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How You Can Begin To Practice Mindfulness Right Now

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We all have tough days. There’s a really bad one thrown in here and there for good measure too. When we’re practicing mindfulness, however, those difficulties melt into the background and become white noise. Here’s how you can get started right now.

#1. Feel your breath. Breathing in and breathing out is life itself working. Pay attention to the rhythm. Feel the sensations of each breath and what it does to your body.

#2. Connect your senses. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and the things we touch all create our existence. We take them for granted so often. Linger in the moment and enjoy what your senses are telling you. Then connect the different senses together to create a perfect moment.

#3. Pause in the silence. You don’t have to move onto the next task in your day right away. If you get started 2 minutes from now, the work will still get done. Pause in that 120 second silence and just experience those moments.

#4. Begin to actively listen. Instead of trying to state your opinion immediately, work on listening to what someone is actually saying. Repeat what you’ve heard them say back to them so you know you’re on the same page. Don’t listen to be negative or judgmental. Listen to learn.

#5. Do something incredible. We all have hobbies that we love, but they tend to get set aside so that more work can be accomplished. Schedule time in for your hobbies so you can be creative outside of your responsibilities. Get lost in the goal of doing or creating something incredible.

#6. You are what you eat. At least 3x per week, turn off the distractions that are around you at the dinner table. Shut off the computers, tablets, and phones. Leave the TV off. Maybe open a window if you can. Without the distractions, you get to experience the food in a different way. If you have a family, you’ll have a chance to connect with their day as well.

#7. Take a walk. Instead of pounding the pavement, try taking a walk that is light on the feet. Be aware of the strength of each footstep. You’re not trying to leave a trail on your sidewalk for others to follow. You’re trying to connect to the Earth without damaging it in some way.

#8. Meditate. 10-20 minutes of meditation every day can greatly enhance the experiences that mindfulness can provide. Adding this process can make all the difference in the world.

#9. Change things up. We are creatures of routine and that’s a good thing because it keeps us on schedule. It’s also a bad thing because we’re so used to our environment that we start ignoring what happens around us. By mixing up the routine from time to time, we can experience more of the world without sacrificing our schedule.

#10. Identify your thoughts. Instead of shutting out the thoughts you don’t like, observe them. Label them. Study them. See where they originate. Every action you take is a small step toward mindfulness.

You really can experience the world in a very different way thanks to mindfulness. Consider these options today so that you can begin immediately.

4 Simple Ways to Develop Concentration

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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.

Exploring Mindfulness At Work

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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.

Stressed At Work? Here’s 7 Ways Meditation Can Help

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It’s easy enough to get stressed out at work. Tight deadlines, micromanaging bosses, or the pressures of middle management are just some of the ways that stress can come about. Many people feel like they’re over-worked and under-paid. Meditation can’t help with your paycheck this week, but it could help you handle the stress that might be headed your way. Here’s why it can help.

#1. It improves clarity. If you have a difficult decision to make, a clear mind is necessary to lead yourself in the right direction. Meditation eliminates the distractions of body language and co-worker influence so the clear choice can be made.

#2. It balances emotions. There are two basic ways to make a decision: the rational way or the emotional way. It doesn’t take much for our emotions to become unbalanced. An insensitive comment or email can do a surprising amount of damage! Regular meditation at work helps to keep the mind balanced so it can be more rational and less emotional.

#3. It keeps you present in the moment. Ever have one of those moments when you’re at work at you “space out?” That lack of focus can be problematic if work needs to get completed or decisions made. Meditating helps to keep you in the moment more often throughout the day, letting you make the most out of every moment.

#4. It improves memory. Do you feel like you’ve got to write everything down at work or you’ll forget it? Meditation won’t fix this issue, but it will improve it. In return, you’ll be able to access information from your mind to make better instant decisions when consultation with your notes just isn’t possible.

#5. It creates a desire to actively listen. Meditation requires people to listen to the rhythms and patterns of their body. One must actively listen to their inner being to understand their outer being. This point of emphasis translates into the professional environment by encouraging the development of an active listening skill. Instead of being anxious to comment, those who meditate often at work find themselves listening and providing feedback more than trying to offer an opinion.

#6. It provides a certain sense of purpose. Why do you go to work every day? Why do you deal with all of that stress? Meditation can help to show you the meaningful answers to this question. It’s not just about the money. There is something you get from doing what you do. If it’s been lost, meditation will help you find that passion once again.

#7. It creates the foundations of leadership. Meditation ultimately helps people be able to take control over their own destinies. Instead of always being reactionary to the problems at hand, a more proactive approach can be developed. This is what makes people better leaders. They anticipate issues, have strategies developed to deal with those issues, and encourage others to build themselves up along the way.

The benefits of meditation can be quite profound, especially when they are regularly practiced at work. Find a quiet place for a few minutes, even if that just means kicking your shoes off at your desk. In return, you’ll begin shifting from a reactive to a proactive approach for that work-related stress.

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.

You Can Still Practice Mindfulness Even If You Are Busy

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Mindfulness is a term that is being used very frequently these days. It is a skill that allows a person to be more aware of their present circumstances. Instead of allowing a day to sail on by, a person practicing mindfulness will look at the perfection of each moment as it comes, no matter what their circumstances might be.

Why practice mindfulness even when busyness is the rule of the day? What mindfulness does is create a more rational mind. By being able to set emotions aside, a person practicing mindfulness is able to be more rational with every choice that needs to be made. Instead of having choices that are dominated by joy or fear or our flight-or-fight reflexes, a decision can be made using logic and reason.

How Can You Begin To Practice Mindfulness?

Here is one simple fact that we often choose to ignore: being busy is a choice. In many ways, the level of busyness that we have during the day is a badge of honor that we wear proudly. Because we are so busy, we take joy in the fact that we are unable to do the things that we actually love. It is a lot like an addiction. Just like you can be a workaholic, you can be a busy-a-holic. Mindfulness seeks to change that.

All you need to do to get started is to set aside 60 seconds. Take that one-minute and meditate during it. It can be as simple as sitting at your desk, closing your eyes, and taking three or four deep breaths. In those few seconds, your mind will begin to practice mindfulness. A natural side effect of these micro meditation periods is that you will feel less stress, feel less overwhelmed, and feel like you have more time to accomplish the things that need to get done during the day.

Sometimes Mindfulness Requires Action To Succeed

It is common for a mind to allow thoughts to wander. Sometimes we call this daydreaming. When you’re in the middle of an important business meeting, having your thoughts stray can be a bad thing. You might suddenly miss what was just said. You might “space out” for several minutes. This is wasted time that could be used for mindfulness.

Finding the perfection in any given moment means actively seeking out what is perfect. Sometimes perfection can be found in the words that we are hearing from someone else. Sometimes you can go beyond the words that are being said and find perfection in the ideas that are behind the words. Instead of spacing out for daydreaming, try focusing your concentration in the next business meeting you have on every individual word. By not allowing your mind to wander, you are being more mindful. You are training your brain to be in the present moment, right here and right now.

If you have 60 seconds, then you have time to start reprogramming your mind to accept mindfulness. Don’t accept the excuse of being busy anymore. When mindfulness is in your corner, you have an amazing opportunity every day to achieve great things. All you must do is decide to take advantage of those opportunities.

How Could 3 Days of Mindfulness Change Your Life?

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The benefits of mindfulness meditation have long been promoted, but it has been thought that it can take an extensive amount of time for these benefits to kick in. According research from Carnegie Mellon University, however, it may take just 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation for three consecutive days to alleviate psychological stress. By paying attention to one’s breathing and the condition of one’s surroundings, it has been found to be moderately effective to battle pain, anxiety, and even depression.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect Meditation

One of the most common obstacles that people face in meditating is that they feel like they need to be perfect in order to get the benefits. That simply isn’t true! You don’t have to be able to clear your mind of every thought or preconceived notion that comes your way. The mind is designed to think, file thoughts away, and strategize. It’s actually more unnatural to try to force a mind to be completely empty than it is to let it naturally process the surrounding environment.

The goal with mindfulness meditation simply needs to be finding a better focus. Hearing sounds and then processing them doesn’t mean that you’re doing it wrong. It simply means that you’re meditating in your own way. There are some things you can do, however, to facilitate an improved meditation experience:

  • Find comfort. If your mind can focus on your environment and breathing rather than the fact that your leg is going numb, then you can have a better experience. Make a specific spot your meditation spot, find a comfortable position, and then settle in for the next 25 minutes.
  • Observe. The more you are aware of your surrounding environment, then the better your meditation session is going to be. It’s the sensations of mindfulness that make it such a powerful phenomenon.

Why Is Focused Breathing So Important?

Deep breaths will automatically relax the human body. Patterns of breathing can relieve pain. That’s why pregnant mothers are taught specific breathing patterns during childbirth preparation classes. By allowing yourself to create a focused pattern of breathing that lets you control your body movements, you can free yourself of all the things that can hold you back over the course of a day. Regrets, worries, sadness, and even anger can dissipate in as little as 5 minutes of controlled breathing.

Most importantly, however, mindfulness meditation means being still. One cannot experience their environment until they allow the environment to interact with them. Being busy all the time means that we are forcing ourselves to ignore the moments of perfection that surrounds us every day. By spending just 25 minutes for 3 days in a row exploring these moments, all of your stress can be gone.

Purposefulness Through Mindfulness: 6 Ways To Achieve Better Meditation

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As research as shown that 3 days of purposeful mindfulness meditation can eliminate most, if not all of the stress that someone is feeling, it is important to know how to achieve this. Being purposeful means more than just scheduling an appointment to meditate in your calendar every day. It’s a concentric effort that brings all of your senses to bear.

It all begins with a better approach to paying attention to things all day. Perfection can be found in many things if we’re willing to look for it. Even the flavor of our toothpaste has a certain perfection to it, but only if we’re willing to notice it through mindfulness.

1. Take a Break. You must be willing to allow yourself to take a break from your own world every now and then. We all create barriers to the real world in our haste to get through any given day. Mindfulness allows us to take these barriers down so that we can take a break from our fantasy worlds that we construct to cope with life’s stresses.

2. Weave It In. Mindfulness can be a lifestyle approach if you’re willing to adopt it. Every touch, every taste, and even every emotion has a deeper quality to it if we’re willing to take notice of it.

3. Categorize It. The mind is used to having to calculate billions of things at once. Think about it. Your brain is causing your heart to beat, your lungs to breath, and your eyes help it to understand these very words. It’s used to creating categories to file experiences and thoughts into, so allow it to do so. What does your shirt feel like right now? How comfortable is your chair? Do your shoes need to come off?

4. Accept the Emotion. When the mind tries to relax, it tends to think of something that creates an internal trigger. These triggers then force a response that creates sadness, anger, or regret. We so often keep busy simply because we want to avoid these difficult emotions. By focusing on mindfulness, we can stop running, forgive ourselves, and then begin to move on.

5. Be Neutral. Mindfulness meditation stops the instant we begin judging ourselves on the quality of our thoughts. We must be able to take a neutral approach to the various states of mind that we have. If we do not, then we’ll create new barriers to mindfulness that will never allow us to eliminate stress. Why? Stress is created with the formation of every barrier.

6. Let It Go. What mindfulness meditation does better than anything else is forgiveness. It gives the mind a medium that allows it to let go of things that it may have held onto for years. We are not defined by our past, but we so often live in our memories and allow them to drive us. It’s now that matters. It’s whom we will be in the future that matters. That’s what mindfulness allows us to focus upon.

Could Slow Reading Be a Form of Meditation?

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Have you ever noticed how a good book can relax you? You settle in for a few minutes of reading and before you know it, the entire night has almost passed you by! What is unique about a slow read is that your mind is solely focused on the words being read and how that relates to the pictures that are created in your mind. You know what else creates that same effect? Meditation.

Is Reading a Good Book the Same As Meditating?

If you’re trying to read for speed, then your mind is not solely focused on the book or ebook that is in front of you. You’re trying to get through the book for some specific purpose and that purpose is at the forefront of your mind, driving the experience. Speed equates to stress and that means meditating benefits are ignored for the benefit of obtaining speed.

For a slow read, however, your mind is focused on every word that is observed and then given comprehension. It’s like meditating with your eyes closed and choosing to focus on a single idea, thought, or experience. Your mind gets tunnel vision, closing out the racing thoughts and other problems that may be surrounding you at any given moment because the next word is powerful and profound.

Slow reading does more than just break the chains that the outside world tries to put onto you. It helps develop the skill of concentration and this deepens a person’s ability to actively listen in any given situation.

How Can You Take Advantage of Slow Reading?

The first and most critical component of using slow reading as a form of meditation is to eliminate all of the distractions that might be around you. Turn off your phone completely because you’ll hear the vibrations, even if you’re upstairs and the phone is downstairs. You’ll want to turn off your computer as well because even with notifications turned off or the volume muted, you will be tempted to check your Facebook page in the middle of a good read.

A slow read also helps with reading comprehension skills. The mind must be fully focused not just on each word, but each part of each word in order to fully understand the nuance and meaning the author is attempting to put into the text. Books also have more formal language than what you’ll find on social media sites like Twitter, which means a complete understanding of language can be developed by the mind. Instead of reading abbreviations to understand them, you’ll start converting the abbreviations to their full meaning in your head before understanding them.

It’s a subtle difference, but an important one. It means a complete understanding is desired by the mind! That desire will fuel you in a number of personal and professional ways, from feeling less stress to being able to read and understand more effectively.

If you’re struggling with a routine that includes meditation, then try slow reading as an alternative. The benefits are similar to what meditation can provide and you’ll be able to discipline your mind to a new way of thinking. In return, you might just find that life itself can be much more exciting!

How You Can Overcome Common Obstacles to Mindfulness

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The benefits of mindfulness are clear, but it is also one of the most difficult paths to follow. There are a number of roadblocks that get in the way, causing distractions from the peace and joy that can come with an increased awareness. Once negative circumstances happen, it’s easy to begin following a new journey! By paying attention to these common obstacles to mindfulness, you’ll be able to enjoy more than just the good life. It’ll be a great life!

#1. There Isn’t Enough Effort

Mindfulness can be very difficult. It takes ongoing effort every day in order for this specific skill to develop. It can be very discouraging to practice mindfulness at first because it feels like there is no progress being made. When you make the conscious effort to stay in control, even when you feel like you’re out of control, then eventually it will get easier.

#2. There Are Too Many Distractions

There are always going to be distractions during your journey toward mindfulness. Plan ahead of time what you’ll do if the negative thoughts begin creeping in. You can also proactively work to eliminate common distractions like email notifications so that your time won’t be disturbed.

#3. Expectations Are Unrealistic

Even though we live in a society that expects instant results, most of the time people need to pay their dues in order to taste success. That’s very true with mindfulness! Some days will seem incredibly slow and there’s nothing wrong with that. Instead of being upset about a lack of progress, try being content with the progress you do experience.

#4. Giving Up

When there is a roadblock in the way, it’s very easy to throw your hands up in the air in frustration and just walk away from the journey. A roadblock is a challenge, nothing more. You can rise to meet this challenge, just as you meet other challenges every single day.

#5. There Are Conflicting Goals

Mindfulness is a wonderful goal to have, but it can also create conflict with some of your other goals. This creates a conflict that ultimately manifests itself in stress. Goals are intended to make people happy, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of mindfulness or your peace of mind. If you’re experiencing a conflict, then it’s time to reexamine the goals you’ve got.

#6. The Eyes Are Looking Behind

The reward of mindfulness isn’t the final destination. It isn’t what has happened in the past either. The reward of mindfulness is the journey that you undertake every day. Meeting goals might bring temporary satisfaction, but that is all. With mindfulness, there is a curve of growth that allows people to be a little better every single day.

#7. You’re Just Done

Sometimes it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You’d rather do anything than practice mindfulness at that moment… and there’s nothing wrong with that. Being mindful means being aware of what you and your body needs as well. Just make sure to come back when you are in a good space and you’ll be able to conquer any obstacle.

There are common obstacles that can get in the way of mindfulness, but these challenges can be defeated. They will make you stronger. When that happens, you’ll find that the benefits of mindfulness won’t be very far behind!

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