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Finding Calm in the Storm

Finding Calm in the Storm

Finding inner peace in the modern world is a significant challenge especially after experiencing loss and grief. Everything about modern society feels like an obstacle to experiencing peace of mind. But there are ways to find and maintain inner peace. Inner peace is a choice, and many of your habits determine how much peace you experience in your daily life.

Experience these 9 calming strategies that help find inner peace and enjoy life on a deeper, more satisfying level:

1. Focus your attention on those things you can control. Why worry about those things you can’t control? It sours your mood and makes you less capable. Literally ask yourself, “Is this something I can control? Will worrying be beneficial in any way?”

2. Spend time in nature. The original humans didn’t live in a 3-bedroom ranch and eat microwave popcorn. Take a long walk in the park or spend a weekend camping. You’ll feel dramatically different compared to sitting in a building 24 hours every day. There’s something peaceful about spending time among the birds and the trees.

3. Be true to yourself. Few things are more disconcerting than living a life you weren’t meant to live. It continuously gnaws away at you. Live a life that’s congruent with your values. It’s too easy to allow society dictate your choices. You don’t have to spend your life on a career that’s impressive to others. You don’t have to chase after a fancy house. Make your own decisions about what’s most important to you.

4. Eat nutritiously.You might not realize how bad you feel because you’re so used to it. Try eating the way you know you should for just a week. Note the change in how you feel. Now try eating some junk food and see what happens to your mood and your overall sense of well-being. You’ll feel like you’ve been run over by truck.

5. Exercise regularly. Have you ever noticed how great you feel as you’re walking out of the gym? Exercise feels good, and you feel good about yourself for doing it.

6. Do something nice for someone else. This is a great way to take your focus off of yourself. You become more aware that others are struggling, too. When you are kind, you receive kindness in return. You’ll also feel a sense of pride and satisfaction when you help someone else.

7. Be assertive. Be open and forward with your needs and desires. You’re not only more likely to get what you want, but you’ll also feel more in control of your life. Being passive results in having less control, which runs counter to inner peace. Be bold without being aggressive.

8. Meditate. Meditation is calming. It also helps to see life and its challenges more accurately. Things are often better than they seem. Meditation can prevent your mind from making a situation seem worse than it really is.

9. Avoid trying to change others. You’ll have as much success trying to change the weather. It’s hard enough to change yourself. How will you ever manage to change someone else?

It’s important to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Eat properly, exercise, and be true to yourself. Be assertive and take control of your life. All the accomplishments in the world can’t replace inner peace. Avoid chasing after those things that society has determined to be important. Decide for yourself and live the life you were meant to live.

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Feeling Lighter with Forgiveness

Feeling Lighter with Forgiveness

As a caregiver, you can find yourself in situations where you feel judged, belittled, left out, or not appreciated. If someone hasn’t walked in your shoes, words can be said that can be hurtful and misunderstood. You can forgive others in these tough and uncomfortable situations without feeling like a doormat. If you stop waiting for an apology, it is easier to move forward. The advantages of forgiveness are the same whether the other person apologizes or not. Think of pardoning others as something you do for yourself rather than for them. Below are some suggestions:

1.Lighten up. Grudges are a heavy burden. When you release your anger and disappointment, you’ll free up energy you can devote to the things you love.

2. Show compassion. Each of us makes mistakes. When you give someone a second chance, remember that you’ll probably need one yourself someday.

3. Strengthen your relationships. Family and friends are precious. Develop connections that can withstand conflicts. Resolving your disagreements can even draw you closer together when you cooperate on finding solutions.

4. Take control. You’re in charge of your own happiness. Start feeling content right now instead of checking your phone to see if your boyfriend apologized yet.

5. Promote healing. Most of all, a loving and forgiving heart is good for your mental and physical health. You might even live longer.

Sometimes you want to forgive, but resentments still linger. These steps will help you overcome the barriers to reconciliation.

1. Wish others well. Imagine yourself celebrating the good fortune of someone who offended you. Force yourself to speak kindly to them, and you’ll eventually start to cherish them for real.

2. Hold yourself accountable. In most cases, you probably played some part in the conflict. Acknowledge your actions and figure out how to make positive changes.

3. Put yourself in their shoes. When someone fails to apologize, it usually has more to do with them than with you. They may feel ashamed or vulnerable. When you think about their pain, you may feel like you have more in common.

4. Resist all-or-nothing thinking. Distinguish between the human being and their actions. If your boss criticizes you unfairly, list the things you still like about her.

5. Write it down. Venting your feelings in a diary or an imaginary letter helps to sort things out. You can express yourself freely without worrying about widening the divide.

6. Reach out. If someone close to you has trouble apologizing, you may need to make an extra effort. Let them see how you apologize and take responsibility for your actions so they can discover more options

7. Set boundaries. On the other hand, you may decide to limit contact if the relationship is dragging you down. You can still have affection and respect for someone you may need to keep at a distance at least temporarily

8. Cultivate your peace of mind. The more secure you feel, the easier it is to focus on helping others rather than judging them. You’ll understand that your future depends on your choices rather than real or imagined insults.

Forgiveness allows you to let go of the past and free yourself from anger and resentment. It’s a decision you can make on your own regardless of whether others apologize or show little remorse. You have nothing to be sorry about when you give yourself the happiness you deserve.

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Mindfulness… for Balance!

Mindfulness… for Balance!

Meditation, particularly mindfulness meditation, has become extremely popular over the last few years. While meditation can be very simple, there are several common mistakes and misconceptions about meditation that you’ll want to avoid if you’re new to the practice. Getting started on the right foot increases the odds of maintaining your meditation practice and getting the most benefits from it.

Use these 16 practical tips to avoid meditation pitfalls:

1. Sit up straight. Slouching may be comfortable for a couple of minutes, but it takes more strength than you think to support poor posture. Sit up straight and let your skeleton support your weight.

2. Start slowly. Just a couple of minutes is enough to start. There are two good reasons for this. It’s easier to be compliant when you only have to sit for three minutes at a time. It’s also challenging to meditate for an extended period of time if you’re not experienced

3. Meditate multiple times each day. By sitting for just a couple of minutes, you should have time to sit for multiple sessions. You might want to try meditating for a few minutes each hour.

4. It’s all about the breath. Your breath connects you to the moment and helps to keep your mind focused. The breath isn’t something to be focused on intensely, rather it acts as an anchor to maintain awareness of the present.

5. Count if necessary. If you’re struggling to maintain awareness of your breath, count your breaths. Count each inhalation until you’ve reached five and then start over.

6. Keep your eyes opened slightly. It’s easier for your mind to wander from the present if your eyes are closed. Keep your gaze lowered and soft.

7. Acknowledge thoughts but avoid dwelling on them. All thoughts should be treated the same. They’re just phenomena passing through. Let them go and return your attention to the breath.

8. Be patient. It seems like it should be easy to concentrate for a few minutes, but the mind likes to stay busy. It’s a challenging habit to break. Be patient.

9. Sit comfortably. It’s not necessary to sit with your legs folded up like a pretzel. Any position that can be held comfortably for the planned time is good enough.

10. Use a timer. Without a timer, you’ll find yourself worrying about the time and continue to peek at the clock. Set a reliable timer and you won’t be as preoccupied with the time.

11. Increase your meditation time by 5 minutes each week. Avoid the temptation to progress too quickly. Ideally, you’ll look forward to your meditation sessions. Progressing too quickly causes restlessness and agitation.

12. Consider getting expert assistance. There are many free opportunities to meditate with others. Look for local meetups or contact your local Buddhist temple. With so many people meditating, you’re bound to find an expert willing to help.

13. Take every opportunity to meditate. Meditating at home under perfect conditions is great practice, but the ultimate goal is to have the ability to meditate anywhere. A skilled meditator can meditate on a 99-degree packed, loud, smelly, subway.

14. Be persistent. If you’re meditating each day with the full intention of improving, you’ll eventually become a skilled meditator.

15. Stretch first. Your meditation position should be comfortable and easy. If your position feels like a stretch, you won’t be comfortable. Stretch first.

16. There’s no reason to be concerned about your hands. Just place your hands comfortably on your lap. Allowing your hands to be lower can eventually pull down on the shoulders and become uncomfortable.

Meditation can bring you both mental and physical benefits. Use these tips when beginning to meditate and you’ll quickly become skillful at a practice you can enjoy for the rest of your life.

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