My Top 10 Mistakes, And How You Can Learn From Them!

As I’ve just past my birthday, I wanted to see what thoughts and beliefs really counted, and began to realize which ones I need to throw away. I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 beliefs which I’ve observed to be true. You may be able to relate to this. But then again, you may not…see what you think;-)

1. Thoughts mixed with fear WILL MANIFEST…slowly!!!

I’ve lost count on the number of times of unwittingly visualized negative events to happen. Oh, you may call it fantasizing, but it’s visualizing nevertheless…at the earliest times during the mornings (say, between 6-8 am when I’m half asleep) These thoughts were fear based, and ones that I didn’t want to come true!. I’ve visualized them while in theta or alpha state (basically when I’ve come out of a dream!!!)

They do come true, when left long enough…Although it can take between 3-6 months for them to happen! Now, this is a good thing! Why? Because it means that the process/illusion of time is working on your side. It means, that everything you have feared will have plenty of time, NOT to come true.

Tip 1– Don’t take your negative thoughts too seriously. You would have to be visualizing for a good month (if not more) before ANY manifestation will begin to take place. Learn to keep you thoughts happy when you just wake up, or if you are daydreaming

2. Being Cynical isn’t being smart, its being stupid.

Having been brought up a cynic, throughout my young adult life, I can tell you that being cynical might seem like a good idea, but it does soon backfire. Soon, you’ll find yourself alone, very little friends, and probably little money. And the sad thing is, you’ll think this is normal.

Fortunately, it isn’t. Once I broke free from being cynical, I realized how much of my life I wasted. I had to take a good look at myself and be really honest with my beliefs…something very few cynics do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still skeptical to this day, and that’s not a bad thing. Skepticism, in this modern day and age is a good thing, as it means you are on guard from fraudsters and scams. Having a healthy does of skepticism means that you are not likely to be gullible to people who pray on your weaknesses and manipulate you.

Tip 2- Be skeptical, by all means. Be on the lookout. There are an awful lot of funny people around. But not everybody is funny, and you can always find people who have similar interests in you, and are not motivated by self-interest. Yes, they do exist.

3. Visualizing doesn’t manifest straight away, just improves your subconscious…

which CAN lead to improved changed!!! This one took me many months to discover, and finally get. You subconscious faithfully records every experience, so it’s logical to believe that if you want to affect your subconscious (which, by the way, controls how your life plans out in more ways then you can imagine…), visualizing is the best way of doing it.

HOWEVER… don’t expect to receive that $1m dollar cheque to appear overnight, just because you visualized a million dollars!

What usually happens is that you change your behavior at a deep level, which will get you to be inspired to take certain action/create new behaviors…which THEN could lead to improvements (even financially;-)

Tip 3- Visualize by all means, but only expect to achieve certain behaviors which is necessary to achieve a particular outcome.

4. What you resist, will always persists!

God, I hate this one…want to know why? Because I could have changed my personal circumstances a long, long time ago had I, ‘got this’!

When you start hating things with a passion, you’ll subconsciously attract them to you in little sizes. You’ll find it very difficult to motivate yourself, and you’ll find yourself dwelling on things that you don’t like, rather then appreciating the here and now…which is what you are supposed to be doing. Yet, when you finally accept the things you hate, and make peace with it, you essentially let it go. As consciousness goes into making form, you’ll find that you will start creating a reality that you enjoy doing, or at the very least, tolerate more!

Tip 4- Don’t resist reality. Trust me on this one! Just don’t resist reality!!! It may be awful (and I’ve suffered depression and suicidal thoughts during the last 10 years) but if you resist it (and, ‘resisting’ is defined as inner talk along the lines of, ‘oh Ihate my job/my life‘ ‘this lifetime sucks‘ ‘I can’t take it anymore‘…you get the idea!), it’s not going to go away (or it will take a long time).

At the very least, be at peace with the situation. Keep meditating, and things will turn out for the better;-)

5. Passivity works with meditation, not with, ‘doing things throughout the day’

I’ve suffered depression and have got OCD (getting reduced as each day goes on). One thing I’ve noticed…you’ve got to be more aggressive with your thinking when it comes to doing stuff, hopefully to achieve a particular desired outcome. Being passive while doing an OCD thing doesn’t work…apart from getting you stressed at 2am in the morning, trying to lock the door!

Tip 5- Be ruthless with achieving your outcomes (and be ruthless in a nice way…you know what I mean;-) But keep passivity with meditating…unless you’re in the present moment (in that case, keep, ‘being’ until you have to, ‘think’ again…)

6. Mixing the, ‘Now’ with love is the key to manifesting at lighting speed…

This helped me to get better jobs. Stopping the resisting, being in the, ‘now’ as much as possible and opening my Heart Chakra (as your soul is love, and it is your soul which gives you your reality).

This got me a nicer job within just 3 weeks!

Tip 6- Meditation will help you manifest…visualizing will help you manifest (although in most cases, indirectly) But the real secret? Act from love (try to imagine kissing someone you love, or holding their hands, and use that feeling of love to spread over your body…trust me this works;-)

7. Don’t waste your precious mental energy on negativity!

I was driving to a mates house, when a startling thought hit me…I was wasting up to 50 % of my mental thinking on negative, aggressive events. What a waste. And if thoughts are creative, how destructive as well!

Did any of those thoughts come true? 99% of the time, no. So why did I do it? Habit!

Tip 7- Get into a habit of being more focused with your thinking as soon as possible. Do something to achieve a desired goal by taking just 1 hour a day doing it…that’s it! 1 hour per day, and you will soon start seeing fruits of your labor before too long (as well as a sense of getting something done!)

8. Get your self-talk constructive, not negative.

I’ve played online games with a few friends of mine. I’ve played Badminton and football at a club during the year. What’s the common theme I’ve noticed that links the successes and the failures? The thinking behind them!

When I’ve had a good day at work, and I feel confident, I play well. When I’ve had a bad day, I play crap. What’s the key? Your inner talk. It’s more important than you realize, and when that inner talk is loving, excited, or constructive, great things WILL happen.

Tip 8- Keep the self-talk positive at ALL TIMES! (or at least, at peace with the situation.) Keep practicing. This isn’t about being delusional, it’s about being dangerous (just kidding!!!) Seriously, keep the inner talk loving, or at the very least, peaceful. You will be AMAZED at what you will achieve (or even turn around;-)

9. Find a discipline (and this includes meditation) and STICK TO IT LIKE GLUE!!!

I’ve been undisciplined for about 9 1/2 years of my life. I’ve also been disciplined (for some part) in the last couple of years. Which period has been productive in the achievement of my desires and goals? Yep, you guessed it, the last couple!

Tip 9- Have a discipline. Doesn’t have to be a long one, but have a discipline, where you do your stuff to achieve your goals at least an hour a day (if not more) and you will soon see rewards. Add some meditation into this for added fruit-bursting flavor.

10. STOP THE FANTASIZING

This one is a BIG guilty pleasure of mine. Fantasy/escapism and visualization, some people would argue, are different. NEWS FLASH…THEY’RE NOT!!!

How do I know? I’ll tell you why! When you fantasize, your using your imagination. You fantasize for escapism reasons (you’ve seen a lovely hotel in a brochure, and you suddenly daydream being at a beach somewhere). What’s visualizing? Using your imagination!. What is the most powerful gift GOD/SOUL has given you? Your IMAGINATION. What eventually manifests? YOUR IMAGINATION…get the message;-)

Now, the odd day dream here and there is harmless enough, but don’t make the mistake I made and fantasize 10 years of your life away! Use your imagination to achieve your desired outcomes, change beliefs/behaviors etc…

Tip 10- Fantasizing and day dreaming is nice isn’t it…but totally a waste of mental energy!

That same mental energy, when more focused can help you achieve your outcomes much more quicker! As a famous actor once said, ‘You really gotta focus!’

Visualize by all means. A good 5 -10 minute focused visualization, mixed with love, can do wonders for your subconscious. But try to keep the fantasizing at bay!

This is a list based on my observations of my own experiences this year. Feel free to add your own… together we can help the world;-)

 

How To Rid Yourself Of Unwanted And Disturbing Thoughts In 5 Simple Ways!

How do you stop obsessive or compulsive thoughts? How do you stop a certain negative thought pattern? Do you even believe it is possible? Maybe you haven’t heard of the, ‘White Bear Syndrome’, or don’t believe it is possible for you to control your thoughts. Some people don’t. There are some people who have such a rich imagination, yet they seem unable to use it as a constructive, harmonious tool. They instead let it run riot, causing themselves and their families heartache. Maybe you are one of these people. If you are, you have my sympathies. I’m not trying to be polite, not trying to humor you, but you do genuinely have my condolences, because believe it or not you are not your mind.

I’m being serious, and anybody who practices mindfulness mediation, or even had out-of-body experiences will testify to this. You are not your mind, nor your body, but a spiritual being, inhabiting a 3D holographic (of sorts) physical body. You thoughts are who you think you are…or to put it in the words of a famous master, Eckhart Tolle, your EGO is your identification with thought.

Did you read that correctly, your identification. Not you, but what you are identify with! And this is a huge concept to get. You in the purest form, are soul (or higher consciousness if you don’t believe in souls). And that is awareness itself. That’s right…pure awareness. And what you give awareness (or attention) to, is ultimately what you give energy to.

So, at the risk of breaking your bubble, but you are not EGO. Sure, you may use the EGO to create, and that’s fine. That is what it is there for. A very useful tool to be able to create multiple things, think multiple things, calculate multiple things (or at least consciously, a few things), and much, much more. And that’s great, because you are a creative being, made in the image and likeness of source (what I call source, and I use that term to make this article more socially acceptable;-).

That is why it has been written, that most masters are mindless. That doesn’t mean to say that they are brain-dead (far from it). But they simply choose to give thought it’s correct priority, and as a result, live lives in peace and create almost effortlessly. Of course, as a master, you probably wouldn’t be thinking about creating lots and lots of materialistic wealth. Masters generally have the frameset of STO (Service-To-Others) whereas most people (don’t mean to generalize here, forgive me) have a mindset of STS (Service-To-Self). The reason for this being that masters see the oneness of everything, and understand consciously (as well as super-consciously) that what they give to the multi-verse, they get back 10 fold, because they and everything else is ONE (i.e. one with everything). They see people as merely extensions to themselves, rather than being separate. This helps promote unconditional love, as it opens up their Heart Chakra (don’t believe me, try it…I know this works, because I have tried this myself).

Of course, most people don’t understand this. They see the illusion of separatism, and as a result, don’t see oneness with everything (well, perhaps a few may in meditational exercises, but that’s it). As a result, most people have a STS mentality. And this of course is understandable. When you rely solely on your eyes, and you haven’t had much spiritual education, you expect nothing less.

So this is why, to get back on topic, most masters are mindless. They understand that they are not thought, but pure spiritual awareness. Or to put it another way, consciousness is being aware of itself!

It took a long time for me to get this. I myself understood spirituality, at least intellectually, I just couldn’t get it experientially. Having had OCD, and negative, paranoia inducing thought patterns for most of my adult life, I genuinely at times, didn’t believe that I could tame this monster in my mind. I would go to work, and my subconscious would run riot. I would have little control. It wasn’t until a few obe’s and reading, ‘The Power Of Now’ did I get that be being in the present moment, does one help reduce the mental noise. And not only that, but you can tame your imagination so it works for you rather than against you (which is what it is supposed to do).

But lets say that you are not spiritual, you have no interest in being, ‘present’ (which, incidentally, helps you get into the Theta brainwave state, where new beliefs and as a result, new experiences can form and take place). That’s fine, there are other, psychological techniques you can do to help get rid of, or at the very least significantly reduce your OCD/obsessive thoughts/ negative thought patterns.

Now, I will warn you, what you are about to read, you may already know! I’m under no illusion that you already know this, so see this as a reminder. They seem deceivingly simple, but don’t let that fool you…they do work! Again, I should know, because I try these out every day. If you give the following techniques a go, at least for 30 days, you will see a huge improvement in your psychological and as a result, your emotional state.

 

Acting Healed

It sounds mad, I know, but just the simple intention of acting like you are healed actually goes a long way to help recovering and ridding yourself of unwanted thoughts and OCD. By acting like you are healed, you are re-programming your subconscious to behave in a certain, different way. And that’s a good thing, because it is your subconscious that is causing all the problems. It’s not your subconscious fault…it’s been trained to do it by yourself (not trying to be mean here, just saying the facts). By at least pretending you are healed, you’ll find yourself acting more and more confident and finding yourself least anxious (which is causing the problems to begin with). Charles Lindens, ‘The Linden Method’ goes into more detail as to why your anxiety is causing you to have OCD and panic attacks.

When I tried to act like I was already healed, I began to observe that not only was I more confident in myself, but that my anxiety and worries were nothing more than just past fears trying to exert control over me. By acting super confident (or at least trying to), I found that I didn’t have the anxiety to begin with (or it was substantially reduced). This resulted in my OCD automatically being reduced, and more control over my thoughts.

 

Embracing/Hugging It

This is a tip I got from ‘Release The White Bear’. By embracing your unwanted thoughts mentally, you actually release the energy that is keeping it there. I normally have the image of the unwanted thought in my mind, and then try to hug it. I let the anxiety/negativity slightly consume me, but I quickly realize that my mind soon lets go after about a minute (usually less). Why is this? In the words of famous spiritual teacher Neale Donald Walsh, ‘What you resist, persists’ (If truer words were ever spoken). Essentially, by resisting a thought (or reality, for all of you law of attraction practitioners out there…), you keep it firmly in place. By embracing it, sending it love, etc…your mind lets it go. Try it and see for yourself (I did this in work once, and within a few short weeks, found myself in a new department).

 

Gratitude

Being grateful, by default, automatically raises your inner vibrations so you’ll find that your unwanted thoughts will be at a minimum. Of course, it’s very hard to be grateful, when you fear the worse, but it is good practice to try to have a grateful mindset when the going gets tough. The trick, always, is to remember. Gratitude invokes the same principle as in my last point; that is to say, you are sending the thought love (although in this case, it’s more indirect than direct). Next time you have unwanted or depressing thoughts, don’t be too harsh on yourself, and just try to find a way to be grateful. You should find that this will reduce it, as you are switching your attention away from the negative thought, and to positive imagery instead.

 

Getting Your Sleep

This is one which I famously sometimes struggle with, but by going to bed on time helps with your OCD. Why? If you are tired and fatigued, you automatically are ratty and sometimes in a bad mood. Your unwanted thoughts/ OCD will be at an all time high (unless you find a way to chill out or relax…yes it is possible). By getting your required dosage of sleep, you’ll automatically increase your inner vibrations, and your attention span will be sharper. You’ll also find that your critical conscious, Beta brainwave self will be more alert, which means that you’ll reduce your obsessive habits or ignore the unwanted thoughts in you mind more quickly, or won’t pay that much attention to them due to an increase in mental energy.

 

Being In The, ‘Now’

I have already touched on this before, but wanted to give it a better hurrah by making it the last tip of this article. Put simply, living in the present moment is vastly underrated and underutilized. Mindfulness meditation is the most common form of practicing it, but there are other ways. Being in the, ‘Now’ helps reduce your brainwave state to Theta, which is where re-programming of the subconscious takes place (and in spiritual terms, where you meet your soul/higher self, so from a law of attraction point of view, you create more easily).

Being in the present moment reduce general mental noise to an all time minimum anyway, so that will naturally include OCD and disturbing/unwanted thoughts. In fact, when you observe your mind from one state to the other, it’s actually fascinating to watching how your thoughts seem to, ‘melt away’ or dissolve altogether. The thing though, with OCD, is to keep being in the mindful state after you’ve done your chore (otherwise you’ll find yourself going back to do it again and again.). Don’t make the mistake I’ve made a few times, by getting into the, ‘Now’, do the chore, congratulate myself (by thinking again), only to be a bit anxious and go back! Trust me, this doesn’t work, and if you are not careful, you’re going to believe that this doesn’t work.

What you’ll find is that by being in the, ‘Now’ for a few minutes (in psychological clock time) you’ll do your chore, and do something else, but this time it will still be in your immediate memory. This means that if the worry does pop-up in your mind, your subconscious will automatically give you the image that the chore has been done (of course, for the severe sufferers out there, you do also have to believe the image or you’ll simply repeat the chore again). Therefore it’s best to be mindful for a good few minutes after you’ve done the chore, to keep the negative imagery to a low.

What you’ll find from practicing the above skills is that you’ll be combining one or more to get the best results. And don’t delude yourself into thinking that your OCD will go in the next 5 mins. It will still take a tiny bit of time for it to fully flush away. Even if you use EFT, your anxiety might not completely go (don’t get me wrong, EFT is still a great tool. Click here for the article on it). But by at first recognizing you have a problem (which is a crucial step in and of itself), and then taking some active steps to actually try and resolve the problem using the above techniques, you’ll find that in a few days your OCD and unwanted/disturbing thoughts will be at a minimum.

I must confess, despite still going to bed sometimes late (bad habit, I know;-) when I have tried the above exercises, not only has my general mood lifted, but I also feel strangely powerful as well. It’s as if I’m re-taking control back from my mind, and use it as a great tool it was always meant to be. Your thoughts and imagination are great tools, but they do need to be disciplined and trained, and that sometimes does take time. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you find that after a few days, your OCD is still there, or you keep having really strange/ unwanted thoughts that really don’t want to go away. As a famous spiritual teacher once said, don’t take your thoughts too seriously! You are not them.

And that’s a good thing;-)

 

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;-)

 

How To Reduce Stress With Meditation In 5 Easy Ways!

It is the one thing that can help you reduce stress and anxiety in the moment, without the need to take medication or do exercise.

Yet despite this, meditation is still not fully understood as to the benefits of reducing stress, anxiety and depression, despite science proving that meditation helps the brain to reduce Cortisol, which is the stress hormone

So why is that we still don’t meditate when we know we should?

 

1. Time– The main reason is that we simply don’t have the time to meditate. We lead such busy schedules, that time really is the essence. We have work commitments, family commitments, and don’t forget, we have our social life. For some people, medication and counseling is the best way to resolve any stress and depression issues. We would rather take pills, than take the healthy option and help still the mind

 

2. We don’t know how to– And this is yet another main reason why we don’t meditate. Simply put, we have per-concieved notions in what meditation looks like. I remember talking a bout is at work once, and I got looks and jokes about doing a certain famous yoga pose. But that is a posture, not the actual meditative act itself. Meditation is about the mind, or the ego, not about doing a certain difficult position.

Don’t get me wrong, if you can do a position, that’s great (and thank goodness we have yoga to teach us that) but if it is a choice between fighting to stay in position for a beginner, or just doing anything that makes you comfortable, I choose the latter any day of the week!

 

3. There is a fear factor– Strange but true, some people are actually turned off by the idea. Maybe it is the time element, or that doing a certain yoga pose, but mention the word meditation to some people, and the idea fills their mind with dread

Which is ironic, when you consider what meditation actually is. It is ultimately the act of connecting yourself to your source (I won’t mention the word god or soul, as some people reading this will emphatically deny that god or soul has nothing to do with meditation, but as I always say, ‘each to their own’)

And why do we need to re-establish the connection to source? So we remember who we really are. We are not the, ‘identification with a thought’ or what some people call, ‘the ego’. We are the pure consciousness behind, ‘the ego’. The realm of the all that is, omnipotent, omnipresence and omniscience. Now that’s a mouthful;-)

 

4. How long should it be?– Some people are not sure how long they should meditate. This is understandable, as there is no concrete fact that says that to be at optimum meditation standard (if there is any such a label) one has to meditate for 2 hours flat in the morning, and 2 hours late.

For me, I’ve known myself to have a quick 5 minute dose in the morning (when I’m in bed) and do 5 minutes in the evening (also in bed) before going to sleep. Or you can do 1 hour at the beginning of the day, and 1 hour at the end of the day.

You see, there is no set standard for how long you need to meditate All you need is to still the mind, and do that for at least a couple of minutes if you are busy, or if you have time on your hands, an hour before and an hour later. It’s completely your call, and you are in control.

Of course, it does go without saying, that the more you do, the more you will benefit. With more and more practice, you get better, have more peace, and get better at concentrating at doing things.

And don’t forget, you can always set the stopwatch, so that if you are wanting to do just 10 minutes in the morning, your buzzer will go off giving you the cue that your meditation session is over. Again, it’s up to you!

 

5. Boredom– Meditation, if you don’t know what you are doing, is not the most riveting and mind stimulating exercise in the world, isn’t it.

I mean, let’s get real here! The job of meditation is to essentially reduce (and in some cases, switch off) your conscious thoughts.

This, of course, goes against everything we have been taught as a kid as well as what society dictates. We are bombarded with hundreds of data from all sources, advertisements, opinions and imagery. In the 21st century, we have been subconsciously trained that it is not ok to, ‘still’ the mind. If anything, we need to have an opinion, and a big one!

But the funny thing is, once you know what to do, (or in some cases, ‘be’) meditation is a brilliant way to reduce the internal chatter, regain focus, and on top of all that, be at peace and love. We will talk about the easiest (in my opinion) ways to meditate, but for know, just know this. I would rather feel a deep peace than watch a melodramatic soap, any day of the week!

 

6. Unable to switch the ego off– This is another famous reason why some people won’t meditate. Although similar to point 2, for some people, they can get into a pose, but have no idea on the actual act of slowing (and stopping) the mind. But don’t worry, switching your attention (and I’ve just given half of the secret away there;-) is what this article is all about!

It’s not the difficult, has multiple benefits, and after even a tiny bit of practice, you begin to notice an obvious mental difference. And once you know the knack of switching your attention, you can begin to meditate virtually anywhere The choices are practically unlimited!

So, if you can find a way to make time for just 15 minutes a day to still the mind, you will be automatically ahead of most people, who still firmly believe that materialism and happiness is outside of yourself, rather that within.

But what exactly are the benefits apart from the obvious relaxational mental state, thereby reducing stress and anxiety in the moment, of practicing meditation?

Before we describe the benefits, as we are on the topic of stress and anxiety reductions, lets look a the very thing we are trying to control, and that is the brain.

stress6

Your brain is made up of 4 parts: The Lateral Prefontal Cortex, The Medial Prefrontal Cortex, The Amygdala and The Insula.

Let’s look at each one…

 

  • The Lateral Prefrontal Cortex: The logical you!

 

It’s the part of you that views things in a more rational, balanced and ultimately logical way. It involves process that are to do with over-riding the automatic behaviors/habits, modulating your emotional responses which could take place from the, ‘fear’ aspect of the brain (which we will talk about in moment) and reduces your ability to take things personal. Essentially, this aspect of your brain, ‘assesses’ and analyzes stuff.

 

  • The Medial Prefrontal Cortex: The, ‘Ego’ you!

 

This is the part that individuates things in your favor, as in, see’s the you (or the, ‘I’ if you will) in the experiences. This part of the brain is involved with things like day-dreaming, being self-reflective, feeling empathy with other people or the public, and engaging in social conventions or situations.

This part also has two further sections: The first is The Ventromedial Medial Prefrontal Cortex, including the processing of things that are similar to you, including other people, and is the part that can take things too personally, and can, as a result, cause negativity, such as anxiety, depression, stuff that causes you to worry, etc.

The second is The Dorsomedial Prefrontal Cortex, which is involved in the stuff that is dissimilar to you, including (more importantly) showing empathy towards people that are not like us!

 

  • The Amygdala: The, ‘Fearful’ you!

 

This is basically the part of the brain that creates the alarm and is responsible for the good old fashioned fight-or-flight response, and other initial emotional responses.

 

  • The Insula: The, ‘I Have Bodily Sensations’ you!

 

Ok, not a great title, I know, but it does sum up pretty much what this aspect of your brain is all about. Essentially the part of your brain involved with bodily sensations, such as your gut feelings, and your experiences.

When you meditate, the connection between the Dorsomedial Prefrontal Cortex (the processing of stuff that is not familiar to you, including showing empathy towards other people) and the Insula aspect of your brain (The Sensations part of you, including your gut feelings) is increased, so you feel more compassion and empathy/understanding towards the situation at hand, as well as the people you meet.

This allows us to tolerate and forgive more or the situations that would otherwise cause us anxiety and stress, and allows us to self-heal.

You also break down the strong connections between the The Medial Prefrontal Cortex (and more importantly, the Ventromedial Medial Prefrontal Cortex which can take things too personally).

This helps reduce your anxiety and your stress levels, and as a results, gives you greater clarity of mind, thanks to the default increased connection of your Lateral Prefrontal Cortex, or the logical you, as well as increasing the connections with your Insula and your Amygdala (but because of the breakdown of your Ventromedial Medial Prefrontal Cortex, you have a more logical, rational approach towards a, ‘fearful’ situation, so your, ‘fight-or-flight’ automatic response is reduced greatly).

So, know we know why meditation is not only helpful to the brain, but also crucial to its processing ability.

But what are the other aspects towards meditation, as well as the obvious reduction of short term and long term stress and anxiety?

 

  • It can make you get better grades, due to an increase in cognitive functioning, including better attentions skills, reduction of exam anxiety and a reduction of ADHD

 

  • It helps protect the brain and reduce mental illness, by helping to increase Myelin (protective tissue) and axonal density (signaling connections).

 

  • Helps reduce loneliness, especially between the elderly.

 

  • Increases the enjoyment of music, due to increased concentration.

 

  • Helps reduce the catching of the cold, by reducing the risk of catching respiratory infections and allows the reduction of the length of time and severity of experiencing the symptoms .

 

  • Helps increase the brain matter density, especially for meditators who meditate for long periods of time.

 

  • Mindfulness meditating reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which leads us to…

 

  • Having a better night sleep.

 

So how do you practice (and get good at) mindfulness meditation?

 

Below are techniques I sometimes use. They do look simple, but trust me…they work!

 

1stexercise

 

This can be done, sitting down or standing up, and will literally take about 10 seconds to do (once you get good at it) and is amazingly effective in allowing a peaceful state of mind to return to you.

All you do is this.

Next time you get stressed, think of the thoughts analytically.

Now focus on the gaps between the words in your thoughts.

Focus on the gaps.

If another thought comes, let it come, and focus on any gap in that thought instead!

After a few moments, you will feel, ‘present’.

Now, you could be asking, what does feeling, ‘present’, feel like?

 

The best way I can describe it (and I’m sure people will describe different sensations) is that a wonderful calm feeling of relaxing, healing peace takes over!

Your negativity goes, and you are, (temporarily at least) in a state of peace and sometimes bliss (again, I’ve done this exercise myself, so I know it works!).

You are able to have a clear head, and you can refocus much more easily on the task at hand.

 

2nd exercise

 

What if you find it difficult to analyze your own thoughts?

Simple.

We’ll listen to the ambient noise instead!

Just listen to the background noise, whether it is in the office, or outside.

Focus (again, for a short while) on the ambient noise, and you will feel a deep peace flood into your stomach area (what you are actually doing, is opening up your solar plexus vortex, commonly known as a, ‘chakra).

Again, this technique will force you into the, ‘now’, and will force you to have a relaxing, healing peace envelop your body and mind, reducing stress in an (almost) instant!

 

3rd exercise

 

This is another great exercise, which not only helps you be in the present moment, but also increases your levels of observation.

Look out in front of you, and gaze (so you don’t stare too hard and hurt your eyes, or give yourself a headache).

Try, without directly looking at it, to observe the space above the stare, and then the space below the stare.

Then, after a few minutes, try to observe the space to the left of the stare, and then to the right.

After a few moments, you should feel yourself being, ‘present’ and you will have entered the, ‘now’.

This particular technique is great when you are walking, and are too busy to listen to the ambient noise to notice being in the, ‘now’.

You will also feel like you are more mentally clear and sharp!

 

4th exercise

 

This is a technique which you can do while sitting down or laying down.

It’s particularly useful if you are talking with someone, or you are actively engaging your mind to a slightly monotonous task.

What we are going to do here, is to notice the bodily sensations.

Start of by noticing your bones, and your muscles.

Try and feel them inside of your body.

Then try and feel your organs, and finally, your breathing.

Feel the breath of air going in and out of your lungs.

After a few moments, you should start to feel a peace, and will begin to get more, ‘present’.

I’ve been able to feel ecstasy doing this, while listening to a client, and having a small cold.

I’ve literally, ‘felt’ my inner body into bliss (although it didn’t last for long, to be honest).

This will help you if you have to listen to something fairly important, but you know doesn’t require complete mental concentration.

 

5th exercise

 

Another great way of being present, is by using a simple breathing technique.

All you have to do, is to simply lay down and watch your breaths.

Don’t try and control your breathing, just sit down (or lay down) and observe your breathing.

Just observe how you breath in, and how you breath out, and feel the breath going into your lungs.

After a few moments of observing your breathing and feeling it go into your body, you will begin to feel very present and your ego chatter will be vastly reduced.

Why?

Similar to the above exercises, by simply focusing on your breathing, you are essentially moving your attention from your mind to a physical sensation on your body.

It is the attention being directed away from your thoughts, to your body which is causing you to be in the, ‘now’.

Put simply, it is your attention that we are trying to control.

Your attention is quicker than your thought process (that is why you can think of new things very quickly).

Control your attention, and you control your thinking.

Control your thinking, and you control your stress levels, and your life!

 

Why does this work?

When you are in the, ‘now’, or the present moment, you temporarily shut off the main part of your, ‘ego’ (the one responsible for the problem) and you connect to the highest part of your consciousness.

The part that is full of creativity, exists outside the space-time continuum and the part that is unconditionally loving and healing.

This allows the negativity and the stress to dissolve away (quite literally) and allows you to re-gain clarity of mind!

So, is meditation the ultimate cure for stress? It’s really hard to prove otherwise, isn’t it!

But what do you think? Let me know in the box below