But the reality is that multitasking only offers the illusion of productivity. Often, this is when stress levels are ramped up and more mistakes are made—which usually ends up taking more time in the long run.
The clinical (and, let’s be honest, more accurate) term for doing more than one thing at a time is not multitasking but “task-switching,” because in reality, you can’t concentrate on more than one thing at a time. In fact, the American Psychological Association has calculated that all of the task-switching we do and all of the distractions caused by technology can cost a whopping 40% of someone’s productive time.
But by learning to prioritize tasks, minimize distractions, and focus on one thing at a time, you can actually do a better, more thoughtful job—and #bonuspoints, feel calmer at the end of the day.
Mindfulness, which is the ability to fully focus on one thing at a time and be present in the moment, is the opposite of distractedly multitasking—and can be the key to solving it. “I believe it’s the key to a healthier relationship with technology,” says Christina Malecka, a Seattle-based psychotherapist and the founder of Digital Mindfulness Retreats.
A 2016 Case Western Reserve University meta-analysis of previous studies noted that it’s estimated that the human mind wanders for roughly half of our waking hours but that mindfulness has been shown to improve three qualities of attention: stability, control, and efficiency.
Practices like meditation, yoga, tai chi, or journaling “provide a foundation that makes it easier to step back, see the big picture, respond rather than react, and focus on one thing at a time,” Malecka explains. This can help you in every aspect of your life, from home to office. Being mindful can also help you refocus when your day starts to overwhelm you…and we’ve all had those days.
Ready to toss those multitasking habits to the curb? Consider trying some of these other actions to prioritize:
There’s the to-do list in your phone, the one on your at-home calendar, plus several Post-its scattered around the house. “It’s impossible to start prioritizing if you don’t really know all of the things you need to get done,” notes Malecka.
Gather them all, and be sure to include all of those things that swirl in your head and create a knot in your stomach. Many people find this list-making incredibly satisfying and can even help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
2. Learn to prioritize.
Be honest, is No. 5 on your list really that important? And is No. 1 truly urgent? If it’s hard for you to figure out, try using the task-prioritization method called the Eisenhower Matrix, which helps you prioritize tasks by assessing their level of importance and deciding whether they can be delegated or even taken off the list entirely (see below). Then assess what needs to be done today, and back-burner everything else that you can.
The Eisenhower Matrix:
- Do First: These are urgent things that need to be done ASAP.
- Do Later: These can be postponed, but do schedule a time to do them.
- Delegate: It makes more sense to find someone else to do these.
- Eliminate: These aren’t important and can be crossed off your list.
3. Set aside concentrated blocks of time to focus on one task.
Shut off all unnecessary technology. Close the door. Put on noise-canceling headphones if you work in a busy office. Do whatever it takes to remove unhelpful distractions. You will find you get more accomplished, which will, in turn, reduce your anxiety and increase your feelings of self-satisfaction.
4. Immerse yourself in nature.
Spending time outdoors is an ideal way to help you relax and open your mind to creative thoughts, and yet many of us suffer from what experts have labeled “nature deficit disorder.”
“Nature has the power to transform and awaken us,” says Mark Coleman, a meditation teacher in Marin Country, California, and author of Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-Discovery. Yet in our busy, high-tech lives, we have lost the ability, sensitivity and skill to listen, feel and sense the natural world.”
Original article by Anne Marie O’Connor.
5 Natural Ways To Relax & Get Centered
5 Natural ways to relax and get centered.Yes, there are plenty of ways you can de-stress, unwind, enjoy time with your self and get centered. Getting centered, it sounds a little offbeat to those of you who don’t meditate or practice other self-awareness rituals. Maybe the word mindfulness is better. Either way, hear me out.
We all have a busy and hectic life, throw in kids and it gets even crazier. So how do you destress? I know you have a girls night or even guys night out to unwind and blow off steam. Aren’t their ways to do this without the potential use of alcohol and a hangover? The next morning is never any fun.
No need to be wary this doesn’t require guru knowledge on meditation, yoga just open-mindedness. Being centered merely means being at peace with who you are, in every moment. Stillness and quiet are what that means for me. To thine own self be true.
These five things will help you to de-stress and allow you to exhale. The key is to be in the moment and let your feelings, energy and mind flow in all of these exercises.
5 Natural Ways to Relax and De-Stress
First, let’s discuss journaling. Yes, we are going back to the “dear diary” days but a more grown-up version. Pick out a journal or notebook, whatever you like. You may ask “what do I write once I open the notebook (love that movie BTW, the book was even better)?”
To start, looking at a blank page can be intimidating if you’ve never journaled before. The first thing I like to do is start by writing the date at the top of the page. On days you have a lot of feelings to get out just start writing. You’re not getting graded on these entries so don’t worry about how to properly get started and use correct punctuation and grammar. Just let yourself flow.
Start with “I feel…” and go from there. The entries can be short or long. I’ve written pages upon pages before and then only a single page other times. Really allow yourself to be in the moment and let your emotions flow. Something happens during this process that is therapeutic. You’re able to self reflect and analyze a situation better, step back and see things differently. Read how to do automatic writing or journaling here.
You can do this at the end of my day, or when the mood strikes you. I believe getting emotions out and not holding them in helps to heal your spirit. At the very least, it helps you to be calm and learn about yourself.
So pick up a pen and notebook and start de-stressing. Journaling is for your personal use only. No one ever has to read it or see it, unless you want them to. Over the years I’ve used many different kinds of journals. I’m currently using this moleskin journal. I love the feel of the paper and smooth writing.
Walking in Nature
Nature is an all-encompassing cure for feeding the soul. A simple walk in nature can alleviate stress, calm you down through exercise, and feed your soul. Listening to birds chirping, wind rustling through the leaves of tall pine trees, water gently waving in the lake as the reflection of the sun bounces off the water.
That my friend is relaxing and total de-stresses the best of us. Nature almost forces you to be still and quiet. Listen to the sounds around you and lookup. Oh my gosh, the joy of just looking up! We don’t take the time to just look up and observe.
Look at the trees swaying in the wind, geese flying over information, clouds moving pass. Do this and take a breathe and exhale. The simple things we don’t pay attention to because we look down, at our devices. Busy rushing through from one stop to the next.
Take that walk in the park, listen to the sounds, and breathe. Breathe and walk with intention. It’s more of a stroll rather than a timed fast walk. Try not to have your headphones in the entire time. It’s tempting, and some days I do it myself. Or I listen to audible but nonetheless I’m still observing nature and taking it in. If you live in a busy loud city then turn on calming music.
Taking the time to do this a couple of times of a week or more, if you can, helps bring you back to being centered. Quiet on the inside to where you can hear your true self. Not the restless chatter that you hear all day. Give yourself a break and take a walk.
There are so many different types of meditation from mindfulness, transcendental, guided, sound and the list goes on and on. I’ve tried a lot of these, read about it here, to see if there was one that worked best for me or that I connected to most.
As I mention throughout my blog, no two people are the same therefore no two people will meditate or do anything for that matter the same. We will all have different experiences with meditation. Trying different types will help you not only learn what you like but also allow you to practice meditation itself.
I have found that mindfulness of breath meditation is best for me. It is bringing awareness to your breath. I prefer to be in a quiet room where I will not be interrupted, hard to find these days with 2 little shadows. Don’t be surprised if you catch me in the closet trying to get some meditation time in, just sayin’ do whatcha gotta do.
You can use an eye mask, to make it dark, I find this helps me to relax and focus. You’ll have to try again and again before you learn to really quiet the mind.
This is a learning process so please keep on the path and don’t give up. Start with a few minutes at a time and build up from there. You’ll notice over time you can meditate a little longer each time, and it becomes easier to get into that state.
Everyone should practice yoga, at least once. You have to try it to know if you like it. My yoga journey started around 16 years ago or more. I will admit that I haven’t done it continuously during those 16 years. There were some years that I didn’t practice at all. Other times I would attend a yoga class 4-5 times a week. Currently, I practice yoga in my bedroom with my favorite yoga youtube channels.
Just like meditation, there are many types of yoga styles. As a result, I’ve tried many of them and learned which ones I like best. You do the same.
Yoga has many physical benefits such as increased flexibility, muscle strengthening, lower blood pressure, reduce stress and the list goes on. As far as de-stressing, well this helps with that too.
You don’t even have to leave your own home to try, especially if classes aren’t your thing. With that yoga classes have a different environment than other “gym” type classes. Everyone is focused on themselves and their own practice. There isn’t that feeling of everyone is watching me.
The flow of the poses is very soothing once you learn the salutations or sequences. That word mindfulness comes in again. It’s hard to not be during yoga. You become very focused on your pose and breathe that this, in turn, becomes its own meditation. It never ceases to amaze me how quiet the mind gets when you are practicing yoga. It’s almost effortless.
5 – HTP
5–Hydroxytryptophan (5–HTP) is an amino acid that your body already produces. It’s derived from an African plant known as Griffonia simplicifolia. It helps to increase the serotonin levels in your body thus boosting your mood. Allowing you to be more mindful and less stressed and preoccupied.
It’s a natural supplement that offers numerous benefits including a calming effect. To learn more about 5-HTP as a natural stress reliever read the article that goes into more depth.
There you have it 5 natural ways to relax and take a moment for your self. Self-care is a buzz word that we’re hearing everywhere right now. Don’t think its not for you or you don’t have time. Making time will only improve your daily life and mental health.
Being mindful during any of these activities will bring you to a more relaxed state and bring you into alignment. Find what works best for you and continue to develop your own self-care routine.
This article is republished by https://inspirehealthandspirit.com/ under Creative Commons license. Read the original.
What Enlightened People Do
In this article, we’re going to look at how enlightened people put their wisdom into action.
The mark of truly enlightened people is in the actions they take to help put an end to suffering throughout the world.
From my studies about spiritual figures in history, and my experiences with people well along their path, I’ve identified some general activities that enlightened people engage in to bring more peace and harmony into the world. Keep in mind that their activities will vary according to how enlightened they are.
The Extinguishment of the Ego
To say that their work is selfless is not entirely correct. You see, the enlightened person has realized that he is interconnected with the rest of humanity—more accurately with all that exists—and has lost the sense of a separate self.
Keep in mind that the loss of a sense of separate self is not the same as a loss of self. The enlightened person has lost only the notion that human beings are characterized by an individual and independent living entity. In other words, it is the extinguishment of the individual ego. Since the enlightened person is an integral part of all of humanity, everything that he does to help others also benefits him personally.
Listen to Eckhart Tolle talk about enlightenment and the egoless state. Video lasts about 8 minutes:
One day a friend of mine tried to point out to me that I derived a personal benefit from the work I do to help others on their spiritual path. I had to concede that he was correct. And since I am not yet fully enlightened, some personal gratification is still involved, though I hope that motivation is diminishing as I progress in my spiritual development.
With these things in mind, let’s look at how enlightened people put their wisdom into action:
They Teach, and Don’t Preach
The enlightened person wants others to have the peace and serenity they have found. To that end, he dedicates his life to teaching others how to put an end to their suffering. He understands human nature and the most effective ways of transmitting his insights.
He also understands that people who are truly interested in greater insight don’t respond well to preaching and lecturing. Instead, they prefer to be guided down the path of enlightenment.
Generally, people who prefer to be lectured are those who are not inquisitive and prefer to simply accept a particular spiritual doctrine without questioning. They don’t want to put in the effort it takes to finding the Truth within themselves. I should point out that we are all susceptible to getting set in our views. It takes work, courage, and humility to continuously question our own views.
The enlightened person understands that his role as a teacher is to show others how to become less dependent on him for their enlightenment. He wants his students to understand that all the wisdom in the world is within them, and his job is to show them how to reach it.
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The enlightened person leads people down the path to inner peace. She works tirelessly to reach more people with her teachings. She knows that in order to reach more people, she must develop a following. But she doesn’t do it for personal gratification.
The enlightened person is also not interested in being idolized. On the contrary, she realizes that once someone begins to idolize her, they stop looking within themselves for peace and serenity.
People follow her because of who she is and what she stands for. They also follow her because they know she can show them the path to enlightenment. However, once her followers progress in their spiritual development, they too begin to realize that they must now become leaders, and abandon their roles as followers.
The enlightened person practices what he teaches. He not only talks about love, compassion, and understanding, but he practices these principles more diligently than his followers. He has an unshakable faith that his spiritual practice will lead to peace and harmony within himself and in the world around him.
The enlightened person is committed to his own daily meditation practice. He is also continuously looking for ways to improve it further. He is a student of life. He knows that in order to improve his effectiveness as a messenger, he must improve his understanding of the path to enlightenment, and the interconnected nature of all existence.
He is not looking for the right way of doing things, but rather for a more mindful way of doing things, because he knows that more mindfulness leads to less suffering. For him, this process never ends.
They Serve and Protect
The enlightened person is committed to being of service, not just to humanity, but to all life. She has a deep reverence for all living beings, no matter how big or small. To her, it is not necessarily about having a right to life, but rather about having compassion for the inherent ability of living beings to suffer. She, therefore, works to protect all life.
She also knows that many people, as well as many other living creatures, are not fully capable of protecting themselves from the unmindful actions of others. She is aware that in our ignorance, we all do things that harm ourselves, other people and living beings, so she strives to protect us from others and ourselves.
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They Change Their Occupations
These are some of the general ways that enlightened people work to create harmony and goodwill in the world. They come from all walks of life. They may be doctors, lawyers, or teachers. Or, they may come from more humble professions such as factory worker, restaurant worker, or even trash collector.
Whatever their background, they generally transform their livelihood into something related to helping others find peace and serenity. The specifics depend on their skills and opportunities. They are not afraid to make a career change, because they realize the importance of helping other people.
To them, this path is not a matter of choice because they realize their duty. However, given the choice, they would still choose to help others because they simply have compassion for all suffering beings. It also contributes to their own peace and serenity.
Is Enlightenment Possible?
I realize that to some of you, achieving enlightenment might seem like an impossible goal. I can assure you, it’s not. From what I’ve described, there are real people among us with these qualities. You may even know one of them. I figure that if they can do it, then so can I—and so can you. My purpose for writing these 3 articles on enlightenment was to give us a North Star to guide us. I hope they help guide you on your spiritual journey.
This article is written by Charles A. Francis and republished from https://mindfulnessmeditationinstitute.org/ under Creative Common license. Read the original article.
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5 Ways You Can Stay Positive and Be Nicer to Yourself
Be nice to yourself especially during hard times. Here are ways to stay positive at all times…
Most of us have an inner voice — the one that usually shames us when we mess up at work or forces us to replay arguments from 7 years ago while in the shower. Even though it’s super common for us to critique ourselves (far more than others critique us), we can also use this inner voice to build ourselves up.
Enter positive self-talk. Granted, it can be weird to compliment yourself in your head — it’s like writing a cover letter (which I hate). But I swear it really works. My therapist and my eating disorder specialist both co-sign that our inner voice can be a powerful tool to help us feel better about ourselves.
Let’s talk about some ways to give yourself a little extra grace and compassion.
Start by recognizing the negativity
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many types of negative self-talk. Here are four examples and some particular ways you can use positive self-talk to combat those intrusive negative thoughts.
|Personalizing thought: “My partner must be mad at me because they didn’t answer my text.”||Positive self-talk: “My partner is probably too busy to talk right now. It’s great that they know their boundaries. They’ll respond when they can!”|
|Filtering thought: “Ugh, I didn’t finish this assignment on time. I’m such a failure.”||Positive self-talk: “I got a lot of things done and was able to rest. Work isn’t everything!”|
|Catastrophizing thought: “If I don’t get this job, I’ll never be employed.”||Positive self-talk: “It’s OK if I’m not a fit for this role. I want to work somewhere that values me and what I can bring to the table.”|
|Polarizing thought: “I slept in 2 days in a row. I’m so lazy.”||Positive self-talk: “Wow, I must have been tired! I’m glad I could prioritize resting.”|
It’s OK if you have things to work on (Lord knows I do), but it’s hard to make positive changes in your life if you give in to the negativity. Reframing every negative thought that comes into your head may seem like a lot of work, but it becomes much easier with practice.
- Guided meditations: These can teach you how to use positive self-talk in the beginning stages, when it might feel a bit awkward or unnatural. When you have another person guiding you through the process, it can feel affirming.
- Sticky notes: Every day for 30 days, write a positive thing about yourself, your life, etc., on a sticky note and put it somewhere you look often. Mirrors and the refrigerator are popular sticky note locations.
- Journaling: Writing things down can be a more engaging way to practice positive self-talk. What’s great about journaling is that it’s a tangible way to get negative feelings out onto the page and then work out new, positive framings on the same page.
- Daily mantra: This works through the power of repetition. Pick a new mantra biweekly or monthly and repeat it every morning or evening or in times of stress or sadness.
- Questioning: Use this tactic to interrogate the negative thoughts that pop into your head. Are they true? (No.) Why aren’t they? The answer is usually a positive affirmation.
The power to stay positive and positive reinforcement
If you play an instrument or practice yoga, you likely remember the very first time you tried. It felt totally unnatural! But as time went on and you practiced, you were able to get into the habit of doing yoga or playing an instrument until it felt natural. Same goes for lifting weights, rehearsing for a play, or engaging in positive self-talk!
Ideally, positive self-talk becomes second nature once you make it a habit. You’ll be able to nip harmful thoughts in the bud by naturally engaging in positive self-talk.
If you need a bit more structure but can’t necessarily afford professional help, there are other resources to explore.
If you want more personal accountability, try leaning on friends or family. Being transparent with people you trust can be helpful, particularly in the positive self-talk reinforcement stage.
Bottom line: You’re not in this alone. But during the times when you’re by yourself, you can still be your own best source of support through consistent positive self-talk.
when times are tough, it is important to always stay positive. Be happier with life. Stay positive to have a positive outlook. When you stay positive, you become calmer and can focus on what are the most important things. So stay positive at all times.
Original article by Reina Sultan. Reina is a Lebanese-American Muslim woman working on gender and conflict issues at her nine to five.
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10 Powerful Strategies for Reinventing Yourself These Days
Reinventing yourself is not that difficult. It is really about the desire to change, discovering a new path to follow, and having a curiosity about life.
- Reinventing Yourself
- 1. Change your posture:
- 2. Change your mind:
- 3. Change your outlook:
- 4. Change your inner programming:
- 5. Change your style:
- 6. Learn something new:
- 7. Follow your train of thought:
- 8. Control what you can, the rest will follow:
- 9. Support is something you manifest:
- 10. Don’t forget to improve what you have now:
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It’s Time. It is time to mix it up. You are feeling stagnant, or things are not going the way you’d hoped. Now is the time to start your new beginning. You are probably thinking, “do I have to move to another city and change my name?” “How am I going to reinvent myself if everyone knows me?”
Everyone may know one side of you, but perhaps they have not met your creative side or your wild side. Maybe everyone knows you as being defined by your job, where you go, or what you do. But they haven’t met the “new you.”
Some people reinvent themselves all the time. They do this by changing their way of thinking, following an interest, or going back to school. Companies do this all the time, as well. They change the packaging of a product, reinvent a new name for an old product, or restructure their entire business purpose.
Reinventing yourself is not that difficult. It is really about the desire to change, discovering a new path to follow, and having a curiosity about life. Here are ten sure-fire strategies for reinventing yourself.
1. Change your posture:
I could sense your body change as you read this. Yes, lift your head, pull your shoulders back and down, pull your abs in, and push your hips forwards. The minute you realize you have been walking around in the shape of a banana, you will understand that you’ve been in a “hiding position.”
It happens to all of us. We go through our day, not wanting to be noticed or taken too seriously. We tend to get wrapped up and involved in our “phone life” or just not caring. This is the hiding position. The minute you decide to stand tall is the minute, and your life will start to change. Feel that energy coming out of the top of your head to heaven.
Feel your feet grounded, yet your body pushing forward in the direction of the life you desire to go towards. When you change your posture, you change your life. Your body language expresses a desire to pay attention and move upward. You tell the world, through your attitude, that you are conscious, aware, and engaged with life.
2. Change your mind:
How many times a day do you emotionally beat yourself down? How many times do you tell yourself you are not good enough, or you can’t do anything? Better yet, how often do your actions alone express this?
The minute you take control of your thoughts is the moment your life can change. Change your mind, change your life. Instead of wishing, start doing. Instead of berating yourself, praise your actions.
We have to make a conscious decision to be the best we can be. You have everything you need to make your dreams come true, so don’t fool yourself with excuses.
3. Change your outlook:
Positivity is the only outlook you are going to have. When you see yourself as what you wish to be, it is the most powerful visualization and affirmation you can give yourself. It is the stepping stone of growth, as well as becoming that “new person” you are going to be.
Your outlook must be a nourishing, self-loving, and self-respecting reinvention of the person you currently are coping with. When you project your new self forward, other people’s perceptions of you will also change. Those who are savvy and forward thinkers will see this in you.
They are the role models and mentors you should believe in. Avoid the jealous, salacious ones who hold you back. Remember, pride is just the flip side of envy’s coin.
4. Change your inner programming:
When we decide we want to reinvent ourselves, we have to start with our inner beliefs or how we perceive ourselves. It can be a process that takes a long time because we need to restructure how we look at something. Are you judging the situation? Are you self-opinionated, arrogant, stubborn, or obstinate in holding to your own opinion?
If you want to reinvent yourself, you have to let go of who you were and start looking at life through the eyes of humility, trust, wonder, and an open mind. You are pulling away from your comfort zone to reach new heights. Bumps in the road are inevitable. It’s how you choose to deal with them that manifests your positive inner programming.
5. Change your style:
What is your style? A new beginning starts with a new wardrobe. Go in another direction. Take on a different persona. Cut your hair. Get a facial. Commit to having fun with it. Sometimes styles emerge.
The more you get to know yourself, the more comfortable you become with your new look or image of who you want to be. Your inside reflects your outside persona, but your outer persona or look can help you to “get into character.”
6. Learn something new:
A critical factor in reinventing yourself is following the passions you yearn for. Remember, there will always be a learning curve to overcome. Learn to embrace and understand it.
You may remember the feeling of accomplishment when you have mastered a new procedure or process in the past. It makes you feel better about yourself and shows you that there is so much more out there for you to comprehend and enjoy. Your ability to do anything is proportional to the amount of love and commitment you give it.
7. Follow your train of thought:
When reinventing yourself, it is important to follow an idea that has presented itself to you. It has come up for a reason. Perhaps it’s your subconscious telling you what you want, even though you don’t think it’s possible. Go down that road without fear. This is often your intuition chiming in.
It is great to have a plan, but be flexible. Listen and act on your gut feeling or intuition. This unfolding of your journey may not always be smooth. Following that, daydream could be a (perceived) nightmare. But in reality, it is just steps you have to take into the unfamiliar, to get to the side of knowing.
8. Control what you can, the rest will follow:
Factors such as motivation, will-power, and enduring emotional stress will ebb and flow. You may not be able to control these ups and downs, but what you can control is how you cope with them. You are going to face adversity.
You can make yourself mentally ready for these challenges each day, by starting with a little “me time.” We all have commitments to meet and daily life to pursuing. Schedule your “me time.”
Make the time to prepare yourself. Some people meditate, do morning yoga, or just take a more extended shower. Whatever your process, create an extra 15-30 minutes to prepare your mind for the day ahead.
9. Support is something you manifest:
If we look long and hard enough, we find what we want. In the meantime, support can be just what you need when you fall off the positivity train or need direction or guidance. You can find support groups in your local town or on social media.
Consider finding reinforcement from books or articles. One of my favorite support tools is journaling. This is a daily or weekly expression of your journey on the road to reinvention.
Create a journal that you can express your joys and fears. Be sure and fill it with positive reinforcements such as ideas, images, colors, scents, or anything that inspires you to go on.
10. Don’t forget to improve what you have now:
Improve your strengths, better your weaknesses. If you look at who you are now, you will see what you are best at doing. These traits are your strengths, and they are there for you to build a better foundation on. We also know what we may not be the best at.
This is where there is room for improvement. Where there is room for improvement, there is room for growth.
Reinventing yourself is like a caterpillar emerging from its cocoon to become a butterfly. This process is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences you can put yourself through.
The effort it takes to do this will challenge your mind, body, and spirit. What is most rewarding is when you look back on your old self and see those stagnant patterns you have overcome. It is when you realize just how much work it took to find your new self, as you reap the rewards you have truly deserved.
Original article by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac.
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3 Powerful Ways to Have A Break From A Busy Life
Try to slow down and have a break at life…
For many of us, life seems to dash by at breakneck speed. Like a game character jumping through hoops, solving puzzles and facing challenges, it can sometimes feel as if we are being propelled forward with little agency or control, thoughtlessly rushing from one thing to the next; then realising that months have disappeared and we’re not entirely sure what we’ve done with them.
Luckily, however, we don’t have to rely on someone else to press pause and give us some much-needed breathing space – we can do it ourselves.
These are just a few of the ways we can empower ourselves to put everyday life on hiatus, and enjoy a moment or two that’s entirely our own.
Meditate at least once a day to have a break
Meditation has an extraordinary number of benefits, and is recommended for everything from alleviating anxiety to improving our creativity. A hugely important yet often overlooked benefit, however, is that at the most basic level it gives us some time to ourselves.
By committing to 25 minutes where we simply aren’t allowed to take phone calls, sort out lunch for our kids, get stressed reading the news or scroll through emails, we are giving ourselves much needed “time out.”
While benefits like reduced anxiety and improved performance are key to a meditation practice, it also gives us the discipline to not constantly engage with whatever flighty worry our brain throws at us.
And what’s more, it teaches us that it doesn’t matter how urgent something seems or how busy we think we are, there’s always time to take a breath and withdraw from everyday cares – which is an extremely powerful lesson.
Plan periods of rest
In the past and in many cultures, a “day of rest” was codified in religious law. While this can still be surprisingly strict in small pockets of society (for example in traditional Jewish communities), somewhere along the line the idea of setting aside a day to rest was lost to the majority of us. Work takes up a huge amount of our time, and once that’s finished, we have everything else to contend with.
The result is that it can be surprisingly difficult to slow down, because there’s always another chore, commitment or social engagement to attend to.
The best place to start is to plan periods of rest – even if it means putting them in your diary a week in advance, and deliberately turning down invitations or obligations during that time. You may have to call in support to make this possible, but there’s nothing wrong with asking for help.
For example, if you plan to rest on a Monday afternoon, you may arrange for a family member or partner to take on the responsibility of picking up the kids from school on that day, and return the favor another time.
You also have to be strict with yourself, to make sure you don’t find yourself thinking “oh, I’ll just sort out a couple of things on my to-do list.” If you find it difficult to switch off, try leaving the house and going somewhere you find relaxing, like the beach or cinema; or commit the time to a restful task you really enjoy.
You might love cooking, and could spend that Monday afternoon leisurely preparing an elaborate meal. Or perhaps you could spend the time journaling, walking or painting – as long as it’s something you love, but don’t usually get enough time for.
Remember that not everything needs to be productive
Sometimes we have to remind ourselves, in a world where our day is so dominated by the idea of being on the clock, that not every action has to be productive. In fact, it’s perfectly acceptable to while away time doing things that aren’t productive at all.
We place so much value on efficiency – to the point where even our sleep needs to become “optimized” – that we completely miss the main point of life: to have a nice time, and try to make sure other people are having a nice time as well.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have goals, of course, or want to achieve things. But it also doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be busy 24/7, and work flat out all the time. We’d still be ploughing fields with oxen and working 16 hours a day if we hadn’t invested thought in how to make our lives easier, and fought for our right to leisure time.
Rest isn’t only important; it’s completely necessary to our wellbeing – and you could argue, when you look at all the repairs our body is busy with when we’re at rest, that being unproductive is actually a very productive way to spend the day.
While there is value in hard work and pushing yourself, there’s equal value in saying “you know what, today I’m doing exactly what I want to do.” Getting over the mental block that tells us there’s always something we need to be stressing about is a vital factor in hitting the pause button. And with rest at the top of our to-do list, life in general will suddenly feel just that little bit more chilled.
When life seems so fast and noisy, you deserve to have a break. Following these powerful ways here will help you have a break in your busy life. Do not be afraid to have a break. You also need to re-charge. your body needs to refresh.
Original article by Holly Ashby. Holly is a wellness writer who works with Beeja Meditation, a meditation centre that teaches a form of transcendental meditation in London, and has written extensively on the benefits of meditation.
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