reduction in pain ratings was substantially greater than those seen in similar studies involving placebo pills, hypnosis, and even morphine and other painkilling drugs.

#2. Meditation increases memory retention. Research proves that meditation changes the physical structure of the brain in remarkable and positive ways – including improving attention and memory. Meditation causes the brain’s cerebral cortex to thicken. The brain’s cerebal cortex is responsible for higher mental functions such as concentration, learning, and memory.

#3. Meditation helps you become more social. One of the most unique changes that happens with this practice happens with the brainwaves. The brain actually increases the ability for a person to stay in a state of wakeful relaxation and this ultimately reduces negative moods and helps you get along with others because of increase empathy. Even if you don’t feel like being in a social mood, meditation has also shown an ability to control anger more efficiently, which naturally makes people want to be around you more. By flexing your memory muscle in meditation, your information storage mechanisms multiply, ensuring that your brain retains the ability to store new memories now, and as you age.

#4. Meditation reduces the risks of hypertension. In as little as 8 weeks, some of the physical side effects of meditation can be experienced. One of the most beneficial experiences is a natural reduction of blood pressure that occurs. Because hypertension is lower, it is also believed that inflammation and other physical problems that may be associated to cortisol may also be reduced or eliminated as well. It might not stop that boost of blood pressure you get with your morning coffee, but it can bring you back to a better baseline afterward.

#5. Meditation boosts the immune system and could prevent genetic damage. Specific research studies that have tracked immune responses and genetic influences with meditation have come up with some amazing results. In one study, people who meditated were compared to others who did not after receiving an influenza vaccine. The people meditated had a stronger immune system response. In another, the genetic telomeres that are directly associated with certain aging diseases were also compared to non-meditators and found to be better preserved.

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How Not To Turn Meditation Time Into Thinking Time

How To Not Turn Meditation Time Into Thinking Time

“To meditate a short time with depth is better than to meditate for long hours with the mind running wild.” – Paramhansa Yogananda

I was recently asked how not turn one’s meditation (quiet) time into thinking time. What a great question. Isn’t it interesting you find yourself thinking more when you meditate? The truth is you notice you have a lot of thoughts during meditation is because you are going through the motion of trying to be quiet. All of a sudden, you realize there are so many thoughts on your mind. Here are a few suggestions to combat excessive thoughts during meditation.

Tip #1: Use a different meditation technique you haven’t used for the last 30 days.

Meditation should be fun. Meditation should be one of the most exciting things you look forward at the beginning or at the end of your day. It shouldn’t be just another task on your daily to-do list. Are you bored with the meditation technique you’re currently using? Do you find your meditation stale? If the answer is yes, use a different technique to change your daily meditation practice. If you practice meditation by listening to a guided meditation CD, try chakra meditation (meditating by focusing on energy centers), mantra meditation (meditating by focusing on a particular word or a phrase), meditating in the nature by watching ocean waves or listening to the sound of ocean waves.

Tip #2: Do a hard workout before you meditate.

You’ll find you will have a better meditation experience after a hard workout. Body, mind, and spirit are interrelated. Meditation is training for the mind. However, if you have not trained your body first, you won’t get much out of your meditation practice. You want to exercise to the point you’re soaked in sweat so the toxins accumulated in your energy body can be released. Monitor how you feel prior and after your workout. You will find yourself more relaxed and energized after a challenging physical workout. If you start your meditation practice with a relaxed and energized frame of mind, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to meditate.

Tip #3: Take a few minutes to write down thoughts on your mind before you meditate.

One tip to avoid thinking endlessly during your meditation is: prior to your meditation, sit down, take a pad of paper, and write down everything on your mind. Just write them all down from to-dos to things, people, and places that are on your mind at that point in time. There is no need to judge these thoughts. Just write them all down. The act of writing them down actually creates mental space. When these thoughts inevitably arise during your meditation, you can remind yourself they are on a piece of paper and you will take care of them after you meditate. Sounds simple? It really works.

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