Meditation has a huge number of incredible benefits – it decreases stress, it improves the memory, it aids mental calmness and much more.
And on his podcast, author Tim Ferriss finds that the one thing that most of his high-performing guests have in common is meditation.
The only problem is that meditation is also very difficult to get started with – or at least that’s the perception. Meditation often seems almost ‘mystical’ and can come with religious connotations. It involves a big commitment of time and a lot of discipline. And many people will work hard at it and still not see any results.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re keen to give meditation a go and to see the results for yourself, here are some ways to get started…
The Right Approach
The first tip is simply to approach meditation in the right way and to have the right expectations. If you’re expecting to become enlightened overnight, then you’ll be disappointed. Likewise, you shouldn’t expect that something is going to ‘happen’.
Instead, try to view meditation – to begin with at least – as a tool for helping you relax and just feel a little more at ease. The idea here is to let your thoughts pass by without engaging with them and to thereby get a ‘break’ from stress and anxiety and busy thoughts. Eventually, this can become a very relaxing place to ‘escape’ to whenever you need to take five.
And if you practice it regularly, the benefits will start to come.
With this in mind, try not to be too harsh on yourself. You’re allowed to scratch your face and you’re allowed to occasionally have distracting thoughts – just keep recentering and keep bringing yourself back.
The Right Strategy
To do this then, try just sitting down somewhere quiet and for ten minutes let your mind relax. Don’t engage with thoughts and instead just be aware of your body in space – and of any sounds, you might notice in the background. Don’t ‘do’ anything, just ‘be’.
If you find this hard, then you can use something external to focus the mind. That might mean counting your breaths, or it might mean watching a candle flame. Another method is to use ‘worry beads’ which you can roll between a finger and thumb absentmindedly.
Another great tool to help you get the hang of meditation faster is the Headspace app. This app provides simple meditation sessions that you can digest in small chunks and will talk you through mindfulness. Another option is to use something like Mindwave. Mindwave is an EEG machine that can read your brain waves and thereby assess the level of activity in your mind.
This is a very useful tool for qualifying the process of meditation – but it’s not cheap so keep that in mind.
In fact, you can even try using virtual reality in order to combat stress and that would allow you to visit a ‘happy place’ in a much more tangible way!
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that has been practiced for centuries but has recently seen a resurgence in popularity owing to cognitive behavioral therapy and modern psychotherapeutic approaches.
The basic idea is that you’re using meditative practices to become more aware of your own mind and of your own emotions. You’re becoming detached from your body and calming the judgmental part of your brain but at the same time you’re not going to ‘switch off’ those emotions but rather you’re going to ‘observe’ them.
The idea is that you’re going to watch your thoughts and take notice of your emotions but in a detached manner so that they can’t harm you.
This practice has two benefits. The first is that it allows you to distance yourself from the kinds of ruminations that can otherwise cause stress, depression, phobias and more. The second is that it allows you to better understand the way your own mind works.
And it is this second point that makes it an incredibly powerful tool for combating a large number of emotional troubles.
Turning Towards Emotions
The problem with emotion you see is that it robs us of our rationality. And this becomes especially true if we try to deny it, if we try and suppress it or if we generally don’t treat it the way we should.
Most of us when we’re upset will react by trying to ignore it, by pretending that we’re fine – or possibly by being unintentionally completely oblivious to it. As you probably have guessed, none of these approaches is particularly helpful or effective in combating those negative feelings.
So let’s say for instance that you’re feeling very stressed, anxious and depressed. Maybe you had an argument with your partner, maybe you had a bad day at work. Maybe you just got out of the wrong side of the bed!
Either way, you’re now in a position where you feel low and as such, you begin to look at everything through very negative glasses. You try and stop being depressed but all you can keep thinking is about what a bad day you’ve had. About how it’s never going to get any better. About how nobody really gets you. About how your partner is no good for you.
Using CBT though and embracing the fact that you’re distressed, you’re able to instead simply turn towards those negative emotions and say ‘yes, I am feeling stressed/anxious/depressed’.
And as soon as you do this, you will find that they become much more manageable and that you become much more detached from them. More specifically, you can focus on the fact that your thoughts are a result of your bad emotion (not a reflection on reality as it actually is) and you can remind yourself of the impermanence of that stress.
There are many different things that will both influence your confidence and also be influenced by your confidence. Confidence is often a somewhat circular subject matter and this can often make it hard to know where to start.
This is the case with body language. Being confident gives you better body language. But having better body language also makes you more confident!
What Does Confident Body Language Look Like?
Confident body language basically involves looking relaxed and calm. Many of us assume that confident body language will necessarily involve looking menacing or intimidating, but the reality is that this makes us look defensive.
Likewise, attempting to look aloof or cool will simply make you look like a try hard. Remember the kids at school who smoked in their leather jackets and were just kind of tragic?
Being truly confident means you have nothing to prove, it means you aren’t overly concerned what other people think and it means you’re able to relax because you feel unthreatened.
For instance, while some people might think that having their arms crossed makes them seem aloof and indifferent, the reality is that it makes them look guarded and uncertain.
In contrast, if you have your arms apart and your legs apart, you are allowing yourself to be vulnerable. This instantly makes you seem far more confident because you aren’t concerned about the threat from others and because you’re allowing yourself to take up lots of space!
Look comfy and you look calm. Look calm and you appear confident!
More Signs of Confidence
There are other signs that you are confident that go beyond the comfort of course. One example is the subtle indication of ownership. There are many ways you can subtly imply ownership but the most common is touching. If you lean against a doorway, or if you put your arm across the back of the sofa, it creates the impression that you feel almost as though you own that thing.
That’s why leaning on a wall or doorframe is a surefire way to communicate a lot of self-confidence.
The same actually goes for touching people. And this is why touching someone on the shoulder can make you seem much more confident – especially if it is done in an encouraging and non-threatening way.
Remember though: body language is best read as a whole. It’s not so much a matter of each individual aspect of your body language that will convey a sentiment as it is the entire package.
In order to achieve continued success and greatness in our lives, we need to have a continued drive to do the tasks necessary that will lead to the goals we set and the success attributed to those goals. That continued drive is known as motivation, and it’s a key element in how humans can achieve continued success and greatness throughout their lives.
Learn more about how motivation is key to achieving success and greatness below.
As human beings, we have periods of great motivation and periods of lower motivation. Even the most dedicated and driven human beings have periods where they don’t feel as motivated to do the tasks required to achieve the goals they set and the success they want to have.
This drop in motivation can be from a number of factors: The monotonousness of everyday life where one does the same tasks repeatedly, an unexpected circumstance or difficulty that has arisen, not feeling well and creative on particular days, a combination of all of the above, etc.
To achieve success and greatness throughout our lives, it is vital that we keep our motivation levels as high as possible at all times. Motivation is essentially the “fuel” that drives us to do great things that lead to our goals and the success and greatness we want, just as an automobile with fuel is able to go virtually anywhere an automobile can travel.
Without that motivation to drive us, we get stuck in neutral and just go through the motions of everyday life, much like an automobile stuck in neutral not being able to go anywhere.
If you are experiencing a drop in motivation, determine why you are experiencing that drop. Is it because you’re not feeling that well or that creative? Is it because of some new difficulty or circumstance that you didn’t expect and are unsure of how to deal with it? Is it just because you are tired of the same boring routine day after day?
Determine what is causing your loss of motivation, then look to get it back up. Perhaps change your daily routine to include some new action or task. Perhaps pick up a new hobby to lift your creativity and get out of your doldrums. If you have an unexpected challenge or difficulty, talk to a family member or close friend about it and ask for advice.
If you’re not feeling well, try changing your diet and/or sleep patterns, and try to boost your exercise activity. If necessary, consult a physician and see him/her help improve your health.
Keeping your motivation levels high throughout your life is key to achieving success and greatness throughout your life.
Everyone will experience a loss of motivation at some point; the key is to get those motivation levels back up as quickly as possible to ensure you can continue to do great things and achieve great success throughout your life.
One of the biggest wrong assumptions that the vast majority of people on this planet make is that they aren’t able to do the things they want to do. To clarify, the assumption that many of us make is that we don’t yet have the means to live our dreams and that the only way to do so is to work harder.
Thus we put off doing the things we want to do and we end up taking on more and more work until the point where eventually we are spending every waking moment either working or feeling stressed about work.
I’m here to tell you that it’s time to stop putting off your happiness and to embrace it. Here’s how…
There’s Never a ‘Good Time’
One of the most common arguments people make for not traveling the world, starting their own business or building their own home is that it’s not a good time. Right now they have too many financial commitments, they don’t have enough money or they have too much else going on. You probably are all too familiar with this!
But now think back to all the other things you’ve achieved so far. Was it ever a good time? If you’re a parent, then was it a good time to have a baby? Was it a good time to get married? A good time to start a relationship? A good time to buy a house?
When we have to, we make things work. There’s never a good time so if you really want to enjoy living your life to the full you only have one option: do it anyway.
It’s Easier Than You Think
And actually, many of the dreams we have are much easier to fulfill than we might initially think. For example, if you want to travel then you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune or take a year off work.
How about identifying places a little nearer that you can travel to and then use budget airlines to go there for long weekends? How about a year of visiting the capital cities you can reach on short haul? That would be a fantastic year and doesn’t need to spend your life!
Want a better home? You don’t need to spend millions – just empty out your property of things you don’t need or redux your kitchen. You’d be surprised what different small tweaks can make!