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Total Meditation: Your Positive Emotions in a New Light

Tara Christie

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Total Meditation: Your Positive Emotions in a New Light

Your positive emotions matter…

The wellness movement has been taking hold for more than a decade. By increments, certain aspects of people’s lives have improved, while in others it hasn’t. Smoking is down, for example, but millions of people are stressed. Insomnia, overweight, anxiety, and depression remain at a troubling high level.

The 3 Obstacles to Positive Emotions

 

Total Meditation: Your Positive Emotions in a New Light

 

With this spotty record of success in mind, let’s ask what has gone wrong. There are three major things that haven’t worked out well.

  • Thinking in terms of risks.

Standard prevention is based on reducing your risk of illness, which sounds reasonable. But the motivation behind risk prevention is the fear of something going wrong, and fear is a bad motivator.

When they forget to be fearful or grow tired of seeing life thorough anxious eyes, people stop complying with what they know is good for them.

  • A piecemeal approach. 

There are so many parts to a wellness program that you could spend the whole day attending simply to diet and exercise for yourself and your family while attending to the demands of work and everyday duties.

Millions of people race against the clock every day and are lucky if they can squeeze in time for yoga, meditation, relaxation, and finding a source of enjoyment that feels fulfilling.

  • Confused priorities.

Once wellness becomes complicated, it is hard to adopt the right priorities—there is too much to choose from. Between trying to do the right thing and backsliding, countless people turn to pharmaceutical drugs for sleeplessness, worry, and depression. Fast-food chains continue to thrive, as do packaged-and-processed convenience foods at the supermarket.

This picture of a lifestyle rife with confusion and fragmentation can be turned around, beginning with a new starting point. If you see yourself first as infinite consciousness expressing itself as a mind, body, and spirit, you are in a new position.

You can base wellness on the totality of your awareness. From this starting point, practical benefits derive not by struggling to lead the “perfect” lifestyle but by discovering for yourself that consciousness can take care of you.

Embracing Infinite Consciousness

Right now, you may believe your mind is taking care of you, but your mind isn’t the same as consciousness. The mind is filled with activity while consciousness is unmoving and unchanging.

The mind experiences good and bad ideas, emotions, memories, and desires. Consciousness simply is. The mind is personal, shaped to fit your story and no one else’s. Consciousness is universal. It allows you to be free of your story and all the problems it has created, which include many kinds of limitations.

To get down to particulars, a wellness strategy based on the totality of consciousness puts its highest priority on being conscious. I’ve devoted a forthcoming book, Total Meditation, to this issue. The main thesis is that if you are aligned with the infinite field of pure awareness, life will begin to display the most important values that have their origin in pure awareness, namely:

  • Love
  • Compassion
  • Beauty
  • Creativity Intelligence
  • Inner peace
  • Personal evolution

By putting these values first in your life, you will be coming closer to your source.

The secret of total well-being is to live as close to your source as possible. This represents a major change of direction in almost everyone’s life. Constantly immersed in mental activity, a typical life attempts two impossible things: First, to create wholeness out of bits and pieces. The state of fragmentation and separation cannot be cobbled together into wholeness.

Second, people attempt to find fulfillment by thinking and desiring. Thoughts and desires are constant companions. They come and go, having no stability that you can place your trust in.

You can, however, place your trust in consciousness. In everyone’s life, there are glimpses of consciousness through the values just mentioned, beginning with love, compassion, and beauty.

But a large quotient of your days may be spent in unconscious living. You are bound up in habits; conditioning; fixed beliefs; self-defeating attitudes; the practice of avoidance, delay, and denial; and the struggle to get ahead. Well-being consists of reversing the quotient so that your daily life is more conscious than unconscious.

How to Cultivate Total Meditation

To achieve this reversal, it helps to set time aside for meditation, but that alone isn’t enough. A hit-and-miss approach to meditation provides a small oasis of calm during the day, but that’s not your real goal.

Your real goal is to be present, aware, alert, and restful without stress. In that light, I am recommending something new: total meditation. Its basic principle is that the mind wants to be calm, centered, open, alert, present, and free of stress.

Therefore, your daily life should be focused on noticing whenever you are distracted, stressed, fatigued, worried, or in any way displaced from a sense of feeling centered and content. This new focus represents a big change, but there’s an axiom to keep in mind: You cannot change what you aren’t aware of.

 

Total Meditation: Your Positive Emotions in a New Light

 

Awareness brings you back to yourself with calm clarity. Being centered is possible at any moment. You simply sit by yourself quietly, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Place your attention in the center of your chest and relax. Usually, this centering exercise works in a few minutes.

Repetition is critical. You need to center yourself as soon as you notice that you have lapsed into unconsciousness. Each time you center yourself, you are calling upon pure awareness to rebalance the whole mind-body system. In essence, you are reminding yourself, and all your cells, that you are first and foremost a conscious being.

In time, this will become your truth more and more. Total well-being is possible only through total awareness, yet every moment of waking up has its short-term benefit, too. That’s the beauty and promise of wellness as a total project that anyone can undertake here and now.

You can think of positive thoughts and make positive emotions rule your life. Having positive emotions will give you the wellness you deserve. Let your positive emotions shine and be the light. Others will see these positive emotions. Once you exude these, you’ll become an inspiration to all.

 

Original article by Deepak Chopra™, M.D.

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How Daily Meditation Renews Your Body and Brain

 

5 Reasons To Consider A Daily Meditation Practice Right Now

 

How Meditation Affects Brain Aging in a Positive Way

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How Daily Meditation Renews Your Body and Brain

Tara Christie

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How Daily Meditation Renews Your Body and Brain

If you are looking to renew your vitality, reset your focus, and recharge your body, daily meditation is the tried and true path that will lead you to the fulfillment of these goals. Here’s how.

For the vast majority of people, 2020 has been filled with unexpected challenges. Pandemic-induced health concerns, career turbulence, loss of routines, and future uncertainties have left many individuals with a generalized sense of unease.

Fortunately, stepping into a space of renewal does not require a retreat center stay nor an elaborately planned vacation. Meditation can provide the necessary escape that will allow you to hit your reset button.

Consciously resting in stillness while releasing resistance to the present moment is a powerfully accessible tool, which research has shown can reduce the effects of stress and equip you to better handle whatever experiences lie around the corner.

For some people, meditation may conjure images of Buddhist monks sitting in lotus posture for hours. However, modern practice looks much more like business executives pausing for five mindful minutes prior to meetings or parents coming into the present moment before responding to a child.

Whether you are meditating in a forest or an office, for hours or minutes, using mantra or mindfulness, the practice of meditation has been linked to potent physical and neurological benefits. The following is a small sampling of the myriad ways that meditation can renew your body and brain.

 

How Daily Meditation Renews Your Body and Brain

 

Decreases the Risk of Chronic Disease

The first notable effect of meditation is that the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which is sometimes called the “rest and digest” system, is activated. This system begins in the brain and sends messages to the body that tell it to lower the heart rate, decrease blood pressure, improve digestion, reduce stress hormones, bolster immunity, and relax muscles.

When the PNS is turned on, the body allocates its resources to removing damaged cells, neutralizing toxins, and destroying free radicals. Unfortunately, most people live with mild-to-moderate stress that turns off the PNS, compromises immune function, and contributes to chronic diseases.

By regularly entering a state of physical and mental relaxation via meditation, you can support your body’s natural health processes, and thereby mitigate the risk of disease.

Reduces Anxiety

Dr. Ilya Monosov, Ph.D., of the Departments of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, discovered that anxiety is highly linked with uncertainty.

When you know something unpleasant is going to occur, you are actually better able to neurologically adapt than when you do not know for certain. Meditation can help to calm the anxiety that bubbles to the surface when presented with life’s uncontrollable factors.

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, or GABA, is a naturally occurring amino acid that is increased through meditation. GABA attaches to receptors in the brain to produce a calming effect that tones down the effects of stress and anxiety.

In addition to increasing GABA, meditation reduces anxiety by decreasing activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for activating fear, anxiety, and stress responses. In one Harvard study, researchers found that meditation decreased activity in the amygdala, thereby pacifying anxiety response patterns.

Daily Meditation Improves Sleep

Meditation prior to sleep naturally increases levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and contributes to refreshing rest. In addition to promoting sounder sleep, melatonin is credited with enhancing immune function and lowering blood pressure. Recent research even suggests that melatonin may protect against the neurodegeneration seen in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Maintains a Youthful Brain

study from UCLA found that long-term meditators maintained more youthful brains than their non-meditating counterparts. A more youthful brain equates to quicker recall, increased focus, easier learning, more enthusiasm, greater adaptability, and better problem-solving skills. By slowing age-related gray matter loss, meditators were able to halt the aging process within their brains.

Calms Activity in the Default Mode Network (DMN)

In a study from Yale University, researchers found that meditation helped to quiet down the incessant mental chatter that is typically associated with decreased happiness.

By settling activity in the DMN, meditators were able to stop dwelling on past and future thoughts and be present more often. And even when their mind did wander, the new neural pathways created through meditation helped individuals to come back to the present moment more quickly.

Increases Life Span

Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is a hormone that counteracts the damaging effects of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as provides building blocks for estrogen and testosterone production. A 12-year study found that DHEA levels were significantly correlated with mortality in men over the age of 50. The less DHEA measured in the test subject’s blood, the shorter their life span was.

Fortunately, DHEA is naturally increased through the practice of meditation. In simple terms, that means that meditation helps you live longer.

 

How Daily Meditation Renews Your Body and Brain

 

Leads to Feelings of Renewal in Two Months of Practice

You may be thinking that you would have to practice meditation for a long time in order to reap all of its benefits. But Harvard University researchers found that the structure of the brain can actually be changed with just eight weeks of meditation.

Harvard professor Sara Lazar discovered that the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory, learning, and self-regulation, becomes significantly thicker with just two months of mindfulness practice. That means that in just eight weeks you can create changes in your body and brain that will enliven your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

If you are looking to renew your vitality, reset your focus, and recharge your body, meditation is the tried and true path that will lead you to the fulfillment of those goals. You don’t have to go anywhere or spend any money.

In fact, you can begin by simply deepening your very next breath. Then when you finish reading this article, close your eyes, and continue those full, nourishing breaths for 10 breath cycles. Notice how just a few minutes of mindful breathing can initiate the renewal process. It really is as simple as that.

 

Let daily meditation guide you to a better body and brain. If you do daily meditation, you’ll feel your body will change. Daily meditation lightens the burden of everyday struggles. Let these steps on daily meditation be your every day guide to make yourself feel better.

 

Original article by Erin Easterly.

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How to Do Chakra Cleansing and Free Your Energy

Tara Christie

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When you feel your energy is low, learn these chakra cleansing techniques and get your energy on track.

If you’ve been feeling less vital and energetic or in an emotional funk, it’s possible that you have a chakra that is clogged or stuck. Contrary to popular belief, chakras are not the newest fad in the yoga world, but rather an ancient system for understanding your body’s energy.

The chakras are located in the central channel of the energetic spine, sometimes referred to as the sushumna. This major route of energy flow (nadi) starts at the base of the spine and runs up to the crown of the head.

What exactly are each of the chakra meanings, where are the chakras located and how would you know if you were stuck?

 

How to Do Chakra Cleansing and Free Your Energy

 

Signs of Blocked Energy at Each Chakra

1st Chakra: Being depleted of first chakra energy feels like a survival crisis. You can’t get grounded because you are stuck in your head. By contrast, if you have too much energy at the root, you can become greedy or excessive in behaviors. These are misguided attempts to get grounded.

2nd Chakra: When someone is stuck in their sacral chakra, they struggle with being ruled by their emotions or the opposite of this, which is feeling numb or out of touch. There’s also a correlation to sexual desire (or the lack thereof) at this level. Creativity and pleasure are both found at this energetic level.

3rd Chakra: This chakra is often considered the power center, and when out of balance, self-esteem may be low and decision-making can feel out of control. Temper flare-ups are also common when energy isn’t flowing well here.

4th Chakra: The heart chakra, when flowing with energy, feels filled with love, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance. When there’s a blockage at this energy level, anger, jealousy, grief, or self-hatred can be more prominent.

5th Chakra: This chakra is the source of speaking your most authentic truth. When energy is blocked or low here, fear of not being accepted or of being judged becomes a problem. You might also feel out of touch with your opinions and desires and have challenge in making choices.

6th Chakra: The word Ajna means “beyond wisdom,” and when this chakra is open, you experience expanded imagination, clairvoyance, and intuition. When there is a blockage at this level, there can be a tendency to be over-involved in fantasy or imagination. Lack of focus or clouded judgment can also occur.

7th Chakra: The crown chakra connects you to the wider universal energy, so when this area has a block, isolation or emotional distress can occur. This may present as an inability to set or follow through on goals or an overall lack of direction and feelings of disconnection.

How to do Chakra Cleansing & Get Energy Flowing

When energy is stuck in a particular chakra, help get it flowing again through these tips:

1st Chakra (Root)

  • Element: The root chakra is associated with earth, so walking barefoot in the sand, grass, or dirt can be beneficial. Any time spent in nature is helpful for this chakra.
  • Nutrition: Eat healthy red foods like tomatoes, beets, berries, and apples.
  • Wear and Decorate: Use accents of red and wear red jewelry, clothing, or shoes.
  • Sound: lam

2nd Chakra (Sacral)

  • Element: The sacral chakra is associated with water, which means swimming or spending time by bodies of water like lakes and oceans is beneficial.
  •  Nutrition: Eat orange foods like carrots, oranges, melons, or mangoes.
  • Wear and Decorate: Surround yourself with orange accessories or tones.
  • Sound: vam

3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus)

  • Element: The solar plexus chakra is associated with the element of fire, so enjoy sitting around a bonfire or soak up bright sunlight.
  • Nutrition: Eat yellow foods like bananas, ginger, turmeric, pineapple, and corn.
  • Wear and Decorate: Wearing yellow clothing, jewelry, and accessories would be beneficial.
  • Sound: ram

4th Chakra (Heart)

  • Elements: The heart chakra is associated with air, so breathing deeply will help to clear the energy at this level. Drive with the windows open, fly a kite, or take a boat ride.
  • Nutrition: Eat green foods including broccoli, avocado, and leafy greens like kale or spinach.
  • Wear and Decorate: Accent your life with all shades of green.
  • Sound: yum

5th Chakra (Throat)

  • Element: The throat chakra is associated with ether (similar to spirit), so sitting in an open space under a clear sky is a fabulous way to get this energy flowing appropriately.
  • Nutrition: Eat blue foods like blueberries, currants, dragon fruit, and kelp.
  • Wear and Decorate: Use all blue tones.
  •     Sound: ham

6th Chakra (Third Eye)

  • Element: The third eye chakra is associated with light. To balance and open this chakra, sit in stillness in the sunlight or relax in a window as the sun pours in.
  • Nutrition: Eat indigo foods including purple kale, grapes, and blackberries.
  • Wear and Decorate: Wearing indigo clothing or jewelry and decorating with accents of this color will be useful.
  • Sound: sham

 

How to Do Chakra Cleansing and Free Your Energy

 

7th Chakra (Crown)

  • Element: The crown chakra is affiliated with all the elements, so connecting with your wholeness rather than a single element is the recommended practice. Spend time in meditation, chanting, or prayer.
  • Nutrition: At this level, the nutrition is no longer for the physical body. This chakra is not nourished with food, but with spiritual practices. Practice self-reflection and curiosity.
  • Wear and Decorate: Wearing violet clothing or jewelry and decorating with accents of this color will be useful.
  • Sound: om

The best way to free your energy is learn chakra cleansing. You need to do chakra cleansing in order to re-focus your senses. Once you do chakra cleansing, you think straight and it lightens up your mood.

Original article by Tamara Lechner.

 

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5 Ways To A Meditative Mind You Need to Know About

 

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5 Ways To A Meditative Mind You Need to Know About

Tara Christie

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Find ways to have a meditative mind right now…

Meditation has come a long way since it first became popular in the West during the 1960s. Some of the most popular and effective methods are now backed by scientific evidence, showcasing the benefits meditation has on the body and our mental health. While meditation has been around for ages, only recently has it become a part of popular Western culture.

Currently in the modern world, there are five meditation practices that have stood the test of time. The reason for this is that they provide the most successful results, some of which can be felt after only one session.

In this article, you’ll learn what these five methods are and how you can benefit from practicing them. Each of the techniques should be practiced for at least 20 minutes to have maximum impact.

 

5 Ways To A Meditative Mind You Need to Know About

 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness was developed to help us place our attention fully in the present moment. It doesn’t have a focus on spirituality; its sole purpose is to teach the student awareness of presence.

What are the benefits of this? When we learn to become fully present, we can see our thoughts as separate from us, meaning we don’t have to engage with every one of them. Learning to watch negative thoughts come and go without harming us is one of the foundational principles of mindfulness.

Popularized by Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness teaches us to avoid secondary suffering. Secondary suffering is where we enhance our own pain by thinking about something negative that’s happened to us and then replaying it like a mental movie over and over again.

Through developing mind awareness, we can learn to tune out secondary suffering and most negative thoughts, helping us to live in a happier, lighter and healthier state of being.

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental Meditation was popularized by the Maharishi in the 1960s when he met The Beatles and taught it to them. The purpose of this method is to silence the mind and transcend to the source of all present-moment awareness.

This is achieved through repeating a special mantra given to you by a qualified Transcendental Meditation teacher. The mantra is repeated internally in your mind, and you place your focus solely on your breath and the sounds of the mantra. When other thoughts arise, you let them be but do not engage with them.

After a while has passed, you will find your mind activity is very quiet and peaceful, and you will have transcended to the core of your being.

This is the purpose of this technique. A certified Transcendental Meditation teacher is the only person qualified to teach you this method, as he or she knows what mantra is right for you and how to show you the process in its latest form with complete precision.

Walking Meditation

Walking meditation is a fast-growing meditation method that provides a unique experience to most other techniques. Typically, it involves slow, mindful walking in nature, where the student can use her surroundings to anchor herself in the present moment.

This technique can be great for beginners to meditation as the grounding apparatus is very influential because your senses are far more active. You feel the wind and air passing across your face and the contact between your feet and the ground.

This method is typically practiced on nature walks; however, you can use it wherever you wish as long as you feel comfortable in your environment. Meditation teaches us that anything can be used as an anchor into the present moment; therefore, this particular technique could even be used in a busy city center!

Mantra Meditation To A Meditative Mind

Similar to Transcendental Meditation, mantra meditation uses a word or series of words repeated over and over again to quiet the mind. Mantras can be repeated aloud or internally depending on your environment and how comfortable you are with chanting out loud. There are hundreds of different mantras all with different meanings.

Mantra meditation is typically practiced while sitting in a meditative pose, using slow relaxing breaths. The same principle applies as for most meditation methods where you allow everything to be just as it is in the moment.

Thoughts and distractions will arise, but the trick is to know that that’s okay. Let everything be as it is, and simply focus on your mantra. You’ll find that if you concentrate on the process of mantra meditation, all distractions will melt away naturally over time.

 

5 Ways To A Meditative Mind You Need to Know About

 

Mala Bead Meditation

This meditation method involves using mala beads. Mala beads are usually made out of wood but can also come in the form of precious gemstones. An authentic mala bead necklace has 108 beads. The student is supposed to count each bead using a mantra.

The entire mantra is repeated on each single bead, meaning the mantra is stated in its entirety 108 times. Mala meditation should be done slowly with deep breaths. Once you reach the end of the beads on the necklace, you’ll find that your mind activity has decreased and you’re in a state of peacefulness and contentment.

Overall, these five methods have proven themselves to be the kings of the world of meditation. You can learn more details about each of them online via YouTube videos, blogs, and other sources.

After learning more about these techniques online, you may wish to take things further and deepen your meditational practices. The best way to do so is to seek out a teacher who’s experienced in your chosen method and learn directly from him or her.

Happy meditating!

Meditation helps in your well-being. Having a meditative mind can be achieved with these meditation practices. When you have a meditative mind, you’ll be able to have a fair decision in life. Be open to change and create a meditative mind at all times.

A meditative mind makes you calm. A meditative mind makes you stronger. You can see more with a meditative mind.

Original articleby Diamond, a keen meditator whose favorite methods are mindfulness and transcendental meditation. She enjoys developing awareness by helping others find the right kinds of meditation to suit their needs and personality types.

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7 Simple Heart Chakra Meditation Steps To Hear The Power Within

 

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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 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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5 Steps To Mindful Walking and Make It a Spiritual Practice

5 Ways Focused Meditation Makes Us Better at Yoga

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4 Ways To Sync Your Spiritual Energy To Your Body Energy

Polly Stevens

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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.

 

4 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 Ways To Sync Your Spiritual Energy To Your Body Energy

 

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.

 

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Just 10 Minutes of Meditation Helps Anxious People Have Better Focus

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