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How To Benefit From Mindfulness?

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of making a gentle effort to pay attention in a particular way that is open, receptive and non-judgemental to what you’re experiencing at the present moment.

It means to slow down to really notice what you’re doing and being intentionally aware and awake to each moment and be fully engaged in what’s happening.

Mindfulness helps promote physical, emotional and cognitive stability. 

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How Do You Practice Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is not just about being alert to the present moment, it’s also paying attention very carefully to the environment around you. 

The things you need to consider before you start practicing mindfulness:

It Won’t Cost You Anything: It’s not necessary to buy a special cushion to sit on and you can practice mindfulness anywhere. All you need is the time and space to devote towards developing your mindfulness skills.

Don’t Worry About Quieting Your Mind: The goal of mindfulness is not for you to have an outworldly or blissful state of mind; what you’re trying to do is to pay attention to the present moment without judgement.

Your Mind Will Drift Off: Practicing mindfulness involves trying to focus on what you’re thinking at the present moment. However you’ll find that many thoughts arise including those about what you did yesterday and these may make your mind wander. Through mindfulness you become aware of this and consciously bring your focus back to the present moment.

Your Inner Critic Will Try To Take Over: We’re all guilty of listening to our inner critic in our heads more than we should. Our inner critic is in the form of negative thoughts that cause us to judge ourselves and not be aware of it. The practice of mindfulness involves intentionally focusing on a present moment without judgement, so we learn how to look at these thoughts and react to them by making mental notes on them and letting them go.

It’s All About Returning Your Attention Back To The Present Moment: Mindfulness is the practice that uses the sensation of the breath as an anchor to the present moment. Our minds have the tendency to wander into random thoughts, this is why mindfulness is the practice of returning to our breath over and over again when we’re trying to refocus.

Sometimes the terms mindfulness and meditation are used interchangeably, many of us think that they’re the same, they’re not. 

Mindfulness involves intentionally focusing on the present moment, while meditation is a mental exercise that involves relaxation, focus and awareness; its practiced individually in a still seated position and with your eyes closed.

The practice of meditation leads to the enriching of mindfulness.

What are the Benefits of Mindfulness?

The practice of mindfulness has many benefits including:

Being Able to Make Better Decisions: The mind has tendencies to wander toward unconscious thoughts such as ruminations, emotions and memories that can trigger feelings and reactions that cloud our judgement. Being mindful is becoming aware of these thoughts and the inner workings of your own mind and making you a better decision maker.

Improves mental health: Mindfulness is a practice that’s an integrative approach that helps people manage thoughts and feelings that cause mental health problems.

Improves Physical Health: Scientists have discovered that mindfulness techniques have physical health benefits including stress relief, lowering blood pressure, reduction of chronic pain and relieving gastrointestinal problems.

Increases Attention: Mindfulness along with other treatments can help you develop inner skills that promote your ability to control your attention by strengthening your ability to self observe and develop different relationships to experiences that are stressful.

Helps You Sleep: The world we live in can be stressful; at work we have tight deadlines, along with being anxious about job security. Stress can affect sleep quality and incorporating mindfulness into our daily routine can help us sleep better.

Improves Relationships: Since mindfulness increases the awareness of our thoughts and actions it’s great for improving relationships. 

What Makes a Mindful Mastermind?

A mastermind is described as someone who has an outstanding intellect or someone who plans and directs an ingenious and complex enterprise.  People from different walks of life can be described as masterminds such as inventors, intellectuals and famous geniuses such as Albert Einstein. 

Being intelligent or smart means that you have an easier time processing and understanding information. 

Most people think that intelligence and wisdom are one and the same. 

Wisdom is the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge and good judgement. 

When a form of practical wisdom such as mindfulness teaches you how to think about and apply what you have learned. 

Sometimes we learn things that cause our minds to wander toward negative thoughts that contribute to limiting beliefs and anxiety that we try to control. Mindfulness makes you aware that this is happening, you accept what is happening and lose yourself within your heart space when you’re feeling inner peace after letting go of negative thoughts that don’t serve you.

What Do You Do To Create Mindfulness In Your Day?

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The Mind and Body Connection and Meditation.

What Is The Mind And Body Connection?

The mind and body connection is a set of mechanisms through which one’s thoughts, emotions and spiritual practices can affect the way your body functions.

An example is how the way your body responds to stress and/or constant worry over jobs and finances. Your mind and emotions control your health just as much as the food you eat.

What is Meditation?

The process of quieting your mind by utilizing concentration and relaxation to pivot yourself away from distracting thoughts and instead focus on the present moment.

What we call meditation is referred to in Sanskrit as “Dhyana”. It came from eastern religious practices of India, China and Japan. 

How do you meditate?

Here is a simple way to meditate.

  1. Sit or lie comfortably
  2. Close your eyes
  3. Start breathing naturally
  4. Focus your attention on your breath and how your body moves when you breath in and out.

What are the different types of meditation?

There are seven types of meditation:

  1. Mindfulness Meditation: Involves focusing your mind on your experiences in the present moment.
  2. Transcendental Meditation: Involves the use of a mantra while sitting with your eyes closed.
  3. Guided Meditation: Involves one or more participants meditating in response to the  guidance given by a teacher.
  4. Vipassana Meditation: Also called insight or awareness meditation, gives us insight into the true nature of our experiences.
  5. Loving Kindness Meditation: Also called “metta” meditation consists of mentally sending goodwill, kindness and warmth toward others by repeating a series of mantras.
  6. Chakra Meditation: Chakra is a Sanskrit word that literally means disk/wheel. The practice involves a transfer of energy wheels throughout your body. Each chakra is regarded as a focal point linking your emotional, physical and spiritual energies.
  7. Yoga Meditation: Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means union with the divine. It’s a practice that involves conscious breathing, conscious concentration and relaxation along with a steady pose that should bring you to a meditative state.

What Are The Benefits of Meditation?

  • Anxiety: A section of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex has numerous neural pathways that emerge from it to connect with the brain’s fear and bodily sensation perception centers. This part of the brain becomes stimulated when were stress out of anxious. Meditation relaxes these connections and you’ll feel less anxious.
  • Resilience: Meditation can lead to the increased resilience of the brain. For example if a particular part of the brain get injured it can quickly repair itself.
  • Stress: Meditation is a great way to relieve stress. When you’re dealing with stress your body produces more cortisol and this can lead to an inflammation response that can disrupt sleep, increased anxiety and depression and high blood pressure. Meditating regularly may reduce this inflammation caused by stress.
  • Creativity: A calmer mind after meditation can lead to increased creativity.
  • Memory: Meditation has been described as being weight lifting for your attention span. Regularly practicing meditation can increase your attention span and allow you to focus on a specific task longer. It’s possible for meditation to reduce age related memory loss.

How Did I Get Into Meditation?

My interest in meditation started in the beginning of 2016 when I went to an intro to Buddhism meeting. This was for Nichiren Buddhism; a form of Buddhism that started in the 13th century in Japan by a monk named Nichiren Daishonin. His teachings emphasize the recitation of the mantra “ nam myoho renge kyo” for health, happiness and enlightenment.

From this point one I became increasingly interested in mindfulness. After dealing with mental health problems that involve depression and anxiety for years meditation was the one practice that benefited me the most. 

Something simple such as practicing mindfulness meditation while sitting in my car during my breaks at work help relieve stress and help me focus.

As of last fall I started practicing yoga. At first I had trouble with balance but with enough practice I improved and it resulted in a looser body and a clear mind.

Have you ever meditated before? If so which type?

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Men and the Fear of Vulnerability.

There’s a lot of miscommunication these days about what it means to be a man in 2019. Does it mean being stoic? Standing alone? Suppressing emotions? Not committing to a long-term relationship? Living like it’s the zombie apocalypse by not being vulnerable with anyone for the sake of survival? This blog is not intended to generalize all men, but it’s meant to discuss a problem a lot of men face. The fear of vulnerability!

Important thing to note about men that have issues with commitment. Vulnerability is scarier than death. They’ll play games with you because they are looking for a short term commitment, they’re too immature, however there are others that want to commit long term, but they have a difficult time making it happen partly due to the fear of vulnerability. 

Why is vulnerability so scary?

The unwillingness or inability to be vulnerable could be due to past trauma or past relationship baggage. The fear of vulnerability may be a way to protect ourselves emotionally from being hurt again.

We also live in a culture where it’s considered weak, needy and pathetic for men to show vulnerability. We also assume that men don’t feel hurt when they’re let down due to a relationship that didn’t work out or childhood trauma, they do have feelings and they do get hurt, but it’s a major turn off to express ourselves emotionally. We get labeled as “pussified”, “a nice guy”, “weak”. 

Men also fear being vulnerable due to superficial issues such as the fear of not being wealthy enough, smart enough or good looking enough. The fear stems from the fear of being judged. This fear can cause us to pretend to be someone else and can cause stress and a disconnect between who we are in our hearts and who we pretend to be in our minds.

These emotions are expressed in a negative way. Some men start abusing drugs and alcohol, some become addicted to work, while others develop a need to constantly be validated by women to boost their shattered egos. Anything to not have to be vulnerable ever again.

These emotions should be expressed in a more positive way. Instead of feeling bitter about past hurt it’s important for men to put that negative energy to good use.

How can negative emotions be expressed positively?

When we ignore our emotions such as the fear of vulnerability it’s not the healthiest thing to do. The emotions we feel will eventually come out in different ways.

Instead of ignoring our emotions they can be expressed in positive ways including:

Exercise: Exercising is not only good for you it can boost your energy and add years to your life. Exercise improves not only your physical well being, but your mental well being as well by managing depression and anxiety that comes with negative emotions.

Practice self-compassion: Self-compassion can be practiced during periods of perceived inadequacy, failure or general suffering. It entails being warm toward yourself when encountering pain and personal shortcomings, gathering than ignoring them or harming yourself.

Ask yourself why you don’t want to open up?: Learn about yourself and why the fear of vulnerability affects your life. Parts of my past are difficult to talk about with other people. I once had to deal with serious mental health problems and only worked part time for two years and barely left home when I wasn’t working. I’ve gotten better since then and I have my bad days, however I feel like the baggage from that time in my life still affects my personal life now. Mental illness whether it was a past problem or a current problem is one of the top deal breakers in any would be relationship. Worse than unemployment and being an Ex con.

Meditation and Mindfulness: The practice of meditation and mindfulness can help you focus on living in the present moment without regrets about the past or fear of the future. It can also help us reconnect with who we actually are.

Know Thy Fear: It’s important to get in touch with yourself by knowing about what you fear. Instead of eliminating fear it’s important to expose it so it shrinks and makes you less fearful of what you’re afraid of. Gaining a deeper understanding of what you fear is achieved by facing it. If you really wanted to identify exactly what you’re dealing with what you fear can be dissected and analyzed.

Vulnerability is necessary for building intimacy in a relationship. It allows other people to get to know the real you and you get to know yourself.

What are the ways you deal with what you fear?

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