A Complete Guide to the Practice o Meditation

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What Do You Need To Weigh In On?

Most of us have blind spots -- situations in our life that we can’t see clearly or, consciously or unconsciously, choose to avoid. Whether we realize it or not, on some level, we even fight to keep our avoidance alive. We justify our excuses and buy into our rationalizations of why we should or should not do something.


On a daily basis I hear stories from people who, despite what they say they truly want in life, remain in the cage of their comfort zone. They validate their justifications by telling themselves that they should: 

  • Not get into a relationship because they might lose themselves it,
  • Avoid looking at their bank balance because it might impact their feelings of security,
  • Or if they are like me, they convince themselves that they should not get on the scale because it may trigger their body and eating issues from the past.



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When time expands: creating a life that’s full and rich and meaningful!!

Wow! Am I ever intrigued with a recent article in the New York Times entitled, Why Following Your Passions Is Good for You (and How to Get Started). This features a 2015 study published in The Annals of Behavioral Medicine which found that pursuing your passion both lowers stress and contributes to greater happiness overall. My dears, this is RIGHT up my alley!

In the article, Laura Vanderkam, a productivity expert and author of Off the Clock: Feel less busy while getting more done, advocates finding time for yourself as a means to greater happiness overall. “Life just feels better when you have things in your hours that you want to do,’ Ms. Vanderkam said. ‘There’s moments where time almost has no meaning because we’re so happy about what we’re doing. The more time you can spend in that zone, the better life feels...

Maybe you can carve out a few hours of really fun, cool stuff per week. That will make the other 165 hours that are in a week feel a lot more doable,’ she explained.”

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Is Perfectionism Keeping You from Achieving Your Goals?

All of us have goals, no matter how modest or majestic they may be.

Some of us have specific, written goals that are broken down into action items that we can check off as we accomplish each step, while others may have more general goals that are longer term and less formalized.

Unfortunately, regardless of the types of goals you’re trying to achieve, any people-pleasing or perfectionist tendencies you may have can keep you from realizing them.

In fact, for those of us struggling with perfectionism, just deciding which goals to pursue can be a challenge.

It’s not that those of us struggling with perfectionism can’t see a multitude of options and possibilities. We can.

But all too often, us perfectionists find ourselves frozen in place at the outset as we attempt to choose the ultimate, ideal goal that will bring us the greatest benefit for the time and energy we invest.

And, perfectionism doesn’t just make it hard to get started. It can also make it extremely difficult to move forward and implement the steps necessary to achieve our goals.

If any of this feels familiar, I highly recommend you start by choosing a goal based on what matters most to you and not what you think you “should” be doing. It’s all too easy to set a goal based on the criticism of others or what you see others trying to achieve, but you’ll have a much harder time following through on the steps necessary to achieve your goal if the goal itself doesn’t resonate deeply with you.

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Mindfulness and embracing your own reality

Allowing ourselves to wallow in the past or the future is the favorite game of the human mind. This constant yo yo situation is a source of a new level of stress, beyond the existing stress level in your life. There are many ways our mind strategizes in order to manage the stress in our lives, yet at most times stress continues to nag at us.

This is like a warning to take charge of our lives and begin to focus on our lives in a more specific way. The important thing is for us to realize that it is imperative to live in the present moment.

POSITIVE CHANGE

This is only possible if we accept our present condition, understand it, realize its impact on our state of mind and our health, and also our power to be able to change this.


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LSD, Magic Mushrooms, and “Tripping All the Time”

A new wave of medical interest surrounds the potential value of psychedelic drugs, spurred by a through, sensible review of a once-taboo subject by Michael Pollen in his first-person account, How to Change Your Mind. For hallucinogens to resurface was a “come out, come out, wherever you are” proposition. LSD, magic mushrooms, and mescaline had their day in the Sixties and came out of it badly tarnished. Leaving aside various anti-drug laws largely prompted by fear, a medical researcher who looked into psychedelics would face censure, perhaps career-ending censure. At the very least such research wasn’t taken very seriously.

The general view of psychedelics has been that they are potentially unsafe and medically useless. What has changed this conventional wisdom is deeper knowledge of the brain. In particular, the area of the brain that seems to cause the mind-altering effect of LSD and company is the so-called Default Mode Network (DMN), a collection of regions in the higher brain that organizes and regulates a wide range of brain activity. The DMN filters out the flood of information that bombards the brain every day, selecting and controlling our response to the world.

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5 Tips to Stop Negative Self-Talk Once & For All

Researchers estimate that we think about 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day – and that about 80% of those thoughts are negative. That is a crazy amount of negative self-talk!

We spend so much time telling ourselves that we’re not good enough, smart enough, talented enough, or thin enough.

We tell ourselves that we don’t deserve the things we want.

Or that the things we want to have or experience will never happen, and even if they do, they will be disappointing.

Our negative self-talk affects us in a very powerful way.

If we think something is possible, we’re more likely to make the effort to achieve it. If we think it’s impossible, we won’t even bother trying.

If we think we are a good person who deserves to live a life we love, we will create that life. But, if we think we are undeserving or not capable enough, we will sabotage our own efforts without even realizing it.

Studies show that your thoughts also have a physical impact on your body. Take polygraph tests (commonly referred to as lie detector tests), for example.

They demonstrate how your thoughts directly influence your blood pressure, muscle tension, temperature, breathing rate, heart rate, even how much your hands sweat. Those are some pretty significant physical reactions to our thoughts!

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Effective Stress Management to Help You Keep Mentally Strong, Emotionally Healthy

Stress is unique to every individual. What could be stressing one person, could be completely non-stressful for someone else. This would also mean the strategies one uses as stress relievers for one person would not work with another. We need to understand the individual psyche of an individual to provide him with the correct guidelines as help.

 THE BEST GOAL

Since stress comes to us in various types, the ways of handling it would also vary accordingly. We need to have a clear distinction in our minds of the types of stress we are handling and find strategies to deal with it accordingly.

EUSTRESS OR POSITIVE STRESS


This type of stress actually leads to excitement and exhilaration in our lives. Life would be very dull if stress did not exist. So it is actually an essential ingredient in our lives.

 CHRONIC STRESS

In this case, the body remains in a constant ' fight or flight' response mode. The body is constantly triggered to get away from the situation. This needs to be dealt with since it affects the body in serious ways. It leads to diseases like diabetes, B.P. heart disease and many more. We need to see first what are the symptoms of stress and then see how they can be avoided and dealt with.
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Speak From Your Heart

Speaking truly—to yourself and to others—does mean being authentic.

What's in your heart to say?

The Practice:
Speak from your heart.

Why?

It's been said that the most powerful tool for physical health is a fork (or spoon), since the choices you make with it determine the good or bad things you put into your body.

In the same way, perhaps the most powerful tool for your mental health—and certainly for the health of your relationships—is your tongue. Thousands of times each day, it (or your fingers on a keyboard: same thing) offers the good word or the bad one out into your world.

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Should I be in a good mood?

"Should I be in a good mood" is a question we all need to consciously ask ourselves. It may sound like a very strange question, but it is a question that will give us an insight into the fact that we ourselves are responsible for our own stress levels. If we have learned to consciously facilitate ourselves in creating a healthy positive attitude, stress will stay miles away from us.

Attitude is so much a product of our own process of thought. If we know how to channelize our thinking in the right direction, we are truly winners in our battle against stress. 

RESILIENCE TOWARDS STRESS

Over the years as I have been researching on why we stress and how we can overcome this, I have also been personally noticing, how my clients from various walks of life have responded to the nuances, that stress has caused in their lives. I could see, why they were in the spot that they were in, and that led me to understand how they could shed their experience in order to rid themselves of that particular stressful stage and emerge on a level of freedom from within.

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Reduce Painful Experiences

Are you feeling unneeded pain?

The Practice:
Reduce painful experiences.

Why?

Painful experiences range from subtle discomfort to extreme anguish - and there is a place for them. Sorrow can open the heart, anger can highlight injustices, fear can alert you to real threats, and remorse can help you take the high road next time.

But is there really any shortage of suffering in this world? Look at the faces of others - including mine - or your own in the mirror, and see the marks of weariness, irritation, stress, disappointment, longing, and worry. There's plenty of challenge in life already - including unavoidable illness, loss of loved ones, old age, and death - without needing a bias in your brain to give you an extra dose of pain each day.

Yet as on a prior JOT explored, your brain evolved exactly such a “negativity bias” in order to help your ancestors pass on their genes – a bias that produces lots of collateral damage today.

Painful experiences are more than passing discomforts. They produce lasting harms to your physical and mental health. When you’re feeling frazzled, pressured, down, hard on yourself, or simply frustrated, that:

  • Weakens your immune system
  • Impairs nutrient absorption in your gastrointestinal system
  • Increases vulnerabilities in your cardiovascular system
  • Decreases your reproductive hormones; exacerbates PMS
  • Disturbs your nervous system

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Reducing Stress with Mindful Eating

Our stress levels and our moods keep changing all the time. We feel that we can alter our moods by eating what we enjoy, mainly a craving for sweets settles in whenever we are upset or feeling stressed. You indulge in sweets and feel immediately satisfied, but this could also be followed by  a bout of irritability experienced due to a sugar crash following the binging.

 
Research in recent years tells us that just as eating certain foods have a certain impact on our moods , we need to monitor our food intake very carefully as this impacts our stress levels in a very major way. 
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Improve Your Mental and Physical Health With The Power of Laughter

Are you in need of a good laugh? Few things are more beneficial to a person’s overall well-being than laughter. In fact, the benefits of laughter extend to better mental health and is an indicator of better physical health as well.

 

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Finding the Light in the Cracks

This week, I found myself really trying to find the light in the cracks.


That’s not always an easy thing to do, especially if you focus your attention on the blame game coming out of Washington right now with regards to the government shutdown. I mean, really? Who cares? Just fix it.


To me, though, there was a lot of light to be seen this week. I saw the light shine through in the women’s marches that were held around the world on Saturday, and which continue today. People are using their voices to stand up for their rights, and for those of others, and that’s a powerful thing.


I also saw the light this week coming from voices like Olympian Michael Phelps, who bravely opened up to CNN’s David Axelrod about his battle with depression and thoughts of suicide. That sort of honesty and truth will hopefully help many people who are suffering from the same thing know that they are not alone.I also saw the light this week in the news about our president taking a test to assess his cognitive health. I was especially pleased that his doctor spoke about the test and even directed people to take it.

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A Better Answer to Chronic Stress

If an epidemic is defined as a disease that affects whole populations without having a medical cure, then the epidemic of modern life is stress. Itself not a disease, stress instead leads to a breakdown in the body's internal balance, or homeostasis, and from that point onward, if the stress isn't relieved, damage occurs from within. Ironically, most modern people in a developed country do not experience acute stress, the kind that triggers a full-blown fight-or-flight response. There is no battlefront, civil war, rampant violent crime, or struggle over food and water to contend with.

Our epidemic is silent and hidden, in the form of low-level chronic stress. The natural purpose of the body's stress response is to trigger heightened alertness and energy for a short period, a matter of minutes or at most an hour, when fighting or fleeing is a matter of survival. When stress becomes chronic, a "normal" way of life that people believe they have adapted to, stress hormones become a drip-drip in the background of the physiology, and over time, three stages of damage begin to appear:

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How We Are Feeding Our Pain Without Knowing

With the many obstacles we face on a daily basis, it is easy to fall victim to negativity and fear. The level of possible difficulty we may need to face in life knows no limit. Not assuming the worst case scenario can be difficult.

 
There are two major reasons for this. First, it is the job of the left-logic side of the brain to assess all possible outcomes in an effort to prepare us and protect us against what is to come. Secondly, it is a chance for our pain bodies to feed.

 

While watching this process in myself, I noticed that my mind brought several different negative outcomes and inspired fear and dread when I was faced with even simple changes and obstacles. I had to deliberately change the course of things if I wanted to be solution oriented.

 

As people we end up stewing over possible negative outcomes before seeing that the situation is working itself out. For the most part, things work out in the best possible way. Yet we will fall prey to this mechanism almost every time we are faced with change.

 

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Wondering What to do this Holiday Season?

The answer is simple: work on positive perceptions!

Positive perceptions of the mind enhance health by engaging immune functions, while inhibition of immune activities by negative perceptions can precipitate dis-ease. Those negative perceptions can also create debilitating, chronic psychological stress that has a profound and negative impact on gene function.

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How Hobbies Can Improve Mental Health and Mental Fitness

It seems in today’s busy lives we are overwhelmed with never ending responsibilities from work and family. It’s rare that we prioritize time for ourselves to decompress and find an outlet doing something that we enjoy. Setting aside time for fulfilling activities seems more important than ever. In this busy world we live in, we need to take care of ourselves, otherwise, eventually, we won’t be able to manage our other obligations. This is where hobbies come in. Hobbies are a great outlet for improving mental health and decompressing from the day’s chaos. Dedicating time to a hobby can also help you add efficiency to your schedule and structure to your leisure time.

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Saving Someone from Suicide

September is Suicide Prevention Month and it is coming to a close but suicide prevention shouldn’t stop in September.

 

Recently, I watched the Netflix series: 13 Reason’s Why, created by Brian Yorkey and a slew of other talented directors, producers and writers, including Selena Gomez. It was based on the original novel written by Jay Asher about a teenage girl who commits suicide.

 

The series follows each character (high school students) throughout their days, but not in a way that glosses over what teens really face on a daily basis. Instead, it forces the viewer to take a deeper and often uncomfortable look inside what really happens during what can be the most difficult years of our lives. The heavy topic of suicide and the intricate details that lead up to that point of no return were emotionally transpired onto film and while the series received some slack for its graphic depiction, I applaud everyone involved with this project for the rawness and truth that was portrayed.

 

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Body Dysmorphia


In this week’s vlog, I answer a question from a former Boot Camper about body dysmorphia and explain how it relates to your Bright Line Eating journey. 

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Recovery Survivors Share How They Found Healing from Anxiety and Addiction

Those who suffer from severe anxiety will tell you that life can be a constant battle. Chronic anxiety has a way of making even the smallest stresses of everyday life overwhelming.

 

Finding ways to cope with anxiety is often a challenge, and some people turn to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to make life feel more manageable. But substance use can quickly turn into substance abuse, and it can worsen the toll anxiety takes on a person’s life.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

Join Soulspring for conscious insights...

...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality...

 PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to a Peaceful Mind