Meditation Will Save Your Life

A friend recently told me he had coughed up blood due to stress. He discovered the harmful effects that can be caused by holding on to stress, anger, frustration and other negative emotions.

The best way to solve this problem is meditation.

I could write about the scientifically studied effects of meditation: reducing stress, pain, anxiety, aging, depression, feelings of loneliness and inflammation at the cellular level.

Or how it increases your immune function, positive emotions, emotional intelligence, compassion, ability to regulate emotions, ability to introspect, grey matter in key areas of your brain, focus, multitasking, memory and creativity.

But instead, I would like to write about the most important benefit that meditation gives us.

The Ability To Let Go.

We are always our own worst critics. I label almost everything I do as “not good enough” no matter how many people tell me otherwise.

We all judge our bodies, habits, careers, intelligence, and lifestyles more than anyone else ever could. We beat ourselves up so much and the worst part is that we think it is normal.

When we aren’t holding grudges against ourselves, we are holding on to all the negativity the world gives us.

Something makes us angry in the morning and it ruins our day, or something stresses us out and we can’t let go of it. We hold on to anger, sadness, envy, stress, regret and so much more.

Our mental well-being is one of the most important building blocks to a happy and fulfilled life. If we don’t have a healthy mind we can never get near our full potential.

We are robbing the world of the beautiful gifts we could be sharing, just because we can’t seem to let go of any of the things that do us no good.

When We Meditate.

We focus on the breath. It might not seem like much, but it is hard.

Thoughts will come up and we will get trapped in them for minutes at a time before snapping back and re-focusing on the breath.

We will have thoughts about the things that have angered us recently, the things we dislike about ourselves and the world; all the automatic and vindictive thoughts that circle in our brain on a daily basis.

When we practice snapping out of these thought patterns and focusing back on our breath we are constantly exercising our ability to let go of the thoughts that only hurt us.

Over time we get quicker and quicker at this until our negative knee-jerk reactions can no longer drag us down the rabbit hole.

When We Are In The Real World.

After practicing meditation and letting go, we become experts in daily life.

When we see someone more popular, richer and better looking than us, we get jealous. But we’ve practiced for this, and so we immediately let go and go about our day without a second thought.

When someone cuts us off in traffic, instead of letting the anger build and ruin our day, we let it go. When we have thoughts that put down and hurt us, we let them go.

We let go of everything that does no good for us and we never look back.

That is what meditation gives us, a second chance after every negative thought, every unhealthy emotion, and every harmful event.

In practicing meditation, we practice letting go. And when you let go of the bad, you make a lot more room for the good.

 

Life As An Orange

On frequent occasions throughout the day, we encounter situations that make us frustrated, angry and resentful.

During these times, we blame the other individuals or external forces. We feel they are the source of our ill feelings. They made us feel this way.

We often think, without these people in our lives, we’d be better off.

Oranges.

When you squeeze an orange, naturally orange juice comes out. Why does it come out? Because that is exactly what is housed inside that delicious rind.

Let us think of our bodies as individual little oranges.

When people take jabs at us, poke us and make us feel frustrated, resentful or angry, it isn’t them that make us feel those feelings.

Like the orange, we already hold those feelings inside ourselves. The jabs from the world accentuate the feelings we inherently possess.

We allow feelings of frustration, anger, and resentment to live deep within us and lay dormant until the world is able to poke it out of us.

So then, how do we remedy our internal feelings? How do we take charge of our thoughts, feelings and actions and explode with happiness rather than anger?

We’ve come up with a few techniques to train our body and mind, shedding away any ill feelings that lay dormant.

A) Cancel Rule

In our many life experiences, we have encountered many jabs and pokes. In most cases, these scenarios are largely unavoidable. Sometimes, the people we spend the most time with are the worst for us.

While we advocate ways to change our circumstances, there are alternate methods without drastically cutting people out of our lives.

In our next dicey encounter, let us remember the Cancel Rule. When someone takes a jab we must rapidly and repeatedly yell ‘cancel’ inside our heads.

We cannot let their words penetrate our fleshy rind.

We must train our brain to cancel out their negative thoughts. We must never internalize them or let them sit inside our bodies.

Allowing such a scenario only adds to our pot of ill feelings. Use the Cancel Rule as a method to avoid internalization.

B) Deep Breathing

Our brains chase the easiest method to any scenario. When we encounter a less-than-stellar situation, we often get flustered and our breathing gets shallow.

Shallow breathing is a reaction when we’re angry or frustrated. The primary muscles, which facilitate breathing—diaphragm, abdomen, chest, and neck—are tense which limits free-flowing unconscious breathing.

As our negative thoughts continue to circle around our heads, our breathing inadvertently becomes shorter and quicker, only increasing the ill feelings.

When the world pokes at us, let us stop and think of our breathing. Let us fill our bellies up fully and slowly till our angry orange juice subsides.

Live long enough, and we’ll encounter our share of tough times. That’s okay. We all experience this from time-to-time. Ill feelings are relatively natural within us.

But imagine if we could control our thoughts, feelings and actions? Imagine if we could truly harness our ability to choose happiness over anger.

Well, we can. We believe this goal is relatively simple to achieve.

Through some diligent actions and positive thoughts, we are able change our internal orange juice.

Until next time, my beautiful readers,

Be bold, be free and love on.

orange-quote-frank-sinatra

The 3 Rules For A Good Life

What is a good life? Without getting too philosophical, I think a good life is only based on a few rules.

There are too many rules in life. I’m told to stand up straight, act a certain way; don’t use the salad fork for the steak.

What do you mean?

A FORK IS A FORK!

Amidst all the criticisms how do you live a good life? To be honest, I don’t know. But, here’s where I start:

1) Laughter

Every single day, I insert a reason to laugh. As children we laugh about 300 times a day. As an adult, that number is reduced to a meager 7.

SEVEN.

How did we go from 300 to 7?

Did we cross some bridge of agony and now here we are: Mindless drones that wake up, go to work, participate in office gossip, watch Breaking Bad, and then sleep and die?

Laughter is really hard as an adult. It must be, right? Going from 300 to 7? There must have been some sort of life-changing traumatic event that occurred between childhood and adulthood.

We need to get back to our childhood roots. We need to laugh more. Start here:

Standup – Dave Chappelle, Louis C.K. Gabriel Iglesias

T.V. Shows – Blue Mountain State, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Office

Movies– Anchorman, Happy Gilmore

YouTube – Our Own Gentlemen’s Corner (no list would be complete without it)

2) Be Grateful

Start your day with gratefulness. Before I get out of bed, every morning, I say ‘thank you.’ The simple-ness of living often gets taken for granted.

“But I’m drowning in debt. I have no friends. My family hates me.”

Even if it seems like you have nothing to be grateful for, there is always something. You can still breathe. You can still come up with ideas. You can still walk and eat and live.

In a previous post, I mentioned the importance of being grateful. You can check that out for more information.

Grateful-300x300

3) Never go to bed angry

I seldom get angry, but when it happens I make sure to deal with it immediately. Address it with the other and with yourself.

Your ego will not let it escape your thoughts. Cast your ego away. Allow those angry thoughts to float away into the wind.

Ask yourself, ‘how much does this matter?’

More often than not, it doesn’t.

Ending the day with anger sets the tone for your next day. Those thoughts fester in your sleep and you wake up with them, fresh in your head. Those thoughts will weigh you down.

Apologize or let it go completely. It’s not worth wasting your life over any problem.

For me, I know everything will be fine if I follow these consistently. And maybe, I can laugh, be grateful for the advice and shrug it off the next time someone tells me that I’m using the wrong fork.

Be bold, be free, and love on.