|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on May 10, 2015 at 5:55 PM||comments (0)|
(Photos by Will Mebane, graphic by Priscilla DeCastro)
People tend to lump all of the abs together. But your abs are actually a relatively complex series of distinct muscle groups, each with different functions in the body. They include your deep core muscles (transverse abdominis), side abs (obliques), and six-pack muscle (rectus abdominis).
Most abdominal exercises predominantly work one of these groups. Planks, for example, primarily train the deep ab muscles. Traditional crunches target the upper part of the six-pack muscle.
How to do this workout: Perform 12 reps of each exercise on both sides of the body, then immediately jump into the next exercise with minimal rest. After one round (all three exercises), rest for up to a minute; repeat for a total of three rounds. Do the workout three times per week on nonconsecutive days.
1. Power Plank:-
This is not just your average plank...
Start in a plank position with your elbows on the ground beneath your shoulders and your forearms pressed against the floor. Your body should form a straight line. Lift your hips and draw your knee to your chest; pause, then return to the plank. Alternate knees with each rep. Perform 12 reps per leg (24 total).
2. Under The Bridge:-
This move hits multiple ab muscle groups at a time...
Lie on your left side. Stack your feet on top of each other. Prop yourself up with your left hand and raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from head to toe. Raise your right arm to the sky. This is the starting position. Rotate at your waist to thread your right arm underneath your body; reverse the movement to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Complete all of the reps on one side, then switch.
3. X Dog:-
This particular move trains your abs in a way similar to how you naturally use them in real-life settings...
Get down on your hands and knees. Reach your left arm toward the wall in front of you; straighten your right leg and reach your foot toward the wall behind you. This is the starting position. Bend your right knee and windmill your left arm behind you to touch your fingertips to your shoe (or get as close as you can). Reverse the movement. Perform all of the reps on one side, then switch sides.
By: Amy Rushlow
*(Amy Rushlow is a National Magazine Award-winning editor and a certified strength and conditioning specialist)*
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on April 16, 2015 at 8:10 AM||comments (0)|
“Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress; which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.” ~Unknown
I’ve been practicing yoga, on and off, for fifteen years.
It’s helped me through and out the other side of infertility, kept me company on the long and winding road of adoption, and helped walk me out of the shadows of depression.
It’s a big part of my life, part of who I am—a faithful friend, the kind that welcomes you back with open arms even after you’ve been inattentive.
In fact, I’d say yoga always gives me what I call an “Alaskan welcome”—the kind my dearly departed dog used to give me whenever I walked into the house, as though I’d been all the way to Alaska instead of around the corner to the shops.
Yoga is always willing to give, but it’s a slow-burning love, and while it has rewarded me richly, I’ve had to wait for its gifts.
I have just completed yoga teacher training, at forty-six, proving the truth that you are never too old to teach (or learn).
While I’m pleased with my pace of learning, ironically, despite my age and experience, there is still so much yoga has to teach me.
And that’s okay, because I am realizing more and more that some of the best things, in yoga and in life, come to us slowly.
Here’s why I think slow is the way to go and why staying power is the most powerful kind.
1. Slow teaches us patience:-
And patience is its own gift, especially during times when things are out of our control and we have no choice but to wait it out. When we bring patience to gently moving toward a goal, we have it in reserve for when roadblocks get in the way (as they inevitably will).
2. Slow hones acceptance and gratitude:-
When we rush headlong into what we want to achieve, we can get easily frustrated with any hurdle or slight delay. (And frustration is unlikely to get us to our goal more quickly).
We also miss the opportunity to accept and be grateful for the small steps we take, those incremental achievements, and for where we are right now—for the good and the bad of everyday life.
3. Slow allows for small mistakes:-
Rush at something and we run the risk of messing up big-time. Take it slow and we get the chance to experiment with small mistakes, helping us to grow so we can hopefully avoid bigger mistakes in the future. We have to earn our lessons, and we don’t learn until we allow things to sink in.
4. Slow makes room for other stuff:-
When we want something fast we can become obsessed with that thing, as though the goal has taken on a life of its own.
While it’s great to prioritize what we really want, it doesn’t make sense to create imbalance in our lives with one overwhelming obsession. Who knows what (and who) you might miss out on if you do.
5. Slow builds resilience:-
The lyrics “It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees” might ring true, but I’m betting you’d still like to be around for a long life.
Slow is about building legacy, and along the way, resilience. That can only be won through endurance.
Fast is great for igniting passion and showing courage, but who do you think is braver and more passionate—the person who sprints out of the starting block or the one who keeps going over the long distance?
6. Slow is seasonal:-
Taking things slowly recognizes that sometime we need to sit and deliberate (by a fire or by the beach). We need to wait in faith for the universe rather than selfishly expecting our own desires to take precedence.
We need to look to nature to realize that the seasons cycle at their own pace, and we should always be willing to take things slower (and faster) as required.
Slow doesn’t have to be timid, or lazy, or less-than-smart. Slow isn’t a marker for fear and procrastination, nor apathy and indecision.
There’s a yoga asana (posture) that many people find difficult at first. The Sanskrit name is Supta Vijrasana, also known as Reclining Hero pose.
Unlike the standing Warrior postures, which are strong and forceful, the Hero pose calls for quiet strength as you kneel down and then surrender backward.
When I first got seriously back into yoga two years ago, after a sporadic year of practice prior, my knees would groan and my ankle joints scream when I tried to just kneel down and sit my bottom back between my heels.
I certainly couldn’t recline backward onto my back, while keeping my knees bent and touching each other and my feet close by my hips. But now, having taken it slowly, I can feel a little like a yoga hero.
I can realize the benefits of slow that have snuck up on me in their own sweet time. And I am most grateful.
Slow isn’t dull and boring, but contemplative and considered. Slow is the yin in a very yang world.
Slow is the strength of surrender, and surrender can be the most powerful kind of victory.
By : Kathy Kruger
Visit her at : www.yinyangmother.com
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on March 28, 2015 at 12:50 AM||comments (0)|
(Photos by Will Mebane, Graphic by Priscilla DeCastro)
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest, then move on to the next exercise. All three exercises are one circuit. Perform three circuits. (You can also perform 45 seconds of the exercise with 15 seconds rest, or do each move for a full minute back-to-back, depending on your fitness level).
The key to really making this workout challenging -- and getting the best results -- is to count your reps for every exercise. During the second and third rounds of the circuit, try to meet or increase your rep count. By competing against yourself, you’ll make the sweat session harder, boost your results, and keep improving with every workout.
Start squatting down with your hands and feet on the floor in a frog position, your hands underneath your shoulders and your feet outside each hand. Explosively jump up as high as you can, lifting your knees. At the top of the jump, try to touch your hands to your kneecaps. Land softly, returning to the frog position with hands on the floor. That’s one rep.
Tip: If that’s too difficult, eliminate the jump; move from squatting in frog position to standing tall.
2. Plank To Side Plank
Begin at the top of a push-up position. Lift your right hand off the floor as you rotate your body to the right side. Spiral your feet so that the side of each foot rests on the ground. Place your right hand on your hip. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your toes. Raise your top foot toward the sky as high as you can. Reverse the movement to end at the top of a push-up. That’s one rep. Alternate sides each rep.
Tip: To make it easier, don’t lift your foot to the sky.
3. Squat Kick
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes facing forward. Bend at your knees and hips, and push your butt back as you lower your body toward the ground. Go down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, or as far as you can. Shift your weight to your right foot as you raise your body up; at the same time, lift your left knee. At the top of the movement, kick forward with your left foot. Place both feet back on the ground. That’s one rep. Alternate the leg you kick with each rep.
By : Amy Rushlow
*(Amy Rushlow is a National Magazine Award-winning editor and a certified strength and conditioning specialist)*
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on March 19, 2015 at 6:40 AM||comments (0)|
The morning is one of your most crucial times when it comes to maintaining your health and fitness. Whether you work out in the AM or not, yoga is one of the most energizing ways to start your day.
Yoga is great for a number of reasons. First off, the stretching warms up your muscles and gets your blood circulating. This helps prepare you for whatever the day has to offer. Second, yoga is really energizing. It will wake you up mentally just as much as it will physically. And lastly, yoga is a great way to give your metabolism a boost in the morning.
So if you’re looking for a new and energizing way to start your days, give this 10-minute yoga routine a try. It’s a simple way to start things off on the right – and healthy – foot.
Do this routine for a couple of weeks, and you’ll start seeing the real benefits of yoga for improving all-around health.
Run through this sequence at least twice for a full 10-minute energizing routine…
One of my favorite ones to start with in the morning, child’s pose allows you to keep your eyes shut and wake up slowly. Simply kneel on your yoga mat, bend forward, and place your forehead on the floor as your extend your arms forward. You’ll really feel the bend in your back, and you’ll wake up your spine in seconds.
Stay here for 5 deep breaths.
Stay on your knees on your yoga mat, and lift your head up as your rest against your palms. You should now be on all fours. This move is actually 2 poses in 1. Start by pointing your head down towards the mat and bending your back upward towards the ceiling. Hold here for 3 deep breaths, then reverse the pose as you lift your head up towards the ceiling. Hold here for another 3 breaths.
Keeping your palms against the floor, extend your legs as your balance on your toes. Pull your buttocks towards the ceiling as you move your head towards the floor, creating a V-shape with your body. The goal here is to try to create a straight line with your arms, neck, shoulders, and back, bending at your hips only. Hold here for at least 5 breaths.
Stand up straight now, placing your feet a few inches apart. Bend forward at your hips, and allow your head to fall towards the floor, coming as close to your legs as possible. To help ease yourself into the pose, grab the back of your calves with your palms and pull your head inward to your body. Hold here for 5 breaths.
This last one will really enliven your body and get you energized. Stay in standing position, and extend your right foot out to the side by about 3 feet. Extend your arms up towards the ceiling, then bring your right hand down and place it on your right ankle. Extend your left hand towards the ceiling and look upward as you engage your abs and core. Hold here for 3 breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.
By : Sam Omidi
Visit him at : http://weightlossandtraining.com
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 13, 2014 at 6:35 AM||comments (0)|
You just can't meditate. You want to, you've tried to, but you just can't seem to switch the brain off or relax enough. You know how good meditation is for the mind, body and spirit and have read about it on health and wellness websites, social media and medical reviews.
You are not alone, and there's nothing wrong with you! As a yoga and meditation teacher I can say that many of my students feel exactly like this. By the end of this article, you'll feel a whole lot different about meditation!
Meditation can take different forms, but at its center it's about being really present and aware. Aware of what is going on inside and outside of yourself and accepting that. Meditation is also about learning to allow yourself to flow with life and being centered so you aren't at the mercy of your thoughts, emotions, people or events.
So let's dive right into how you can start meditating right away, without even knowing it!
1. Do an everyday task:-
Choose something you already do every day, like brushing your teeth, having your morning cup of coffee or ironing your clothes. The next time you start this task, focus on it. Bring your awareness to what you are doing using all your senses.
If you're having your coffee, smell the aroma, feel the warmth of the cup as you wrap your hands around it, taste the warmth and follow that warmth as you swallow. When you bring all your senses to a task and focus on this, you're in the present moment. That's the essence of meditation!
2. Take a bath or shower:-
Bathing is one of the few times we're happy to be alone and have privacy. We don't have computers, phones, or interruptions, and we can just be. A quick note here — if you do have computers or phones in the bath or shower with you, then you may need meditation more than you think!
Bring your awareness to the task at hand and mindfully focus all your senses on what you're doing and feeling. There's something about water that slows us down, relaxes us and cleanses and purifies. Use this state to help you unwind, enjoy and become aware of the joy of being. If you practice this you'll be amazed at how light and clean you feel on the inside and on the outside!
3. Do something creative:-
When we engage in a creative interest or passion, we are in fact doing a form of meditation. Creating allows us to focus on what's in front of us and stops us from thinking about the past or worrying about the future. We are just in the midst of an absorbing process, full of the joy of creating and all its potential. Whether you paint, rock climb, pole dance or garden, anything you love will help transport you to the now.
So keep up your hobbies and passions, or start something today if you've let life crowd out your time for creativity. Start where you are, scheduling in creative time once a month, a week or sprinkle creativity into your everyday life!
4. Go for a walk:-
You can walk anywhere, but if possible choose places you love, such as the ocean, forest or mountains. There's an energy that calls to us in these types of places. Regardless of where you walk, the point once again is to really be there. Feel the weather around you (the warmth of the sun, the breeze, the snow), be aware of how your feet connect to the earth and how your body moves.
What can you see and hear? What is the quality of your breath flowing in and out of your nostrils? How do you feel in this moment? When we do this, we truly experience what it means to be alive and mindful.
5. Join a meditation group:-
OK, so with this one you'll definitely know you're meditating, but it won't be difficult or scary. Joining a group is a fantastic way to go because you're with like minded people and are more likely to follow through on practicing due to peer support and accountability. There's the added bonus of making new friends! There are plenty of groups for you to choose from, so it won't be difficult to find one that suits you and your lifestyle.
So there you have it, five super simple but powerful ways to begin meditating today! Get to it and watch what happens!
By : Tina Bindon
Visit her at : http://www.tinabindon.com/
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on April 15, 2014 at 12:10 AM||comments (0)|
'The aim of spiritual practice is to bring about dissolution of the mind
and intellect. So long as the disciple is entrapped in questions and
answers, the activity of the mind of creating questions and deriving
happiness from the answers obtained through the intellect continues.
Rather than asking questions, if one devotes time to spiritual practice then progress occurs faster. That is, one begins getting answers from within. When the access to receiving answers from outside is blocked, the route to getting answers from within is opened faster.'
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on April 3, 2014 at 7:55 AM||comments (0)|
“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” ~Nido Qubein
t’s difficult to remember the exact moment when things fell apart.
By now, so much time has passed that when I think back to that evening, the chain of events is clear up until everything stood still. I don’t remember how I slept after midnight or when he left.
Just the eerie glow of the flip phone in my darkened apartment as I ignored the calls after I sent the text. The text that set my whole life into forward motion after feeling stuck for years.
You’d think I would remember the text clearly, but instead I remember how my then-boyfriend rushed into the apartment, reeled when he saw I was safe, and then slid down the wall like a cartoon character, numb with tears.
I think I sent: “I won’t be here tomorrow,” but I can’t be sure. I thought about the tequila that was above the refrigerator and the ibuprofen that was in the medicine cabinet. I did nothing with either.
It was the second time in my life that I was in such a low, but it was the first time in my life that I realized I had to get help. Because when I saw how much I was hurting someone else, I finally saw how much I was hurting myself.
I tell this story today and it doesn’t feel like it’s part of me anymore, even though it’s here on this page. After that evening, I drove myself to the doctor and got an antidepressant. Then I drove myself to my first yoga class.
And this was when things really started to get interesting.
I considered the possibility that I was not destined for depression my entire life just because it was in my genes.
In fact, I was not destined to be or do anything I didn’t want to be or do. I was not trapped, not insignificant, not worthless.
Turns out, our lowest lows reunite us with our resilience.
A lot of us equate bad days, depression, and whatever else we’re struggling with as roadblocks in our progress toward being a more mindful, happy person.
Feeling down is not the same thing as moving backward. Depression isn’t regression. Your dis-ease is key to your transformation.
This is for you on those off-days, those disaster days, those days when you’d rather pull up the covers for no reason at all. This is your two-step process for easing your way into a life that is worth living again.
1. Identify that you are struggling (with depression or <insert your pain here>)
You’ve probably heard the first step in the twelve-step program before, proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous: admitting that you can’t control your addiction.
In this first step, however, it’s all about identifying with your pain without giving up your power to change it. In fact, you’re now fully stepping into your power because you’re present with your problem instead of remaining a victim.
Hi, hello—yes, I see you there. I feel you and I see you. Now, let’s get on together with this, shall we?
2. Stop identifying with your struggle
This is the most important thing to remember, always: You are not whatever you said you were in step 1. As an example, here’s how I recovered, day by day for two years after I sent the text.
Every time I felt a spark of hopelessness, I told myself: You are not your depression.
You may be or have been depressed, but depression is not who you are. That’s difficult to understand, especially when you’re consumed and it feels like there’s no other possible way to feel. Like all the feels have evaporated quicker than sweat on a 100-degree day.
Until I started taking a yoga class once a week, I didn’t think twice about rethinking who I was at my core. But when you’re laser-focused on bending your body into yoga poses with proper alignment, you have little time to ruminate on what’s happening in your head.
And so it dawned on me that depression is a temporary experience, just like taking a yoga class. If I could get out of my depressed mind for an hour, I had the potential to get out of my depressed mind all the time.
You do, too, no matter what’s causing you pain. The pain is the starting point.
The rest is up to you.
By: Caren Baginski
Visit her at : http://www.carenbaginski.com/
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on March 7, 2014 at 7:15 AM||comments (0)|
Yogic asanas and pranayam are very useful in worldly life to make the physical body and vital body healthy. With a healthy body one is better able to undertake spiritual practice such as service towards the Absolute Truth.
It is important to add that there is no connection between purification of the body and the destiny to be experienced by it. For example if a person is destined to sustain an accident or develop some muscle disease like a degenerative myopathy, having done yogic asanas is not going to prevent it. Purification of the body however increases the tolerance of the body to face its destiny.
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on February 19, 2014 at 6:40 AM||comments (0)|
But before you dive straight in, eager to make great changes, you need to accept that habit forming takes time. You need patience. persistence and above all the motivation to keep up the practice on a regular basis – however small it may be. You need to trust that this new habit is going to have a lasting positive impact on your life, so long as you actually bother to do it. So, what can you do everyday that is going to improve the overall quality of your life? Let me share a few of my own simple daily habits.
#1 Wake Up Early:-
How early you say? Well early enough that you have a bit of extra time for yourself in the morning before the busyness of the day begins. Whether that is half an hour to chill out reading something inspirational before you get out of bed. Or it could be an extra sixty-minutes to enjoy your early morning yoga practice. Maybe you could fit in a quick workout before the day begins depending on your morning schedule. Maybe all you need is an extra 10-minutes to prepare a nutritious breakfast that is going to set you up for the day ahead. Whatever your circumstances, allowing yourself some extra time in the morning gives you the opportunity to start the day stress-free, energized and motivated.
#2 Deal With It:-
I don’t know about you, but if I live in clutter, my mind feels disorganized and chaotic. A good habit to get into is to deal with paperwork as it arrives. Avoid the build up of junk, or the I’ll do that later pile by not actually creating one. Sounds simple in theory huh? But this is a habit that takes quite a bit of motivation and persistence to get into. A good place to start is to buy a shredder. Any letters or documents that are unimportant or no longer relevant – get rid of them. Perhaps set up a ring-binder with all the important stuff that you might possibly need in the future. Make sure that it is organised, easy to use and up to date.
#3 Do Things You Enjoy:-
Sounds ridiculously obvious right? But how many of us really make the time every day to do the stuff we enjoy. Daily life can seem like an endless chore when we get stuck in mundane routines which lack joy and creativity. We start to become listless and feel bored with our lives. So what can you do everyday that is going to improve your life? Well that is entirely up to you. It can be absolutely anything that you are passionate about and makes you feel alive. I love music – so I make sure that I listen to my favorite bands every single day. I love reading – so I take some time out to catch up on blogs, articles or a chapter or so of my book. You get the idea. By making time to do something that you love every single day, you will discover that life can be a much more enjoyable experience.
#4 Be Active:-
By getting physically active we become mentally active too. And that is all down to those chemicals we release during exercise. You may have heard of endorphins before and wondered what the fuss was all about. You may be even more familiar with their effects if you have ever taken drugs. And that is because endorphins is short for “endogenous morphine”, basically its natural morphine (an opioid drug that reduces pain). In other words, getting active is a legal high – it makes you feel good. Therefore, daily exercise can keep you focused, alert, mentally switched on, and feeling positive. And the best bit is you can do a whole range of activities to keep fit – so find something that works for you, and do it every single day.
#5 Have A Goal:-
We all like to feel like we have purpose and plan in life. And if you don’t feel like you do, why not make yourself one. Create your own plan and work at it every day. Dream big. At the moment, my current goal is to get my degree – therefore every day I set aside time to work on my studies. When I was losing weight, my everyday goal was to exercise and eat healthy. Maybe you are learning something new? If so, work towards it every day, and as each day passes you will gradually improve, until eventually you reach your goal. Want to improve your fitness? Then go for a walk every day. Want to be a better artist? Draw every day. Want to improve your writing skills? Read and write every day. Want to get good at playing guitar? Then practice every day. Whatever you want to be – do something that is going to get you to that place, every single day.
#6 Get Inspired:-
Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere. You just need to open your eyes to it. For a quick inspirational top-up, I like to read a few tinybuddha articles each day. These are stories detailing other peoples incredible life journeys, usually through tough-times and challenges, offering a little bit of wisdom from their own personal experiences. Find a few inspirational websites and blogs and read them on a daily basis when you have a spare moment or two. It is also handy to note the places that drain your inspiration and dampen your mood. For me, newspaper articles with all those big sensational attention-grabbing headlines don’t do much to boost my mood. Likewise, Facebook doesn’t really do much for me either. So, spend more time in the right places feeling inspired, and less in those that cultivate negativity.
#7 The Little Things:-
In the grand scheme of life, the little things sometimes go unnoticed. That is, until they are gone. So everyday, appreciate your little things, no matter how small they are. It may be spending more time with the people that make you happy. Grabbing a moment to really listen to someone during a conversation about their day. Enjoying a cup of tea and a catch up with the special people in your life. Playing games with your cats. I don’t know what your little things are. But, we all have them at some point during the day when we are not being busy with other things. So when they happen – enjoy them. Appreciate the moment, because as usual life doesn’t stay the same for very long.
#8 Choose To Be happy:-
Each day we can choose to focus on the positives in our lives and spend less time dwelling on the negative. However, if something isn’t working out for you right now, change it. Life is way too short to spend your days feeling unhappy, stuck, and frustrated with your situation. Maybe you are in a crappy job that does nothing for your self-esteem? Get out and look for something better. A dead-end relationship? What is the point of dragging out the inevitable, free yourself sooner rather than later. The point is, we all have our own big choices to make in life, which in turn makes an impact on our everyday living. So by dealing with the uncomfortable bigger issues, we can adjust our life in a way that makes daily living a much more positive, pleasant and enriching experience.
By: Becky Potter
Visit her at: http://thebettylife.wordpress.com
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on February 7, 2014 at 8:15 AM||comments (0)|
“It is better to make many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~Proverb
Seven years ago I was a sedentary, over-caffeinated, unmindful, somewhat neurotic meat-eater with a bit of a drinking problem. My meals came out of boxes with chemical compounds for ingredients and had little in the way of anything that grew outside or came from a field.
I made excuses for not exercising, but in reality I was so insecure that I didn’t think I was strong enough to be athletic. I was afraid of making an utter fool of myself. And I was afraid that if I sat still long enough to look inward, I would loathe myself more than I already did.
Today I am a mostly vegetarian running nut. I’m always training and gaining strength for the next race. For the most part my meals are fresh and made from scratch, containing less animal meat and more leaves.
I still indulge in coffee and Coke, but find comfort and clarity in tea and a glass of water. I meditate regularly for my spiritual practice. Mindfulness is a part of my everyday life, and wine is no longer a stress-reliever.
There are countless Cinderella stories like these out there, stories of couch potato turned to vegan Ironman, stories of people who turned terrible habits into wholesome ones. People who lost weight, kicked an addiction, stared their fears in the face, and made their lives better.
But for people who are still in the Couch Potato Stage, these changes feel astronomical. You may as well ask them to leap across the Grand Canyon and land on the other side on both feet.
So how does a person go from being a lump to a marathoner?
I did something quite simple that anybody who wants to change their life can do without stumbling and feeling like a failure.
Each day, I made one small decision to make a healthier choice.
Each choice was manageable. Rather than making grandiose plans to alter my diet and routine in massive ways, I made one small choice every day to make my life healthier.
This slow change began seven years ago, when a small idea was planted in my mind and began to grow.
I realized that my diet depended heavily on processed food. I needed a Chemistry degree to understand what I was putting into my body. By watching an ex-boyfriend in the kitchen, I learned how to cook.
Then every Sunday evening, I cooked a nice meal for myself, nothing too fancy. I became curious about different recipes and new foods. I soon found sanctuary in chopping vegetables, the aroma of fresh herbs, and gently simmering a sauce.
I felt a sense of accomplishment in creating a nutritious and tasty meal, and before long I was cooking for myself three to four times a week.
At lunch I chose to eat a piece of fruit and to drink water instead of a soda. At restaurants I chose salad instead of French fries and a veggie burger instead of a hamburger. When I got tired at work, I turned to water instead of coffee.
I was still eating meat, but I was eating a lot less of it, and fruit was a regular snack.
You don’t need to completely change your diet. You just need to start with one healthy choice. Every small choice adds up.
After changing my diet, it took another three years to change my level of activity. I was going through major stress at work and in my personal life. I felt I needed intense physical activity that burned off pent up energy. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on fancy equipment, so I started running.
For a long time I wanted to try running, but I was afraid that I would look stupid. One day I thought to myself, screw it—everyone feels stupid on their first run.
On a quiet Sunday morning, I went on my first jog/walk. I felt so amazing that I bought a decent pair of running shoes. I haven’t stopped running since.
That single choice to simply try exercise has lead me to three half marathons, a marathon, and a relay race. Running has helped me face myself in ways that I never imagined and find strength I didn’t think I had.
You don’t need to run a marathon today, or even a mile. You simply can make the choice to do something, no matter how small, to be physically active.
Around the time I started running, I also tried meditation. I heard accounts of the benefits of meditations, such as reduced stress and clarity of mind, but I was afraid of finding what was hidden deep inside of me.
I chose to simply try it. I sat for periods of ten minutes a few times a week. After trying that for a couple weeks, I felt like I needed guidance. So I searched for meditation services in my community. My first time sitting meditation at the Zen center, the silence and stillness of meditation brought me ease. I kept going back.
I now use mindfulness and meditation as a regular part of my spiritual practice. It takes a lot of work to see my fears as they truly are.
I’ve worked through jackal voices that tell me I’m not good enough. When I sit meditations, the stillness shows me that those are just voices and that they’re trying to protect me from life’s disappointments. And what keeps me going is the awareness that I don’t have to have all the answers right now.
You don’t need to meditate for hours at a time. All you have to do is sit in silence for a few moments each day to be more peaceful and present.
Seven years since I chose not to eat something out of a box, I live my life each day making choices that don’t feel like sacrifices. Eating vegetables doesn’t feel like I’m denying myself potato chips. It feels as if I’m eating something that I enjoy. Going for a run doesn’t feel like I’m torturing myself for thirty minutes. It’s a choice that makes me feel invigorated.
Each moment, you have an opportunity to make a choice. You can choose the same harmful habits that you always choose. Or you can choose a better habit that treats your body the way it deserves to be treated.
Today, I am still making changes and am a constant work in progress. A year ago my drinking habit changed from two to three drinks per day to two to three drinks per month.
Recognizing that this was a destructive habit, I reached a place where I was ready to let go of my dependence.
I came home from a visit with my family (the side that doesn’t drink), and I was already on a five-day hiatus from drinking alcohol. Five days became six and then seven. I still struggle with those urges, but then I ask myself, what choice do I want to make?
By: Jane Endacott
Visit her at: http://wordsavant.wordpress.com/
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on January 18, 2014 at 7:10 AM||comments (0)|
“Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.”
I used to be the queen of putting my foot in my mouth. I’d say the first thing that came into my head without thinking.
My intentions were always good and I’d never deliberately offend or hurt anyone, but it landed me in trouble more than once.
Being so reactionary also played havoc in my relationships. I was defensive and quick to answer back. I did a lot more talking than listening.
This spread into other areas of my life. I’d put food into my mouth faster than my brain could stop me; I’d impulse buy and make split second decisions before thinking them through.
After a difficult breakup I turned to yoga as a way of finding regular doses of positivity during an otherwise very bleak period.
The yoga studio was run by some very wise yogis who also offered workshops on positive thinking, mindfulness, and self-development.
They had a great bookshop and soon, instead of watching mindless TV, I was engaging with inspiring people and reading life-changing books.
On the same day that I attended a workshop on happiness, I met my husband-to-be. Two girlfriends dragged me off to a nightclub that evening.
He says he was attracted to me immediately. I guess I was radiating some kind of positive aura, as I hadn’t dressed up or done my hair and makeup like my girlfriends had!
Thankfully, by then my personal growth had led me to a greater sense of self-awareness.
I’d discovered my internal pause button.
Living life more presently and becoming mindful resulted in a natural slowing down. It opened my mind up to the art of just being.
Learning to press pause means listening and assimilating before opening my mouth. I often hear a voice in my head saying what I would have normally voiced out loud, but in the few seconds I allow myself to pause, I realize it doesn’t need to be said at all.
I’ve become a mindful eater and spender and now realize that most decisions in my life don’t have to be immediate. I relish in the joy of pondering.
Here’s the manual for operating your internal pause button:-
1. Recognize the trigger
Notice when sensations are building inside of you. Maybe it’s a rising heat in your body, a pulse in your head, a knot in your stomach, or a tightening in your chest.
Recognize these triggers as signs to activate your internal pause button.
In an argument, notice your ego rising up to defend its position. A simple awareness of the ego is enough to tame it and send it crawling back into its hiding place.
2. Press pause
Mentally say, “pause,” as if you’re reaching for that remote control.
3. Take a deep breath
Getting a quick hit of extra oxygen to your brain helps you compose your thoughts and brings you into the present moment.
For interactions with people, just hold off and listen. There’s no rule that you have to say anything immediately. Notice the thoughts that go through your mind and simply observe them without attachment.
To curb impulse eating or spending, rewind to a goal you’ve set yourself around this kind of situation or a mantra you’ve created. Fast forward to the best possible outcome. How do you want this to pan out?
Again, allow yourself to simply observe the thoughts that pass through your mind.
5. Press play
Now you’re ready to act. Mindfully.
You may be thinking, “Sounds great in theory, but in the heat of the moment all of that is going to take too long!”
Yes, it may feel like that at first. If you’re hard-wired to react immediately, it’s a case of reminding yourself that it’s ok to wait.
Giving yourself even a few extra seconds before reacting can make a difference. Pressing the pause button gives you a chance to rewind, make a good choice, and then press play again to continue in a better way.
It puts the power into your own hands to make good decisions and take control of your life. You gain deeper relationships and learn so much more by talking less and listening more.
Just because you think it doesn’t mean you have to say it.
By: Kelly Pietrangeli
Visit her at: http://myprojectme.com/
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on October 21, 2013 at 12:10 AM||comments (0)|
“Our way to practice is one step at a time, one breath at a time.”
I blinked my eyes, wiggled my toes, and carefully heaved my right foot out from under me. It had gone completely numb after twenty minutes of meditation. I prodded it tentatively.
“The idea is to be able to meditate wherever you are,” our teacher said, pouring out some green tea as we stretched, “to be really present in whatever it is you are doing—cutting the lawn, doing the dishes, whatever it is. To simply breathe in…and out…and just be.”
“You don’t have to sit still,” she continued, “you can do ‘moving meditation.’ It can be done through yoga, or any other form of movement. People do it in many different ways—swimming, cycling… Don’t tell me people who go walking aren’t meditating.”
I was now rubbing my foot, which was tingling with pins and needles, but was distracted by the revelation.
Moving meditation! Of course!
I thought back to all the walks I’d done through the British countryside.
It was true: walking was meditation, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.
As I left the class, I thought about how walking had taught me so many important lessons; and most importantly, lessons I learned in my body and not just my mind.
So if you can, I’d encourage you to get out of the city and go for a walk.
1. You will learn to cope with the ups and downs:-
There are times when the going is easy, where you run for the sheer exhilaration of it.
But you’ll discover inner reserves of strength to cope with the pouring rain and the difficult climbs, and appreciate the blue skies even more.
2. You will learn that small steps quickly add up to a big achievement:-
When I was pregnant, I had muscle pain in my hip, which made walking extremely painful. I ended up on crutches, taking the tiniest step after small step in agony.
It took me forty-five minutes to walk a route that usually took ten.
But I knew I would get there in the end if I just kept moving, because, as my dad always says, “Just remember, all you have to do is get one foot in front of the other.”
And then do it again.
It feels like glacial progress when you’re in the middle of it.
But when you look back, you will marvel at how far you’ve come.
3. You will learn that sometimes, the path ahead is unclear:-
This is when you have to really be courageous, trusting your intuition and experience to find the right path, and finally coming to a decision, and moving on.
4. You will learn flexibility:-
Often when walking, you have to change your route because the weather or other unexpected obstacles can dash the best-laid plans.
You will learn to shrug your shoulders, go with the flow, and adjust.
5. You will learn to keep going, no matter what:-
It’s called perseverance.
When the climb uphill seems endless and painful, you remind yourself that the pain is temporary.
You know from doing this countless times before that it will be so worth it in the end.
6. You will learn to appreciate every sparkling, unique second:-
When you’re walking, your senses are alert. You are truly alive.
You notice curious birds hovering overhead, a blade of grass fluttering in the breeze, the sounds of a trickling stream, the shape of the cloud, and the way the wind ripples the water on the lake.
You will marvel at how the combination of all these things on this particular day at this particular moment will never again be repeated in the entire history of the universe in quite the same way, and feel so grateful.
Others may be making the same journey as you, but the paths they chose to the top may be different. They’ll see different things, and experience the day uniquely.
No one will ever experience this moment in the same way as you.
7. You will learn the importance of the journey:-
They say when you’re having fun, time flies.
But I think that’s wrong, because when I walk, time seems to slow down.
I absorb so much, notice so much, simply be so present in the walk that I feel like I’ve been walking for hours when in reality, only a short time has passed.
Actually, it is when I’m in my normal routine in London that the days whiz by in a flash, and I wonder what I’ve achieved.
The familiar surroundings, the concrete of the city, the crowds of rushing, stressed out commuters—meditation is certainly possible in these circumstances, but for a stronger will than mine.
In the city, we are so focused on achieving our goals that our mind is often totally focused on our plans for the future. When we reach one goal, we think “Right, done, what’s next on my to do list?” We rarely sit back and take time to enjoy the journey.
As my meditation teacher says, “We are human beings. Simply be.”
Walking is the best way I know to experience this.
Why not try it?
By: Catherine Redfern
Visit her at: http://londonhiker.com/
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on September 19, 2013 at 4:40 PM||comments (0)|
A beautiful body doesn’t begin with a diet and/or a gym membership. It begins in your head. And that beautiful, mindful you then finds its way out for everyone to see. It begins with self-respect, love and understanding that your mind and your body are interconnected. The path to a better physique doesn’t lie through torturing one to improve the other but it is born from the union of the two. How we look is just a projection of how we feel… start feeling fit and empowered, beautiful and deserving right now. The choices you make must be made out of love, love and respect for yourself and only then will you start getting real, permanent results.
What is being fit worth if you are a neurotic mess on the inside? Counting calories, following extreme programs and ticking all the boxes will drive anyone insane. And then it just doesn’t stop – ever. You get stuck following the rules you loath so you can stay in shape and appear more attractive, temporarily, until the next relapse. And every time you do, it gets harder. And yet, you keep on pushing this immense Sisyphus's boulder up the hill just to find yourself back where you started every single time.
It’s our attitude that has to change, the way we feel about ourselves. Instead of following a list you should start by asking why would you eat this or that? Become curious about what you put in your body because that will be the building material for the new beautiful you. Unless a particular exercise brings you pleasure you shouldn’t do it. You shouldn’t do what you hate and expect positive results, not unless you see yourself falling in love with it eventually. Pick your own sport, your own way of staying active, whether it’s running, cycling or swimming or a team sport. You find your own “it” that will make you happy while keeping you moving, you just need to try it all to see which activity is the right one for you. Motion is life and life, your precious life, is for you to enjoy.
In order to shape your body you must shape your mind first, treat your body with respect and provide it with everything it needs, choosing your activities and what you eat mindfully. To change on the outside you need to start with the person you are inside, give it your full attention, care and love and see it transform.
By: Neila Rey
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on August 20, 2013 at 10:00 PM||comments (0)|
Suryanamaskar can do to your body what months of dieting cannot; It can do to your mind what no spiritual discourse can....
Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is a set of 12 powerful yoga asanas (postures) that provide a good cardiovascular workout. These postures are a good way to keep the body and the mind in good shape.
Surya Namaskar is best done early morning on an empty stomach and when performed repeatedly at an easy pace can bring a sense of well being, almost immediately!
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on July 29, 2013 at 9:20 AM||comments (0)|
Flexibility is an important asset in everyday life from reaching for things in the overhead kitchen cabinet to picking up toys from the floor. Without flexibility, you will not be as productive as you want in your personal and professional life. With regular yoga sessions, your muscles will be stretched to their limits albeit in a safe, gradual and effective manner. You may even be able to have the grace of a gymnast or a ballerina.
Yoga exercises strengthen your muscles with the emphasis on your core muscles, which are essential in anchoring all the other muscle groups in the body. You need not worry about large muscles because yoga exercises are designed to improve muscle tone and strength, not muscle bulk. You will also observe an increase in the synergy between muscles so that you have an easier time lifting things without straining.
This is achieved through a combination of factors including the increase in flexibility and strength, which allows the muscles to support the entire back in a better manner. The yoga poses that emphasize the deep abdominal muscles also extend the posture while the increased body awareness alerts the mind to poor posture and then corrects it.
Because of the cardiovascular exercises involved, yoga also provides for biochemical benefits in the sense that beneficial chemicals are released and harmful chemicals are reduced in the body. Just to name a few of these biochemical reactions, yoga lessens glucose and sodium levels in the bloodstream while increasing levels of haemoglobin, haematocrit and ATPase. Even protein serums, thyroxin, and Vitamin C are increased during yoga exercises.
Cardiovascular Health Benefits:-
Keep in mind that yoga is considered as a cardio exercise so it comes as no surprise that it has its fair share of cardiovascular health benefits
Because of the increased blood flow into the brain during yoga exercises, it is nourished with more oxygen and nutrients that, in turn, enhance cognitive function, memory and depth perception, among other neurological benefits. Besides, you will feel refreshed in your mind and body after a yoga session.
Deep Breathing Benefits:-
Have you observed that infants use their diaphragm when breathing, thus, the gentle rise and fall of their abdomens while adults use their lungs? Yoga brings back the health benefits of deep breathing that infants unconsciously use, which include enhancing lung capacity, increasing oxygen intake to the cells, and improving stress management, to name a few. Think of it: When you practice deep breathing, you will be calmer despite the stress in your environment
After a yoga session, your mood will be better, your outlook will be more positive, and your happiness will be more palpable. It may be the “happy hormones” released during exercise responsible for such feelings but it must be noted that psychotherapists use yoga as adjunct treatment in patients with attention deficit disorders and obsessive compulsive disorders.
Deep breathing techniques, effective flexibility and strength training exercises, and meditation in motion – all of these aspects of yoga contribute to the stress reduction benefits of the ancient practice. Stress has been closely linked to a wide range of diseases including hypertension, diabetes and even cancer metastasis.
Enhanced Creativity & Intuition:-
But when you come to think about it, yoga provides for these benefits because the mind has more clarity, more calm and more awareness. The result: You can tap into your inner self for the creativity and intuition that no other exercise can offer.
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on July 18, 2013 at 9:00 PM||comments (0)|
"Yoga samatvam Uchyate"
Translation:- Evenness of mind is yoga ...
Within Equanimity is spiritual life ...
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on April 16, 2013 at 9:25 PM||comments (0)|
“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” ~Lao Tzu
For most of my life I had the overwhelming feeling that I was lacking something; I felt like I was not good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough.
I was nothing but an unattractive, chubby girl of little worth. In my late twenties I formed a huge crush that changed my life, for the worse, so I thought. Against my will I developed an unbelievable attraction to women. I was horrified!
Being gay was the cherry on top of my pile of shortcomings. This new realization confirmed the belief that my life would be nothing but disappointment, and it totally crushed the little self-esteem that I had.
In spite of my overwhelming feelings of inadequacy, I took the scary steps of falling in love and coming out to family and friends, with positive results.
Even though my fears of judgment and rejection were proven to be fabrications, I was still unable to shake the negative loop that repeated: “You are not good enough. You will fail. You are a disappointment.”
I convinced myself that any happiness that I experienced was momentary and would be gone in a flash. So when my relationship ended in heartbreak, I was able to bask in the glory of being right.
My negativity was justified. My feelings of worthlessness were correct. I gave myself permission to be miserable, to struggle in the dark caves of depression, to continue to live in fear.
But then one day a miracle happened, even with my negative mantra playing loudly in my head: “Loser. Failure. Disappointment.” Even over the deafening chants of pessimism, I heard a whisper: “You can change this.”
I knew that my life needed changing but had no idea how to achieve this. I wanted to find the happiness that I felt belonged to everyone else. I yearned for the elusive joy that kept slipping through my fingers. I was determined to find it and claim it.
I tried superficial ways of being happy: you know, the methods that my favorite TV characters used to deal with heartache. I shopped, I redecorated, I adopted a kitten, thinking surely these things would bring me joy. And they did, but it was fleeting.
Next I tried psychic readings, life coaching, and finally therapy. It was through therapy that I started a meditation class and my life really began to open up. The veil of depression lifted; I felt lighter and optimistic.
Finally, through the regular practice of meditation, I learned that happiness can’t be brought, predicted, or achieved from outside sources. Happiness comes from the inside out.
With this realization, meditation has changed my life in five significant ways.
1. Meditation gives you a great start to your day.
I am not a morning person. I am not one of those people who spring out of bed before the alarm chimes. I would hit the snooze button, pull the covers over my head, and pretend it was Saturday.
Once the cruel hand of reality finally slapped me awake, the morning panic would start. Up in a flash, I’d be rushing to get dressed then out the door. I’d skip breakfast and I’d arrive to work late, creeping past the boss’s office.
But now I wake up at 5:45 a.m. in order to meditate. Though I still have to forcibly drag myself from my warm cozy bed, once I sit on my meditation cushion I’m able to relax, breathe, and set my intention for the day.
Meditation allows you to center yourself and reflect on the day ahead. By setting your intentions you are able to shape your experiences and your reactions to events around you. It’s a daily reminder that you are in control of your life. You can choose the kind of day you will have.
2. Meditation increases positivity.
I practice Loving Kindness (Metta) Meditation. This type of meditation generates and projects loving and positive feelings/energy into the universe. That means sending love, understanding, and compassion to yourself, family, friends, and even strangers.
I’ve found that spending an hour being positive has made me—wait for it—more positive. Hard to believe, I know, but it’s true.
Our energy and actions are like boomerangs. If you put out negative energy, if that is what you focus on, that is what will continuously show up in your life, and that is all that you will be capable of seeing. But when you create positive feelings, everything you see seems to change.
3. Meditation increases self-confidence.
I have no empirical evidence, but I can say with confidence that as a result of meditation I now have some. Seeing the world in a positive light has resulted in me seeing myself in a positive way.
I love myself for just being me. I don’t feel the need to pretend to be what I think others want me to be. I have learned that I am not required to chip away at my square-shaped self to fit into a round hole.
Taking the time to see the world and yourself in a positive light increases self-confidence and confirms that there is a place where you fit, just as you are. There is no need to try to be something that you are not. Meditation is an opportunity to sit with the realization that you are enough.
4. Meditation reduces anxiety.
Meditation is about turning off the negative chatter that creates anxiety. It’s about breathing and letting go. By focusing on positive energy and thoughts, you are able to reduce the anxiety that you might be holding onto.
Through meditation you can relax knowing that any time anxiety rears its ugly head, you have the tools to deal with it. Deep breaths and a quiet moment may be all that’s needed to calm anxious nerves.
5. Meditation affords you a deeper connection with yourself.
When I first started meditation, one of the most difficult things to do was to sit quietly with my own thoughts. I knew myself from the outside in, from the labels I wore like fashionable accessories, trying to be what I thought others expected of me.
There was a disconnection between who I was and who I thought I should be. However, when you sit in silence without external distractions, your inner dialogue is difficult to ignore. The inner voice that tells the truth of who you are gets louder.
Meditation has a way of making you more mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and sense of who you are. It’s easier to create a life of happiness if you are able to connect with your authentic self. It’s a way for you to get to know yourself, from the inside out.
You can easily incorporate meditation into your life. All that you need is a quiet place to sit and a couple of uninterrupted minutes, and you can even use a guided meditation (there are tons of free ones online).
The important thing is just to sit quietly without set expectations, free of self-judgment. There is no right or wrong way to do it.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not skipping around with my head in the clouds. There are days when I revert to my old thought patterns, allowing the negative mantra to cry out. But the difference is that now I am mindful of this and have the tools to deal with negativity more effectively.
Five minutes of meditation can have a significant and lasting impact on your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. It certainly has on mine.
By: Nadine Hull
*(She’s a writer, a crochet-er and a poetry maker).*
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on February 26, 2013 at 1:50 AM||comments (0)|
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
Many times in the past, I’ve complained that things weren’t fair.
Sometimes, I was legitimately wronged—like when I was a kid and an adult in my life regularly told people lies about me, seemingly to justify her disdain and mistreatment.
Other times, I victimized myself to avoid taking responsibility—like when I didn’t prepare well and bombed at a community theater audition, but attributed my failure to favoritism.
As an indignant adolescent, I blamed many of my difficult early experiences for the perpetual chip on my shoulder. I bemoaned the injustices of the world because I felt so many befell me.
It wasn’t my fault that I was angry all the time; there was just a lot to be bitter about. At least that’s what I thought back then.
One day, when I was commiserating with a friend who was upset about a seemingly unfair situation in her life, I wondered: What good does this do us?
Grumbling about injustice doesn’t make things just—and the ensuing hostility doesn’t help us effectively address things that need fixing.
You can’t create positive change from a negative mindset. You have to heal your pain before you can set out to heal the world. And you have to stop seeing yourself as a victim if you want to access your personal power.
Still, despite knowing this and making a conscious effort to change, I still feel an instinctively strong and irate response to perceived unfairness at times.
If a friend gets passed over for a promotion because it went to the boss’ daughter, I feel outraged for that friend.
If I see someone hit a parked car and speed away, I seriously consider by Browse to Save">following them and issuing a citizen’s arrest.
If I believe someone is earning boatloads of by Browse to Save">money unethically, I ruminate on how it’s not right, and wish I could do something to stop it.
I think it’s wrong when someone cuts in line; it’s wrong when someone bucks a system; it’s wrong when systems don’t do what they’re supposed to—the list goes on and on.
I’m learning to understand my strong emotional response so that I can challenge the feelings and thoughts that disempower me. If you’d like to do the same, you may find this post helpful.
Our Biological Response To Unfairness
While we all learned about fairness in childhood, scientists have proven we’re actually hardwired for it.
Studies have shown that the reward centers of our brains activate when we recognize fairness—even when it pertains to someone else. When we witness unfairness, it triggers our amygdala, the primitive part of the brain that controls fear and anger.
This means that when we feel like we’ve been treated unfairly, we go into “fight or flight” mode, with its resulting sense of anxiety.
Psychologists suggest that when we fight for fairness for others, it’s actually self-interest in disguise; meaning we’ve recognized it provides us with some type of advantage to be fair.
No matter how you slice it, we experience a strong, instant physical and biological reaction to perceived injustices, and this can limit our ability to think rationally and respond proactively.
Life Isn’t Always Fair
Every day, we have abundant opportunity to recognize injustice, on scales large and small, in our own lives and the lives of people we love.
You could find out you make less than someone else in the same job. You could lose a promotion to someone else who is far less qualified. You could lose a court case when it feels obvious someone else was in the wrong.
You could discover that a friend of yours is losing her savings because her accountant mismanaged her money. You could learn that someone you trusted to care for your mother took advantage of her good nature. You can find out that your sister’s losing her home because of predatory lending.
And this doesn’t even touch upon the massive injustices happening all over the world, far outside the scope of our everyday experience.
Life isn’t always fair. Whether it’s self-preservation, basic human decency, or a combination of both, we want to change that.
In some cases, we can. We are not powerless, and we don’t have to simply accept every injustice as an unavoidable part of life.
We do, however, need to accept that our response to perceived wrongs affects our ability to right them.
Dealing with Unfairness
Those people who don’t let unfairness make them bitter aren’t somehow better than others.
They aren’t necessarily people who haven’t experienced severe injustice or inequality; and they also aren’t people who simply accept whatever happens without ever taking a stand.
The people who handle unfairness well possess three things in common:
*They catch their emotional response before it leads to obsessive thinking
*They think rationally before they act
*They recognize the difference between what they can control and what they can’t
Stopping Obsessive Thinking
Dwelling on unfairness doesn’t do anything to change it; it actually affects our ability to do that since obsessive thinking drains our energy, magnifies our emotions, and keeps us more focused on problems than solutions.
This has been the biggest challenge for me, as I’ve found it almost satisfying at times to think about things that seem wrong—as if this is productive.
If you struggle with this as well, recognize when you start fixating on blaming thoughts, and visualize a stop sign in your head. Then repeat an affirmation along the lines of, “This isn’t productive. It is what it is, and I can either accept it or try to change it.”
Thinking Rationally Before Acting
In order to think rationally, we need to recognize that our biological reaction is just that, and consciously choose not to let it dictate our actions.
According to psychologist and author Marcia Reynolds, when we feel slighted or cheated, and react emotionally, we then use our logical brain to rationalize that response. For example, we may tell ourselves, “I snapped, but he deserved it!”
We can be far more effective if we use our logical brain first, before we do something we’ll later regret.
In some cases, when we think rationally, we may realize an unfair situation is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things—when someone cuts us off and runs a red light, for example.It’s annoying, but is it really worth fuming during a car ride that could otherwise be pleasant?
Other times we’ll still feel strongly that we need to fight for justice—but this doesn’t require us to act with aggression. It requires calm, careful planning and acting, if it’s something we can, in fact, control. This leads to the last step.
Knowing What We Can Control and Doing Something About It
We can’t change mistreatment that happened in the past. We can address mistreatment that’s happening now.
We can’t change someone else’s decision or behavior if they aren’t willing to change. We can change how we respond to them (and choose to help educate and positively influence them).
We can’t change that tragedies have occurred, in our own lives or in places across the globe. We can support causes that seek to prevent future tragedies, or even spearhead our own.
And we can’t guarantee specific outcomes for our actions, but we can increase our odds of making a difference by being clear-headed, patient, and consistent.
Sometimes there will be unfair things that we simply need to accept, and it might feel instinctive to fight that. We’re only human, and we will sometimes give in to our emotional responses.
What’s important is that we try to move beyond them so we don’t let the things we can’t control take control of us.
By: Lori Deschene
*(She is the founder of Tiny Buddha: http://tinybuddha.com/)*