Monday, November 26, 2012

10 Ways to Connect With Nature and Open Your Mind

Finding ways to connect with the natural world around us reminds us of our place in the universe and helps us organize our thoughts and clear our minds. Here's a quick list of ways to slow down and connect more with nature:

  • Listen to the sounds of birds instead of talking in your own mind
  • Walk against the wind and breath in the fresh air
  • Watch squirrels and small animals look for food
  • Listen to the sound of leaves rustling in the trees
  • Take a walk in bare feet and feel the grass and soil
  • Sit in the shade against the base of a tree
  • Find a place in the distance and look off as far as your eyes can see
  • Watch the way clouds pile and move across the sky
  • Look how bring the moon shines in the dark
  • Lay out under the stars and stare at the sky

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to Relax In Less Than 10 Seconds

Wanna get a good rest and really REALLY relax? This is for you. This technique was learned from watching a dog--a big heavy dog with floppy ears that loved to play and knew how to get a good rest. He would lumber over to where he wanted to lay, give a big stretch and yawn and then flop down onto the floor before he let out a long windy 'huufffffff...' ...and then he was asleep.

We can do this too, in fact it's built in to our nature. The real key is the sigh. There's a reason we yawn and sigh when we are tired.It has its place in helping our body rest.
Here's how: Find your spot to rest and give your body a good stretch while you take in a deep breath. Fill your body with a breath that expands your ribs and abdomen. Now get in to your spot and---here's the big secret--let out that breath in a whooshing sigh.Really, a gushing breath that lets the air out. A sigh should let the breath rush out of your mouth while your body sinks down into gravity. Sighing lets out tension and stress and helps the whole body release and loosen. You can do it more than once to help yourself sink deeper. Before long you will be as relaxed as a lazy dog.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How To Break Bad Habits (And Form Good Ones)

Get ready to change your life for the better. This article is about helping you unlock the secret to live the life you really want. Imagine having control over the positive and negative actions in your life. It's a secret that can be applied to any area of our lives. You have the ability to do accomplish anything in life by applying this technique. Keep reading to find out how you can stop the negative habits that hold you back and achieve the life of your dreams.

Our habits---those things we do consistently every day---are essentially affected by our visualization. Visualization is the way we use our imagination to view the positive and negative attributes of a particular action or object. Positive thoughts about a habit are the reinforcement that keeps an action in our lives. This means that if we visualize the action as bad more than we view it as good, our mind will stop that habit. It's automatic.

The key to eliminating a bad habit is to balance visualizations of what is good about the habit than what is bad about it. This begins by identifying why we do a particular habit, (usually what we enjoy about it) and why we won't it to stop. The next step in the process is to consistently counter any positive visualization about the habit with its negative. As long as we keep the visualizations balanced, the habit will diminish. When this practice is cultivated properly we see these bad habits fall by the wayside and find the liberty to follow the life we enjoy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Star Meditation

Viewing the stars can bring on a since of peace and give a chance for deep contemplation and reflection. Spending meditative time outdoors reminds us of our connection with the universe.

To get the most of viewing the night sky during times of meditation, standing or even walking can often give more benefit than a typical sitting meditative position.

When we bring stars into our time of meditation we can remember that, although hurried life may bring continual change, our view of these tiny points of light have remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years. In this way the stars give us a hint of things more stable and sets our minds on peacefulness during meditation and contemplation.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What Keeps Us From Getting To Sleep (And What To Do About It)

When people have trouble sleeping, it is often because they are worrying about what will happen the next day. Usually this is replaying the same thoughts over and over, either thinking about what they expect to happen, or what they are afraid might happen. Here's a way to shift thoughts toward the positive and fall asleep quicker. Instead of thinking about what you expect will happen, expect what you want to happen. This is sort of a game of pretend but it has several benefits.

Just imagining what you want to happen the next day organizes your mind and prepares you for it to happen. Visualizing a positive future actually lets your body physically respond as if it is happening. Think about the last time you saw a spooky or suspenseful movie. Even though it is all imaginary a person can find themselves jumping, cringing and having some relatively intense physical reactions. This happens because, when we imagine things, they actually happen for us. We have the amazing ability to bring ourselves to a place of positivity just by getting control of our thoughts.

Shifting our thoughts this way gives us something that is actually good for us to think about and can bring on relaxation and rest. Many times, like a good bedtime story, this can lead to a deep restful sleep.

If you like this article you may also enjoy this post on meditation and getting to sleep.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Setting Aside Time For Self Improvement

Here's a useful tool to set aside a predetermined block of time for meditation. The online stopwatch tool at can be a great productivity tool. Click on the red arrow indicating the 'countdown' tool. The alarm the timer uses can be a little jarring so if you're using it to alert you when the time you have set aside for meditation is completed, you may want to check out how to customize your count down timer.

Why Don't I Feel Bad? (And Why Do I Feel Okay?)

Sometimes, especially when dealing with anxiety, a person can be surprised and even bothered when a chronic problem stops affecting them. Anxiety and worry can become so habitual that if there is ever a break from it a person can actually get nervous and panicky. When a person going through a lot of difficulties starts to feel better, they may find themselves asking 'why don't I feel bad?'

Here's a few reasons why:

People can become addicted to negative feelings. When a person has to deal with several challenges at once-- especially with depression-- there is sometimes a desire to make things go 'perfectly bad' as if it is some kind of record of the worst life ever. With this attitude people can feel a sense of pride in their problems, as if no one else has encountered anything similar and it is somehow more special to have a worse experience than someone else.

On the other hand, people sometimes hold on to their negative feelings because it gives them a feeling of safety. When they start to feel better, they suddenly feel a loss of control over the change.

These attitudes, however, are just habits, and acknowledging how our mind reacts to how we feel is a great step toward getting it under control.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Noisy Meditation

To many, the term meditation means to quiet the mind and reach a state of calmness. This helps us eliminate worry, reduce anxiety and physically rest our bodies and minds. The Noisy Meditation seems somewhat counter to this practice, but has its own place in organizing our thoughts and dealing with a cloudy mind.

This is somewhat similar to the Fullness Meditation, and is especially effective if done for a predetermined time, for example 10 or 20 minutes.

In a comfortable, meditative time and place, the mind is opened and given complete liberty to be loud and thoughtful. During this time, we can let our minds clatter and become as cluttered as it likes--like a 3 ring circus going off in the mind. This may seem counter intuitive, but consider this:

It is clear that our minds crave noise and stimulation. Many people have pointed out how television, cell phones and other electronics have made our world a more noisy place. Our ways of transportation and building are some of the loudest noises on the planet. ---but that also shows us that we are often at our most productive when we make noise and stimulus. It can even have its own sort of addictiveness, but is noisiness in and of itself bad?

When we practice the Noisy Meditation, we harness our minds in a sort of controlled chaos. Isn't it worth while to decide to let your mind be loud and cluttered on your own terms? This noise is not only something we often want and seek out, it may be something we actually need. This is the sort of thing our mind is built to do, why not make purposeful effort to give it a proper place in our meditative practices?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Nothing-Before Nothing-After Meditation

This meditation is fundamentally used to reduce worry but it has far reaching benefits and can bring on a sense of calmness and clarity in addition to great insights into ourselves. It is practiced like many other meditations, by assuming a comfortable position with closed eyes. Like the name of the meditation, it is relatively straight forward. Imagine for a bit that nothing before the current moment has ever happen, and that nothing after it will ever happen.

This can be done progressively, especially beginning with any prominent worry. Just for a few minutes, suppose that never happen. Further, suppose the events surrounding it never occurred. What if the outside world had never been there are all? What if nothing were ever going to happen again? This can actually be a little spooky, but taken as far as you will allow yourself, it can give a season of relief to a constantly worrisome mind. If there was nothing before this moment, why worry? If there will be nothing after this moment--nothing at all--why be anxious? Setting aside things that have happened in our past, we bring ourselves to the true kernel of our existence and can gain enlightenment about how we connect with the universe.

Some people may have difficulty letting go of a particular worry because they feel it is imprudent to stop worrying about the future but it can be assured that whatever worries you have right now will still be there when you open your eyes...but then again, what if they're not?