Mindfulness meditation: My top 5 techniques for 2017!

Don’t you just love mindfulness meditation.

Its one of the few things I actually do enjoy doing, not only because it had great mental (and physical) health benefits, but it actually feels…you know, damn good!

It’s also good because once you get used to it, by doing it daily, it quickly dawns on you that you are not your mind. The mind is a tool, not something that is fully you. You are the awareness behind this tool. Pretty cool, huh?

It is peace on demand.

Literally.

All you have to do is to find a quiet place…take a seat…and off you go.

And best of all, it is completely free.

There is no subscription or monthly fees to pay. There is no waiting around, 7-10 days, hoping that the weather is not going to affect your service.

It is the one thing that, come rain or shine, that is available to you, 24/7.

There could be a big power cut, no matter.

You could be broken and be on the street…you could do it still then.

You could even be in the middle of an argument, and still find a quick way at trying to be mindful, which can even help diffuse the situation.

Being mindful is the tool that helps things work in your favour. It has helped me in my life, and if you are reading this post, chances are that it has helped you.

The weird thing about mindfulness, is that it quickly teaches you to use your conscious as it was intended, as that of a tool to help create the experience of your life, not as something that you identify yourself with.

Essentially, you use it as a gateway (which is what most spiritualists would readily admit).

So, without further ado, let me bring to you the best ways one can be mindful, heading into 2017.

Listening to your heartbeat

This is a great one to start out with, if you have difficulty in focusing on yourself.

Just take a few deep breaths, lie down, and focus on your heart beat. You will find that after a short while, there will be about 3 surges of pulses, going around the various areas of your body.

By noticing your blood pulses, you will become more present and will feel a peace in your body.

Of course, if you want to take this even further, I do recommend that you use this an an intro towards mindfulness.

Once you feel enough peace, and before your mind starts to wander, quickly go onto…

Listening to the ambient noise

I have found that, listening to the outside noise is a great way to becoming mindful.

Trouble is, listening to the ambient noise can be hard to do straight away, hence I recommend that you listen to your heart-beat first.

Use it as a platform to begin with, then try listening to the ambient noise once you get slightly mindful. This does take practice.

Of course, all this is a distraction to your conscious, which is precisely what we are trying to achieve so you can become mindful. If, however, you are unable to listen to the ambient noise that easily, you can always try…

Listening to your breathing

Ah, the good ol’ classic gem of mindfulness. Listening to your breathing has always been a bit of a classic, and it is easy to see why.

When you focus your attention to your breathing, you will become slowly present, with an additional bonus in knowing how easy it is to get stressed out (Put it this way, I’ve noticed that when I listen to my breathing, and a few negative images pop up in my mind, my breathing patter increases speed and becomes more quicker, so it is useful as a stress monitoring tool).

Listening to your breath is a good approach towards becoming mindful, and helps reduce your mind chatter.

However, sometimes, whatever you do, your mind just doesn’t want to calm down, so you can try…

Using your peripheral vision

Being serious, this does work. In a really weird way, it can be great for those folk who simply cannot turn off their imagination no matter what they do.

The trick is to gaze at the outside edges of your eyesight, that is, to use your peripheral vision.

Initially, this will feel weird (we are so trained to look at the centre of our vision). But with enough practice, you will be able to do this fairly effortlessly, enough to be able to mindfully meditate.

Using your peripheral vision is a great way to reducing your inner thoughts (you could say that you are being too distracted to think about anything else;-)

However, if you do find that this is very difficult, you can try one last trick up the sleeve, which is,

Verbalising it to taming it.

Ok, I have to give Dr. Dan Siegel credit for this one, as this is an absolute brilliant technique in helping one to become mindful.

It’s so simple, yet ridiculously effective.

All you have to do, is to verbalise to yourself (or out loud), what you are thinking about.

That’s it.

By doing this you will be, in a sense, logicalising your feeling; sort of like bringing the two hemispheres of your brain in balance.

The net result: Becoming mindful. And it can be as quick as within 60 seconds.

I tend to say the stuff that is in my mind to myself if I do find it difficult to meditate, and it works wonders.

Not only that, but if you can get yourself into a habit of doing this on a regular basis, you may find that you will develop a small habit of becoming slightly mindful throughout parts of your day as well.

It may even become fun;-)

So there you go, my top 5 ways to becoming mindful. Please feel free to give any of them a go, and let me know in the comments section what your personal favourites are.

Till next time,

Julian

 

How To Rid Yourself Of Depression In 4 Stupidly Easy Ways!

Depression is a condition that many of us will suffer from in some form or another. It is estimated that over 120 million people suffer from some form of depression worldwide, with 80% of people not receiving any treatment. The number of patients who are diagnosed with depression increases by around 20% each year in America, with the people who are unemployed and recently divorced being the type of people most likely to suffer from it. I myself have suffered a form of depression, (even suicidal thoughts back in 2012 when I was at my most lowest point). It got me thinking about my lifestyle and what I wanted to achieve, and since that terrible day, have tried to make amends to amend my ways and lead a more healthier life.

But it hasn’t been easy. I would love to write an article saying that I had this one epiphany and everything in my life changed, but in all honesty it’s all been about small and regular changes. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with people or gurus who say that they did one particular action or was involved in one event, but I guess I’m not that type of guy. For me, my depression was on and off for over 10 years, and included anxiety attacks, mild insomnia and OCD.

To completely recover from depression, in my opinion, does take time. People can talk about being in medication and taking drugs, as there is evidence to say that depression is nothing more than just a simple chemical imbalance. Resolve the chemical imbalance, and the troubles just fade away! But in my opinion, this just tells half the story…while I don’t dispute these findings, I believe that the chemical imbalance is the outcome, not the cause of depression. The cause of the depression can be job/career related, relationship/family related, or financially related (or a combination of all three) and while taking medication can help relieve the symptoms, unless lifestyle changes are made, you will soon be back on it.

Now, I want to be really brutally honest here…I’m not an advocate in taking medication for most depression cases. Barring the odd severe case, I believe medication does more harm than good. Maybe I’m lucky that my depression hasn’t been that long, or hasn’t been that intense. I don’t know that many people who are severely depressed, but from memory, taking a pill was the last thing on my mind during my last episode. I’ve actually taken more pills for anxiety attacks, then for depression (only to realize what a waste that was!). While I will appreciate the poor person that has a severe case my argue this (and understandably so), from my experience there are more healthier ways of reducing it. Of course, medication does give you mental breathing space (which, again I can appreciate), but from all of the forums, discussions and articles I’ve read, medication is a solution most people are against.

This was even validated during a (fairly) recent episode. Whilst not that bad, I did observe my body during the depressing wave. I quickly realized a few things I noticed which I hadn’t noticed during my 10 year wave (things I wished I knew back then). It seems that my self-help curious ego had actually served a purpose, and I was able to avoid much of the misery that I had suffered a few years back. What I present isn’t new, isn’t exclusive, and I’m under no illusion that you’ll either hate it (or see it as pointless) or you’ll agree but can add some more. Either way is fine. I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all approach to recovering from depression (well, apart from obvious lifestyle changes, but that is also arguable). So see these points as reminders, on how to get yourself out of a tricky situation.

 

Thinking of your ideal scenario all day

You’re depressed because you feel helpless, like nothing you can do is going to work, and you are low of energy. What I have found is that if you can somehow have an image of your ideal career/partner in your mind (whatever image is causing you to be depressed, think of the ideal version of that image) you will gain, after a short amount of time new energy, and will carry on the day with vigor. When I have the image in my mind, a new sense of inner personal power took over, and I was able to be more focused and more attentive to the job in hand…which was quite surprising, as I had no idea that this would have any side benefit at all. Of course, the image wasn’t a static image, but an image that was constantly evolving; from a snapshot of the ideal career, to being practical and actually finding ways to turn the image into reality (nothing to do with the Law of Attraction…at least, not yet;-). In the space of a few hours, the image had changed from static, to the actual dynamics on how to create it. This bizarrely increased my inner will power, my concentration, and my energy levels (as I had a bad night sleep, so I was feeling really down). This nicely leads me to my next topic…

 

Sleep

Get your sleep, period! While I can appreciate mums and dads can say that they don’t get any sleep due to their kids, feeling super tired and fatigued during the day does more harm to you then you realize (please see this article on sleep and stress). Find a way to get early nights, or find a routine and stick to it.

When I’ve been depressed in the past, I always remember that my sleep had been a contributing factor. Fatigue and depression, in my experience, go hand in hand (or to put it another way, I very rarely see someone who has had ample sleep, complaining about being depressed…). Having your 7-8 hours of sleep my be tricky to begin with, but your routine will eventually allow your subconscious to feel sleepy, allowing you to drift off once bed time takes place. To quickly get some energy during the day, you can do one of two things: Either meditate in Theta (I’ve found that the Theta level releases short bursts of healing and energizing energy. You can buy some Theta CD’s here) or do a quick session on EFT, which can also leave you feeling energized.

 

Gratitude

One thing I always try to do is to feel grateful for at least 5 things. Why? It helps you feel more alive with more energy due to it uplifting your soul, and it also helps you change your negative self-talk into positive self talk, which has numerous physical and mental benefits. The easiest thing to feel grateful for is having a nice home, or wearing some nice clothes, and then go from there. You can try being grateful for the crap in your life, because you now know what you don’t want (i.e. see the blessings in disguise). This allows you to make and act on a new choice, bringing more opportunity in your direction, which could also ultimately help remove the very thing that is causing you to be depressed to begin with.

 

Breathing/Mindfulness Meditation

By keeping positive imagery in your mind, and controlled belly breathing, you are able to retain your focus and keep yourself mildly energized. Being in the, ‘Now’ helps (or being present). Controlled belly breathing actually helps you feel more present and this by default helps reduce any stressful feelings your depression can sometimes spring (yes, one can lead to another…it does happen!). I’ve found a particularly useful way of keeping energized during the worst moments, when the negative, depressing induced imagery starts to take hold in your imagination, and you need to concentrate at the task in hand. Staccato Breathing is a great way on increasing energy levels (at least for the immediate short term) and helps with your cognitive abilities. Simply breath though your nose inwards, increasing the size of your belly initially, but moving upward so you feel your chest increasing as well (kind a’ like pouring water into a jug) and then reverse it breathing outwards (so chest first then belly second).

Do this 3 times, always inhaling and exhaling though your nose. When it comes to the forth attempt, inhale again, but when you exhale, use your mouth this time, and blow out short bursts of air (as if you are blowing out imaginary bubbles). This helps increase your energy and allows you to think more clearly. And the good thing about this technique, is that not only is it quick to do, you can also do it throughout the day.

Try the above things to help you throughout the day. Exercise and diet of course helps, but maintaining presence, or keeping positive mental imagery are also viable and powerful ways in keeping your inner personal power, and as a result your mood intact. You can also try Bach remedies, and if you are into a bit of NLP, try using mental anchors The trick is to keep yourself feeling powerful, and that change can and will take place. Over the years, I’ve been at my depressing worst when I feel that change will never take place, yet over time, (and the help of a good nights sleep;-) I have increased my personal willpower tenfold. Creative visualization can be a great way in helping re-programme your subconscious so that not only you believe in change, but you are inspired to take certain actions to make sure that changes takes place. Don’t forget to visualize effectively, try to use all 5 senses as much as possible, and feel the feelings of joy or love. As your subconscious uses emotions, this will help re-programme it more effectively. Give it a go and find out. You’ll be pleasantly surprised;-)

 

The Top 4 Ways to Reduce Anxiety Shaking Fast!

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Many of the 40 million anxiety sufferers today suffer from a wide range of symptoms including nausea and seating, but one symptom that is also becoming common is shaking and trembling.

stress21But why do we shake and tremble when we are anxious?

Put simply, it is the bodies response to the excess amount of adrenaline that is pushed through the body during the common, flight-or-fight response. The problem lies in the fact that the original cause of the anxiety (the first event that took place in your life which spawned the now constant anxiety) caused us to freeze in response to the scary (fight or flight) event.

When the danger has passed, the cells that have had this fight-or-flight energy has to release it, and does so in the form of shaking or trembling.

And it’s all down to the over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system causing the huge amount of adrenaline to flood into your body!

This adrenaline can of course have a debilitating effect on the individual concerned, for they now have to take shaking into consideration. And the shaking can take place anyway where there is a trigger to anxiety.

But if you do suffer from anxiety shaking, what exactly can be done to stop it?

Well, in truth, there is no one single solution to this problem. Some people use medication, and suffer some of the side effects, while some people literally wait it out…that is, once the shaking starts to happen they wait for the shaking to stop.

But there are techniques that can have a higher risk of reducing the shaking.

One of the promising ones is EFT.

EFT is all about the body’s meridian system, and how the non-physical energy is transported and nurtured to the vital organs. But this energy system can have this balance disrupted dramatically when a traumatic event takes place.

So the trick here, is to simply try to locate the original memory that caused the dramatic event to take place, and simply re-balance the meridian system to, ‘flush’ the nervous energy away. This can be done by tapping where you can tap on your meridian points, located on various parts of the head and chest.

I know it sounds weird, but just the act of tapping, and re-citing an affirmation is more than enough to help release the energy, and re-balance your meridian system, so the flow of non-physical energy is flowing smoothly again (the meridians, incidentally, take the, ‘Qi’ energy’ from the Chakras, which are the main non-physical voices accompanying the body. You have 7 main Chakra points in your body). It’s when this energy is blocked that physical and psychological problems takes place.

EFT is a great free tool in helping you unblock and re-stabilize the Chakra points, and there are people who have used EFT to help themselves stop their shakes caused by anxiety. Just simply go online and search on videos that show you are to do EFT, and you’ll be amazed at the results it will bring.

But if EFT sounds to far fetched and, ‘new-agey’ or you would rather prefer something else, there are also other techniques that can help you reduce that adrenaline in your body.

If you can, you can try jogging or walking, as this will help calm you down and wear the adrenaline off. Jogging is exercise and is a great stress-reliever, and this will help insure the reduction of the adrenaline in your blood.

But if you are in a place where jogging is simply not allowed, or impractical (for example, in a car) you can try deep breathing. Although this doesn’t necessarily get rid of the adrenaline straight away, deep breathing has a soothing effect, and will help you to reduce the anxiety that is causing you to have the fight-or-flight response to begin with.

This is especially useful in you are in the middle to doing a particular task in the work place, and you have to find a way of carrying on.

Deep breathing has a meditative quality towards it, and has been shown to help individuals sooth their mind and as a result, calm down.

But ultimately, the best help you will get will be to take the time and go through events that naturally make you anxious or stress, and find ways to reduce the anxiety in those events, as this will reduce the risk of the adrenaline being flooded into your body.

Visualization and hypnosis my help in this case, as this will help your sub-conscious react slightly differently to the next scenario that could trigger the fight-or-flight response. Give it a go, you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.