Spring cleaning is a ritual some people enjoy and others skip, but whatever your attitude might be, spring is a time of renewal and freshness. Your body is programmed by evolution to sense the awakening of spring, but what about your mind? Mind and body are intimately connected, so spring is already affecting your whole system. In short, you are set by default to feel renewed and at the same time to bring renewal to your body.
Let’s bring the qualities of spring into your life during this season.
Spring moves you out of a dark season, and in the state of Nature, plants and animals find it much easier to find food and pursue a wide range of activity, such as mating and giving birth. Humans experience this as spring fever, but going inward, there’s a lightness of mind that translates into lightness in the body, too. So make “lightness” a theme for daily activity. Whatever is heavy and dull in your life should be addressed. Find ways to play, laugh, and smile. Meditate to revive your lightness of being.
Your metabolism shifts in springtime and is managed by the hypothalamus, which is the brain region that chooses where energy should go and how much. In spring, energy supplies are sent to the more active areas of the body like the muscles, so this is a good time to devote yourself to exercise directed at cardio and muscle strength.
At the Chopra Center, the procedures of Ayurveda, especially panchakarma, are the major ways to perform whole-system detoxification. Yet there are natural things you can do to aid your body’s own detox mechanisms. The first is getting good sleep, because it is now known that the brain actually cleans out physical debris at night, probably the most important kind of detox. Second comes reducing inflammation, which exists at a low chronic level in most people in modern society.
Physically, inflammation is connected to everyday things you may often take for granted. You need to start paying attention, however, because research is connecting low-level inflammation to a host of lifestyle disorders from heart disease and hypertension to obesity and diabetes.
After winter hibernation, nature starts to move again in spring, and you should join in. Taking a walk outdoors, if only for a few moments, allows the warmth of the sun to warm you, while at a deeper level the stimulus of sunlight activates rhythms via the pineal gland and hypothalamus in the brain. At a simple level, getting your body used to moving again rebalances its energy.
The clutter, debris, and dead remnants of winter are swept away in spring. The natural world becomes fresh again. Spring cleaning is one response to this natural phase, but look at other ways to bring freshness to your life. This can include ways as simple as buying fresh flowers to eating light, fresh, natural foods. At the same time, making way for fresh new things involves cleaning out the accumulation of toxins.
Generally, when we think of inflammation, we visualize red, puffy skin or the swelling that takes place around a wound, or the red eyes and fever of a cold. That is acute inflammation, which is totally necessary as part of our body’s immune defense. Low-level chronic inflammation is generally invisible—it can be microscopic, like the inflammation of the lining of blood vessels, which is associated with heart disease and diabetes, for example.
Low-level chronic inflammation is prevalent in a stressed-out society addicted to sugar, junk food, and demanding schedules that induce tension and stress. The good news is that you have the power to construct your own anti-inflammation lifestyle, and once you do, you can expect huge benefits in how you age, whether you get sick or not, and almost every other aspect of your well-being.
Reducing inflammation is incredibly important, and you can go a long way by following some simple lifestyle choices:
Reduce fat and sugar in your diet.
Eat organic natural foods.
Avoid toxins present in stale cooking oil and leftovers.
Don’t use tobacco or alcohol.
Avoid or cut out entirely packaged food, junk food, and fast food.
Take active steps to reduce everyday stress.
Practice yoga and begin to meditate.
Stay out of situations that trigger toxic emotions like anger and anxiety.
Naturally, you can’t adopt all of these things at once, but they give you the outline of an anti-inflammation lifestyle. Whatever you choose, make sure it makes you more relaxed and less tense.
For the long term, detoxing your mind is just as important—and probably more so. Mental toxins consist of old memories, traumas, and conditioning that have thrown you into undesirable attitudes and habits. The net result is constricted awareness. The mind contracts to try and find a safe zone, however small, that isn’t toxified. Healing happens when you can expand your awareness—only then can your life be truly renewed. In constricted awareness, too much time and energy is wasted in fear, resentment, depression, victimization, and self-defense.
A healing path opens by realizing one thing: You cannot change what you aren’t aware of. The best therapy is anything that allows you to let go, relax, find your true center, and let awareness escape its boundaries to experience expansion. Meditation accomplishes all of these things, so it comes first and foremost. But yoga, therapy, playfulness, loving relationships, and a sense of personal security also can play important roles.
Spring, it turns out, can be a time of total renewal, beginning with spring cleaning on the inside.
The 5 Stages of Spiritual Awakening We All Need To Learn
While a spiritual awakening is often considered a journey, it’s not necessarily a journey of physical travel or pilgrimage; it’s a process of going beyond your boundaries and taking the next evolutionary step.
In the course of a human life, few experiences can be as profound and transformative as those of a spiritual awakening. Identifying with and directly experiencing your divinity represents a paradigm shift of the highest order. A spiritual awakening has the potential to rip apart the fabric of reality as you’ve known it and pull you forward into a new life of conscious growth and evolution.
As the term implies, you “wake up” from the dream of everyday, mundane material-level, ego-based awareness to a higher reality of spirit. And as if emerging from a deep sleep, you can see the dream for what it is—an illusion to which there can be no going back.
A spiritual awakening represents the lifting of the veil of ignorance or avidya, which in Sanskrit means “incorrect understanding.” This ignorance shrouds your true nature and keeps you operating in the dark of lower levels of consciousness. This is a state of not knowing what you don’t know.
At the heart of this ignorance is tamas, one of the three gunas, or primary qualities of the universe. Tamas embodies darkness, dullness, inactivity, and entropy and binds you in the physical, mental, and emotional quicksand of inertia. Fortunately, though, the process of spiritual awakening runs directly counter to the currents of avidya in your life.
The evolution of consciousness generates a forward pull, a momentum toward growth, transformation, and change that is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. Like a spaceship achieving escape velocity, spiritual awakening punches you out of the limiting gravity well of ignorance and on toward the ultimate destination of cosmic self-realization.
But how does this happen? Well, if you accept that all human beings, and perhaps even all sentient beings, are hardwired for evolution, then it stands to reason that spiritual awakening is your birthright—something you are destined to achieve. And if this process is mapped into your consciousness and your body, then there must be clues or steps to indicate you are on the path to awakening.
The Vision of Your Spiritual Awakening Journey
One of the most useful metaphors for describing the stages of spiritual awakening is that of vision. In this model, five different qualities of sight represent unique steps on the spiritual journey:
- Glimpsing: The call to adventure
- Closer examination: Choosing a path
- Seeking: Following the path
- Loss of sight: Losing the path
- Seeing: Merging with the path
Let’s explore each of these stages in greater detail.
1. Glimpsing Spirit: The Call to Adventure
The celebrated mythologist Joseph Campbell defined what is known as the hero’s journey, an evolutionary path of growth and transformation woven into all great myths and stories: “When we quit thinking about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.”
At the start of any hero’s journey is the primary pushing off point known as the call to adventure. The call to adventure represents a break from everyday life, a signal that bubbles up from the subconscious, catches your attention, and leads you in a new direction. A call to adventure is the spark that triggers a spiritual awakening.
Every life has a moment, if seized, that will change that life forever. The call to adventure is an awakening incident, a new perception that compels you to look at life differently. This spiritual experience can take countless forms—a trip to a faraway land, the loss of innocence, an illness, a challenge, the death of a close friend, a near-death experience, or the loss of a job.
Regardless of the particulars, the experience shakes your worldview and you see the world with new eyes. You are called to live the ordinary life in a non-ordinary way.
At this pivotal point, Joseph Campbell teaches that you face a choice, to either accept or refuse the call to adventure. In reality though, refusing the call truly isn’t an option, because at the deeper level, your own soul is beckoning you to transform.
If you refuse the call, thanks to your unique karmic influences, the opportunity will only recycle itself like a skip on a record, patiently waiting for you to accept the call to a new life.
In addition, once a transformative and deeply awakening incident has been experienced, there can be no going back. Your eyes have been opened and you can’t un-see the vision of the higher reality calling to you, no matter how much you might want to deny it.
Once you have answered the call to adventure, you step into a larger world. You become a conscious participant in your spiritual growth and evolution. Responsibility becomes the operative word as you begin to navigate your life toward opportunities that further expand your awareness. A subtle shift in perception has taken place and everything feels the same and oddly different simultaneously.
2. Closer Examination: Choosing a Path
Faced with the realization that your limited worldview can no longer contain your expanding awareness, you come to recognize that your life is on a spiritual journey, an awakening of your consciousness.
While it can be an exciting time, this stage can also feel unsettling and unfamiliar. Everything you once accepted as fixed and stable (ideologies, worldviews, sense of self and others, relationships) can be called into question. You are in search of answers—a means by which you can repeat or return to the glimpse of spirit that initially shifted your perspective.
At this point, you may set out to find a new way—a new philosophy, a different tradition, or practice that will help to contextualize or re-map your worldview. This is when many begin spiritual exploration in earnest.
Often marked by a period of information gathering, self-study, and delving into world religions or psychology, you are drawn to practices and methods that align with your unique personalities and dispositions. According to Vedanta, there are four paths or yogas back to the unity you seek:
- Bhakti Yoga: The path of love and devotion
- Jnana Yoga: The path of science and the intellect
- Karma Yoga: The path of action and selfless service
- Raja Yoga: The path of meditation and all its related disciplines
Each path provides a distinctive vehicle for self-discovery and realization. Some may choose one, others may explore multiple paths simultaneously; there are no absolutes or set rules for discovering your path.
What matters is that it feels right for you and serves as an appropriate vehicle for growth. No one can or should tell you what path to follow; only your own intuitive heart can guide you to what method or vehicle will suit you best.
At this stage you would do well to remember the wisdom of the Hindu proverb that states:
There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn’t matter which path you take. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.
3. Seeking: Following the Path
The next stage calls you to be a spiritual seeker. Having found your path, regular practice, study, and discipline serve to take you deeper toward the greater vision of expanded awareness. The Sanskrit term for the discipline of spiritual practice is sadhana.
Sadhana is the spiritual routine that takes your practice from an isolated exercise to a way of life. You are dedicated travelers on the path, familiar with its twists and turns, up and downs. As your practice deepens, you become increasingly more adept and more knowledgeable, not only of the tradition or practice you follow but also of yourself.
This stage is marked by the birth of self-referral, the process in which your identity begins to shift from external references (such as positions, possessions, and ego satisfactions) to the internal reference of stillness, intuition, and higher guidance. You know yourself as a spiritual being living a human life while fostering the progressive growth of your consciousness.
As you travel their path to expanded awareness, there are two markers, two clues that hint spiritual progress is underway.
- The first is an increasing sense of lightheartedness. With consistent spiritual practice, happiness and joy become your ground state. You take life less seriously. Hysteria and melodrama have less influence over you. Carefreeness and detachment flow from you spontaneously and you feel much more at ease in life.
2. The second marker of spiritual progress is the ease in which your desires are fulfilled. Regular spiritual practice removes mental, physical, and energetic blockages that obstruct the manifestation of your desires. As these obstacles fall away, life becomes easier; you step into the flow of life and experience synchronicities, little miracles, and experiences of grace that lead you closer to your life’s spiritual purpose.
4. Loss of Sight: Losing the Path
The spiritual path is not without struggle, however. By its very nature, the path of awakening confronts you with your shortcomings, self-deceptions, cognitive biases, and resistance to change. Growth can be an uncomfortable process at times.
As your chosen path challenges you to change thoughts, emotions, speech, or behavior to be more expansive, compassionate, forgiving, or kind, it is not uncommon to struggle with being in this world but not of it. Worse yet are the external influences that assault the spiritual seeker with temptations to give up the quest for awakening and return to a conventional life.
The most formidable challenges on the path come in the form of what Joseph Campbell called threshold guardians. Threshold guardians are the barriers (literal or symbolic) that stand in the way of important turning points in your life.
They can be enemies, rivals, life circumstances, limiting beliefs, or setbacks that block your progress forward toward a higher level. These antagonists can repeatedly knock you down, test your resolve, and make you question your chosen path. Such setbacks make you doubt yourself and your commitment and may even persuade you to give up the quest.
At this stage, you may feel lost or helpless, as if you have succumbed to spiritual blindness. However, what you often don’t realize is that this blindness or challenges are the subterfuge of your ego—your small self that fears its own extinction in the ever-expanding field of spirit.
Seen in this way, your spiritual challenges, or dark nights of the soul, become as spiritual teacher Ram Dass would say, “grist for the mill of enlightenment.” Every setback then becomes an expression of your inner doubts and fears—trials and hurdles on your personalized and self-made obstacle course.
Undoubtedly, this stage requires both fortitude and courage to stay on the path as you remember poet Robert Frost’s words: “The only way out is through.” Fortunately, it is from this darkness that you can emerge fully into the light, continue your spiritual development, and become awakened.
5. Seeing: Merging with the Path
At last, the seeker breaks through to a new stage; visionary, transcendent, and sight beyond sight. At this level you have gone beyond sadhana; you have become the practice. No longer striving to see, you exist in a state of unity in which seer, scenery, and that which is seen merge.
A permanent shift has taken place and you awaken fully to your true identity—the infinite, immortal, unbounded, God-force existing everywhere and in everything. You wake up fully to being the divine observer—the ever-present witness-self of the entire universe.
In this stage, you come back home to yourself, but surprisingly, the process isn’t one of accumulation or gaining more knowledge or experiences. Instead, it’s a process letting go, of continual decrease.
Like peeling the skins of an onion, the “you” gets smaller and smaller until only pure being-ness remains. It’s a journey of insight from here to HERE. This is the sign of spiritual awakening.
The path of spiritual awakening is the grandest adventure you can ever undertake. You are deeply privileged just to recognize the truth that such a journey stands before you. And embracing it is nothing less than following the heroic call of your life purpose and destiny.
Original article by Adam Brady.
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7 Ways to Stay Calm When Stressed
A healthy immune system is responsible for fighting off bacteria, viruses, and fungi among other invaders. Stress can have negative impacts on your immune system, so it is important to learn how to stay calm during times of high stress, such as a pandemic. Here’s how.
Your body is continually exposed to organisms through your nose, mouth, eyes, and skin. It is then up to the immune system to choose how to fight off these organisms. The immune system responds to illness by creating white blood cells. However, its ability to do so is suppressed when the mind and body are facing stress.
- The Impact of Stress on Your Immune System
- 1. Explore Moderate-to-Intense Forms of Movement
- 2. Introduce an Electronic Sabbath
- 3. Seek Sunshine and Nature to Stay Calm
- 4. Spend Time with Pets and Loved Ones
- 5. Explore Activities that Make You Lose Track of Time
- 6. Socialize
- 7. Develop Your Spiritual Practice
The Impact of Stress on Your Immune System
When you are met with stressful situations, your body protects you by entering into the fight-or-flight mode. During this mode, your sympathetic nervous system is activated, which causes your heart rate and blood pressure to increase, your muscles to constrict, and your digestion to take a break.
In this state, the body releases cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline, and a host of hormones that may decrease white blood cells. This process helps you fight or flee from any dangers that you’re encountering. However, at the same time, you can suffer if you stay in that mode for too long, or if you are constantly in and out of fight-or-flight mode.
From 1982 to 1992, psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph.D., and immunologist Ronald Glaser, Ph.D., studied the role of stress on medical students. They discovered that students’ immunity was compromised during testing and examination times. They had fewer natural killer cells that are responsible for fighting tumors and viruses.
Additionally, they stopped producing immunity-boosting gamma interferon. Their T-cells had a weak response to test-tube stimulation.
Stress not only impacts the numbers of white blood cells in circulation and the quantity of antibodies in the blood, but it is also associated with changes in the functioning of immune cells. People who have undergone stressful periods have a relatively large decrease in both lymphocyte proliferation and natural killer cell activity.
The longer the period of stress, the greater decrease in the number of specific types of white blood cells.
Other functions of the body are also compromised under mental and emotional disturbances. A study by Yale found that the brain shrinks under chronic stress.
Researchers examined tissues from both people that were and were not depressed. They found that those who were depressed had fewer expressions of genes that were necessary for proper brain functioning. Lastly, stress can be a trigger for inflammation. Chronic inflammation leads your immune system to attack itself out of confusion.
This may result in autoimmune conditions, obesity, mood disorders, and chronic fatigue syndrome among other conditions.
The point of this information is not to set an expectation of never encountering stress, but rather to explore how you can practically recover from it. Ideally, you want the body to elicit the relaxation response every time it is recovering from a stressful scenario.
It is normal and inevitable for you to experience fear, worry, anger, and a host of emotions during a pandemic. At the same time, it serves you deeply to acknowledge that you can process these emotions for your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. You can elicit the relaxation response and move from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system.
The following are some ways for you to regulate your nervous system.
1. Explore Moderate-to-Intense Forms of Movement
You can try jogging, intuitive dancing, or jumping on a trampoline. There are also meditative forms of movement such as yoga, tai chi, or qi gong. Endless courses are available online, but you may want to join a group that meets live to increase your feelings of connection.
2. Introduce an Electronic Sabbath
Your nervous system becomes overstimulated from notifications and multitasking. Aim to put your phone away at least an hour before bedtime, and perhaps for 2-3 hours during the day.
3. Seek Sunshine and Nature to Stay Calm
The outdoors offers you healing through serotonin-producing sunshine, mineral-rich soil, and oxygen-producing plants. Low levels of serotonin can affect your mood and is associated with depression. In fact, studies attribute the relationship between psychiatric symptoms and seasonal variations in sunlight to changes in serotonin levels.
Another study found that spending time in a forest led to decreases in blood pressure, serum cortisol levels, and urinary adrenaline.
4. Spend Time with Pets and Loved Ones
Relationships with pets and loved ones can help you experience the most beautiful aspects of being human—love, joy, and fulfillment. It’s tricky to find the time, but with intention, you can carve out space for those who matter.
5. Explore Activities that Make You Lose Track of Time
This can be activities such as reading, painting, or watching a movie. Excuse yourself from your to-do list, and let yourself spend some time without an agenda.
Consider starting a book club, spiritual group study, or virtual game night. Keep in touch with old friends and develop new relationships with people who share similar interests as you.
7. Develop Your Spiritual Practice
Meditation, Reiki healing, journaling, and prayer are tools to connect with the love and light that is your truest essence. With consistency, you will build a reserve of faith and hope.
For your optimal health, the quality of your mental and emotional state is as important as your vitamins, hand sanitizers, and masks. Your immune system’s vitality largely depends on the functioning of the nervous and endocrine systems.
While various studies demonstrate the effects of stress on white blood cells, the adrenal glands, hormones, and brain function, you do have the ability to move out of the fight-or-flight response. Lifestyle shifts, from exercise to spending time with others, can help you navigate this pandemic with more ease in mind and body.
Make your time a quality one. Stay calm and avoid stress. Thes tips here will help you stay calm amidst the turmoil. It keeps you grounded. When you stay calm, everything else falls into place. Make your life stress-free. Stay calm and feel calm at all times.
Original article by Parita Shah, Reiki Practitioner and Energy Healer.
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25 Empowerment Quotes – Words of Wisdom We Need Now
Find inspiration from these empowerment quotes…
An artist and a businesswoman, Shari A. Hembree is also a Reiki Master Teacher. She is an author of authenticity and spiritualism. Her first book, Journey of the Lightworker is a breakthrough and speaks of spiritual truths. To get more of the positivity, here are Shari Hembree quotes to keep us empowered. Learn to believe in yourself from these quotes.
Empowerment Quotes On Honesty
“A miracle occurs when we shift our perception of a situationand no longer give it the power of our thoughts.”
“Be a reflection of what you’d like to see in others. If you want love, give love. If you want honesty, be honest. If you want respect, be respectful. You get in return what you give.”
In the midst of our fears, we will find our source of power and strength. It’s time to feel wmpowered again.”
“When you open your heart, you create a shift in your vibration. This allows your talents and gifts to blossom.”
“Genuine love is not just about me, it’s about we. There are two parts to any successful relationship. You do deserve the best—your equal.”
“Don’t be stuck in the past. Forgiveness is the key to moving your life forward.”
Empowerment Quotes by Shari Hembree
“Into me I see = Intimacy, Take time to know yourself on a deep intimate level.”
Love is no doubt one of the most powerful forces in our world. It helps us attract everything thast’s positive and good into our lives. But without loving ourselves first, no one else can love us either.”
“Never be afraid to do what your heart tells you is good. Your internal guidance system is divinely inspired.”
“Follow your bliss and share your talents to the world! That’s the moment you discover your life’s true purpose.”
“Learn from your mistakes. They are not stumbling blocks but building blocks. You got this!”
“Lightworkers have a special purpose: To help mankind heal from the effects of fear-based thoughts and to instead make decisions from a place of love. Are you a lightworker?”
Famous Empowerment Quotes by Shari Hembree
“My mother always told me. ‘Don’t get into too much trouble.’ Bu half the fun is stepping out into the unknown and just seeing what happens.”
“Own it! Open wide now, I trust!”
“Perseverance has taught me well. To act with confidence even when I didn’t know how I’d accomplish something.”
“I will make decisions based on what my heart tells me is good–and not let the opinions of others determine my worth.”
“Iwas given some great advice: ‘Don’t be eye candy, when you can be soul food.'”
“Love is your spirutual fuel. Set your soul on fire and passionately show your love to the world.”
Life can be tough. But there is always room for positivity. This empowerment quotes by Shari Hembreewill give us something to think about. It eases our soul. Keep these empowerment quotes for daily guidance. You’ll find yourself getting a better view of life from these empowerment quotes. Be empowered and keep believing in yourself.
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How Meditation Affects Brain Aging in a Positive Way
Regularly setting aside time to focus your thoughts can really pay off—especially as you get older. Meditation has a positive effect in brain aging. Let’s find out…
Meditation has been moving out of yoga studios and Ashrams and into the mainstream. Bill Gates meditates, so do Derek Jeter, Arianna Huffington, and Oprah. You probably know a few devoted meditators. You might even be one yourself.
The number of Americans who say they meditate for better health or wellness increased threefold from 2012 to 2017, from 4.1% of adults to 14.2%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And folks age 45 to 64 are the most likely to say they practice regularly.
Middle age can be a perfect time to start meditating,” says Lodro Rinzler, an author and meditation teacher in New York City. “You have an awareness of your mental patterns, and perhaps a readiness to change them.”
Here’s why you might want to work meditation into your routine, and what you can expect as you get started.
The far-ranging benefits of meditating on brain aging
There’s a lot of hype about what meditation can do, but it has one undeniable benefit: more clarity. In addition, research consistently shows that a regular practice may be helpful for depression, chronic pain, and anxiety.
Studies have also documented that meditation can increase your gray matter and help slow some of the natural age-related atrophy of the brain. Regular meditators report feeling calmer, happier, and better able to deal with stressful situations.
What it really means to meditate
What, exactly, is meditation? There are many varieties of meditation, but they all share a common theme: to train the mind to stay in the present, either by focusing on the breath, a mantra, or on your passing thoughts.
The purpose is to help you change your relationship to your thoughts, so that you are not consumed by them and your mind is more spacious and quiet.
It’s normal to let wild thoughts run your life. Meditators, over time, feel less caught up by every random idea.
“Meditation changes how you think about things,” says Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist with Harvard Medical School. “Over time you come to see the way your mind works and begin to make new choices.”
Meditate for a bigger brain?
A regular practice can literally change your brain for the better. Lazar has been conducting research on the brains of meditators for over a decade; she’s particularly interested in how meditation effects the aging brain.
One of Lazar’s first studies, which was published in 2005, examined the brains of people who had been meditating regularly from 3 to 28 years and for about 40 minutes a day.
She found that these serious meditators had more gray matter—brain tissue comprising cell bodies and nerve cells— in several key areas of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, when compared to a similarly aged non-meditators.
Gray matter tends to shrink with age, but Lazar found that the 50-year-old meditators in the study had just as much gray matter as those who were 25, leading Lazar and her co-authors to posit that “meditation might offset age-related cortical thinning.”
Why you may feel less stress
But novice meditators also benefit. A later study co-authored by Lazar and published in 2011, studied a group of individuals who meditated regularly for just eight weeks.
It found that the subjects’ brains thickened in several key areas, including the hippocampus, which is associated with learning and memory, and the temporo-parietal junction, an area that processes empathy and compassion.
What’s more, the meditators’ amygdalas, the part of the brain that’s associated with the fight or flight response, actually shrank, which is likely why the meditators reported feeling less stress overall.
Study: Serious meditators had more gray matter in several key areas of the brain
More recently, a 2014 paper reviewed 12 studies that investigated the effects of meditation on cognitive decline. The review reported that meditation can have positive effects on attention, memory, executive function, processing speed, and general cognition.
The authors concluded that “meditation techniques may be able to offset age-related cognitive decline and perhaps even increase cognitive capabilities in older adults.”
How to get started
Ideally, you want to learn from a seasoned, well-trained teacher, who can provide guidance and help you over come common stumbling blocks. You can find classes at your gym, YMCA, or yoga studio. Or search for a local meditation center: If you’re in a modest-sized city there’s likely to be one nearby.
If you’d prefer to train yourself, try using an app. Headspace is the most popular (it’s the one that Gates used to get started), but there are many others, including 10% Happier: Meditation, Calm, and Insight Timer.
Download a few and see which one resonates with you. All offer free trials (after that, subscriptions can run from about $60 to $90 a year) or don’t charge at all.
Experts recommend starting with a few minutes of meditation and working up to 30 to 40 minutes of regular practice.
Be patient. At first you may feel fidgety, uncomfortable and bored. “Progress is slow, steady, and cumulative,” says Rinzler, who is also the co-founder of MNDFL a New York City meditation studio which offers classes throughout the day at three locations. “It’s like learning to play a musical instrument.”
And remember that even short meditation sessions can have an impact. Gates admits he meditates for just 10 minutes a few times a week. “I now see that meditation is simply exercise for the mind, similar to the way we exercise our muscles when we play sports,” he wrote on his blog.
“For me, it has nothing to do with faith or mysticism. It’s about taking a few minutes out of my day, learning how to pay attention to the thoughts in my head, and gaining a little bit of distance from them.”
Meditation is a powerful tool for brain aging. it has effects on brain aging in a very positive way. Find solace in meditation and experience its wonders especially on brain aging. It can calm the soul and makes brain aging really nice. It gives you peace of mind too. Find time to meditate every day and keep brain aging in a positive sense.
Original article by Lesley Alderman.
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6 Powerful Tips to Think Like A Wise Person & Act Accordingly
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” –Socrates
If I asked you to judge how smart someone is, you’d know where to start. But if you were going to assess how wise that person is, what qualities would you consider a wise person?
Wisdom is the ability to make sound judgments and choices based on experience. It’s a virtue according to every great philosophical and religious tradition, from Aristotle to Confucius and Christianity to Judaism, Islam to Buddhism, and Taoism to Hinduism. According to the book From Smart to Wise, wisdom distinguishes great leaders from the rest of the pack. So what does it take to cultivate wisdom?
In an enlightening study led by psychologists Paul Baltes and Ursula Staudinger, a group of leading journalists nominated public figures who stood out as wise. The researchers narrowed the original list down to a core set of people who were widely viewed as possessing wisdom—an accomplished group of civic leaders, theologians, scientists, and cultural icons.
They compared these wise people with a control group of professionals who were successful but not nominated as wise (including lawyers, doctors, teachers, scientists, and managers).
Both groups answered questions that gave them a chance to demonstrate their wisdom. For example, what advice would they give to a widowed mother facing a choice between shutting down her business and supporting her son and grandchildren? How would they respond to a call from a severely depressed friend?
A panel of experts evaluated their answers, and the results—along with several follow-up studies—reveal six insights about what differentiates wise people from the rest of us.
- 1. Don’t wait until you’re older and smarter. Be a wise person now.
- 2. See the world in shades of grey, not black and white.
- 3. Balance self-interest and the common good.
- 4. Challenge the status quo.
- 5. Aim to understand, rather than judge.
- 6. Focus on purpose over pleasure.
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1. Don’t wait until you’re older and smarter. Be a wise person now.
The people with the highest wisdom scores are just as likely to be 30 as 60. It turns out that the number of life experiences has little to do with the quality of those experiences. According to the data, between ages 25 to 75, the correlation between age and wisdom is zero.
Wisdom emerges not from experience itself, but rather from reflecting thoughtfully on the lessons gained from experience. Further research shows that intelligence only accounts for about 2% of the variance in wisdom.
It’s possible to be quick on your feet and skilled in processing complex information without reaching sensible solutions to problems. Cultivating wisdom is a deliberate choice that people can make regardless of age and intelligence. Here’s how they do it.
2. See the world in shades of grey, not black and white.
Imagine meeting a 15-year-old girl who plans to get married next week. What would you tell her?
Here’s a response that scored low in wisdom:
“A 15-year-old girl wants to get married? No, no way, marrying at age 15 would be utterly wrong. One has to tell the girl that marriage is not possible. (After further probing) It would be irresponsible to support such an idea. No, this is just a crazy idea.”
In contrast, wise people embraced nuance and multiple perspectives. Consider one answer that received high marks for wisdom:
“Well, on the surface, this seems like an easy problem. On average, marriage for 15-yearold girls is not a good thing. But there are situations where the average case does not fit. Perhaps in this instance, special life circumstances are involved, such that the girl has a terminal illness. Or the girl has just lost her parents.
And also, this girl may live in another culture or historical period. Perhaps she was raised with a value system different from ours. In addition, one has to think about adequate ways of talking with the girl and to consider her emotional state.”
Wise people specialize in what strategy expert Roger Martin calls integrative thinking—”the capacity to hold two diametrically opposing ideas in their heads”—and reconcile them for the situation at hand. In the words of the philosopher Bertrand Russell, “fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”
3. Balance self-interest and the common good.
A second defining quality of wisdom is the ability to look beyond our personal desires. As psychologist Robert Sternberg puts it: “wisdom and egocentricity are incompatible… people who have gotten where they are by not taking other people’s interests into account or even by actively thwarting the interests of others… would not be viewed as wise.”
This doesn’t mean that wise people are self-sacrificing. In Give and Take, I report evidence that well-being and success both suffer if we’re too focused on others or on ourselves. It’s neither healthy nor productive to be extremely altruistic or extremely selfish.
People who fail to secure their oxygen masks before assisting others end up running out of air, and those who pursue personal gains as the expense of others end up destroying their relationships and reputations. Wise people reject the assumption that the world is a win-lose, zero-sum place. They find ways to benefit others that also advance their own objectives.
4. Challenge the status quo.
Wise people are willing to question rules. Instead of accepting things as they have always been, wisdom involves asking whether there’s a better path. In Practical Wisdom, psychologist Barry Schwartz and political scientist Kenneth Sharpe describe a Philadelphia man who was convicted of holding up a taxi driver with a gun.
The sentencing guidelines called for two to five years in jail, but the facts of case didn’t fit: the man used a toy gun, it was his first offense, he had just lost his job, and he stole $50 to support his family. A wise judge gave him a shorter sentence and permission to hold a job outside of jail during the day so that he could take care of his family—and required him to repay the $50.
5. Aim to understand, rather than judge.
By default, many of us operate like jurors, passing judgment on the actions of others so that we can sort them into categories of good and bad. Wise people resist this impulse, operating more like detectives whose goal is to explain other people’s behaviors.
As psychologist Ellen Langer is fond of saying, “Behavior makes sense from the actors’ perspective, or else they wouldn’t do it.” Over time, this emphasis on understanding rather than evaluating yields an advantage in predicting others’ actions, enabling wise people to offer better advice to others and make better choices themselves.
6. Focus on purpose over pleasure.
In one surprising study, Baltes’ team discovered that wise people weren’t any happier than their peers. They didn’t experience more positive emotions, perhaps because wisdom requires critical self-reflection and a long-term view.
They recognized that just as today’s cloud can have a silver lining tomorrow, tomorrow’s silver lining can become next month’s suffering. However, there was a clear psychological benefit of wisdom: a stronger sense of purpose in life. From time to time, wisdom may involve putting what makes us happy on the back burner in our quest for meaning and significance.
On the way to success, many people pursue money and power over wisdom. As Benjamin Franklin once wrote:
“Who is wise? He that learns from everyone.
Who is powerful? He that governs his passions.
Who is rich? He that is content.
Who is that? Nobody.
But a truly wise person would refuse to accept that conclusion.
When you learn to be a wise person, the world is a better place. These ways listed here are some of the best ways to be a wise person. You can ponder on these words and listen to yourself. Assess yourself if you are a wise person. Be a wise person now. Do not wait for a long time to do so.
Original article by Adam Grant.
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4 Ways To Sync Your Spiritual Energy To Your Body Energy
Through energy, your body is always talking to you. There are at least four things you can do to forge a spiritual connection with your body’s energies. Let your spiritual energy sync with your body’s energy.
Your mouth and vocal cords aren’t the only parts of your body that can say things. All around you, your body is trying to tell you something. You might be so preoccupied with other things that you forget to really focus on what your body needs. There are at least four things you can do to forge a spiritual connection with your body’s energies.
Find ways to enhance your spiritual energy. Here are some easy ways to sync your spiritual energy to your body energy.
1. Meditate & Enhance Your Spiritual Energy
Meditation can be like finding a hundred-dollar-bill in your pocket after desperately looking for money. People around the world have learned the benefits of meditation, from monks to entrepreneurs. It involves centering yourself and your thoughts. You can learn to see what has been holding you back in terms of thoughts. Meditation helps put you back into the moment, which is all anyone truly has.
2. Spend Time Around Other Spiritual People
Have you ever felt yourself feeling worse when around a certain company? People can sap your energy and deprive you of good feelings. Make sure you are spending as much time as possible around people who are positive energy presences to you. There may be situations where you’re forced to be around people with negative energy. When this happens, be aware of what’s happening, and don’t let others ruin your good feelings.
3. Find the Right Clothes
Clothing can be more than something to keep you warm and covered. It can be a way you represent yourself and what’s most important to you. For instance, a Rasta zip-up hoodie could be something you wear if you ascribe to Rastafarianism. Other pieces of clothing or accessories like meditation beads could be used to express your beliefs while also showing off your stylistic interests.
4. Use Aromatherapy
A pleasing scent can do a lot for making you feel calm. Smells can bring us to different places and help evoke powerful memories. These can also help to calm you at the right moment. Look for different things you can use for aromatherapy, such as essential oils and incense to burn. You can make a ritual out of using these, such as during meditation or before going to sleep. Try as many different scents as possible using aromatherapy whenever, when cooking in your kitchen or working in your backyard.
You need to listen to your body and your body’s energies because no one else can hear it as well as you can. All you need is to listen to yourself with as much respect as you’re able to.
Use your spiritual energy to connect with your physical energies. Once you learn these steps you’ll find it easy to connect with your souls. Meditation is important to strengthen your spiritual energy. It takes a lot of courage to do this. but is you have the commitment, you’ll even be doing these steps on a daily basis.
Find time in your daily schedules to practice these steps. These will make your spiritual energy powerful. you’ll find it calmer to go through with life. Your spiritual energy is important for your growth. Physically or mentally.
Original article by Brooke Chaplan. Brooke is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening.
Additional articles to read:
The 5 Stages of Spiritual Awakening We All Need To Learn
7 Ways to Stay Calm When Stressed
25 Empowerment Quotes – Words of Wisdom We Need Now
4 Helpful Tools In Making The World A Better Place & Find Abundance
How Meditation Affects Brain Aging in a Positive Way
104 Friedrich Nietzsche Quotes – Happiness, Strength & Possibilities
98 Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes on Courage & Confidence
165 Dalai Lama Quotes On The Right Attitude, Compassion & Love
100 George Washington Quotes – Courage, Bravery & Leadership
116 Bruce Lee Quotes – How to Cultivate our Truest Selves
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