The ABC’s of Meditation- 3 Different Styles for a Stress Free 2017 December 30 2016
Sometimes (ok, almost always) the end of the year brings with it a ton of stress and anxiety. Not just in terms of the year-end madness at work, but because of all the untied loose ends and unfinished business that unveil themselves as we inevitably head into an existential reflection of what we’ve accomplished throughout the past year. Hopefully, you are feeling positive about 2016 and entering 2017 with optimism and motivation. But incase you’re just human, and find yourself feeling a bit anxious or uneasy about what lies ahead, know that you’re not alone. More importantly, there are coping mechanisms that we can (and should!) use every day to help us stay level headed and balanced. Meditation is, for some, a vague and ominous concept. However, it’s important to know that meditation is simply just the act of silencing your loud inner voices for a while, connecting with your inner calm, releasing stress and worry, and being in the present moment . Rather than making it a big deal, think of it as a simple and gradual process that you are trying to turn into a habit.
(Image via www.boldselfimprovement.com)
There are many different methods of meditation, so if you’re not connecting with one, don’t give up! There doesn’t have to be some huge revelation or amazing epiphany that occurs, but rather a sense of deeper connection with yourself and a developed ability to control your stress and emotional state through the process. If you stick with it, this can be a useful tool or coping mechanism for times of high stress and anxiety. Here is a quick breakdown of the three main types of meditation.
This is probably the simplest form, making it the most suitable for beginners. This form of meditation solely entails being in the present moment, and silencing all other thoughts and outside noise. Though simple, this type of meditation is not always easy, particularly if you’re someone that struggles to clear your mind and silence the outside noise. However, if you’re one of those people, this type of meditation may prove to be the most beneficial, if you’re up for a challenge! To try Mindfulness Meditation, sit in a quiet space and try focusing on your breathing. Then, let go of all judgement. If negative thoughts creep in, let them go and focus on the silence. Just be in the moment. For more info, check out this article.
This type of meditation involves the repetition of a mantra, or a positive saying that has significance to you and your life. It is recommended to practice Transcendental Meditation twice a day, in 20 minute sessions. This is a great approach if your goal is to promote relaxation, alleviate stress, or promote positivity and self-development. This is a good type of meditation for those who struggle to clear the mind and be in the moment, as the mantra guides you in a sense and allows you to focus on your intention. This is a beneficial practice for anyone looking to lift their mood, is recovering from a trauma or experiencing extreme stress or depression. For more info, click here.
(Image via Popsugar)
This is an instructor-led form of meditation that guides you through the process. Different techniques are taught in these sessions, such as body scans and affirmations, and it’s a great option for those who prefer instruction or get distracted easily. The guided style is particularly effective if you have a specific focus on your meditation, something you’re trying to eliminate or achieve like reducing physical tension or overcoming emotions. There are tons of Podcasts and Apps that offer Guided Sessions if you’re interested in trying it out, such as Headspace. Learn more here.
Are you ready to get in touch with your inner self and work toward a self-aware, stress free 2017? Which form of meditation works best for you? Let us know in the comments below!
Why Wait for the New Year? 8 Things to do BEFORE 2016 is Over. December 02 2016
So often we wait until January 1 to finally look at our lives, reevaluate, and set goals or put a plan into action. This makes the first day of the new year seem ominous, existential and fraught with pressure and intimidation. Why not start the process a bit earlier and knock a few things off your 2017 list before you wake up with the inevitable post NYE hangover, feeling depressed and overwhelmed as you are finally forced to take a good hard look back at the past year? Attempt at least a few of the following steps over the next month to take some of the pressure off that first day of the New Year and give yourself a head start at accomplishing your goals and following your resolutions!
Tie Up Loose Ends.
You know those smaller items that keep getting pushed to the bottom of your “to do list” every month to make room for seemingly more important ones? Time to face them. Whether they’re household chores, uncomfortable conversations or tedious admin tasks, tackle them one by one and give yourself a clean slate for the new year.
Pay a Visit to your Doctor & Dentist.
Rather than trying to schedule a dozen appointments in January (along with the rest of the world) pay a visit to your doc and dentist and get a check-up before the New Year rush. You’ll feel better knowing you’re healthy and on top of it rather than neglecting any pending health issues until the new year that might impede your forward momentum. (We know, it'd be a whole lot more enticing if the doc looked like this guy.)
(Image via Huffington Post)
Do a Year-End Clean
Go through your closets, file cabinet, and any other storage areas and give them a thorough cleanse. Get rid of anything that hasn’t been worn or used in the last year, or that doesn’t have any purpose for the foreseeable future. The new year will be busy, so you’re more likely to give it the time it deserves now and you’ll feel refreshed and organized come January 1.
Volunteer for the Holidays
This may not be something on your “to do” list, but ending the year with a good deed is good karma, and will set you on a positive and righteous path for the new year. Giving to others less fortunate is a habit we should continue all year round, but this time of year is especially important so that families in need can enjoy the holidays. You’ll feel rewarded after helping others, and this sense of accomplishment will be a great thing to carry into 2017 as you reflect on your year.
Book a Trip
Give yourself something to look forward to in the cold, dreary months of winter to come! Book a trip somewhere you’ve never been. Try to opt for a destination that will both rejuvenate you and enrich your mind and soul.
Sign Up for or Renew Your Gym Membership
Don’t wait until after all the boozy parties and rich Holiday dinners to get back on your health and fitness regimen. Get into your routine before the damage is done. Once your program is in motion, it won’t be as hard to motivate yourself to achieve your fitness resolutions as it would be after months of being lazy, inactive, and over indulging.
Organize an End of Year Gathering
Whether it’s a Holiday Bash, a New Year’s Eve soiree, or just a simple dinner or cocktails with close friends, gather some of your most treasured people together before the end of the year. Relationships are a big part of mental well-being, so don’t let your hectic work schedule or family obligations get in the way of spending time with friends and family at this special time of year. It’s a great way to reconnect with loved ones and start the new year in a good place in your relationships.
Write Yourself a Letter
Before you ring in 2017, take some time to write yourself a letter outlining all your accomplishments, significant milestones and events in 2016. Next, describe a few goals you’d like to achieve in the year to come. This should be an annual tradition so that you can look back the following year and compare. This practice also forces us to hold ourselves accountable to our goals so that we are continuously growing and evolving and thus enjoying a more fulfilling life.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives to realize we forget to stop once and a while and enjoy ourselves, and the people around us. This can wear on a person after a while, causing them to unknowingly emit negative vibes. So, it’s important to make a conscious effort to adopt a few daily habits to ensure you remain your happiest, most positive self. Whether it’s a quick moment as you’re going through the motions or a concentrated effort, try these 5 tricks regularly to improve your mood- permanently.
Ever stare at that girl in line at the grocery store with amazing boots, coveting, while never bothering to tell her how much you like them? Why not let her know? It’ll make her smile, and as we all know, smiles are contagious. There’s something satisfying about making someone’s day. Plus, it’s the law of attraction, once you’re smiling and feeling good, chances are someone will pay it forward and pay you a compliment next.
When we start thinking negatively, it’s easy to start losing sight of the positives and thus a snowball effect starts to happen. Once a day, whether it’s in the morning when you wake up or before bed at night, jot down a few things you are grateful for. They can be general or things that happened that day. This will help you maintain perspective and feel grateful for your blessings no matter what comes your way.
Inevitably in life we are going to go through some rough patches. Rather than beating yourself up over mistakes made, or seeing time as wasted, look at these experiences as an important lesson you will grow from. These tough times will shape you, strengthen you, and teach you more about yourself than anything else in life. So take a deep breath and consider what you learned from this unfortunate experience, and what you’ll take away from it moving forward.
Keeping in line with the whole “negative downward spiral” concept, complaining only perpetuates negative thinking. It also projects negative vibes, which no one wants to be around. When a problem or unfortunate circumstance arises, rather than talking about why it sucks, start thinking about how you can solve it or move past it, and talk about that instead. Think you’re not a complainer? Challenge yourself: no complaints for one week. You’ll be shocked how hard it is! But also how other people respond to your lack of negativity.
Sure, everyone dreams of grand gestures and huge moments, but so many small acts of kindness and happy moments are lost in between if we set our expectations too high. We’re not suggesting to “settle” or accept less than you deserve, but just to be reasonable and set attainable goals and expectations of others. This way, when those little acts of kindness happen, you won’t miss them. Appreciating these little moments will, naturally make us more grateful and lead to a happier, more positive outlook on life.
Try adopting these 5 habits and watch how much better you feel! Here’s to a happier you!