Tag Archives: mindfulness

The Art Of Being

mindfulnessI like to practice the art of being. It’s a concept I thought of when I was drafting up potential blog ideas for the Self Starter Guide. It’s not hard to understand, but it is difficult to practice. The art of being is another phrase for mindfulness and reminds us how crucial it is for us to keep still and be aware of ourselves. The art of being makes us focus on everything going on in our lives and to make us conscious of our decisions and how it can affect others. It is important to practice this art because it will allow you think and ponder before doing anything rash.

Let me teach you the art of being:

Being in the moment

Mindfulness. Be aware of what you are doing right now. Being in the moment means taking time and determining if your thoughts and actions matter and get you closer to your goals. If this moment isn’t affecting you for the better then you need to move on to something else. The art of being focuses on making sure we are always doing something to better ourselves and not hold us back. Decide for yourself if you are improving and make sure that this moment matters.

Being aware of your surroundings and how you affect people

How is your presence affecting others? Are you able to bring people closer to you or are you pushing them away? Being aware of your presence in a group can offer you the chance to get to know people on a personal level. Life is about connections and you constantly have to be aware of the times you may make someone feel uneasy and uncomfortable. We need to assert ourselves as people others want to hang around. If you don’t then you might be left behind in your social life for your lack of awareness.

Being understanding of the circumstances in the lives of others

Everyone on this planet travels a different road in life. We don’t know the difficult terrain that each person have to be on. Some have a smoother ride while others endure bumpy roads. The key is being aware of how these different circumstances can take a negative toll on a person’s well-being. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt when they make a mistake because I assume the worst, meaning that they did not intend to make the mistake. We have to empathize with others because we’ve all been in those positions where we have felt helpless. The art of being makes sure that we gradually retain our empathy for others because that is what will allow us to succeed.

The art of being is an interesting concept that circles around the idea of mindfulness. The more you become aware of how your decisions in life can affect you or others, the easier it will be for you on your journey. Keep asking yourself if you are present right now in your mind, body and life and if you are not, what can you do to change it. Never give up on the art of being because it can make a difference in how you live your life.

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The Fear Of Death

Scared about death. Death is frightening. It is the thing we want to know more about, but we don’t have the means to. It is the thing that links every living being on this planet together and mystifies us all. Because of how unknown it is, death scares many people. They fear that they won’t exist after this is all over. They may not believe there will be an afterlife. They fear that they will suffer for eternity for their sins. All these thoughts are frightening, but it takes away from us being able to live in the moment and appreciate what we have.

I have been afraid of death for many years and often have traumatic thoughts about it. Think about the sensation you have when you are lying in bed and then all of a sudden, having that existential feeling that you are alive and breathing. Then imagine if you didn’t exist at all and it leaves you with an ominous thought. You shudder to think about this irrational feeling and try to get your mind off of it. Many people will have this feeling but are embarrassed to admit it. This is because death is such a scary thing to think about yet at the same time, it doesn’t make sense to be afraid of it since everyone will meet their fate at some point.

Why should you worry about something that is inevitable? That is the main argument people make. Rather than dwell on what’s to come, why shouldn’t we focus on what we have going for us at this very moment. People are always in a rush to go through life and fail to appreciate the time we have with each other presently. By worrying about death, you are thinking about something that will happen too far down the road and something you cannot control. This is why people say the fear of death is irrational because it is bound to happen and we can’t do anything about it, so learn to let go.

If you do fear death and it is a hindrance to your life, there are some coping techniques you can follow to get you to come to terms. The first and foremost is to seek professional help if the fear is affecting how you live your life and the people around you. Finding someone to talk to about your concerns will distract your mind and help you get back to having rational thoughts. Second, surround yourself with plenty of loved ones who you enjoy being around. Being in the presence of positive energy and enthusiasm will create a healthy environment for you to thrive. You won’t feel like you are alone because the fear of death is often a sign that you hate being by yourself. Finally, have a passion that you can focus day in and day out. People too often just come home after work and follow the same routine. Ignite the fire in yourself and go after a hobby that you enjoy or a project you’ve always wanted to complete and you’ll find that you will have something to live for.

Death is something that bothers me, but I’ve gotten better over the years. I still have those random thoughts that creep in from time to time, but it gets better the more I focus on what I do have in life and how well off I am. People think too much about what will happen to them and it goes against the principle of living in the moment. Be happy with what you have; acknowledge that death will come, and just learn to let go and live your life with no restrictions. This will make things easier when your time comes because you lived the life you know you deserve.

Photo Credit: Death

What To Do When You Want to Be Mean

You want to be mean? Think twice.We are not perfect characters in this society. There will be times when you find yourself frustrated at a situation and may feel a little overwhelmed. There could be situations that you encounter where you feel that the whole world is pitted against you and in those moments you want to react naturally; angry and stressed out.

Anger affects even the most passive characters. It is an emotion that is difficult to control because in the moment, you lose your sense of self. You act irrational due to anger and in the process; can end up hurting someone physically or mentally. The aftermath can be just as painful because you will experience the fallout from your irrational decisions. People hurt by your words during your moments of rage may not want to associate with you further. If physical violence was involved then you find yourself in legal trouble as well as potentially medical trouble. With all of these drawbacks to anger and rage, one must learn how to cope with it, especially if it were to arise again.

As a writer of this blog, I have a huge temper. I am still working on fixing my flaws and learning how to deal with my frustrations when it hits me. Anger can blind us at random moments and even though we try to be as mindful, these negative thoughts can overcome us.

The strongest way of nipping anger and rage is through the practice of being mindful. When you start to feel frustrated and stressed at a situation, acknowledge the feeling but don’t act on it. Realize the feeling will pass and although you are innately freaking out, don’t let it get to you. During this time, use your judgment to figure out the solution to the problem. In the end, keep at the back of your mind that the problems that are happening now, will not exist later down the road. As a result, it is no point to act angry and be frantic because ultimately it won’t matter.

Acknowledge the fact that everyone is human and make mistakes. Learn to love people for their attempt at their work and recognize that not everyone will do it exactly as you would. Everyone is independent and have a certain style of doing things their way. If you embrace the uniqueness of each individual, you learn to cope with his or her working ethics. If they made a mistake, be proud that they tried and encourage them to remedy the situation, rather than put them down.

Meditation works wonders in anger management. The practice keeps you focused and grounded in dealing with anger. You learn to control the speed of your breath and will feel calmer. Do this every morning so that you can use it when you start to feel stressed and overwhelmed by the things in life. Don’t let anger define you.

Anger is one of the worst emotions to handle when it boils down to it. I find it to be crippling in relationships and makes you feel guilty in the aftermath. To bypass the troubles that anger brings you, you need to recognize how short this feeling will last and whether it is worth it to pursue it. Anger is trouble and you know that you have what it takes to overcome trouble.

Photo Credit: Stephen Poff

The Value of Meditation

MeditationI was one of those guys who didn’t care for meditation when it was on the news constantly. I was a skeptic and thought the spirituality behind meditation was all talk and that people were just hyping up a stupid practice. My mindset happened to be: how can sitting still help us in any way at all. Isn’t it just better to go out and do something with our lives rather than meaninglessly sit down and focus on our breath. I held this way of thinking for many years and it was not until a few years ago when I decided to give it a try. The world I lived in was blown away. I hate admitting that I was wrong and my judgment of meditation was inherently unjustified.

Meditation is not about sitting still, in an Indian style pose. You do not have to look like a Buddhist monk to practice this habit and yes it will have a huge effect on your life. Meditation is the practice of being in the moment. By focusing on the here and now, you will be able to learn how to control your thoughts and funnel the negative ones out of your mind. This is important because our thoughts define our actions throughout our day and if you constantly have negative thoughts, it can cloud your judgment and force you to make decisions that you will later regret.

I’d like to visualize our mind as a dirty room, full of clothes everywhere. Imagine that meditation is the act of clearing the room and putting stuff away to where it needs to be. It means that by the end of your meditation practice, you will have a clean room and ready to allow more thoughts and mess to come back into your mind. By not incorporating meditation into your daily routine, the room will overflow and it can lead to negative consequences.

I find that meditation allows me to be more productive and more creative. After meditating for five minutes, I find I am more focused on what I need to do for the day. I feel less stressed and become more aware of my thoughts. If a negative thought enters my mind, I am able to remove it and think more positively. I have the drive and am more willing to take initiative on a project rather than to procrastinate. In addition to a more productive lifestyle, my creativity incredibly sharpens. There is more room to think freely and I don’t feel bogged down by the things I need to do. I find myself more imaginative and have freedom to think. Because of this, the practice of meditation helps musicians; artists, filmmakers, and anyone else in a creative field that often encounter creative blocks.

Meditation is a practice that is undervalued because of the perception of what it is. People don’t want to be judged as a spiritual guru and are scared away from it. But once you get into the practice, even if you start small, you will emerge as a fan. I encourage that those who wish to get started begin by sitting for 2-3 minutes and gradually over time, build up to a solid 20-minute routine. I have yet to get that far but any time dedicated to focusing on your breath and clearing your thoughts will impact you more than you can imagine.

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5 Habits To Instill Into Your Morning Routine

RoutineWhen was the last time you stuck to a morning routine? If you have trouble with this question then you might need to change some of your habits and incorporate some routines into your life because it can do wonders for your productivity and well being. Having a routine in the morning stabilizes you. It allows for a sense of direction especially when you feel so frazzled after waking up. The habits that you do in the morning should feel normal after doing it repeatedly, like brushing your teeth. Here are several habits that I incorporate into my morning ritual that helps me out in different ways.

1. Meditate – After waking up in the morning, before looking at my phone and engaging in any part of my day, I take five minutes to meditate. I get out of my bed and sit on my yoga mat and just sit there and try not to think about anything. What I’m hoping from this process is the ability to clear my mind and not worry and panic about what I have to do for the day. Meditating provides me time to focus on myself and make me mindful of the day to come. Granted, I still have difficulty with this and even though five minutes may seem like a short time, it can feel like an eternity when you are sitting still. But do your best and take the time to prepare your mind.

2. Drink warm water – I would go to my refrigerator, even before brushing my teeth, pour myself a mug of water and microwave it for about a minute. If I had lemons, I would chop a piece off and put it in the mug. After waking up, your body is dehydrated and it is crucial to recover from it by drinking water first thing in the morning. You will feel refreshed and revitalized. Although cold water would work as well, I find that it can be shocking to your body. Warm water seems to have more of a soothing and relaxing quality to it. The lemon adds flavor to the taste as well as balances the chemicals in our body. It is also an easy way to add some nutrients early in the morning.

3. Take 5 Minutes to Reflect on Life – As you are drinking your coffee/tea/warm water, go outside in the early morning and just reflect on life. Visualize your day and what you want to accomplish. Plan out in your mind what you hope to get accomplished and just smile. Take the time to enjoy the wonders of the outside world and be present in the moment. Realize that you are alive and that you have been given another chance to live. Be mesmerized by the vastness of this world and just take it all in. In doing this every morning, I gain an appreciation for life and it helps set the tone to my day.

4. Write Your Top 10 Goals In Life – I have a journal by my desk computer. Every morning, regardless if I write the same things over and over again, I list the top 10 goals that I want to achieve in life. The twist though is that I write it in the perspective of already having attained the goals. For example, “I earn six figures; I travel the world; I run a successful business” and so on and so forth. By putting your goals down everyday, you get reminded mentally of what you aim to achieve. It is as if you are playing a trick with your mind and putting all these positive goals out into the universe. Over time, if you continue to do this, your goals change and the things you realize you wanted before, could be vastly different years from now. It is a great way to keep you in check and make you aware of your passion.

5. Write One Sentence About What You Are Grateful For – Finally, this task brings back the concept of gratitude. In either the same journal as your goals in life or a different journal, write down one sentence about what you are grateful for. It can be as simple as “I am grateful to be able to eat” or as specific as you would like. The idea of this habit is to keep you grounded and to constantly make you aware of all the wonderful things you have in life. The fact that you are reading this for example, are indications that you have it better than some people in this world. It’s important to maintain perspective on the wonders of your life and realize how fortunate you are at all times. Eventually you will feel like you have nothing else to be grateful for but I guarantee that the list is endless and you just have to think and dig deep.

These habits have helped me learn more about myself and laid the groundwork to my values. It makes me aware of those around me and those I need to help. It gets me energized for the day and helps me tackle the stresses in our life. Everyone should have a morning routine that they stick to in order to not be frazzled by things to come. We often rush out of our houses in order to make it on time for work but equally as important is the ability to take some time for yourself and to really hone in on your body and spirit in order to become a better individual. Good luck!

Photo Credit: go_nils

Gratitude Is The Key To A Fulfilling Life

GratitudeLet’s face it. We live in a world that forgets how to be grateful. We always want more materialistic items and we become bummed out if we do not have the means to get such items. We feel discontent with the way we live our life and we complain about it and are hard on ourselves. When stress enters our lives we panic and struggle to understand how to deal with the emotions that follows. Unfortunately, as much as we try to maintain an optimistic attitude about life, we can’t seem to shake off the troubles that come our way. Look, I understand the struggles and the hardships that may be affecting you, but if you read any personal development blog or book, there is one key concept that can lay the foundation to you having a more fulfilling and happy life: gratitude.

Gratitude is the ultimate truth. Being grateful is a way of living and how all of us should live our lives. But sometimes we falter and fail to be grateful. Maintaining a sense of gratitude helps us stay grounded and makes us mindful of our circumstances. It prevents us from overreacting when things go awry.

The concept of gratitude is simple: be appreciative of what you have in the here and now. By focusing on all the good things you have in your life; things that may not be accessible to other parts of this world, you gain some perspective on what truly matters. Sure it may be nice to have all these worldly possessions and be rich but in the end, those possessions and being rich will not define who you are and will not ultimately make you happy.

People often say that they do not have anything to be grateful for and I chuckle at the remark. If for one, you are able to read the text on this page, then there are several things happening. Not only are you alive, with another day under your belt to help you work towards your dream, but also you are able to see; are literate; and have access to technology that allows you to read this text. Some people on this planet are blind; have never studied English or understand literature. An abundant of people has never laid eyes on a computer. I’m sure if they could, they would trade places with you in a heartbeat.

We forget about gratitude when we are hurt and things do not go our way. It’s okay to be in pain and to feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. But when you feel in such a way, take the time to acknowledge the pain and come to the realization that it is not the end of the world. Be mindful of the fact that things could be much worse than it is. Breathe and recognize all the wonderful things that have been allowed into your life.

One thing I do to make me more mindful of gratitude is to have a gratitude journal. Every morning, after you wake and freshen up, take out the journal and write one sentence declaring anything that you are grateful for. Do this for a week, then a month, and then a year. It’ll open your eyes to everything you have going on in your life and you’ll be amazed at the wonders of the world.

Gratitude is the ultimate key to life and will be the foundation of any other personal development concept that you learn over time. Being appreciative of what you have been given and being present in your environment and the life you currently have, will make you more happy and content. In the end that’s what we want; happiness, and the first step will come with learning how to apply gratitude into our lives.

Photo Credit: MTSOFan

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