How to create calm with meditation


Creating Inner Calm Through Meditation

In yesterday's blog post, I introduced you to the difference between physical and mental clutter. It's this mental type that people often overlook when considering what's keeping them from experiencing calm; however, mental clutter can have a huge impact on your overall emotional state. Today, I'd like to introduce you to a practice that is known to tame the overwhelm of your mind. Meditation can do just that, and it offers numerous benefits for your brain and your overall well-being. Let's take a look. 

About Meditation
Meditation is a practice in which you work to still the mind and to concentrate only on the present moment. It can take a number of forms such as guided imagery, mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, and more. No matter which form it takes, the main point of such exercises is to focus attention, eliminating distractions and intrusive thoughts. This practice has been in use by various cultures for thousands of years, which is proof to me that it is effective and useful. Some cultures consider meditation to be a part of their religion, and it can be a very spiritual activity in general. These days, people usually meditate in an attempt to overcome the stress and anxiety associated with the modern world. It has the power to lead to a tranquil state and overall improved well-being when done regularly. 

Benefits of Meditation
Meditation offers a wide range of benefits. Many of these are directly related to the practitioner's state of mind, but the practice can also improve physical health. The effects are long-lasting. You'll find yourself feeling calmer and noting improvements in your physical well-being long after your meditation session ends. Meditation helps to diminish the mental overload that can overwhelm you, leading to less stress. This renewed state can often provide you with clarity when it comes to the issues you face throughout your life. Health benefits of meditation include decreased depression symptoms, lessened anxiety, reduction in chronic pain, improved sleep, and less frequent tension headaches, among others. 

A Simple Breathing Meditation
While there are a number of different kinds of mediations, one of the easiest to start with is a simple breathing exercise. Controlled breathing is a part of many meditative practices. It can help you to gain focus and to "blow away" stress. Find a quiet space with a comfortable chair. Sit up straight, with your feet flat on the floor. You could also take a seated position on a floor pillow if you prefer. Begin by inhaling deeply, pushing your stomach muscles, or diaphragm, outward. Inhale slowly, allowing your stomach to return to its resting position. Continue this until you find a comfortable rhythm. Try to push all thoughts out of your mind, but don't worry too much if intrusive ideas sneak in. Five minutes is usually long enough to gain the benefits, but your session can be as long as is comfortable when starting out. 
Meditation is a practice that can provide tremendous calming benefits. It's easy to do and is especially effective when done regularly. Give it a try to see how meditating works for you.





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What is mental clutter??

What is mental clutter and why should you care?

There’s Physical Cutter & Mental Clutter 

Clutter can come in many forms. For simplicity's sake, I'd like to break it down into two main types. These are physical and mental. Each has a heavy impact on your stress levels. They both are likely to play a role in keeping you from creating calm in your life. Therefore, I think it's important to take a look at each type, definite it, and examine ways both can negatively affect you. 

Physical Clutter
Physical clutter is easy to understand. This is the kind of mess you can see. It's the piles of clothing, papers, dishes, and more that are strewn around your home or office. It's the overabundance of things you've been holding onto for years because they're sentimental or you might use them one day. Physical clutter can even be the many tabs you keep open in your computer browser or the tons of media you consume each day. These things can be seen. They consume large amounts of your resources such as time, space, and money. 

Mental Clutter
Mental clutter isn't as simple to define. It involves the overload of information, along with nagging emotional issues, that overwhelm your mind. This type of internal congestion can consist of things such as your never-ending to-do list, negative internal dialogue, relationship demands, old grudges, or habits that don't serve you. The source of such mess usually lies in emotions like fear, regret, worry, guilt, or shame. Identifying the types of mental issues that are cluttering your brain can lead to purging yourself of them. 

Effects of Clutter
Ridding yourself of clutter, both physical and mental, can truly increase your feelings of happiness and calm. It can lead to less stress and overall greater well-being. The negative effects of too much clutter are astounding. Decreased mental health is one of the biggest issues to come of surrounding yourself with all sorts of clutter. Studies show that mental hygiene is improved when clutter is kept under control, both in the home and in the workplace. Too much physical clutter impairs visual processing. It can be incredibly distracting to see lots of piles and messes in your surroundings, leading you to miss cues regarding people's emotions and other important information. Your cognition and clarity of mind are adversely affected by excess mental clutter. You simply can't think straight when you've got a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions swirling around in your head. 

This is merely an overview of the ramifications that come from physical and mental clutter. However, the information above should give you some insight into how important it can be to clean things up in both your physical world and within your mind. Doing so can lead to tremendous benefits within your world, including more of the elusive calm you've been seeking.  What is the biggest challenge for you?  Mental or physical clutter?




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3 simple words to help someone in a crisis

Use these 3 words when someone is in a crisis. 
Have you ever been in a situation where your friend, family member, neighbor or anyone else comes to you when they are struggling.  They open up to you and say "I am really having a hard time right now."  It can feel very intimidating knowing what to say.  You are paralyzed with fear worrying that you may say the wrong thing.  I am here to help you and ease those fear.  These are the simplest things you can say.  It is proven that they can help someone in a crisis situation.  Data from the Crisis Text Line has found that these 3 words pack a punch when it comes to helping young people.  Let's get to it.  

1. Smart.  "You are so smart for reaching out."  "It is smart for asking for help."
That's it.  Smart.  A word we should use more, not only when in a crisis but all the time.  You can never say it too much.

2. Proud.   "I am so proud of you for asking for help." "You should be very proud of yourself.  This is not easy."

3. Brave.  "You are very brave for telling me how you're honestly feeling."  "Being vulnerable is not easy.  I am proud of you."

It Is very possible that this could be the shortest blog post ever but it is also the simplest tactic to help someone.  
Post these on your mirror, make a note on your phone, add these to stick notes, and put them everywhere.  It could save a life.  

If you are in a crisis reach out to the Crisis Text line.  
In the US text HOME to 741741
In the UK text HOME to 85258
In Ireland text HOME to 50808




 

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Why is mental illness a dirty little secret?

girl whispering
Why is mental illness a dirty little secret?!
Why is it that when we suffer from mental illness it is something that is kept in the closet and kept quiet?  When someone has cancer or has had surgery a community knows about it.  Not only do they know that someone is suffering from cancer but what type of cancer it is.  But when someone is suffering from bipolar or depression nobody knows.  It is kept quiet and if it is spoken about it is whispered like it is a secret.  It is an unfortunate badge that 1 in 5 people suffer from but nobody knows.  A Scarlett letter.  

We need to level the playing field.  Mental illness is a serious disease just like cancer and heart attacks.  So why is it kept in the dark?  Why are people embarrassed to admit that they suffer from a mental illness?  We have to end the stigma.  

When a community member is recovering from surgery or going through chemo, most people spring into action to set up meal trains, complete household chores, help take care of their kids and pets.  But when your community member is having a terrible time with their bipolar or depression nobody knows.  It is kept quiet.  We have to change this.  What do you do?  What do you say?  It is simple.  "Hey Sally, I see that you're having a hard time with your depression right now.  We have set up a meal train for you for the next two weeks and we will be coming by to tidy up your house for you."  Simple.  

But first, we must know that someone is struggling with a mental illness in order to help them. We have to ask the questions.  We have to talk about it.  We have to check in with our loved ones, neighbors, and friends.  

We have to end the stigma, talk about mental illness like you talk about diabetes or cancer.  Where are the meal trains for those that suffer from mental illness?  

Let's all cheer...casseroles for all!  









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10 things to do when tragedy strikes, how can you support your friend/family?

10 ways we can support our friends and family when tragedy strikes.
When you have a loved one or friend who is grieving or has just had a tragedy it is hard knowing what to do to help.  What do you say? What can you do?  You feel so helpless when someone is suffering.  Here are 10 things you can do to support them.  
  1. Just be there and lend your ears.  This is one of the most simple things you can do but has the biggest impact.  Your loved one or friend may want to talk, cry, scream, vent and you can be the person to listen.  
  2. What do you say? "I don't have the right words for you other than I am so very sorry." That is it.  The truth is that there are no right words.  Your words are powerful!
  3. Be their house assistant and housekeeper.  Yes, be their hands and feet.  They will most likely be receiving lots of food.  Be there to answer the door, heat the meals for them, clean up after they eat, do a few loads of laundry, tidy up.  
  4. Be their record keeper.  During this time they will have to make decisions that they are not wanting to make.  Funeral arrangements, death certificates, and more.  Take copious notes.  At this time their brains are most likely on overload.  Write those small details down for them.  
  5. Talk about their lost loved one. Sometimes we feel like we don't want to bring it up or talk about their loved one that has passed.  We think that bringing it up will make it harder for them.  This is not the case.  Share a memory that you have with their loved one.  If you feel that talking about it is not the right time, then write it down for them.  
  6. Use their name.  This goes hand in hand with number 5.  A big fear that grieving loved ones fear is that the memory of their lost loved ones will be forgotten.  Their life matters.  "Do you want to talk about <their name>?
  7. Remember them.  Christmas, birthdays, heaven day, Thanksgiving.  Just about any holiday where you will be gathering with loved ones, remember them.  Send them a card, a text, or an email.  "Hey, a friend I was just thinking of you and <their lost loved one's name>.  
  8.  Research.  Offer to connect them with someone that may be in a similar situation.  Whether is it a sudden tragic death like a suicide or something else, it is comforting to talk to someone that has been there.  
  9.  Just do it.  Don't tell them "Hey reach out if you need anything."  "Let me know how I can help."  Chances are they don't even know what day it is.  If they have kids tell them "Hey I am picking up Sally at school today and will be dropping her off after we have a happy meal." Or mow their lawn.  Pick up their dry cleaning.  Don't ask, just do!  
  10. Lastly, acknowledge of painfully shitty the situation is.  Don't ever, I repeat ever say things like "oh he/she is in a better place." This will sting so badly because to someone that just lost their loved one "a better place" would be here on this earth with us.  Instead, something like "This sucks and is so shitty and I am so very sorry." 
Tragedy happens inevitably.  Wouldn't it be miraculous if we could wipe tragic events off the earth?  Unfortunately, this is not possible.  I hope that if you have a loved one struggling with something tragic these 10 tips will help you not feel so helpless.  

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