Showing posts with label Spiritual. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spiritual. Show all posts

Tuesday 31 May 2022

Are You Curious About Meditation?

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about meditation, its different practices, and the various health and mental benefits of meditating and for good reason. It's been in the news frequently, there are plenty of books, apps, audio recordings, and classes about meditation out there, and you may have become curious about this ancient technique that's making a comeback in modern times. Let's explore what you can do to learn more about meditation and most importantly, how to give it a try. 


Learning More About Meditation


The internet is a great place to start looking for more information about meditation. It may be how you discovered what you’re reading right now. You'll find plenty of information about meditation, its long history, the various forms of it, and of course some direction and instructions for getting started. This isn’t a bad place to start. You’ll get the basics and enough information to dip your toes in with a simple meditation practice. 


You can also find a lot of great books about meditation. Head on over to Amazon, your local bookstore, or the library and pick up a book or two on meditation. There are also some great apps out there with guided meditations. Search for meditation in your phone’s app store.


How To Start Meditating


You can find some simple guided meditations online, as audio recordings and the likes. Another great option is, of course, the apps I mentioned. They are a great source of guided meditation and the apps will help you increase your meditation time as you go along. They are a great starting point. From there you can explore other options like breathing meditations for example. 


One of the simplest forms of meditation is to become aware of your breath. Sit comfortably, calm your mind, and focus all your attention and conscious thought on breathing in and out. It’s harder than it sounds and takes a bit of practice, but once you get comfortable with this particular exercise, it’s a form of meditation you can do anytime, anywhere. 


Above all, I encourage you to look into meditation and give it a try. It's a wonderful way to combat stress, improve your quality of life and do something positive for your mental and physical health. Try it and see if meditation is right for you. If you don’t particularly enjoy guided meditation, try chanting, transcendental meditation, or breathing meditations. There are so many different traditions and practices out there. If you keep an open mind, I’m sure you’ll find the one that’s right for you. 


Establishing Strong Meditation Habits

Creating new habits isn’t easy and getting into the habit of meditating regularly is no different. Yet taking the time to establish this habit of daily meditation has so many benefits that carry into all aspects of your life. You’ll feel calmer and more collected. You’ll be able to concentrate better, show more patience, and live in the moment. Meditation is even good for your health and can help reduce stress. In short, making meditation a habit is a very good idea. 


Here are a few tips to help you get there. 


Make It Part Of Your Routine 


It’s much easier to create a new habit when you make it part of your daily routine. This is why meditating first thing in the morning works so well. Your daily meditation becomes part of what you do to get ready in the morning. Try meditating after you get out of the shower or even before you get out of bed in the morning. Set your alarm to go off 10 minutes earlier and start your day with a short meditation session. Since it is part of an already established routine, it will quickly become a habit. 


Stick To The Same Time And Set An Alert 


If including your daily meditation practice into an existing routine isn’t an option, make a new one. It’s helpful to stick to roughly the same time each day when establishing a new habit. In the beginning, you may find it difficult to get into the swing of things so set an alert on your phone to remind you to meditate.


Another helpful tip is to commit to this new meditation habit for 30 days. Check them off on a calendar and do what you can not to miss a day. At the end of the 30 days, you will have started to establish the new habit and sticking to it going forward will be much easier. 


There’s An App For That 


Last but not least, consider using a meditation app. You can find them in the app store for your favorite mobile device and most of them are free to try. The basic version may be just what you need to start establishing the meditation habit. The apps keep things interesting with new guided meditations for each day and let you track your progress. It will also remind you to meditate with an alert on your phone. Give it a try and see if using an app helps you establish a strong meditation habit.


How To Start Meditating

Getting started with meditation is a lot easier than you may think. There isn’t any special equipment you need to buy or classes you should be taking. While buying a book, a guided meditation audio recording or an app for your smartphone are certainly options, you don’t even have to do that to get started. I’ll share everything you need to know to get started meditating right here in this post. 


Start by getting comfortable in a spot that’s as free of distractions as possible. You want to sit down either on a chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground, or sitting cross-legged on the floor. If you sit on the floor, you’ll be more comfortable if you sit on a cushion. It’s important that you can sit in whatever position you choose comfortably and that you’re keeping your back straight. Slumping may make you sleepy while you meditate, and bad posture may cause you discomfort after a while. 


Before we start with the actual meditation, let’s get back to distractions. In the beginning, you want to cut as many of them out as possible. Choose a quiet spot where no one will interrupt you. Turn off the ringer on your phone, close the blinds if you think it will help to create a calm and soothing space. You won’t always have to go through all this trouble to meditate because, after a little practice, you’ll be able to do the little meditation exercise I’m about to share with you anytime, anywhere. But like any new skill, meditating can be a little hard in the beginning. It sounds simple enough, but it’s easy to get distracted. That’s why it’s important to set yourself up for success by cutting out any distractions you can. 


Here’s how to meditate. Sit down, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Notice how the air flows in and out of your nose and mouth. Try to think of nothing else. This is the hard part and something that takes practice. Start meditating for a few minutes here and there and increase the time as you move along. Don’t judge yourself when your thoughts stray. Keep bringing yourself back to the sensation of the breath anytime you notice that you’re thinking of something else. 


That’s all there’s to it. Getting started with meditation is simple, but like any new skill, it takes practice. Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Stick with it and keep practicing these new meditation skills. You’ll be glad you did.


How to Deal With a Difficult Emotion Using Mindfulness

Mindfulness has a great many uses and is often prescribed by self-help gurus, doctors, writers and others as a tool anyone can use to improve their mental health.


Often these focusses on the long-term benefits of being more present and aware. At the same time though, mindfulness can also be used like a scalpel to deal with more acute problems. Here we will look at how it can be leveraged for instance to tackle specific emotions as they arise.


Turning Towards Emotions


Normally when we experience negative emotions, we react either by trying to ‘fight them’ or by trying to suppress them. This can be described as almost ‘turning away’ from our emotions to try and deny them their power over us.


Unfortunately, this ultimately tends to result in our becoming more stressed or upset as the emotions bubble under the surface, or as we frustrate ourselves in trying to fight them.


Instead, though, mindfulness teaches us to turn towards our emotions. What this means, is that you are going to listen to the thoughts and feelings you’re experiencing and then simply acknowledge them. Now you say ‘I am stressed’, ‘I am embarrassed’ or ‘I am upset’. Don’t be ashamed or upset that emotion exists but simply recognize that you are currently in that state.


People get upset sometimes. People get angry sometimes. But if you’re simply aware of your condition, then you can be aware that perhaps the thoughts you’re thinking aren’t completely objective. What’s more, you should keep hold of the knowledge that emotions aren’t permanent. In other words, you’re feeling angry right now and as such your thoughts shouldn’t be taken too seriously. But in a few hours, you will likely feel better and then the world will seem like a brighter place again.


This creates a subtle but powerful shift. No longer is the world a terrible place and thus you are upset, now you are upset and thus the world seems like a terrible place. The difference is that you now know that belief is not true.




What’s more, being aware and accepting of your emotions in this way will allow you to assess them in a kind of ‘debriefing’ and to look at what triggered them, how you dealt with them and what they made you think and do. The more you break down and intellectualize your emotions, the more you will find you gain control over them.

Thursday 19 May 2022

What Is Spiritual Detox And Why Do We All Need It?

Usually, when you mention the word spirituality, people start to get nervous. I'm sure you don't need me to remind you that spirituality is a fairly touchy subject in our day and age. After all, personal autonomy is our number one value, and anything that we feel impedes or limits that sense of personal autonomy, is problematic. 


Either we're suspicious of it, dismissive, or we oppose it. It is something that we view as a problem. While most of us are perfectly okay with other people being spiritual, we definitely have an issue with others imposing their spirituality on us no matter how subtle it may be. 


Indeed, the whole concept of spirituality is some sort of philosophical landmine, and I'm not just talking about the West. With that said, please understand that human beings have a spiritual element. Now, that spiritual element is not going to go away just because you don't believe it. Just because you can't measure, just because you can't reduce it into numbers, or some sort of x-ray diagram, or some sort of MRI scan, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. 


If you don't believe me, look at your life. Look at the situations in your past when you had a different purpose. Look at what you were able to achieve because you felt you had a certain purpose, or lacked purpose. Now, compare that with other periods in your life when you were animated by a different purpose. Do you see the difference? 


It may seem immaterial, it might even seem foolish, but a sense of purpose can go a long way. You have to understand that the big challenge of life is not so much how to figure out what to do and how to do things, or when to do them, and who to do it with. Those are the technical details. Most of us are smart enough to be able to figure those out. 


The real challenge in life is why we do things. What is it about that certain activity that enables us to try again and again despite all the discouragement, failures, and setbacks that life throws our way? In other words, it's all about purpose. Because let me tell you, you can tell somebody what to do, and they probably won't perform as well compared to how they would do if you gave them a sense of meaning. 


They will find the strength they need to keep going despite the challenges and setbacks. How come? They're moving purposefully. They know that they are not just wasting their time. They know that somehow, someway, they're not just chasing their tail. They know that they're working for something bigger and better than themselves. They are working for something more meaningful. 


That's the difference, and that truth highlights the power of spirituality in our lives. It also highlights the fact that this spirituality is often crushed, distorted, deformed, if not seriously compromised. How come? Spiritual toxins. Believe it or not, were surrounding ourselves with toxins that eat away at our sense of purpose. They eat away at our ability to turn our ideas into things that we can see, touch, taste, smell, and hear. 


They eat away at our ability to claim and shape the reality we want for ourselves. The human being is the most powerful creature in the universe, and the problem is most people are all too content to live their lives like worms, or slugs. Tragic, no? Adopt a powerful spiritual detox program that would enable you to unlock your full potential and revolutionize your life!


Spiritual Detox Transcends Religion

Usually, when people hear the word "spirituality" they often associated it with religion. This really is too bad. After all, religion, in our modern times, is one concept many people struggle with. Many even consciously try to run away from it. What if I told you that spirituality and religion are not synonymous? In fact, depending on the depth of your spirituality, whatever it is that you are doing, thinking, and believing may be 180 degrees different from religion. 


It's easy to see why religion has gotten a bad rap throughout history. You only need to look at religious wars, the often-repeated charges of intolerance, bigotry, and exclusion, and it becomes as clear as the light of day, why people would rather stay away from religion. 


Whether you agree with this or not, and whether this is justified or not, this is the case. It is true that certain religious traditions as well as family customs go a long way in distorting and misrepresenting the tremendous spiritual riches religion could offer. 


Maybe some people come from a very specific type of family or cultural tradition. Whatever the case may be, religion can easily become suffocating, repressive, and ultimately discouraging. It's not unusual for a lot of people, come from certain strict religious background, to feel that they have to always suppress themselves. 


They have this overwhelming need to always apologize for things. It's as if they're always walking on eggshells. This is the whole atmosphere surrounding religion, and that's why any talk of spirituality is usually distorted because of this background noise. Well, if you have discovered the power of detoxification and you have become interested in spiritual detox, I've got some great news for you. 


Spiritual detox goes beyond religion. While it does a good job of clarifying things and cleansing one of the typical hang-ups of old-school traditional, cultural religion, it goes beyond that. Spiritual detox is really all about reconnecting with one's sense of purpose. 


While it could be said that all religious and spiritual traditions do focus on the idea of purpose, spiritual detox goes beyond this because it reaches people who couldn't care less about religion. That's right, people who are agnostic, atheist, or humanist can relate to the broader definition of spirituality, which is one's concern with the meaning of one's life. 


This is the golden thread that unites all people of all backgrounds. It doesn't matter what kind of religious tradition you grew up in. It doesn't matter what part of the world you come from, we will all come to this question in one form or another, and one level or another. 


Spiritual detox enables you to achieve a tremendous sense of balance, because you let go of a lot of unnecessary baggage from you past. These poison your sense of purpose and deaden your sense of possibility and adventure. Formulate the framework you would need to tap the power of spiritual detox, so you can live at the level deserve to live at. 


Monday 9 May 2022

How Meditation Can Help You Overcome Your Fears

Fear and anxiety can be overpowering and keep you from accomplishing tasks. Fortunately, there is a better way to overcome your fears through the ancient art of meditation. Anyone can achieve this through guided practice and time. I'll explain to you how meditation can help you overcome your fears in this article so you can conquer it. 


One of the main aspects of fear is brought on by intimidation of the event or thought that does not subside until after the fact. Through mediation, the mind becomes quieted from the over-activity that feeds into fear. It allows a person to detach one's self from the negative emotion that is being triggered. In order to learn how meditation can help you overcome your fears you must first master the skill required to become centered. 


Meditation has been scientifically proven to effectively treat stress and anxiety, two factors that are commonly associated with fear. By learning the art of meditation you will be able to take control of your mental state and reach the calming response that will allow you to conquer your fears. Meditating trains your brain to respond differently to the negative thoughts and emotions that automatically occur when fear is brought on.


This ancient practice requires one to clear the mind of all thoughts. This may take time to achieve, but even practicing for short moments at a time will help you to practice regular meditation. The main principal to meditating is to focus on one thing, usually a calming and relaxing technique. The easiest way to achieve this is by concentrating on taking breaths.


To begin, find a comfortable space that is quiet to sit or lay down. Close your eyes and try to erase all negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Take in a deep breath and slowly exhale. Focus on your breaths as you slowly inhale then slowly exhale. Release the negative energy that is contributing to your fears as you exhale. Continue taking slow, deep breaths, concentrating on making the next breath even slower than the one before. 


As you remain calm and concentrate on breathing, you are taking control to quiet the mind. Occasionally, a disruptive thought may occur. Rather than focus on that thought and letting it overcome your mental focus, let it go. Strive to maintain a passive attitude to dismiss any thoughts that may distract you from your goal of meditation. 


Learning how meditation can help you overcome your fears will allow you to desensitize yourself from the internal or external stimuli that brings on the feelings of fear. You become aware of the impending thought or concern and are able to control your mental focus in order to detach yourself from it. 


Sunday 8 May 2022

How to Get Started With Meditation

Meditation has a huge number of incredible benefits, it decreases stress, it improves the memory, it aids mental calmness and much more.


And on his podcast, author Tim Ferriss finds that the one thing that most of his high-performing guests have in common is meditation.


The only problem is that meditation is also very difficult to get started with, or at least that’s the perception. Meditation often seems almost ‘mystical’ and can come with religious connotations. It involves a big commitment of time and a lot of discipline. And many people will work hard at it and still not see any results.


But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re keen to give meditation a go and to see the results for yourself, here are some ways to get started:


The Right Approach


The first tip is simply to approach meditation in the right way and to have the right expectations. If you’re expecting to become enlightened overnight, then you’ll be disappointed. Likewise, you shouldn’t expect that something is going to ‘happen’. 


Instead, try to view meditation, to begin with at least, as a tool for helping you relax and just feel a little more at ease. The idea here is to let your thoughts pass by without engaging with them and to thereby get a ‘break’ from stress and anxiety and busy thoughts. Eventually, this can become a very relaxing place to ‘escape’ to whenever you need to take five.


And if you practice it regularly, the benefits will start to come.


With this in mind, try not to be too harsh on yourself. You’re allowed to scratch your face and you’re allowed to occasionally have distracting thoughts, just keep recentering and keep bringing yourself back.


The Right Strategy


To do this then, try just sitting down somewhere quiet and for ten minutes let your mind relax. Don’t engage with thoughts and instead just be aware of your body in space, and of any sounds you might notice in the background. Don’t ‘do’ anything, just ‘be’.


If you find this hard, then you can use something external to focus the mind. That might mean counting your breaths, or it might mean watching a candle flame. Another method is to use ‘worry beads’ which you can roll between a finger and thumb absent mindedly.




Another great tool to help you get the hang of meditation faster is the Headspace app. This app provides simple meditation sessions that you can digest in small chunks and will talk you through mindfulness. Another option is to use something like Mindwave. Mindwave is an EEG machine that can read your brain waves and thereby assess the level of activity in your mind. This is a very useful tool for gamifying the process of meditation, but it’s not cheap so keep that in mind.


In fact, you can even try using virtual reality in order to combat stress and that would allow you to visit a ‘happy place’ in a much more tangible way!


Why Stress Isn’t Always a Bad Thing, and How to Tap Into a Flow State

Your brain releases a large number of hormones and neurotransmitters in response to your cognition. When you are in danger, this leads to the release of dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin to help make you more alert, stronger and faster.


This is the fight or flight response and it’s you at your most powerful.


The problem is that many of us are stressed a lot of the time now and we don’t know how to turn off that fight or flight response. Thus, we try to eliminate stress and think we would be a lot happier if we could.


But the reality is that stress isn’t a ‘bad thing’. Rather, stress is a valuable tool that we should tap into when necessary. The key is not to eliminate stress but rather to control it. In this post, we will look at some ways you can do that.


What is a Flow State?


A great example of stress as a positive thing is the flow state. Flow states are states of heightened concentration, increased focus and lightning reflexes. Often, they are engaged when we partake in extreme sports, or when we’re completely focused on our work or a conversation.


But essentially, the neurotransmitters associated with flow states are very similar to those associated with stress. The only real difference is that you are producing more anandamide (the ‘bliss’ hormone) and more serotonin. In other words, the only real difference is that you are enjoying the experience rather than being afraid of it.


So, if you can tap into that when you’re next stressed, then in theory you can experience those same heightened reflexes and attention whenever you need them.


The key is simply to try and see the stressful situation not as something scary but rather as an opportunity to learn and to develop yourself further. View it as a challenge and your body will adapt accordingly.




Another example of ‘positive stress’ is what’s known as eustress.


Eustress is the type of stress that motivates us to do things when we need to. For example, eustress is the type of stress you experience when you have an exam coming up. This may not feel very nice, but that stress is actually what stops you from spending all day sleeping and motivates you to get up and revise. Studies show that people with no stress response don’t succeed as well in life and end up letting their talents go to waste.


This is something to note next time you need a kick up the rear, just remind yourself why what you’re doing is important and why you need to focus on it. If you can do this, then you can tap into the positive power of stress and stop seeing it as your enemy.


The rest of the time? Just try to distance yourself from that stress response and tell your body ‘Thanks but no thanks’. If you remind yourself why you don’t need to be stressed, often this is enough to do it!


5 Reasons You Need to Stop Stressing NOW

If you’re currently feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and burned out, then you are certainly not alone. This is pretty much the status quo for countless millions of people around the globe.


But that doesn’t make it okay! In fact, it makes it even more important that we explore the reasons for this stress and work out ways to stop it.


Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t just ‘put up’ with serious stress.


It Makes You Unhappy


Not only does stress make you extremely unhappy in the moment – kind of by definition – but it can also lead to longer term issues with your mental health such as depression, anxiety, and mental fatigue.


When you feel low, anxious, and depressed, the world will feel as though it has no color. In order to really enjoy the things you’re doing – you need to allow yourself to.


It Damages Your Immune System


Stress forces the body to redirect blood and oxygen away from the organs and toward the muscles. Your body assumes that if you’re very stressed, you must be in danger. Hence you are more likely to need your biceps than your spleen!


Problem is, that this then means that your immune system stops working as well as it should – leaving you open to attacks from harmful bacteria and germs. The result is that you’ll get sick more often, the longer you are highly stressed.


In the long term, stress can actually be dangerous and even cause fatal illnesses.


It Prevents Nutrient Absorption


Likewise, stress causes blood to be directed away from your digestive system (hence the feeling of getting ‘butterflies’). That then means you absorb nutrients less effectively.

Over time, this can result in serious malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies, resulting in a host of other issues.


It Causes You to Make Mistakes


When you are stressed, you will struggle to focus on the task in hand. Simply, whatever it is you’re worried about is going to seem more important.


The more you stress, the more mistakes you’re likely to make and this can lead to all kinds of complications and issues. 


It Damages Relationships


Stress can make you short tempered, it can rob you of the energy you need for socializing, and it can result in you being less pleasant to be around. This has knock on effects and can place strain on your relationships.


If you don’t fix your stress for yourself, think about the impact it’s having on your children or other loved ones.


5 Way to Feel Calmer Instantly

Feeling panicked and overworked? Stressed out all the time and struggling to focus? You just described pretty much the majority of the population.


Unfortunately, being stressed and burned-out is rapidly becoming the ‘new normal’ in a world where we have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. The good news is that with the ubiquity of this issue, there is also a large array of options when it comes to treating and solving it. Here are five ways you can feel better almost instantly.




You can go Marie Kondo on your home, or you can just do a little spring clean. Whichever you choose, you’ll find that having a more organized space can instantly help you to feel better about your current predicament.


If you only have five minutes, then just clear your immediate area. It’s often enough!




If you’re feeling very anxious, it might well be because you have allowed your blood sugar to drop. Something as simple as eating a meal can help to boost it back up and significantly improve your mood again. Our moods are tied extremely closely to what we eat, due to the link between our blood sugar and the release of cortisol and serotonin (the stress and feel-good hormones respectively!).


Go for Walk


Walking helps to engage the ‘default mode network’ – the network of brain regions that spring into action whenever we’re not doing something highly active. The result is that your mind wanders and you feel calm and creative. Fresh air and scenic views will do the rest. A five-minute spin around the block is all it takes!




Just five minutes of meditation can be more than enough to help boost your mood and help you to feel better. The aim of meditation is to calm your brain by focussing on something other than the negative thoughts you’re currently experiencing – even if that ‘something else’ happens to be nothing at all!


Just set a timer for five minutes, and make an effort to push all concerns out your brain. It’s that easy!




Another way that you can overcome stress and anxiety is to exercise. This stimulates the release of serotonin, not to mention being extremely good for distracting yourself!

Again, five minutes might well be enough. Just take a moment out and do 30 push ups. You’ll get the blood circulating and feel better in no time.

How Meditation Can Help Creativity

How do you encourage creativity?


The unfortunate irony, is that the more you try to ‘force’ your creativity, the less likely it is to come. The less likely you are to have that ‘aha’ moment.


The reason for this, is that when we try and force anything, we become stressed – physiologically aroused. We produce more adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones. And as such, we narrow our focus onto the thing we think is most pressing.


Creativity on the other hand, happens when we are relaxed. This in turn allows the mind to wander – to explore different memories and knowledge and to make unique connections out of those disparate topics. They say that all new ideas are just recombination of old ones!


A 2000 study from Slovenia shows that ‘coherence’ in the brain is critical for creativity – that means disparate brain areas working in unison. 


Meditation can help greatly in encouraging this then. When you meditate, you will be able to encourage a state of calm, that will allow you to access novel ideas and connections.


What’s more, is that you can use specific types of meditation in order to encourage this. One example is Cal Newport’s ‘Productive Meditation’. This is a form of meditation where – rather than completely empty your mind – you focus on a particular problem or creative pursuit and then try to come to a solution.


When was the last time you just sat and thought about something that was important to you?


When you do this, you will be able to actually practice using the parts of the brain we use for imagination and creative thinking. These include the ‘default mode network’. This is the network of brain regions that fire when we are not engaged with a task.


Interestingly, studies seem to show that we need to utilize a combination of both the default mode network and the executive control network in order to come up with useful ideas. In other words, freeflowing nonsense that occurs when you’re falling asleep or drunk is not useful. But ‘mulling a topic over’ on the other hand can be extremely useful.


So, the next time you have a challenge, or you want to come up with a creative solution to a problem – take a moment out and ‘think on it’. Meditate on the subject, then let your mind just wander. 


A creative solution may just come to you.