Struggling to sleep? You could be deficient in magnesium. This essential mineral helps you to fall asleep, as well improving the quality of sleep. It aids the function of a number of other physical processes too, and it known to lower blood pressure and lift low moods.
Magnesium is an ingredient in lots of the foods we eat every day, and it’s one of the most common minerals on the planet — and yet many of us don’t have enough of it in our bodies. Try picking up a magnesium supplement to top up your levels. It balances melatonin levels and supports the nervous system in settling down so that you feel relaxed and sleepy before you drift off.
No time to meditate today? Not true! Do this right now to incorporate a moment of meditative work into your day:
Place the palm of your hands again a textured surface. It could be a tree, the fabric of your chair or clothing, a wall, or any other surface available to you.
If possible, close your eyes — but if you’re doing this practice with other people around, it’s fine to keep them open. In that case just allow your vision to soften and become slightly hazy.
Focus your awareness on the sensations you feel in the palm of the hand. The connection between the hand and that surface, and the different elements of texture that you can identify. Become aware of the landscape of the texture beneath the hand. And keep this focus for 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds, take the hand away from that surface and rest it on something with a smoother texture, like your desk or even the back of your phone. Notice the change in sensation.
And then take one deep breath and carry on with your day.
In a good relationship you don’t have to feel restricted. You don’t have to feel as though you’re sacrificing your freedom in order to be with that person. In fact, it’s the opposite.
The support of a loving and trusting relationship makes you free. It gives you the space to pursue your dreams and to seek meaning in life with the knowledge that this person — this amazing, beautiful, strong, nurturing and inspiring person — is there to back you up.
When you are invested in the happiness of your partner, and they are invested in your happiness, something kind of incredible happens. You don’t feel insecure and neither does she. You don’t feel scared and you don’t feel limited, and neither does she. You feel as though nothing is beyond your reach and…life is good.
In the words of the Terminator himself, “training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body.”
What Arnie is getting at is that our spiritual health is improved through exercise just as our physical health is. When you don’t move your body your energy gets stuck. You feel slow, static and low. And training your body moves that energy so that you are lifted and revitalized.
A number of ancient traditions also suggest that a fundamental truth of spiritual progression is that the body must be trained along with the mind — and whether you’re listening to movie heroes or spiritual gurus, this wisdom should not be ignored.
As social creatures, humans crave — and thrive within — community. But many of us don’t think about this in relation to our careers. Actually, considering the kind of community that would give you the most motivation, support and inspiration and then figuring out how to create that for your self can have a huge impact on your success.
It could be that the community you need is within a company, or it could be broader than that. For example, a community of people who are connected because they share a trade or skillset, or an online community of freelancers who offer one another their advice, conversation and mentorship.
Whether you work alone or within an organization you can enter into, or build from scratch, a community of likeminded professionals who will lift you up on the tough days and celebrate your victories with you. It’s good for your mindset, your development, and for networking opportunities.
Admitting when you’ve made a mistake is important. And saying sorry when you’ve hurt someone is crucial for healthy and loving relationships. But apologizing when you haven’t done anything wrong, or saying sorry just to make yourself more likable, can have a negative impact on your self esteem.
Do you say “I’m sorry to bother you, but…” when you’re asking for help? Do you include get-out statements in your requests, such as saying “Don’t worry if you’re too busy, but…” or do you use body language that makes you smaller or places you outside of the centre of focus?
Practice asking for things without using any apologetic language or behavior. It might feel uncomfortable to start with. But persevere and you’ll experience a shift in the confidence and respect you feel and receive.
Philosopher Baruch Spinoza suggested that we should look at each other’s characteristics and perceived faults “not in the light of vices of human nature, but as properties…” — with all of those properties being part of the human organism as a whole. He argued that all actions have a cause which can be discovered if you look for it. Thinking of people in this way can help us to be a little bit more understanding when their actions don’t live up to our expectations!
Make your first steps into this new year with compassion and curiosity. The next 365 days are waiting to be filled with love, open communication and deep connection. This is the perfect time to let go of how you think your relationships should be, and embrace the potential of what they could become.
Sleep may not be at the forefront of your thoughts on the eve of the new year — but how about making 2019 your Year of Better Sleep? Actually, it’s an all around life hack. If you commit to improving the quality and duration of your sleep throughout the year, any other resolutions you want to stick to will become easier.
Because sleep makes you more productive, more resilient, and increases your chances of making good decisions. The effects of even mild sleep deprivation cannot be underestimated, but lots of us place the blame on other aspects of our lifestyle before we consider whether the hours we spend (or don’t spend) asleep might be responsible for some of our day to day problems. So — happy new year and happy snoozing!
Do you struggle with tense personal relationships, or find yourself getting frustrated frequently at work? If conflict and irritation is the norm for you, it’s worth considering that other people might not be to blame.
You don’t have to be impatient and irritable.
Research from Harvard University shows that a regular meditation practice — even for just a few minutes a day — can make you behave more kindly towards other people. This is because meditation heightens your sense of compassion and empathy; it becomes easier for you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and realize that they’re not trying to annoy you. And the more you meditate, the more likely you’ll be Teflon to negativity. The result for you? You’ll feel better about yourself and you’ll connect better with other people.
Feeling stressed? A lot? Every day? Every hour, even? Don’t worry — you’re not alone. But you don’t have to feel this way.
A simple solution for stress which works in the short term but can actually have long term positive implications for the levels of stress hormones in your body is: laughter!
Head to YouTube and watch some standup — if no comedian springs to mind, we recommend Judah Friedlander or Dave Chapelle. Or download comedy podcasts to your phone and listen on your way to work. Studies show that laughter reduces stress, promotes good health and even helps to manage physical pain. It stimulates the production of chemicals in your brain which make you feel happier; and by laughing at least twice a day, even when you’re not feeling great, you can use these chemicals to counter the effects of stress hormones in your body.
It’s easy to think about health and fitness in terms of right now. In terms of how our bodies look, how attractive we are, and how much weight we can lift.
But what about the long term?
Thinking about your body in the future is less popular because…well, who wants to think about their bodies in 40 or 50 years time?! But actually, focusing on sustainable and long term health can motivate you to create habits which will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Is the food you’re eating now really giving you the fuel you need to function well long term? Are you focusing on a short, intense period of working out or dieting to achieve a short term goal — or do you want to build a diet and exercise regime that will make you feel and look good for years to come?
Billionaire entrepreneur Charlie Munger says that the “safest way to try and get what you want is to try and deserve what you want.” What does that mean? In essence, it means you need to give before you receive; be generous, share what you can with the world, and in doing so you’ll win the trust and respect of the people you come into contact with.
And that will come back to you. Those people you helped will be happy to help you when they can, and they’ll think of you when opportunities arise that they know you’d be perfect for.
Whether you call it karma, the law of attraction, reaping what you sow or just common sense — it doesn’t matter. Help where you can and you get back as much, if not more than you give.
What does clarity mean to you?
Clarity is important in a short term, micro sense and in a long term, macro sense. In this moment right now, conscious awareness helps you to see things as they are. It cuts through delusions and illusions and gives you the space to recognize what’s working and what isn’t. And in the long term, clarity allows you to see what you’re aiming for, what you want to achieve, and develop a solid plan for getting there.
Being clear about what you want means that you can take purposeful steps into the future. So get clear! Use the tools available to you, including meditation and writing, to identify what’s most important to you and plan your route to success in all areas of life.
Happy Holidays from Meditate.Awake! What is this time of year really about, if not love? Forget about the daily grind today. Relinquish responsibility for the pressures in your life, whatever they may be.
And love the people you’re with. This can be easier said than done — lots of us struggle as we reunite with rarely-seen relatives today and negotiate undercurrents of tension. But whether you are spending the day with people you get with easily, or whether you’re dealing with more difficult relationships; love them. Love the people you’re with. Drop the conditions and just love them.
Know that you can disagree with them and still love them. You can be the one who steps up and sees beyond past conflict and stress. You might find that you feel some of that love being directed right back at you.
You’ve probably heard that there are different stages of sleep — but do you know what those stages are and why each one of them is important?
The five stages are build one on another starting with light sleep; then deeper sleep, when eye movement reduces and the brain waves slow down; then even deeper delta sleep; then continued deep delta sleep; and finally, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
All of these stages make up a complete sleep cycle which usually takes between 90-120 minutes to complete. Good quality uninterrupted sleep is vital because each stage plays a unique part in restoring the body’s energy and promoting healing processes. A good night’s sleep typical include 4-5 complete cycles! Get to know your sleep cycles and give your body the time it needs to rest.
Studies which use brain imaging to look at what happens to the brain while meditating have shown that meditation can actually change the brain physically in a number of different ways. One such change is an increase in tissue in the brain region that regulates impulse control and concentration.
Seriously. The part of your brain that helps you focus and make good, considered decisions gets bigger when you meditate. That gives a whole new meaning to personal growth, doesn’t it? Meditation doesn’t just help you grow on an emotional level, it expands important brain areas physically too. If you struggle to commit to a meditation practice, there’s some concrete motivation straight from the research labs of neuroscientists!
Sometimes, to get out of a stressed, anxious headspace, the best thing to do is something completely out of your comfort zone.
Think of it like this: our stress is relative. People who are financially secure, for example, might be more likely to worry about the details when people on the poverty line might be worried about how they’ll put the next meal on the table. This isn’t meant to minimize the validity of your stress, but just to point out that the things that get to us are relative to our overall security, health, and comfort in life.
So if you’re struggling with stress, do something that scares you. Gain perspective by going beyond your current level of comfort. You might have experienced this kind of perspective before; for example, traveling in a country where you don’t speak the language, and realizing that getting by at home in your own language is actually very simple in comparison.
A vast number of men try to exercise their way to fitness, thinking that by training hard they can override the importance of healthy eating. This was the preferred method of Kevin Curry — now a men’s nutrition guru — before he realized that it just wasn’t possible to get the body he wanted without changing what he ate.
“Our bodies are built in the kitchen,” he says, and “sculpted in the gym”. And if you avoid eating well because you think it won’t taste as good…you couldn’t be more wrong. By educating yourself on food, just as Curry did, you can enter into a whole new world of eating in which you can become healthy and fit and eat tasty, nourishing food — instead of tasty almost-but-not-quite-food devoid of nutritional value.
For those moments when you need to regain your focus and mental clarity quickly, use this practice — inspired by a traditional Indian technique called Trataka. You’ll need a flame; it could be a match, a lighter, or a candle.
Light the flame and then place it down or hold it at arms length in front of you. Focus your eyes on the flame. Don’t look away, and don’t blink. Keep your gaze on the flame until your eyes are watering and you really have to close them.
And then when you close your eyes spend a few moments noticing the colors and shapes that you see in the darkness behind the eyelids.
As well as improving concentration this technique is thought to help keep your eyes healthy, and it has a calming effect on an overstimulated mind.
Move on instead of holding on. When we’re stressed out we hold on tight to everything we can. We create more and more tension in our minds and bodies — it builds, and builds, and on and on; and we get wound up so tight that we can’t see anything clearly.
So instead of holding on, move on. Take a deep breath and make the conscious decision to let go of physical tension. The body relaxes. The chest opens and expands. Take another deep breath and make the conscious decision to let go of mental tension.
Moving on is very different from giving up. By deciding not to hold on to your stresses and struggles you move yourself into a more flexible state of mind and from there, you can assess the challenges you face with calm and clarity.
Shame is one of those things that can be underlying our limits. So whether we seek to have a better career, make more money, or find a deeper purpose that serves humanity - hear how shame can play it’s part to hold you back!
You were meditation practice is yours. Trying to fit yourself into somebody else’s habits and routines may not always work, that’s why you will benefit from finding the meditation practice that works for you. Meditating in the morning is often beneficial so see what time, what style and what way meditation can help support your life!
I was walking down the street and was practicing a technique I use quite often to soften my perspective and increase my awareness, so I thought I’d record it for you. Please forgive the background noise as I wanted to capture it in the moment, and at the moment I was walking through Santa Monica :)
Sleep is such an important part of a balanced & awake life. Here i touch on two things you can do today to help you unplug and fall asleep faster as well as wake up easier in the morning. Try it today!
We all get knocked off center sometimes. This is a quick and effective way to reset. Find a place where you have 2-3 minutes to not be bothered and give it a shot... what do you have to lose besides stress??
Malcolm Gladwell writes that “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” To get where you want to go in life you have to start practicing now. Today. If you save your dedication and focus for when you are successful, you’ll never be successful. Listen to hear more!
Often times I say “Bring meditation to life” and this story illustrates just how that looks like in life. Meditation is the foundation, one side of a triangle, with the other to sides being “insight” and “action”.
TIME SAVER is a series that brings you top passages from the best books so you can experience the highlights of some of the best authors. Passages will be thought provoking, motivational, funny, educational, and always with the purpose of supporting a positive, awake life.
Hungry Angry Lonely Tired... four filters to scan your experience and get calibrated during the your day. Get the extra support you need when you’re around family, friends, or coworkers by supporting yourself with the H.A.L.T. test.