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5 Steps To Mindful Walking and Make It a Spiritual Practice

Polly Stevens

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When you apply a few simple techniques, you can turn your daily walk into a rewarding practice.

What is mindful walking? It’s a technique that uses awareness of the mind/body connection to improve the quality of your walking experience on all levels. By approaching a walk in a mindful way, you make it a practice like yoga, meditation, or tai chi; every session brings new insights and challenges.

As in yoga, you think about your body position, breathing, movements, and awareness, turning inward and outward at the same time. You’re working to get fit, and to improve your life as a whole. Treat walking as a practice, and it will become not only something you do with your legs but also a way to bring your mind, body, and spirit into balance.

Five Steps to Make Mindful Walking a Practice

 

5 Steps To Mindful Walking and Make It a Spiritual Practice

 

Identify your intention.

The key to any mindful activity, intention provides focus and motivation, elevating your practice from routine to ritual. What is your intention? To walk for an hour every day? To develop a sense of centeredness and calm? To reduce stress?

Your goals and intentions will evolve as you evolve. Let them, as long as they keep you in line with your higher sense of purpose — and keep you moving forward.

Be consistent.

A true practice requires ongoing attention. Of course, it’s natural to feel resistant at times, no matter what kind of activity you do. Your mind will create a thousand excuses not to walk today. Don’t let these passing thoughts distract you from your deeper intention.

Get moving; start walking around your office or home, or wherever you are. You can quiet the mind by moving your body and get yourself back on track.

Train your mind to focus.

The mind loves — and craves — engagement. Without something to focus on, it will tend to wander, taking your practice with it. By learning to focus, you will be able to walk more efficiently.

Listen to your body.

As with any relationship, the connection between mind and body depends on how well one listens to the other. Our tendency is to try to rule the body with the brain; however, they are more like equal partners, offering feedback and direction as you go.

Listen to what your body is trying to tell you by noticing any sensations that come up while you’re walking. You may feel energized as your leg muscles engage or relaxed as your breathing deepens.

If you detect any complaint from your body, such as pain or discomfort, identify the source. Then make small adjustments in your technique and see whether the sensation lessens.

 

5 Steps To Mindful Walking and Make It a Spiritual Practice

 

Embrace the process.

Goals provide a greater context for your practice. But building patient awareness of the process is even more important. Sometimes walking will feel easy and rewarding; other times, more like a chore.

As part of a mindful practice, you accept the challenge as part of the process and continue to stick with it. My tai chi master sees difficulty as an opportunity — a lesson to be learned. Accepting all of these parts of the process lies at the heart of making walking a mindful exercise.

When you do these steps, you are close to making mindful walking spiritual. You just need to make it a habit to follow these mindful walking steps each day. The best part is, you get to enhance your spiritual being with these mindful walking steps. Follo0w these steps now.

Remind yourself that it is okay to pamper your soul. Pamper your soul through these mindful walking steps now.

The original article is from Now & Zen.

 

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Renew Your Mind And Body Using These Ways

 

Mind

5 Reasons To Consider A Daily Meditation Practice Right Now

Tara Christie

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5 Reasons To Consider A Daily Meditation Practice Right Now

Let us learn why daily meditation practice is important these days…

The fight to end systemic racism is by no means an easy feat. It requires emotional labor, constant education, and untangling implicit biases—all of which takes consistency. Which is why keeping our minds primed and sharp is essential to keeping our collective foot on the gas.

Meditation teacher and mbg class instructor Light Watkins certainly agrees, as he tells me on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast just how crucial a regular meditation practice is for everybody right now (for more reasons than you think).

Here’s Watkins’ take on why you should consider slowing and clearing your mind:

1. It helps you move through grief.

In this time of deep social unrest, people are outraged, anguished, and grieving—and rightfully so. And according to Watkins, meditation can help your body navigate the stages of grief in a healthy way. It’s not going to get rid of those stages, no, but it may speed them up.

“Meditation puts you on a bit of a fast track as you’re moving through the stages of grief,” he notes. Think a couple of days for each stage versus a couple of months or years.

That’s because meditating creates a sort of release in your body (backed by research, too) that helps you let go of the stress response sooner rather than keeping it tucked inside. “So you can keep moving, progressing, and staying available to opportunities that are before you,” Watkins explains.

 

5 Reasons To Consider A Daily Meditation Practice Right Now

 

At a macro level, meditation helps you wind down your mind, allowing you to slow down and see the bigger picture—a top-down point of view, if you will. As we restructure our systematically racist society, a “bigger picture” outlook may be just what we need.

Meditating, according to Watkins, clears the mind and gives you internal space to see that bigger picture, leading to better decision-making. “That’s what everyone ultimately wants,” he tells me. “Is to see beyond your own bias.”

3. It reconfigures your way of interacting with the world.

“If you haven’t trained yourself to think differently, your mind and body will revert you back to old ways,” Watkins explains.

On the other hand, meditation can help you truly reconfigure your thinking; research even shows that meditation can enhance learning and memory, improve focus and attention, and enhance empathy and compassion. Needless to say, it’s a pretty powerful practice to quite literally alter the brain—and untangling subconscious biases may just require a few brain shifts.

4. Daily Meditation helps you access bliss.

“Bliss is a real thing,” Watkins notes. It might not be a constant state of joy, per se, but you can access that perpetual feeling of lightness the more you take the time to clear your mind.

And if Watkin’s book (titled Bliss More: How To Succeed in Meditation Without Really Trying) has anything to say about it, you don’t necessarily need hours upon hours of reflection: Just a few moments to yourself can make all the difference, “if you are being consistent and available to whatever is happening in the moment.”

 

5 Reasons To Consider A Daily Meditation Practice Right Now

 

5. It’ll equip you to handle whatever is going on in the world.

Here’s the thing: The world offers tons of obstacles (looking at you, 2020). But instead of panicking every time we take the hit, a consistent meditation practice can help you cope with whatever is going on in the world before you start to feel the panic start to creep up.

Rather than meditating to quell anxiety, make meditation a daily practice, says Watkins; that way, you’ll be better equipped to handle said anxiety whenever it crops up.

“Meditation should be a daily practice regardless of whatever is happening in the world because things are going to happen,” he says. “Give yourself the benefit of regular exposure to the very powerful restorative effect on your nervous system so your body can stay adaptable to ever-changing times.”

It’s not the only action item we need to end suffering and systemic racism for good, but the inner work certainly doesn’t hurt. Plus, a little self-care is imperative during this emotionally taxing time; being kind to your mind and body is essential for keeping up the necessary work.

 

Free your mind and meditate more. Daily meditation will help you think straight and focus on what matters. Find the reasons here about why daily meditation is important. Daily meditation will help you look at life fairly. Practice daily meditation now.

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How To Start A Daily Meditation At Home

 

4 Simple Ways to Free Your Mind & Meditate More

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Enlightenment

The 5 Stages of Spiritual Awakening We All Need To Learn

Sheila J. Highland

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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.

 

The 5 Stages of Spiritual Awakening We All Need To Learn

 

Escaping Ignorance

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:

  1. Glimpsing: The call to adventure
  2. Closer examination: Choosing a path
  3. Seeking: Following the path
  4. Loss of sight: Losing the path
  5. 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.

 

The 5 Stages of Spiritual Awakening We All Need To Learn

 

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:

  1. Bhakti Yoga: The path of love and devotion
  1. Jnana Yoga: The path of science and the intellect
  2. Karma Yoga: The path of action and selfless service
  1. 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.

  1. 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.

 

The 5 Stages of Spiritual Awakening We All Need To Learn

 

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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Mind

7 Ways to Stay Calm When Stressed

Polly Stevens

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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.

 

7 Ways to Stay Calm When Stressed

 

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.

 

7 Ways to Stay Calm When Stressed

 

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.

6. Socialize

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 Ways to Stay Calm When Stressed

 

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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9 Ways to Worry Less & Reduce Anxiety Quickly

 

Dealing With Adversity

 

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Quotes

25 Empowerment Quotes – Words of Wisdom We Need Now

Shari A. Hembree

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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

 

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.”

 

empowerment quotes

 

“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

 

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.”

 

empowerment quotes

 

“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?”

 

empowerment quotes

 

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.”

 

empowerment quotes

 

“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.”

 

empowerment quotes

 

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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Mind

How Meditation Affects Brain Aging in a Positive Way

Tara Christie

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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.

 

How Meditation Affects Brain Aging in a Positive Way

 

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 Meditation Affects Brain Aging in a Positive Way

 

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

Tara Christie

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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 Wisewisdom 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.

 

6 Powerful Tips to Think Like A Wise Person & Act Accordingly

 

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 TakeI 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 Powerful Tips to Think Like A Wise Person & Act Accordingly

 

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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