How You Can Boost Your Productivity Through Meditation

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How You Can Boost Your Productivity Through Meditation

Meditation is more than the art of “sitting around and doing nothing” for 20 minutes every day. It is simply a different way of being active in the modern world. We are all so concerned about how busy we are and how productive we can be that we lose sight of the fact that achievements come in all different shapes and forms. The ability to overcome stress is an achievement, just as is the ability to bring in a project before its deadline.

Calming the mind is the first step toward boosting productivity through meditation. The mind needs to be able to rest just as the body does. By giving the mind a break to focus on thoughts, feelings, or internal processes, it doesn’t have to worry about the deadlines, office politics, and other issues that a day may bring.

Then these additional steps can help to enhance your productivity even more when included with your meditation time.

#1. Use music to shut out the world. Music isn’t for everyone, but if you are struggling to shut out the outside world during your meditation time, it could be a viable option. Try to choose music that won’t have you mentally “singing along” with the lyrics as they’re sung.

#2. Slow it down. Make a conscious effort to slow down your physical processes. Take deeper, slower breaths to cleanse the body. Focus on reducing your heart rate. Imagine that you are relaxing each muscle in your body one at a time. If you can let your body slow down from the fast pace of life, it can rest some and then boost your productivity levels.

#3. Consider joining a meditation group. For those who struggle to incorporate meditation into their routine, sometimes a group meditation session can help to get things started on the right foot. Choose a couple trusted friends and meditate together in the break room, outside on a bench, or anywhere you feel comfortable to get used to the experience.

#4. Become solution-orientated. Once you’ve been able to clear out your mind from most of the racing thoughts, consider giving yourself one specific command. Tell yourself to find a way to solve the problem that is before you. Because most, if not all, of your resources are dedicated to problem solving at that moment, you will be amazed at what your creativity will be able to produce.

#5. Eliminate the negative. Instead of trying to consider all of the ways that something could go wrong, consider looking to find ways where things can go right. A simple turn to the positive and away from the negative can have a profound effect on the mind.

The outcomes that can be experienced by an investment into meditation are proven and profound. Many people enjoy the reduction of stress that occurs, but improved recall and focus, better concentration, and more creativity all happen as well. Meditating daily can enhance these effects so they multiply.

You can boost your productivity thanks to meditation. Make today be the day you give it a try to experience these benefits yourself.

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7 Ways To Make Meditation Easier

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Some people have a positive first experience with meditation and it keeps them going strong. Others find meditating to be a struggle and frustrating. If you find yourself in the latter group, then here are some ways to begin easing those frustrations so they aren’t as problematic.

#1. Increase its importance. We often think of meditation as important, but also something we can discard if need be. If we give ourselves the opportunity to stop meditating, then we generally will. Set the bar higher and make a firm commitment to meditating.

#2. Set a reasonable goal. In a world of instant gratification, there is often an expectation that meditation will create immediate results. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Set a more reasonable goal that is incremental and the smaller successes will feel better than the large failures that come with unattainable goals.

#3. Make it interesting. You can meditate just about anywhere. Try meditating in the woods, at the beach, or at a park. Try using different meditation techniques to keep you engaged and excited.

#4. Make it part of the routine. It is more difficult to meditate when we’re trying to set aside 20 minutes at random times every day. Once you find your comfort zone, dedicate a time that will always be your meditation time. When it becomes part of the routine, it becomes part of who you are.

#5. Limit the distractions. Certain things distract us more than others. An email notification while meditating, for example, might make you curious as to what has been sent and change your focus.

#6. Become accountable. Having a meditation partner can help you get your routine established. The shared energy that you and your partner have for those successful moments can help to drive your progress forward. Being social about your meditating also lets it become a normal part of your life and encourage its regular practice.

#7. You don’t have to do this alone. Although some folks can jump right into meditation and find it a rewarding experience, having a meditation teacher available that can teach you techniques or give you tips can help to improve the experience.

Meditation can be difficult, especially at first, but it can also be incredibly rewarding if you’re able to stick it out and make it a habit. Use these 7 methods to ease the troubles of meditating and hopefully a more rewarding experience will come your way.

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4 Ways to Make Meditating a Little Easier

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Have you been trying to meditate, but found it difficult to turn it into a habit? The first days of trying something new are always the most tumultuous. If it has been more of a struggle than a success, then here are 4 ways to make meditating a little easier so that you can have a better chance to experience the benefits of this practice first-hand.

#1. You can meditate anywhere at any time.  This does require a little common sense. You might not want to meditate while shopping for groceries or crossing the street. You can meditate during a break at work, while taking a walk around the neighborhood, or while enjoying an evening on the patio outside. The goal here is to be mindful of each moment that exists around you.

What does it mean to be mindful? It is an enhanced awareness of what makes up everything that surrounds you. The feel of a chair, the softness of the carpet, or the sweetness of the air are just three examples of this.

#2. Know what is going on with your body. For many, the reason why meditation isn’t successful is because they aren’t listening to what their body is trying to say. We can get tunnel-vision when it comes to quelling the mind and not realize that there is something we should be noticing. Listen to the feelings your body is offering you. The tingles of muscles relaxing or the sensation of your chest rising and falling naturally quiet the mind.

#3. You must remember what you have already learned. Something happens as we grow up. We become focused on ourselves. Our thoughts become focused on making life better, easier, and happier. In our younger years, in the days we often cannot remember, there was a time when there weren’t worries, regrets, or judgments being passed along. There was only what could happen in the next moment.

We still experience this in brief moments, often when we are falling asleep or just waking up. Ever felt confused by this? It is because an existence in the present moment is our natural state of being, but we’ve become so accustomed to ignoring it that it is a foreign concept to us now.

#4. The only right way to meditate is your way. Even the ancient Hindu texts about meditation list over 100 different ways to meditate. You can choose one that works for you or create a routine all your own.

What matters the most about meditating is that an effort is made to include it in your schedule every day. Beyond that, the rest is up to you. Hopefully these methods of making meditation a little easier will help to establish a bond with this practice so that it can become a lifelong experience.

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Top 4 Obstacles to Meditation

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When you first learn to meditate, you will encounter all kinds of struggles and frustrations. This is normal, natural and part of the learning process that everyone goes through. If you are new to meditation, here are a 4 obstacles you might face.

1. You don’t know how to meditate.

Everyone who meditates for the first time thinks they are doing it wrong. They are their own harshest critic. The truth of the matter is that there is no one way to meditate. Each person will develop their own style and technique. People make meditation more complicated than it really is. There are some basic guidelines that each person should be aware of but that is about it. My teacher used to say that the only bad meditation is the one you don’t do.

2. You can’t find the time to meditate.

The biggest obstacle people will face in meditating regularly is finding the time. Meditation is like physical exercise. We know it is good for us but we rationalize why it can’t fit into our busy schedule. Meditation does not have to take a huge amount of time out of your daily schedule. You can get all the benefits of meditation by spending only 5 to 10 minutes each day.

3. You lack the discipline.

The second biggest obstacle that people new to meditation face is the lack of discipline. Everyone starts out with the best of intentions. They tell themselves that they are going to meditate everyday. After a few weeks, they start to make excuses and then stop meditating due to a lack of self-discipline. What you can do is to remind yourself everyday why you want to learn to meditate. What do you want to accomplish from learning to quiet your mind? This will inspire you to continue. Also, research has proven that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. If meditation is new to you, stick to it for 21 days to see if it is something you want to make as a daily part of your life. It is important to make meditation fun. Don’t turn it into a chore you must do.

4. You fall asleep while you meditate.

This is actually pretty common problem when you begin to meditate. If you find yourself falling asleep during your meditation, you need to do something to keep yourself awake like getting up and splashing water on your face. Try to meditate when you are fully alert. Other techniques include chanting a mantra or focusing on an object with your eyes open. Over time, you will find yourself very alert and focused during your meditation practice.

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5 Ways You Can Start Meditating With a Busy Schedule

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You’re busy. It’s part of the responsibilities that come with the modern life. There are very few gaps in the schedules today and those that do occur are generally given to family and friends. It doesn’t seem like meditation can work its way in there somehow, but it really can. Here are 5 ways you can start to meditate even with the busiest of schedules.

#1. Begin your day with meditation.

It’s important to have a morning routine that is your special place. You might take this time to watch CNN, relax in the shower, or eat breakfast while reading a book. There’s a good chance that you also spend a little extra time in the morning just staring at the ceiling. Take that time, even if you never get out of bed, to try meditating. This means you’re not trying to add something new to your schedule. You’re just using your time in a better way.

#2. Use your breaks throughout the day.

There’s no rule that says you have to set aside a 20 minute block for meditation. If you get a couple work breaks during the day, try bunkering down into a quiet corner to try meditating. Two 10 minute sessions during the day equal to 20 minutes, after all. This way you can also avoid the sometimes awkward chatter that happens near the water cooler or vending machines.

#3. Force yourself to take a moment away.

We often think of meditation as a classic pose, arms outstretched, maybe sitting on a Yoga mat. Meditation is effective in the classic pose, but it can take on many forms. If you take a walk to help yourself calm down after coming across conflict, you’re actually meditating. Stepping away from triggers and conflicts is the perfect time to try meditating because it creates a natural focus point. You have a difficult emotion that needs to be resolved. This practice on a singular focus can then translate into other focus points later on when stress isn’t present.

#4. Bring in the family.

Even stay-at-home parents who never seem to have a moment to themselves can find time to meditate. Sometimes group meditation is the best solution to the time crunch of the modern life. Gather family and friends that are trusted, meditate together for a few minutes, and see what happens. Kids tend to find it hard to sit still at first, but don’t give up on them. New routines are tough to establish sometimes. If you keep it up over the course of a week or two, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by the results.

#5. Stay up a little later.

Maybe you can’t make any more time in your schedule. That means the only place of flexibility is when you decided to call it a day and go to bed. Extend that time outward by 10-20 minutes as an experiment to try blending meditation into your life. You may find that it easier to sleep afterward, which gives you more energy to get through the next day successfully.

Meditating as a beginner can be challenging. There are new habits, experiences, and challenges to face. Give it enough time and it can be an amazing experience, even if a schedule seems impossibly busy.

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Meditation Makes You Smarter

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We know that meditation is an effective treatment for stress. Did you know that it is also an effective method of increasing your intelligence? Neuroscientists believe that the brain’s functionality and even its chemistry can be altered even with short-term practices. Just starting the habit of meditating is enough for the brain to begin to change.

The key to unlocking additional intelligence through meditation is through the generation of additional gamma waves. These help to energize brain cells, thereby improving cognitive function. There is even some belief that higher levels of gamma waves can be a proactive prevention for age-related neural degeneration.

Meditation practitioners can process information at a faster, more steady pace. Over time, there is also a greater focus because less reactivity occurs with distractions in the long-term meditator’s environment due to additional resilience that develops over time within their amygdala.

Meditation Is Like a Good Workout for the Brain

Just as the metabolism benefits from a good workout throughout the day, the benefits of meditation are able to do the same for the brain. Even while sleeping, research indicates that the parietal-occipital area of the brain remains more active with gamma waves even while sleeping. It shows that meditation is able to influence the neuroplasticity of the brain.

This means there is hope for many who are struggling with certain mental disorders or the side effects of medication treating certain conditions. Instead of taking a stimulant for ADHD, meditation may help to restore a person’s focus. People who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury may be able to re-learn skills that have been lost. Meditation is even being explored as an option for learning disabilities in children.

Then there’s the added ability of emotional stability. Have you ever tried to read a book while angry? Remember a TV show when you were feeling sad? The rise of emotions corresponds to a falling focus that depletes our learning ability. Meditation helps to stabilize this.

Meditation Helps Us Learn New Skills

The visual cortex, supplementary motor regions, and the prefrontal cortex are all critical components of being able to focus attention on a specific learning task. Meditation not only helps us become more aware of our surroundings, but it also provides us with the ability to recognize that we are increasing our learning capacity.

It’s like running 2 miles on a treadmill. The first time you run that length, most people feel like they’re going to die before they make it. After a couple of weeks, it becomes a lot easier and the initial difficulties aren’t even remembered. Meditation is the same way. It can be difficult to get started at first and the benefits of increased intelligence might not be noticed right away, but it is there.

Day by day, you can increase your focus so that learning becomes easier. With better learning comes better intelligence and that’s how meditation can help starting today.

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Here’s How To Make Sure You Have Time to Meditate

How To Not Turn Meditation Time Into Thinking Time

There are a number of reasons why we’ll say we aren’t meditating throughout the day. The most common reason is that there just isn’t enough time. Forget about the fact that we’ve spent 40 minutes on Facebook and another hour combined on other social networks. We all waste so much time throughout the day and call it “being busy,” but the truth is that we’re busy because we choose to be that way.

Here’s how you can quickly carve 10-20 minutes out to make sure you have time to meditate.

­­#1. Make It First

How many times do you hit the snooze button every morning? If it’s more than once, then you have time for meditation. If you’re getting up immediately, then set the alarm clock to wake up 10 minutes earlier and you’ll start your mind off fresh.

#2. Make It a Priority

We always seem to have time to do the things that we have prioritized as important. It becomes a lot easier to have meditation time when that time is considered a top priority every day.

#3. Make It Comfortable

We are all creatures of comfort. If we’re in a strange environment or sitting in an uncomfortable position, then it becomes very easy to give up and find something else to do.

#4. Make It Yours

One of the easiest ways to start finding time to meditate is to link it to the other tasks you need to complete every day. This way you can begin to make meditation yours. Think about saying “I’ll eat breakfast and then meditate” or “I’ll read this book and then meditate” and it will become part of your life.

#5. Make It Flexible

Maybe you have scheduled regular meditation time, but the demands of life have pulled you away from it. If meditation is flexible enough where you can begin practicing it in different places and at different times, you’ll have a greater chance of success.

#6. Make It Judgment Free

We are often our own worst critics. If you miss a meditation session, then forgive yourself. There is no “bad” in this equation to hold you back.

#7. Make It Excuse Free

How much energy gets spent trying to think up excuses for not doing the things we feel like we should be doing? Try this: write down the excuse you give yourself for not meditating. Then the next day, read that excuse with a fresh perspective. Excuses often sound brilliant in the moment, but a second look at them is often an eye-opener.

#8. Make It Accountable

When we are accountable to report our actions to others, then we are more likely to accomplish our goals. If your doctor is watching your weight, then you’re more likely to watch what you eat. If a friend is checking in on how often you meditate, then you’ll be more likely to meditate.

#9. Make a Checklist

Meditation offers numerous benefits. Make a checklist of all the benefits that you begin to see each week and track your progress. As you notice more success, you’ll be more encouraged to reserve time to meditate.

It’s also important to manage your expectations of what meditation can provide. We often see meditating as an instant solution to our problems, but it takes some time for the long-term benefits to appear. Stay strong, make time for meditation, and enjoy life.

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5 Ways You Can Get Rid of Negative Energy Right Now

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A good life is a positive life. Negative thoughts will always come your way, but the energy that comes with that negativity doesn’t have to weigh you down. Here are 5 ways that you can get rid of that negative energy right now.

#1. Forgive First… and Forgive Often

Forgiveness must always be a top priority. It isn’t always other people that must be forgiven either. Sometimes the most difficult choice is to choose self-forgiveness. We are often are own harshest critic and the bonds of anger and bitterness often stay wrapped around us not because of what others have done, but because of our desire to “serve penance” for mistakes made. Let love come into your heart for others and for yourself.

#2. Let Go of Things That Hold You Back

Sometimes we don’t want to let go of things because there are precious memories involved. At other times, good friends may become negative influences and there seems to be no change in sight. If something isn’t nourishing your heart right now, then it is time to let it go. Negative energy will drag you down. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hope that your friends can do the same thing, but sometimes you need to put some space between you and those providing negative energy.

#3. Stop Being Negatively Self-Critical

There’s a heavy sigh. “How could I have been so stupid?” We say these words out loud in frustration. It is fine to be self-critical because that’s how we improve as individuals. Our self-criticism can be constructive or it can be negative. We often choose to abuse ourselves because there seems to be a sort of righteousness in the act, but there is not. When a person berates themselves, it leaves the same negative marks as if they were verbally abusing another person.

Try this instead: “What could I do to change things so this doesn’t happen again?” Some criticism, yet constructive because it encourages different outcomes.

#4. Make Time For Yourself

You deserve at least 5 minutes to do something that you love to do every day. If you can give yourself more time, then do so. Don’t let this be time where you’re watching TV, playing video games, or reading a book. Take time to enjoy the quiet, breathe deeply, and release the negative energies that you feel are pent up inside of you. This is a conscious choice.

#5. Learn to Be Content

Much of the news today is filled with sad stories of people who have made choices because of an overwhelming amount of negative energy that is around them. At the core of negative energy is one piece of common ground: a lack of contentment. Good things and bad things happen every day. If we’re content in our circumstances, then come what may we can find positive lights in some of the darkest corners of life.

Negative energy can release its grip. You can make it let go.

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How Mindfulness Can Enhance Your Happiness

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Mindfulness is an ancient practice that may have its roots in religious studies, but today is used every day in order to find greater focus and inner peace. From the board room to the classroom, millions have embraced mindfulness to enhance their happiness and so can you. Here’s why it is so effective.

#1. Mindfulness stops negative thought cycles.

Have you ever noticed that the first things you remember from almost every life experience tend to be the negative components? It might have been the perfect wedding, but a microphone cord was unplugged. It might have been an A+, but it was 99/100 and that one problem stopped a perfect score. Mindfulness helps to re-train the mind to focus first on the positive instead of the negative.

We already practice mindfulness without realizing it. If you power through those negative emotions, what happens? You remember the joy of a first kiss after the wedding ceremony. You remember the fun you had studying for a test with friends and all the laughter you had. We judge ourselves far too harshly. Mindfulness stops the negative thought cycles by stopping the judging.

#2. You connect on a deeper level.

It’s true that some people are comfortable living by themselves and they avoid social interactions. Yet every person benefits from social interaction. Loneliness is actually a risk factor for numerous diseases because of the stresses that get placed on the human body. With mindfulness, we can connect with others on a deeper level so that the social awkwardness or discomfort has the chance to go away.

#3. Your contentment matters more than you think.

How long did you spend on your morning jog today? How much have you spent for those ultra-high powered workout videos? We often believe that changing one thing we don’t like about life will make us happier, but it’s not always true. Happiness only comes when we’re able to tap into our inner contentment. We must learn to let go of the things we cannot control and place a sense of personal well-being as a higher priority than surface issues.

This can be difficult to do in an age where consumerism equates to happiness. Buying more stuff won’t create prolonged happiness. Being content is the only way.

#4. It’s the attitude of gratitude.

An amazing thing begins to occur as the first three components of mindfulness begin to take shape and form within your inner being. A sense of peace begins to settle on your heart. A weight gets lifted off of your shoulders. A feeling of gratitude begins to take over.

It’s a genuine gratitude that is reflective of the fact that today is a new day. There are new experiences to enjoy. New joys to find. New moments of perfection to explore.

Mindfulness helps us all to slow down and enjoy the moment. Just trying it for a few days could change your world. Happiness can be found right now and it starts with a choice to embrace mindfulness.

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Meditation Tips For Beginners

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Meditation Tips For Beginners

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. The same is true for the development of meditation skills. Beginners need to start somewhere and build healthy habits so that meditation becomes more beneficial with every passing day. These tips will help to make that happen.

#1. Decide to make it a habit.

If you aren’t committed to including meditation into your daily routine, then it isn’t going to happen. Decide right now that you’re going to make meditation a habit instead of a task to be completed.

#2. Take baby steps.

Any amount of time you spend meditating helps to improve your balance. Some people can meditate for 20 minutes twice a day. Others struggle to make 5 minutes for meditation. Find your comfort zone, keep at it, and increase the amount of time when you can.

#3. Schedule it in.

When you first get started with meditation, you’ll find that many other distractions will demand your time. Ignoring those distractions doesn’t always happen. To establish meditation as a habit, try scheduling in a specific time during your day on your calendar that is 100% dedicated to it. Make it yours no matter what.

#4. Get comfortable.

Meditation doesn’t require a specific pose. Some people transition from prayer to meditation and just remain on their knees. Others sit in a recliner. Some folks meditate while standing in the shower. Find what works for you so that your body feels supported by the practice.

#5. Set clear goals.

Meditation improves when you have something specific to accomplish. Reducing stress is a worthy goal. Improving your emotional stability is a great goal as well. By creating something to achieve, the subconscious is able to better work with the conscious mind to provide you with success.

#6. Find a focus point.

Many beginners tend to focus on their breathing as they start to meditate. Counting breaths and feeling the air flow in and out is good. Slow the breathing down. Feel your body relax. Anything that can help you focus can do the same thing.

#7. Stop worrying.

It’s easy to become frustrated when it feels like meditation time isn’t happening the way it should. Maybe the wind wanders or you feel worries creeping in as you’re trying to de-stress. Don’t worry about finding the perfect way to meditate. Find your own path.

#8. Be content in all things.

There is a lot to appreciate in life. Look for these things and be content with where you are. Good things will still come to you and bad things will still happen from time to time. Being grateful in all things allows us to look for good in any place and that can change the way stress is approached.

#9. Focus on the moment.

There is perfection that can be found in every moment of every day. We often get lost in looking forward to what will happen in the future. The future can wait. The moment right now that you’re in will only experience in this instant. Focus upon it and let it flow over you.

Far too often we focus on the process of meditation instead of the outcome. How you meditate is less important than the purpose of meditating. Set time aside, include these tips as they make sense, and you may just find it is a little easier to settle into a habit of meditating.

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