Month: December 2015

The Seven Routine Things That Makes You Differently Productive. – Thousand Thoughts

Most articles about everyday habits offer only the overall, generic advice like: ‘go above and beyond,’ ‘get more organized,’ ‘respect others,’ etc. without offering any doable tricks or examples of what this actually looks like. What many of these articles fail to provide is applicable, basic tips that the basic layman can apply to life tomorrow and instantly feel better about their circumstances. That ends here.

Image Credit:  Luciano Brito

Below you will find a list of Seven things that the most productive people do every day for a more fulfilled life.

1. They Maximize Down Time

There’s always something to learn, or things that need to get done. Successful people embrace this. Having a time surplus is a good indicator that your challenge is either too small or you’re not thinking big enough. (Trick: concentrate on segregating your free time – i.e. one hour video editing practice, half hour reading video editing book, half hour watching beautifully edited films of others, repeat.)

2. They Reflect on Mistakes & Grow

Carol Dweck concentrates on the fixed vs. growth oriented pathways of the brain in her New York Times best selling book Mindsets. When faced with a challenge, overcoming fear, or coming back from a “failure,” successful people are focused on growth more than they fixate on the outcome of failure. (Trick: when feeling letdown, reflect by writing 3 things that went wrong in the process and how you plan to fix them next time.)

3. They Forget About Perfection

Eric Thomas sums it perfectly with his statement, “There will never be the perfect time to do a great thing.” Successful people understand this, and don’t use their perfectionism substitute for procrastination. No matter how inexperienced, uneducated, or unprepared you might feel, right now is the best time to jump into action. (Trick: think of an endeavor you undertook and performed perfectly. No mistakes at all. Difficult? That’s what I thought.)

4. They Collect Their Thoughts Immediately

For many successful people, their best ideas, or what psychologists call ah-ha ‘moments,’ come at inopportune times like during exercise or their daily commute. Collecting those thoughts will allow you to reflect on them later. (Trick: keep a pocket-sized journal in your backpack or purse for note taking. There are apps for this, too.)

5. They Remind Themselves of Death

We have a limited amount of time on earth, and there’s no sense in hiding from how fast time goes. Successful people understand this, and use it as an advantage in letting no day go by wasted or squandered. (Trick: Envision an older version of yourself watching you throughout the day, and do today what you’d regret later in life. Creepy? Yes. Effective? Yes.)

6. They Define Success Themselves

Success is a large word thrown around by many small mouths. It’s a shame and, honestly, it’s a sham. A large bank account, sexy spouse, or lavish wardrobes do not define success in business, life, love, and other. YOU do. (Trick: look to people you idolize. Write down what you like about them. Chances are good that the adjectives and emotions you used are some of their proudest features.)

7. They Always Finish Strong

No one, I repeat, NO ONE is an off-the-bat success. From Muhammad Ali to Mahatma Gandhi, all successes have taken their bruises and lumps, and they kept on going. No matter what happens, or whatever the end result may be, seeing something through to the end will help you develop the resolve to continue taking chances, growing, and bettering yourself.

Next time you’re in the situation of becoming your own worst critic, remember that,

“The road to personal excellence has no end.”

Trust in yourself, keep your head down, and keep moving forward no matter what.

 

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“The Significance of Shiva.” by Sadhguru – Thousand Thoughts

Sadhguru looks at the significance of the being we call Shiva, and how his contribution to humanity is truly unique.

significance-of-shiva

Question: Sadhguru, you place great importance on Shiva. Why do you not talk so much about other Masters, like Masters of Zen for example?

Sadhguru: Because there is no one crazy enough for me. We are not talking about Shiva versus someone else. That which you refer to as Shiva includes everything. There have been many wonderful human beings who have done great service to humanity. But in terms of perception, there has not been another being like him.

Zen Master Gutei

So you are talking about Zen. What greater master of Zen than Shiva himself? Have you heard of the Zen Master Gutei? Whenever Gutei was talking about Zen, he would always raise his finger, trying to show, “Everything is one.” In these Zen monasteries, little boys became monks at four, five years of age. A little boy like this who was growing up in the monastery saw Gutei and also began to raise his index finger whenever anyone said anything. Gutei watched this but waited for the boy to become sixteen years of age. Then one day, Gutei called the boy and raised his finger. The boy instinctively also did the same thing. Gutei took out a knife and chopped off the boy’s finger, and they say the boy attained. He suddenly saw the point that it is not about one, it is about nothing.

Shiva went further, a long time ago. One day, after a long absence, he came back home. He had not seen his son who was now ten, eleven years of age. When he came, this boy, who carried a little trident, tried to stop him. Shiva took off his head, not his trident. Parvati was hugely upset about this. So to fix this, Shiva put a gana’s head on the boy’s body, who then became very brilliant. Even today in India, before people start education or anything else, they will first worship this boy. Now people have kind of modified it and the gana head has become a gaja [elephant] head, but he became the very embodiment of intelligence and brilliance. They said there was nothing that he did not know.

Nothing in this world is left out of Shiva’s life. He is so complex and so complete.

That was the first act of Zen. Nothing in this world is left out of Shiva’s life. He is so complex and so complete. And he did not have a teaching, he only had methods, and these methods are one hundred percent scientific in nature. He gave 112 ways in which a human being can attain because there are 114 chakrasin the human system, but two of them are outside the physical body, so he said, “That realm is only for those who are beyond. For human beings, there are only 112 ways.” And he showed clear methods as to how you can exploit these 112 dimensions of how this life is made. Through each one of them, you can realize.

What Shiva was talking is the mechanics of life, no philosophy, no teaching, no social relevance – simply science. From this science, individual masters make technology. He gave the science of it. Behind the technologies that you are enjoying today, either in the form of a smartphone or a computer or some other gadget, there is a science. That science is not relevant to you. You are only using the technology. But if someone had not grasped the science, you would not have the technology.

So what Shiva said is simply pure science. He left it to the Saptarishis to make the technology as it would suit the people who would sit in front of them on that day. Technology can be made up. Depending upon what we need, we produce a particular gadget, but the fundamental science is the same. Gadgets that are relevant today may be irrelevant tomorrow. So many gadgets that we once thought were very valuable are no more valuable because new gadgets have come – but the science is the same.

So with the Adiyogi, we are looking at the fundamental science. At a time like this, when for various reasons, humanity is in the kind of state that it is in, it is important that the essential science is strengthened.

Author: Sadhguru

Source: Isha Blog

 

Who Is Shiva: Man, Myth or Divine? – Thousand Thoughts

I read this amazing article by “Sadhguru” on his blog and found it amazing, felt like sharing this with you. Please give it a read.

Who is Shiva? Many stories and legends surround this most prominent figure of Indian spiritual traditions. Is he a god? Or a myth constructed from Hindu culture’s collective imagination? Or is there a deeper meaning to Shiva, revealed only to those who seek?

Who is shiva

 

Sadhguru: When we say “Shiva,” there are two fundamental aspects that we are referring to. The word “Shiva” means literally, “that which is not.” Today, modern science is proving to us that everything comes from nothing and goes back to nothing. The basis of existence and the fundamental quality of the cosmos is vast nothingness. The galaxies are just a small happening – a sprinkling. The rest is all vast empty space, which is referred to as Shiva. That is the womb from which everything is born, and that is the oblivion into which everything is sucked back. Everything comes from Shiva and goes back to Shiva.

The word “Shiva” means literally, “that which is not.” On another level, when we say “Shiva,” we are referring to a certain yogi, the Adiyogi or the first yogi, and also the Adi Guru, the first Guru.

So Shiva is described as a non-being, not as a being. Shiva is not described as light, but as darkness. Humanity has gone about eulogizing light only because of the nature of the visual apparatus that they carry. Otherwise, the only thing that is always, is darkness. Light is a limited happening in the sense that any source of light – whether a light bulb or the sun – will eventually lose its ability to give out light. Light is not eternal. It is always a limited possibility because it happens and it ends. Darkness is a much bigger possibility than light. Nothing needs to burn, it is always – it is eternal. Darkness is everywhere. It is the only thing that is all pervading.

But if I say “divine darkness,” people think I am a devil worshiper or something. In fact, in some places in the West it is being propagated that Shiva is a demon! But if you look at it as a concept, there isn’t a more intelligent concept on the planet about the whole process of creation and how it has happened. I have been talking about this in scientific terms without using the word “Shiva” to scientists around the world, and they are amazed, “Is this so? This was known? When?” We have known this for thousands of years. Almost every peasant in India knows about it unconsciously. He talks about it without even knowing the science behind it.

The First Yogi

On another level, when we say “Shiva,” we are referring to a certain yogi, the Adiyogi or the first yogi, and also the Adi Guru, the first Guru, who is the basis of what we know as the yogic science today. Yoga does not mean standing on your head or holding your breath. Yoga is the science and technology to know the essential nature of how this life is created and how it can be taken to its ultimate possibility.

Sadhguru at Kanti Sarovar

This first transmission of yogic sciences happened on the banks of Kanti Sarovar, a glacial lake a few miles beyond Kedarnath in the Himalayas, where Adiyogi began a systematic exposition of this inner technology to his first seven disciples, celebrated today as the Sapta Rishis. This predates all religion. Before people devised divisive ways of fracturing humanity to a point where it seems almost impossible to fix, the most powerful tools necessary to raise human consciousness were realized and propagated.

One and the Same

So “Shiva” refers to both “that which is not,” and Adiyogi, because in many ways, they are synonymous. This being, who is a yogi, and that non-being, which is the basis of the existence, are the same, because to call someone a yogi means he has experienced the existence as himself. If you have to contain the existence within you even for a moment as an experience, you have to be that nothingness. Only nothingness can hold everything. Something can never hold everything. A vessel cannot hold an ocean. This planet can hold an ocean, but it cannot hold the solar system. The solar system can hold these few planets and the sun, but it cannot hold the rest of the galaxy. If you go progressively like this, ultimately you will see it is only nothingness that can hold everything. The word “yoga” means “union.” A yogi is one who has experienced the union. That means, at least for one moment, he has been absolute nothingness.

When we talk about Shiva as “that which is not,” and Shiva as a yogi, in a way they are synonymous, yet they are two different aspects. Because India is a dialectical culture, we shift from this to that and that to this effortlessly. One moment we talk about Shiva as the ultimate, the next moment we talk about Shiva as the man who gave us this whole process of yoga.

Who Shiva is Not!

Unfortunately, most people today have been introduced to Shiva only through Indian calendar art. They have made him a chubby-cheeked, blue-colored man because the calendar artist has only one face. If you ask for Krishna, he will put a flute in his hand. If you ask for Rama, he will put a bow in his hand. If you ask for Shiva, he will put a moon on his head, and that’s it!

Shiva, sculpture at the entrance of Adiyogi Alayam

Every time I see these calendars, I always decide to never ever sit in front of a painter. Photographs are all right – they capture you whichever way you are. If you look like a devil, you look like a devil. Why would a yogi like Shiva look chubby-cheeked? If you showed him skinny it would be okay, but a chubby-cheek Shiva – how is that?

In the yogic culture, Shiva is not seen as a God. He was a being whowalked this land and lived in the Himalayan region. As the very source of the yogic traditions, his contribution in the making of human consciousness is too phenomenal to be ignored. Every possible way in which you could approach and transform the human mechanism into an ultimate possibility was explored thousands years ago. The sophistication of it is unbelievable. The question of whether people were so sophisticated at that time is irrelevant because this did not come from a certain civilization or thought process. This came from an inner realization. This had nothing to do with what was happening around him. It was just an outpouring of himself. In great detail, he gave a meaning and a possibility of what you could do with every point in the human mechanism. You cannot change a single thing even today because he said everything that could be said in such beautiful and intelligent ways. You can only spend your lifetime trying to decipher it.

Shiva & Shakti shrines from 8-12 century AD

In this country, in ancient times, temples were built mostly for Shiva, no one else. It was only in the last 1000 or so years that other temples came up. The word “Shiva” literally means “that which is not.” So the temple was built for “that which is not.” “That which is” is physical manifestation; “that which is not” is that which is beyond the physical. A temple is a hole through which you enter into a space which is not. There are thousands of Shiva temples in the country, and most of them don’t have any form as such. They just have a representative form and generally it is a linga.

Author: Sadhguru

Source: Isha Blog

The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Working Out. – Thousand Thoughts

Looking for some fast, easy (and yes, lazy) ways to get fit and stay fit? Then look no further. YouQueen is proud to announce the arrival of the simple and results-driven ‘Lazy Girl’s Guide to Working Out’!

We all want to look great and feel great. But it’s not easy to fit in hours and hours of exercise each day in order to achieve the bikini model look. Luckily, there is a solution.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to slog yourself through grueling daily workouts to get the body you’ve always wanted. There is an easier, simpler and less time-intensive solution: the Lazy Girl’s Guide to Working Out. Join us as we walk you through the how-to guide to get the body of your dreams, without the hard labor.

Change the way you think about exercise

personal fitness trainer

So you think fitness can only be achieved through religious gym attendance? Pfft, hardly. As cliché as this sounds, fitness isn’t just a daily habit, it’s part of your lifestyle.

So transforming your perception of fitness to be less about a single habit and more about how you live your life is crucial. Now, before you panic and think that this philosophy goes against the premise of the lazy girl’s guide to working out, relax. Because it doesn’t. In fact, it supports it even more.

Because this means you don’t have to do marathon runs every day to stay fit. You don’t need to cycle 100 miles or swim 10 miles. You just have to sprinkle in some complementary physical activity – not exercise – into your day.

For example, I know you’ve heard this before, but there are really easy things you can do and incorporate into your day to make it more fitness savvy. Things like taking the stairs up to your workplace instead of the elevator. Getting off the train or bus a stop earlier so you can get some extra walking in. Going outside at lunch time and taking a walk around the park. These things are easy, fuss-free and best of all, lazy girl suitable.

Changing the way you think about exercise will help you identify potential fitness blocks in your day where you can easily and effectively stay fit.

Get a pedometer

Our ancestors (the hunting and gathering ones, not our cute grandparents in the old people’s homes) took 10,000 steps a day. To put that in real terms, that’s close to five miles, or eight km.

It doesn’t sound like a lot, but most people in office jobs take only 500 to 1,000 steps a day. If you’re cringing right now, you should be. 1,000 steps a day is deplorable.

A good way to check out your daily steps is to pick up a pedometer. There’s a brand called FitBit that syncs with your iPhone so you can track your daily movements. It also sends you little inspirations when you’re close to achieving your goal.

We recommend trialing the pedometer for a few days to see what your average daily steps looks like. From there, you can start planning how to get your steps up to 10,000.

To get to 10,000 steps, it’s going to take around two hours of walking, depending on how fast you move. The lazy aspect of this is that you can add in small bursts of walking to get to that target throughout the day. You don’t need to set out to walk for two hours straight a day, just make sure that your accumulated step total adds up to 10,000.

And besides, you can’t get much lazier than walking. Unless of course, you just flopped down on the couch. Speaking of which …

Watch more TV

Girl Doing Exercises and watching Television

One of the best parts of the lazy girl’s guide to working out is that it encourages you, no requiresyou, to watch more TV. Hallelujah, right? Now before you get too excited, there is a small catch: ad breaks.

It’s a bit of swap really. Ten or so minutes of lounging bliss for a two to three minute work out. Sounds easy though, doesn’t it? Because it is.

All you have to do is get off your butt during the ad breaks and do some form of physical activity. It could be lunges, squats, push-ups, sit-ups or even jogging around the house. You can jump rope, do ballet plies or use dumbbells.

You can even make a game of it and turn it into a time trial. So you did 20 sit-ups during an ad break yesterday. What can you do today? Make it fun, interactive and more to the point interesting. Don’t just do the same old thing during every ad break. Not only will it limit the workout you get, but it’s dull too.

So mix it up, change it up and turn ad time into exercise time.

Note: Don’t think you can work around this one by fast-forwarding through the ad breaks if you have cable. Clever thinking, but it’s not going to get you any fitter.

Have more sex

Yep, you heard correctly: a key component of keeping lazy girl’s fit is that you make time for lots and lots of sex. Having sex burns 144 calories per half hour. It also boosts your flexibility (grin), develops muscle tone and increases cardiovascular fitness if you’re especially vigorous. Sex also gives you a healthy glow and boosts the endorphins in your body to add in the ‘feel great’ aspect.

Oh, and it’s not just sex that will melt the calories either. Kissing burns 68 calories an hour (just be careful of beard rash), making out burns 238 calories an hour, undressing burns 8 calories, oral sex burns 100 calories an hour and massaging burns 80 calories an hour. Add it all together, and that’s one pleasurably effective work out!

And if you’re sexily single, don’t worry – you can benefit from this one too. Masturbation burns up to 150 calories and leaves you with a happy grin on your face.

So for maximum fitness effectiveness, indulge in at least one of these sexy calorie burners per day.

Go shopping

Elegant Woman Shopping

This article is making you very happy, isn’t it? After all, you’ve been told to watch more TV, have more sex and now to go shopping. Isn’t this just the coolest work out plan ever? You can thank me later.

For now, I want you to grab some sneakers and head off to your local mall. Whether it’s grocery shopping, shoe shopping or clothes shopping, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you’re passionate about or what needs to be done is fine.

Then, I want you to shop. Easy, right?

It’s estimated that if you spend three hours shopping, you’ll burn at least 400 calories (if you weigh just 100 pounds, if you weigh more you burn more). Pretty neat, huh? And the best part is that if you buy stuff, you have to carry it around. Which means, wait for it … weight lifting! Yay!

So for a weekly dose of cardiovascular activity and weight training – go shopping.

Hire an expert

If you’re reading this article, then you probably suffer from a little something called ‘lack of motivation’. Lack of motivation is the little sucker responsible for the regular snoozing of your alarm clock when you were meant to go jogging. It encourages you to have a movie marathon rather than go rock climbing and to skip that weekly spin class. Lack of motivation is essentially responsible for at least part of our laziness.

And that’s fine. Some of us just aren’t as naturally motivated as others (although I do think that motivation is a bit of a myth, but more on that another day). But how are you meant to exercise when you’re unmotivated? Exercise is hard enough when you are motivated.

Well you could force yourself (or your partner) to pull on some joggers and get outside. But even then, the chances are high that your work out will be sub-par at best.

Or, you could hire an expert. Someone that handles the motivation piece for you. Someone who knows how to get the maximum results in the minimum time. Someone who has no qualms about kicking your ass.

Now sure, this isn’t exactly the lazy way out. The lazy way out would be to ignore this advice completely.

But if you’re looking for an easy way to stay fit and lose weight, then you might want to look at hiring a personal trainer. Having a regular weekly timeslot with a personal trainer will ensure that at least one day of the week, you’re working towards your fitness. Your trainer will be able to guide you on the right things to do and when to do them and ensure that you stay injury free.

It’s a great, no-fuss way to boost your results. Sure, for half an hour or so you’ll work your little tush off. But wouldn’t you like your tush to be little? Invest in a trainer and invest in your overall health and wellbeing.

There you go, the lazy girl’s guide to working out. What do you think? Do you have any lazy girl tips for staying fit?

Author: Cassandra Lane

Source.

How to Stop Trying to Impress Other People. – Thousand Thoughts

We’re all guilty of wanting to impress those around us every now and then. But what purpose does this behavior actually serve besides leading you away from your true self? Discover how you can tamper down the ‘look at me!’ urge to live a happier and more fulfilled life.

How to Stop Trying to Impress Other People

Okay, so we all know how good it feels to have somebody look at you with awe in their eyes. It’s an even better feeling if they’re somebody that you especially look up to and respect. And while this experience is fantastic if it’s earned naturally (and unintentionally), trying to manufacture this situation is significantly less than fantastic.

For instance, what if you continually adapted your behavior, actions, thoughts and words solely to garner this reaction from those around you? This, my friends, is called trying hard. Specifically, trying hard to impress other people. And it’s something that none of us were born, or designed, to do.

Find out why focusing on impressing others should be eliminated from your behavioral vocabulary and how you can release your insecurities to be true to the real you.

Why you need to stop trying to impress others

The truth is that being dishonest about your true self hurts nobody but you. When you’re putting forward a perfect image, idea or notion about yourself, more often than not you’re exaggerating your personality and accomplishments.

Instead, you should strive to surround yourself with people that like you without all the hoo-hah. People that think you’re incredible without having to be told so. People that can see the real you and still enjoy spending time with you.

This is what friendship is truly about, not garnering attention so you can impress others, or boasting about your accomplishments. Besides, you’ll actually be surprised by how much more you will impress those around you when you cease actually trying to. People value honesty, truth and authenticity. If you are true to yourself, then everything else will fall into place.

Strategy #1: Find out why you’re trying to impress others

If I’ve managed to convince you that trying to impress others isn’t the ideal strategy, then your first step to eliminating this behavior is working out why you do it in the first place.

For many people, the need to fit in and be accepted overwhelms a lot of their actions and behavior. In an attempt to be socially accepted by the group of their choice, they choose to show off and try to impress others.

For other people, the feeling of having someone look at them and think ‘Wow, you’re so successful/smart/beautiful/charming’ is enough motive to continue trying to impress others.

And for others yet, the simple fact is that they don’t know how to be themselves around other people. So instead they resort to projecting an image of themselves that they believe will be impressive and likeable.

However, there are multiple reasons why you might be trying to impress others, and it’s worthwhile thinking about what it is about this behavior that entices you exactly. Ask yourself what you like about impressing others, how it makes you feel and how it impacts your life.

Through these questions you should be able to pinpoint your motive for trying to impress other people.

Strategy #2: Address the issue

Now that you know why you’re behaving this way, you can start making steps to change your behavior. For instance, if your actions stem from a lack of confidence or an abundance of insecurity, you can begin focusing on how to build up your self-confidence again. Or if you simply like the thrill of having others revere and look up to you, you can find a legitimate path to helping and supporting others, perhaps in a mentoring role.

As humans, we are extremely complicated, both emotionally and psychologically. No two people behave exactly the same way for the same reasons. And in fact, you may not even behave the same for the same reasons all the time. Insecurity may spur your behavior in one instance but a need for approval could spur it the next time.

For the greatest chance of success, keep your mind open during this period and simply acknowledge why you are doing what you’re doing. Don’t classify it as good or bad; just accept it for what it is. Then you can choose to behave in a different way.

Keep in mind too that behavior change isn’t an overnight process. There will be periods of success and relapse, which go hand-in-hand with your eventual behavior elimination. Be patient and kind to yourself during this process and remember that you are extremely likable and valuable exactly as you are.

Strategy #3: We’re all just human

Another good strategy to adopt is to remember that no matter how wonderful somebody else appears or seems, at the end of the day they are just human. They use the bathroom, shower, feel nervous, angry and scared just like everyone else. And in turn, so do you.

To place unrealistic expectations on yourself to be the person that everyone admires is a lose-lose game because you will never be perfect enough. There will always be something greater that you can achieve, do and see.

Instead, accept yourself as you are, right now. Sure, we all have flaws. Who doesn’t? You might not say the right thing every single time. You might not even do the right thing every single time. You might be clumsy, awkward and embarrassed. But just think, even superstars like Rihanna and Fergie have had embarrassing situations. Fergie peed on stage for goodness sakes!

And if you’re thinking ‘But such-and-such that I keep trying to impress doesn’t have any flaws!’, think again. Everyone has flaws. They just may not be visible to you. Or, the person you admire might be trying to impress you. Ever thought of that?

Strategy #4: Sir boast-a-lot

three young women laughing

Do you feel like the only way to impress other people is to boast about your accomplishments? Or regale them with stories of your success? If so, this point is for you. And it’s accompanied by a very important note:

Nobody likes a boaster.

Think about it, how do you feel when your friend starts blathering on about yet another one of their accomplishments, or the cool car they just bought or the guy that said she was so beautiful/sexy/irresistible?

If they’re the type of person that never boasts and instead just relays the truth, then you’ll probably be happy for them. Because their success is your success.

But if they are the type of person that always seems to want to one-up you and gets a gleam in their eye when they tell you about their latest conquest, then you’re going to get a little frustrated. Perhaps even angry. And if this behavior continues, you’ll probably start to distance yourself from them.

Why?

Because nobody likes a boaster.

The very last thing you feel when someone boasts endlessly is impressed. So why would you adopt this tactic to impress others?

Strategy #5: Pull out your IDC hat

Think about the people in your life that you most look up to and respect. What characteristics and traits do they share? Are they humble? Supportive? Inspiring? Likely, they will be all of these things. They’ll probably also have an IDC hat that is part of their daily wardrobe.

What is an IDC hat? Well, it’s that invisible hat you put on to remind yourself that I Don’t Care. That you don’t care what others think of you and even what they say about you, either to your face or behind your back. None of these things matter. All that matters is how you feel about yourself and while you know your flaws inside out, you also know that you’re pretty awesome too. So why should it matter what others say and think about you?

A lot of the times, the people that we naturally respect are those without an ego and those without the urge to impress others. They don’t try hard to make you like them, but they’re likable. They don’t try hard to make you respect them, but you do respect them. And they don’t try hard to impress you, but somehow you end up being impressed by them anyway.

They are, my darlings, authentic. Unforgivably themselves. And that, rather than anything else we can dream up, is what we should aspire to be.

As Dr. Seuss said:

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

If you take all of this advice on board, along with a dash of self-awareness, a dollop of self-belief and a good serving of self-respect, then you will be unstoppable.

Why?

Because you are perfect just as you are. You don’t need to try to impress anyone. You are impressive.

Now go out into the world and sparkle.

 

Author: Cassandra Lane

Source.

How to Change Your Attachment Style. – Thousand Thoughts

By Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT

Attachment style change

We’re wired for attachment — that’s why babies cry when separated from their mothers. Depending especially upon our mother’s behavior, as well as later experiences and other factors, we develop a style of attaching that affects our behavior in close relationships.

Fortunately, most people have a secure attachment, because it favors survival. It ensures that we’re safe and can help each other in a dangerous environment.

The anxiety we feel when we don’t know the whereabouts of our child or of a missing loved one during a disaster, as in the movie “The Impossible,” isn’t codependent. It’s normal. Frantic calls and searching are considered “protest behavior,” like a baby fretting for its mother.

We seek or avoid intimacy along a continuum, but one of the following three styles is generally predominant whether we’re dating or in a long term marriage:

  • Secure: 50 percent of the population
  • Anxious: 20 percent of the population
  • Avoidant: 25 percent of the population

Combinations, such as Secure-Anxious or Anxious-Avoidant, are three to five percent of the population. To determine your style, take this quiz designed by researcher R. Chris Fraley, PhD.

Secure Attachment.

Warmth and loving come naturally, and you’re able to be intimate without worrying about the relationship or little misunderstandings. You accept your partner’s minor shortcomings and treat him or her with love and respect. You don’t play games or manipulate but are direct and able to openly and assertively share your wins and losses, needs, and feelings. You’re also responsive to those of your partner and try to meet your partner’s needs. Because you have good self-esteem, you don’t take things personally and aren’t reactive to criticism. Thus, you don’t become defensive in conflicts. Instead, you de-escalate them by problem-solving, forgiving, and apologizing.

Anxious Attachment.

You want to be close and are able to be intimate. To maintain a positive connection, you give up your needs to please and accommodate your partner in. But because you don’t get your needs met, you become unhappy. You’re preoccupied with the relationship and highly attuned to your partner, worrying that he or she wants less closeness. You often take things personally with a negative twist and project negative outcomes. This could be explained by brain differences that have been detected among people with anxious attachments.

To alleviate your anxiety, you may play games or manipulate your partner to get attention and reassurance by withdrawing, acting out emotionally, not returning calls, provoking jealousy, or by threatening to leave. You may also become jealous of his or her attention to others and call or text frequently, even when asked not to.

Avoidant Attachment.

If you avoid closeness, your independence and self-sufficiency are more important to you than intimacy. You can enjoy closeness — to a limit. In relationships, you act self-sufficient and self-reliant and aren’t comfortable sharing feelings. (For example, in one study of partners saying goodbye in an airport, avoiders didn’t display much contact, anxiety, or sadness in contrast to others.) You protect your freedom and delay commitment. Once committed, you create mental distance with ongoing dissatisfaction about your relationship, focusing on your partner’s minor flaws or reminiscing about your single days or another idealized relationship.

Just as the anxiously attached person is hypervigilant for signs of distance, you’re hypervigilant about your partner’s attempts to control you or limit your autonomy and freedom in any way. You engage in distancing behaviors, such as flirting, making unilateral decisions, ignoring your partner, or dismissing his or her feelings and needs. Your partner may complain that you don’t seem to need him or her or that you’re not open enough, because you keep secrets or don’t share feelings. In fact, he or she often appears needy to you, but this makes you feel strong and self-sufficient by comparison.

You don’t worry about a relationship ending. But if the relationship is threatened, you pretend to yourself that you don’t have attachment needs and bury your feelings of distress. It’s not that the needs don’t exist, they’re repressed. Alternatively, you may become anxious because the possibility of closeness no longer threatens you.

Even people who feel independent when on their own are often surprised that they become dependent once they’re romantically involved. This is because intimate relationships unconsciously stimulate your attachment style and either trust or fear from your past experiences. It’s normal to become dependent on your partner to a healthy degree. When your needs are met, you feel secure.

You can assess your partner’s style by their behavior and by their reaction to a direct request for more closeness. Does he or she try to meet your needs or become defensive and uncomfortable or accommodate you once and the return to distancing behavior? Someone who is secure won’t play games, communicates well, and can compromise. A person with an anxious attachment style would welcome more closeness but still needs assurance and worries about the relationship.

Anxious and avoidant attachment styles look like codependency in relationships. They characterize the feelings and behavior of pursuers and distancers described in my blog “The Dance of Intimacy” and book, Conquering Shame and Codependency. Each one is unconscious of their needs, which are expressed by the other. This is one reason for their mutual attraction.

Pursuers with an anxious style are usually disinterested in someone available with a secure style. They usually attract someone who is avoidant. The anxiety of an insecure attachment is enlivening and familiar, though it’s uncomfortable and makes them more anxious. It validates their abandonment fears about relationships and beliefs about not being enough, lovable, or securely loved.

Distancers need someone pursuing them to sustain their emotional needs that they largely disown and which wouldn’t be met by another avoider. Unlike those securely attached, pursuers and distancers aren’t skilled at resolving disagreements. They tend to become defensive and attack or withdraw, escalating conflict. Without the chase, conflict, or compulsive behavior, both pursuers and distancers begin to feel depressed and empty due to their painful early attachments.

Although most people don’t change their attachment style, you can alter yours to be more or less secure depending upon experiences and conscious effort. To change your style to be more secure, seek therapy as well as relationships with others who are capable of a secure attachment. If you have an anxious attachment style, you will feel more stable in a committed relationship with someone who has a secure attachment style. This helps you become more secure. Changing your attachment style and healing from codependency go hand-in-hand. Both involve the following:

  • Heal your shame and raise your self-esteem. (See my books on shame and self-esteem.) This enables you not to take things personally.
  • Learn to be assertive. (See How to Speak Your Mind: Become Assertive and Set Limits.)
  • Learn to identify, honor, and assertively express your emotional needs.
  • Risk being authentic and direct. Don’t play games or try to manipulate your partner’s interest.
  • Practice acceptance of yourself and others to become less faultfinding — a tall order for codependents and distancers.
  • Stop reacting, and learn to resolve conflict and compromise from a “we” perspective.

Pursuers need to become more responsible for themselves and distancers more responsible to their partners. The result is a more secure, interdependent, rather than codependent relationship or solitude with a false sense of self-sufficiency.

Among singles, statistically there are more avoiders, since people with a secure attachment are more likely to be in a relationship. Unlike avoiders, they’re not searching for an ideal, so when a relationship ends, they aren’t single too long. This increases the probability that daters who anxiously attach will date avoiders, reinforcing their negative spin on relationship outcomes.

Moreover, anxious types tend to bond quickly and don’t take time to assess whether their partner can or wants to meet their needs. They tend to see things they share in common with each new, idealized partner and overlook potential problems. In trying to make the relationship work, they suppress their needs, sending the wrong signals to their partner in the long run. All of this behavior makes attaching to an avoider more probable. When he or she withdraws, their anxiety is aroused. Pursuers confuse their longing and anxiety for love rather than realizing it’s their partner’s unavailability that is the problem. It’s not themselves or anything they did or could do to change that. They hang in and try harder, instead of facing the truth and cutting their losses.

Particularly after leaving an unhappy codependent relationship, people fear that being dependent on someone will make them more dependent. That may be true in codependent relationships when there isn’t a secure attachment. However, in a secure relationship, healthy dependency allows you to be more interdependent. You have a safe and secure base from which to explore the world. This is also what gives toddlers the courage to individuate, express their true selves, and become more autonomous.

Similarly, people in therapy often fear becoming dependent upon their therapist and leave when they begin to feel a little better. This is when their dependency fears arise and should be addressed — the same fears that keep them from having secure attachments in relationships and propels them to seek someone avoidant. In fact, good therapy provides a secure attachment to allow people to grow and become more autonomous, not less.

Herein lays the paradox: We can be more independent when we’re dependent on someone else — provided it’s a secure attachment. This is another reason why it’s hard to change on your own or in an insecure relationship without outside support.

Suggested reading on attachment
The many books by John Bowlby

Mikulincer and Shaver, Attachment Adulthood Structure, Dynamics, and Change(2007)

Levine and Heller, Attached (2010)

 

Source: psychcentral.com

Changing Your Attachment Style Can Help You Live a Better Life. – Thousand Thoughts

Attachment Style

What if we could identify the filter that shapes our perception of the world and change it so as to have a better life?  We are born into the social context of our families and quickly need to /develop strategies to get our needs met by our caretakers. Depending on our early emotional environment, we make the best adaptation to get our needs met by the potential caretakers we have available to us, usually our parents or other relatives. We are incredibly adaptive creatures, which is quite possibly our most unique feature as humans. Our early interactions create internal working models of how our future relationships will transpire and of how we will go about getting our needs met. Research has demonstrated that these childhood relationships shape our perceptions of others and our understanding of their minds and motives.  These internal working models also influence the ways others are likely to treat us and perceive us. They impact our ability to self-regulate and tolerate our emotions and the level of distress we experience.  They contribute to the development of personality disorders and, to a lesser extent, to mental illness in general.

How does this veil through which we experience the world and the world experiences us impact our thoughts, feelings, and behavior?  What is the language of this filter?  I believe it is the “critical inner voice.”  “What’s wrong with me?” is perhaps the most common question I hear patients and friends utter when pondering the mystery of their own behavior patterns. “What scares me away from getting close to someone who really loves me?” “What draws me to desperately long for that person who continually rejects me?” The answers to these questions can frequently be found in a complex combination of unique human experiences, but one factor is a universally accurate determinant of the make up of our adult struggles. Our earliest attachments significantly contribute to the puzzle of how we relate to others in our lives.

The adaptations we make to the interactive relationship between ourselves and our early caretakers impact every area of our lives as adults, from how we parent to how we treat our partner. The particular attachment style we develop strongly colors the lens through which we view the world. It often operates as a subconscious force that can leave us reliving rather than living our lives, recreating in one form or another feelings from our earliest social relationships in our current lives.However, we are not trapped by or locked into our attachment style. Research has demonstrated that these patterns are malleable and can be altered in the context of reparative relationships. We can alter patterns that were at one time the best possible adaptions to our social world, and instead, live our lives based on pursuing our adult goals and desires in a flexible manner. When we stop reliving our past, we adapt to our current life circumstances and create satisfying loving relationships with our partners, our children and our friends.

We can start by exploring: what is our attachment style? How was it formed and in what ways is it impacting our lives? We can get to know our “critical inner voice,” an internal coach that monitors this filter through which we see the world. Our critical inner voice is the language of these internal working models of relationships and our social world. It encourages us to recreate our early lives through our behavior, both by evoking responses from others and projecting our past on to people in our present lives. Once we have identified this enemy within, we can know what to challenge. It will then be possible to change behaviors and shift the patterns that have kept us stuck in the past, and free ourselves to live fully in the present.

Securely attached individuals grow up feeling safe, seen, secure and soothed. They see their caretakers as a secure base from which they can venture out to explore independently but whom they can always return to for safety or nurturance. Think about a baby crawling around on his own, enjoying the adventure of new discoveries. When something startles him, he can return to his parent for comfort. However, once soothed, he feels comfortable to again go out on his own. People with this type of attachment orientation are adaptive and flexible. They tend to have an easy time in social relationships. In school, they receive more positive reactions from both teachers and peers alike.

A secure attachment is the ideal type of attachment that we would like to form, as adults, with our children, our close friends or our romantic partner. When we have a secure attachment style, we have faith that we can get our needs met by others and we are able to be giving toward others.  We can appropriately depend on others and rely on ourselves. We are capable of and drawn to feeling trust and closeness, but we can also feel secure within ourselves separate from others.

Insecurely attached individuals did not feel security in their early relationships and developed different adaptations to attempt to get their needs met. In one style, called anxious attachment in children and ambivalent or preoccupied attachment in adults, the individual learned that to get his or her needs met by staying focused on the caregiver and remaining in their proximity; eventually they will meet the child’s needs.

Preoccupied individuals have a more frantic, less confident approach to getting their needs met by others. They tend to act clingy or needy, because their needs were inconsistently met as children. They may have had a parent who sometimes met their needs, but at other times acted out of their own needs or was intrusive with the child. These unresolved issues from childhood play out in their present day relationships, making them feel anxious and insecure, even when there is no need to feel this way. Think about the person who is constantly jealous or overly worried about his partner’s whereabouts, or the person who never believes her spouse really loves her and constantly seeks reassurance. Another way a person might recreate this pattern in their adult relationships is to unconsciously be drawn to partners who are inconsistently available, thus recreating the feeling of their early environment. In essence, they can maintain their defended posture; they may feel miserable but in an old familiar way.

An individual with a dismissing attachment style has the opposite way of relating. They have learned early on that the best way to get their needs met is to act like they don’t have any. As adults, they often act pseudo-independent, taking care of themselves and acting like they don’t need anything from others.  They rarely have many memories of their childhood, or they will write off whatever took place in their childhood as not mattering. These people often resist seeking out connection or closeness and avoid feeling dependent on others.

So, once we identify our attachment style, what can we do about it? There are two primary ways to alter your attachment style. One is by getting into a long-term relationship with someone with a healthier attachment style than your own. The second is entering into psychotherapy. Therapy helps, because good therapy itself offers a secure attachment. In the therapeutic relationship, you ideally feel both safe and seen. In addition, therapy can help a person identify the filter they see the world through, challenge their critical inner voices and the defenses they formed to deal with emotional pain in their earliest relationships.

For example, if you have a preoccupied attachment style, you can learn to identify and get a hold of your insecurities and moments of anxiety. You can become aware of the critical inner voices that are fueling these feelings and come to recognize the internal working models that are informing your perception of the situation. You can learn techniques to calm down within yourself rather than acting out toward your partner and potentially hurting the relationship. You can start to develop a new image of yourself and trust in others.

Furthermore, psychotherapy helps you to do the most valuable thing you can do when it comes to living life free of the more negative impositions of your history; it enables you to create a coherent narrative, so that you can both understand your past and evolve in the present. This process involves both making sense of your story and feeling the full pain of your childhood. Only then, can you truly start to change the lens through which you see the world or the model for how you relate. Instead of unconsciously replicating your childhood, reformulating similar attachments to those you had as a kid, you can reshape your relationships to be what you want them to be.

A healthy, secure relationship will further reshape your attachment model, as you have the lived experience of relating to a trusting, caring, attuned partner. You can begin to see the world in a more realistic light, rather than taking on the point of view of your critical inner voice. You can form healthier relationships and live the life you imagined, not the one prescribed to you from your past.

 

Source.

Sleep and Your Different States of Consciousness. – Thousand Thoughts

Anesthesia is Like Coma, Not Sleep 

States of Consciousness

 

Does anesthesia put you to sleep? A long review of what really happens in anesthesia, published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, points out somethingcognitive scientists have known for a long time – our layman’s terms provide little explanation of how extraordinarily varied human consciousness actually is. Rather than experiencing just different levels of consciousness, we normally undergo many different states.
One is coma – unresponsiveness to outside stimuli, plus a brain that can’t accomplish much beyond the amazingly complicated process of keeping you alive. It turns out that anesthesia is a lot closer to coma than some people thought. More bizarrely,sleeping pills like ambien (zolpidem) seem to produce states that ape parts of coma.
So here (with apologies to cognitive scientists and philosophers) is a consumer’s guide to the more common states of consciousness you may see in your daily life.

Common States of Consciousness

1. Stage 1 sleep demonstrates that states of consciousness not only fluidly run into each other, but often are not recognized.

Many people have microsleeps of 3-30 seconds at a time, especially when driving late at night. Often they are not experienced as microsleeps, not even as blips of changed consciousness – with sometimes fatal results. Akerstedt’s studies of Swedish train conductors showed they routinely fell asleep at night – standing up – with their eyes open. (Fortunately for us, professional truck drivers appear pretty good at knowing when microsleeps are going to hit them.)
A Henry Ford Hospital study by Rosenthal et al. put people into stage 1 sleep for 10 minutes. When it was over, fully half thought they were awake the whole time.
They were not. Some were snoring away..
They just thought they were awake – and argued vigorously with the researchers, even when shown videotapes of what they did those ten minutes.
It may be better to see the brain the way Marvin Mirsky theorized long ago – as a bunch of “kludges”, engineering systems jerry built to do one thing like vision, that through evolution got involved in 15 or more activities of which they are necessary but insufficient parts. It’s kind of like thinking of a plywood two by four as potentially part of a table, the base of a floor, a weapon, an anti-GERD bed headboard elevator, a plane for writing, a carved signboard, a room divider, a toy, plus who knows what else.
To get to stage 1 sleep you need dozens of different kludges to seamlessly work together. It’s more like putting nine separate orchestras in different sections of the Houston Astrodome, some in the boxes, others on the field, a few players in the washrooms, and getting them to simultaneously play the same notes in the same rhythm.
If that doesn’t happen you might jerk up like students in high schools and universities do throughout the morning, or like commuters on train cars, or – maybe even you (hopefully not while reading this sentence.)

2. Delirium.

Fluctuating states of consciousness confuse the heck out of people but are very common. You often see it in elderly people, who will shift suddenly from talking about the stock market to forgetting your name or where they are. However, intoxication, often with alcohol or marijuana but now progressively more commonly through prescription medications, can produce the same effect.
New Year’s Eve is one time you can watch many different examples of mild delirium.

3. Early morning wakefulness.

Getting up is hard to do, as your cold brain tries to warm up and notice what’s going on. This is essentially a state somewhere between stage 1 sleep and wakefulness, and can lapse in and out of the two for many minutes before people stop hitting the snooze control and actually rouse out of bed.
Getting out, moving, and seeking sunlight are great ways to start to get awake. However, full alertness may still be hours away.

4. REM sleep

Commonly thought of as dream sleep (we actually can dream in any stage of sleep) REM is a bizarre state of consciousness. Temperature controls disappear, while the many kludges of the brain seem to communicate with each other in a sometimes forlorn attempt to take the new information of the previous day, anneal it with oldmemories, and remake it into newer information the body then uses to remake itself. A time of much rewiring and rejiggering of memory and thoughts, including peaktestosterone production, the fragments of what REM produces as it helps remake the brain become what we call complex dreams.

5. Deep sleep

Often appearing in the first part of the night, deep sleep is as close to coma as we get. Also a time of massive rewiring, deep sleep is when growth hormone is pulsed out into the blood.

In deep sleep you literally grow, though you may not be able to be forcefully awakened for two or more minutes – thus the term deep sleep. Oddly, deep sleep is where sleepwalkingand other funky sleep movements occur. Generally they are not remembered – because you’re in deep sleep. These “confusional arousals” probably occur because the circuitry turning off physical movements fails.

It’s Always Different

Consciousness is not just a bunch of different levels – it’s a group of different states, of which the best worked out are those involving wakefulness and the different stages of sleep.
But everything is fluid. Just as we move in and out of alertness, ranging from paralyzed semi-conscious television watching to the creative peaks of our lives, what we remember and what we don’t involves many different shifts of consciousness. Every day, from minute to minute and hour to hour, our consciousness moves through many different levels of wakefulness and productivity.
Just like the differences between sleep and wake, it’s no light switch.

 

Source.

Matrix Star Keanu Reeves’ Heart-Wrenching Note About Life Will Inspire You To Never Give Up! – Thousand Thoughts

 

With a brilliant career in Hollywood and three decades of awesomeness, Keanu Reeves life has time and again found a space in daily publications. However, he is one superstar who never blew his own trumpet. From his charitable nature to his personal life which has always seen a lot of downs than ups, Keanu Reeves has never opened up much about his personal life. Recently, a Facebook page posted an open letter which Keanu Reeves wrote and it is hauntingly beautiful!

From opening up about losing his baby to losing love of his life in a brutal car accident, read what Keanu Reeves has to say about his trials and tribulations and how he overcame it! Worth a read for sure. 🙂

“Most people know me, but don’t know my story. At the age of 3, I watched my father leave. I attended four different high schools and struggled with dyslexia, making my education more challenging than it is for most. At the age of 23, my closest friend River Phoenix died of a drug overdose. In 1998, I met Jennifer Syme. We fell instantly in love and by 1999, Jennifer was pregnant with our daughter. Sadly, after eight months, our child was born stillborn. We were devastated by her death and it eventually ended our relationship. 18 months later, Jennifer died in a car accident. Since then I avoid serious relationships and having kids. My younger sister had lukemia. Today she is cured, and I donated 70% of my gains from the movie Matrix to Hospitals that treat leukemia. I am one of the only Hollywood stars without a Mansion. I don’t have any bodyguards and do not wear fancy clothes. And even though I’m worth $100 million, I still ride the subway and I love it!

Keanu Reeves

Awakening Times

So in the end, I think we can all pretty well agree that even in the face of tragedy, a stellar person can thrive. No matter what’s going on in your life, you can overcome it! Life is worth living.”

 

Author: Isha Sharma

Source: IndiaTimes

7 Mindfulness Habits That Lead To 365 Days of Happiness. – Thousand Thoughts

Would you like to become smarter, healthier, be in better shape, feel more relaxed, and have more energy than you thought possible? Of course you would!  If you adopt these 7 mindful habits into your everyday life, your next 365 days will be your best ever!

mindful-habit-pic

1. Become Mindful in Your Everyday Life

To be mindful simply means to pay attention on purpose. Much of our lives are spent on auto-pilot, where our mind just wanders from thought to thought. A good example of this is when we are driving. Have you ever been driving down the freeway, a few minutes go by, you come back to your conscious thought and you can’t remember what has happened in those last few minutes. Yes, you were driving, but you can’t remember what you passed, what you saw, or what was going on around you.

You were in auto-pilot mode, or daydreaming. Auto-pilot is the opposite of mindfulness. When being mindful, you’re aware of your surroundings, in the present and observe without judgement. You can start to practice being mindful right now as you read this article. Don’t just read this article, pay attention, be attentive, and understand what it is saying.

Do me a favor, take 15 seconds right now and look around. Observe what is around you. Really look at things…the computer, tablet, or phone you are reading this on. Acknowledge the size of the room or space you are in, what you are sitting on, and anything that is around you. That is an example of being mindful, just being in the present without your mind wandering off to what happened yesterday or what is coming up tomorrow. Start to do this a few times a day. Stop what you are doing and look around to notice where and what is going on. So, why practice mindfulness? Not only does it increase both your physical and mental health, it is scientifically proven toincrease the gray matter in your brain, in other words…make you smarter!

2. You Are What You Eat 

We put food in our body when we feel hungry, bored, stressed, depressed and for a number of other reasons. Food is essentially our energy source. Food gives us the fuel to keep going throughout the day. Being mindful of what you put in your body will affect your energy level, your cognitive skills, as well as your mood. Just like a high performance car demands high performance gas, if you want your body to perform at a high level you need to put high level food in your body. The old adage “you get out what you put in” says it best.  This also goes for your mind as the brain burns 20% of the calories you take in. So, start paying attention to what goes in your body and how it makes you feel.

3. I Want to Pump You Up!

We all know we need to exercise. For most, we go in and out of stages of a regular exercise routines, to not remembering where the gym is. When we’re not exercising regularly we find just about any excuse not to…I’m tired, I don’t have time, I think I pulled my back, just to name a few.  Whatever your excuse, throw it out the window. Become mindful about exercising regularly, because there is no excuse not to do something that decreases your stress, improves learning capabilities, improves self-esteem, gives you a natural high, makes you feel and look younger, and allows you to live a more vibrant life. Now, go put the gym in your GPS and get moving!

4. Get Your Beauty Sleep

Sleep is one of the most underrated activities that we partake in each and every day. How can you be mindful when you’re sleeping? Look at your sleep schedule or patterns. When do you go to sleep? When do you wake up? How well do you sleep?  Do you wake up several times during the night? Do you set an alarm? How many hours a night do you sleep? Are you tired during the day? Do you take naps? Once you understand your sleeping patterns you can then learn to adjust them so that you get on an optimal sleep schedule.

When you sleep, your body and your brain rejuvenates itself.  If you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t give your body or your mind enough time to fully recover. The average person needs 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night.The average American gets 6.8 hours of sleep per night which puts them in a “sleep debt.” Being in a constant sleep debt is basically living a sleep deprived life. If you actually do get the 7.5 hours per night, you will have more energy, think clearer, handle your emotions more intelligently, and just be more productive in general. Basically, you would be a better you!

5. Take “Me Time”

“Me Time” is any activity that you love to do. It can be almost anything that you really get into. For example, some people find exercising to be a great “me time” as they become enveloped in the activity without thinking about the outside clutter of the world. Reading a book, taking a bath, watching a movie, sitting in a room or house by yourself in silence, going to dinner with friends are some other examples of “me time.”

Most people have trouble getting “me time” in this busy world. For those who do have trouble finding time, I suggest scheduling it.  Taking “me time” reduces stress and allows you to really understand and appreciate who you are. I suggest scheduling a couple small “me times” per day, even if it is 5 minutes in a room by yourself relaxing. If golfing is one of your “me times”, make sure to get out once a week. If exercising is your time, do it several times a week. You get the picture…make sure to get your “me time!”

6. Listen Up!

Mindful listening is one of the coolest things you can adopt into your life. You will be amazed at some of the things you learn from not only what you hear people say, but also about who is saying them. An example of normal listening is when you are talking with someone, they’re speaking, and you are thinking about what you are going to say next. Mindful listening is where you listen without that chatter in your head. When you listen intently by paying attention on purpose to what is being said, it is a great learning experience, as well as a mindful exercise. Another great advantage of mindful listening is the relationship that you will build with the other person. They will respect the fact that you are listening which ultimately increases your relationship and trust with that person. Try it with the next person you speak with…it will amaze you!

7.  Don’t Forget to Breathe!

Breathing is one of the easiest and fastest ways to reduce your anxiety, stress and put you in a better mood. The great thing about breathing is you can do it anywhere, anytime, and you can do it in as little as 60 seconds! One minute of a breathing exercise can take you from stressed out, too “I can handle this.”

An easy but effective exercise is box breathing. This is where you concentrate on your breathing for at least 60 seconds. You breathe in with a count of 4, you then hold for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 4, and hold for a count of 4. You then repeat this for about a minute, or as long as you wish. During the exercise you pay attention to your breath and body as the air fills your lungs on the inhale and slowly releases as you exhale. This exercise will not only relax you, but helps you become more focused and mindful in general.

If you adopt these seven mindful habits, I guarantee you will have the best year of your life! It starts out with a single step. Don’t try and jump in thinking you will become the mindful master right away. Goals and habit development are like staircases. You don’t come to a staircase, take one step and you’re at the top. Just like goals you set for yourself, you need to take baby steps in each of these mindful habits and eventually you will reach the top. Mindfully adopt these 7 habits into your daily routines and you will be amazed at where you are 365 days from now.

Featured photo credit: Boys Will Be Boys by Zach Dischner via flickr.com

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