Connect with us

Life

A Simple 7 Step Process to Mindfulness for Beginners

Published

on

mindfulness for beginners

How many of you can relate to this? You’re living in a big city. You commute to work each day to a job you dislike. As you push past other commuters on the sidewalk or nudge up against strangers on public transport, you daydream about your last trip to somewhere exotic. You imagine planning your next trip, and you imagine a well deserved pint after work with your friends.

At the office you do tasks you find tedious or pointless, so you distract yourself by tracking the price of Bitcoin online, texting your friends, or planning your next vacation. You get dragged to meeting after meeting and seem like you’ll never be free to explore your true passions which, you don’t even know what they are.

Whenever you talk with your friends and family, you’re constantly reliving the past or planning for the future. On the way home you try to ignore the blaring sirens of ambulances and police cars driving past, the cacophony of humanity around you as you stumble into the nearest pub and try to drown the boredom and frustration with a pint.

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

This scenario is well known to many of us that live and work in the modern world. We are caught up in well-built habit loops which allow us to think back into the past or ahead into the future but allow us to conveniently avoid what’s going on around us. We do this because as humans we are trying to conserve vital mental energy and processing power. Sadly, this means that few of us live in the present moment and are aware of our surroundings on a regular basis.

Mindful meditation is a practice that is fast becoming a global phenomenon. It is a type of meditation that helps individuals focus their efforts and their mental energy on the present moment. It has been argued by spiritual aspirants and medical professionals alike that mindful meditation helps reduce stress and alleviate symptoms of boredom, lack of motivation, and even attention deficit disorder.

Here is a seven-step process you can try to help you start to develop your own mindful meditation practice:

Step 1: Sit

Find a spot that will allow you to sit free from distraction for 10 to 15 minutes. This might be a park bench, a conference room, a train car, the seat on a bus, a closet, a couch, a yoga studio or in the middle of the floor of your kitchen. In the end, it doesn’t really matter where you sit, as long as you can find a place that is comfortable and will allow you to avoid distractions for between 10 to 15 minutes without being called to take care of some task or interrupted by a friend or stranger.

Step 2: Straighten up

Settle into the right posture with a straight back and feet resting on the floor or crossed underneath you. Finding a relaxed and alert posture is important when you attempt to develop a mindfulness practice, because as you enter the meditation phase of the practice you will become aware of any slight discomfort. The more balanced your posture when you start, the better off the practice will go.

Step 3: Close your eyes… or don’t

Some people prefer to close their eyes while they practice sitting meditation, while others prefer to maintain a soft gaze looking straight ahead or focusing on a single object. Both options work, but if you are just starting off it may be easier to close your eyes to avoid distraction from the outside world.

“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

Step 4: Focus on your breath… or anything

Again, one of the easiest ways to develop a keen awareness for the present moment is to focus on your breath. That being said, some people prefer focusing on a single object nearby, or on the sensation in a certain part of their body. To each their own. I would experiment to see what works best for you.

Step 5: Be open to distractions

The harder you try to block out all distractions from your mind, the more challenging it will be to find flow and reach that altered state of consciousness.

Step 6: Feel the burn, and let it pass

Understand that the process of mindful meditation is like going to the gym; you are training your mind and building habit loops which will benefit you in the long run. When someone is trying to get fit, they will often elect to take the stairs up to their apartment or to their office rather than take the elevator.

When your legs start to ache and you become short of breath, you don’t think “I’m climbing the stairs wrong,” instead you think “I’m out of shape, I should climb the stairs more often!”  The same goes for mindful meditation.

Mindful meditation is something that should be practised just as people practice yoga or go to the gym. You are working out your mind, so you should treat the practice like a workout. You will get better with time, but it will be hard work.

Step 7: Look for little wins

It is expected that you will become distracted many times over the course of a mindful meditation practice, it’s completely natural. Rather than being disheartened by this, try to become aware of the moments in which you become distracted. Once you become aware that this distraction is present, consider celebrating your ability to recognize it as what it is, a distraction, before returning to your breath.

While this seven-step process doesn’t provide much detail into the actual practice of mindful meditation, there are plenty of programs available online that provide free mindful meditation courses and lessons for you to try.

Do you practice meditation? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

McVal is the founder of We Write For Growth, a platform for businesses to connect with talented writers and researchers and growth hackers. He is also the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant. 

Advertisement
2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Adithya Shetty

    Mar 12, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Hi Osborne,

    Great post, Recently I’ve started practicing mindfulness and minimalism and your above tips sound good.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. TH

    Mar 12, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Awesome simple guide! Meditation/ working on being mindful has been a huge help for me personally so glad to read that others are working on this as well! Cheers and keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

3 Simple Tips to Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence for Better Relationships

Published

on

how to build better relationships
Image Credit: Unsplash

Relationships are challenging. They make you examine yourself from all angles, and that can be triggering. For example, have you ever had a friend or significant other say something that sparked an argument instantly—only to find out you misheard what they said in the first place? (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

If You Want to Avoid Failure Once and for All, Ask Yourself These 4 Questions

Published

on

how to avoid failure
Image Credit: Pixabay

You just invested in yourself and in your business. You are taking massive action but the results are just not clicking yet. While everyone is making 10X, 20X, and even 100X ROI on their initial investment, you have made $0 return. Failure is starting to overcast your bright shining positive attitude and you are feeling the pain and shame of it. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

Published

on

willpower
Image Credit: Pixabay

How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

Continue Reading

Life

3 Inspiring Lessons We Can Learn From Jim Carrey About the Law of Attraction

Published

on

jim carrey
Image Credit: Maarten de Boer

You’ve more than likely heard of Jim Carrey before. Over the years, he has starred in many popular films including The Truman Show, The Mask, and Bruce Almighty (just to name a few.)

But his personality goes a lot deeper than just his comedic persona and movie star charisma. In fact, Jim Carrey is probably one of the most philosophical individuals on the planet

Although he isn’t in the spotlight as much anymore, throughout the years, he has credited his success and fortunes by applying the Law of attraction into his life. What’s even more inspiring is that Jim Carrey, like you and I, came from humble beginnings. No silver spoon or easy ticket. In fact, his family was very poor throughout his childhood. So what made him so successful in attracting such an extravagant and self-fulfilling life?

Here are 3 lessons you can learn from Jim Carrey when it comes to manifesting your dreams into a reality:

1. You Have To Take Action

You can’t just visualize then go eat a sandwich”, Jim Carrey says. It goes without saying that the law of attraction does require action. You cannot simply rely on visualizing and expect to see results, especially when it comes to manifesting desires that other people would like to achieve also. E.g. Careers, scholarships, competitions, anything that involves another individual.

Visualization and positive thinking are crucial when it comes to using the law of attraction, but you have to meet the universe halfway with the steps you take as well. We are physical beings that require physical steps to get physical results. The real key is to make daily plans/goals in order to get you closer towards achieving your desires. So after that sandwich, make sure start taking action toward your dreams!

This could be working on your hobbies or passion, applying for that dream job or studying to get better grades. As long as you are moving toward your goals then there’s no reason why it can’t happen. So get out there and kick some butt.

2. Double Down On What You Love

My father could have been a great comedian but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant and when I was 12 years old he was let go from that safe job, and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father. Not the least of which was that: You can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

If this story of Jim Carrey’s father doesn’t pull on your heartstrings and inspire you at the same time, nothing else will! This is such an undeniable life lesson that everyone needs to learn. A lesson to take risks, push comfort zones and go all-in on what you love doing. So if your dreams, hobbies or goals seem far fetched to the majority, then you are already beating the other 99%.

Be that 1% that’s willing to dream big and rise above the norm. Unfortunately, in today’s society, our ancestral instincts still rule our everyday life. Fear is one of them and controls the majority of our population. It’s scary to push comfort zones and try something new, the thought of failure is often paralyzing to many. But my question to you is, will you look back one day and regret the chances you didn’t take?

3. Keep Your Eye On The Prize

As far as I can tell, it’s just about letting the universe know what you want and working toward it, while letting go of how it comes to pass.” Holding onto every little detail when it comes to manifesting, can conjure up more harm than good. The reason is that the universe will deliver in ways you might not expect.

If you are too busy wondering when your desires will manifest, comparing yourself to others, or ignoring every sign that doesn’t look like your detailed plan you’ve written down, then you may be missing out on opportunities that are right in front of you! Your visualizations don’t have to be perfect, in fact, it’s better to just let go altogether and focus on the result itself rather than dwelling on every little detail. This doesn’t mean to simply forget about what you want but instead having the confidence it will happen in time. 

An example of this is when Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for 30 million dollars. The only detail he knew was that he would earn it through his acting career, and he did indeed achieve this goal! So make sure to tell the universe what you want, but try not to hold onto every little detail!

Jim Carrey is just another person like you and me, with his own personal ups and downs in his road to success. He is someone to look up to when applying the law of attraction in your life too. It doesn’t matter if your goals or desires are different because the core foundation will always stay the same. You can and will do this if you think, feel and act as if it will happen!

Continue Reading

Trending