Monday, February 23, 2015

How to end a meditation

Are You Ever Confused About How To End Your Meditation Sessions?

Now that you’ve started meditating, you may be wondering how to end your sessions. The way you use those final moments can make your practice more beneficial.

Headaches are a common symptom for beginners who jump off the cushion to check their phones or watch TV. Moving slower and shifting your attention gradually will be less jarring. Experiment with these steps for your body and mind so you can develop a routine that works for you.

Steps to Take with Your Body:

Scan all over. Review your body from head to toe. Notice any spots where you might feel sore or stiff. Give your neck a gentle massage or relax your brow.
Adjust your clothing. The room may have grown warmer or cooler while you were absorbed in your thoughts. Add a layer or take one off as needed.
Move in increments. Start out by wiggling your fingers and toes and then circle your wrists and ankles. Stand up slowly. Walk around the room for a few minutes. This will give you a chance to warm up and raise your metabolism rate back up.
Stretch gently. Perform easy stretches. Bending forward at the waist helps to balance prolonged sitting. Rotate your neck from side to side. Extend one arm at a time across your body to stretch your shoulders.
Practice breathing. On days when you have a little extra time, you can remain seated a few moments longer for breathing exercises. Try easing anxiety with a few long exhalations that are about twice as long your inhalations.
Eat and drink. On a practical level, you may need water and food because it’s usually preferable to meditate on an empty stomach. Go whip up a smoothie or a vegetable frittata.
Steps to Take with Your Mind:

Give yourself notice. Silently tell yourself when you’re ready to wrap things up. Spend a few minutes reviewing your thoughts, connecting with your feelings, and taking note of any topics you want to explore another time.
Work on your timing. How do you know when your meditation time is over? You can decide in advance how long your session will be. On the other hand, you may want to continue meditating for as long as you can maintain your concentration. Start out with about 5 minutes and work your way up.
Express thanks. Appreciate all that your body and mind do for you. Let them know that you’re grateful for the opportunity to meditate so that you can work on your personal growth.
Say a prayer. If meditating is part of your faith tradition, you probably have closing prayers you use regularly. You can also repeat any word or phrase that you find inspirational.
Assign homework. Use your meditation sessions to develop a specific plan of action. If you meditate about putting forth more effort, resolve to clean the garage or go jogging each morning. Make your goals challenging, but feasible.
Dedicate your efforts. Think of how authors dedicate their books. Devote the progress you make each session to your children or to increasing your patience.
Prioritize your activities. Apply the insights you develop during meditation to the rest of your life. Limit distractions and fill your hours with activities that are meaningful for you.
Making a smooth transition out of meditation and back to your daily routine will help you to realize the full benefits of your sessions. You’ll deepen your awareness and enjoy greater peace of mind.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


A journal can serve as a wonderful tool for not only recording your life, but also for helping to find solutions to life’s challenges.

Many people view a journal as the same thing as a diary, but there is a fundamental difference. A diary is used to record external events in your life, but a journal is to record your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. The difference can be profound.

Consider these benefits of keeping a journal:

1.      A journal creates focus. Few of us really take the time to examine our lives. We commonly feel that we either don’t have the time, it won’t be beneficial, or it’s simply too uncomfortable. By regularly making an appointment with yourself to work with your journal, you can create the necessary focus to make positive changes in your life.

2.      A journal forces you to see the truth. We’re all amazing at fooling and distracting ourselves, but when the truth is right before our eyes in black and white, there’s no place to hide.

3.      A journal releases stress. There’s something cathartic about getting your thoughts on paper. Reducing your stress also creates a more effective state of mind for solving challenges.

4.      A journal provides a means of measuring progress and growth. Have you ever seen a friend’s child and noticed how much they’ve grown? You wouldn’t notice the growth if you saw that child every day. Our own personal growth is similar.

·        Small changes aren’t noticed when you’re exposed to them daily. A journal provides a way of looking back and seeing just how far you’ve come.

Use your journal to solve challenges:

1.      Record your thoughts about the challenges you’re facing. Find a quiet place. What is the fundamental issue? How does it make you feel? How would your life improve if you were able to get this challenge fully under control?

2.      Keep a list of possible solutions. Over the course of several days, your mind can provide dozens of possible solutions. Record them for future reference. Avoid being judgmental. Simply record the ideas that pop into your head.

3.      Develop an action plan. Eventually, one idea will stand above the rest. If you find yourself torn between multiple options, do whatever it takes to make a decision. Even flipping a coin is better than remaining indecisive.

·        Start your action plan with small steps that are simple and easy to accomplish. A little momentum can be invaluable.

4.      Record your progress. Record the actions that you took each day to overcome the obstacle in your life. Also record your thoughts and feelings about your progress. If you can make yourself feel good about the process, success is much more likely.

·        Acknowledge improvement, no matter how small.

5.      Look for dissonance. Everyone is self-sabotaging to varying degrees. Record your thoughts and behaviors that are creating resistance to your progress. For example, if you need to lose 25 pounds but you’re eating ice cream every day, that’s a behavior that’s not supporting your goal.

·        Create a list of solutions for dealing with your counterproductive habits.

6.      Make journaling a daily habit. It’s easy to let things slip through the cracks and create even bigger challenges if you don’t write in your journal each day. Take advantage of this easy way to keep your life moving forward in a way that pleases you.

A journal can be an effective way to create positive change in your life. Even if you’re skeptical, give journaling a try for a few months and measure the improvement in your life. With regular effort, you’re certain to reap many positive rewards.