As women, we face judgement no matter what path we take. Let’s stop judging and start supporting.
A study suggests that people have a hard time being alone with their thoughts. What can you do about it?
Everybody spends time alone, but some of us find it more difficult than others. The potential benefits of solitude include reduced stress, enhanced creativity, and improved concentration. Yet a recent study suggests that many people prefer any stimuli, even negative ones, to being alone with their thoughts.
Christine Carter, PhD, a sociologist and happiness expert at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, isn’t surprised. “Our normal state of being is constant stimulation,” she says. “We live in a culture of busyness, where we’re constantly moving, constantly doing, constantly on the go. We equate being busy with meaningfulness, so when we’re alone, it can trigger a lot of fear and anxiety that our lives are lacking meaning.”
The benefits of meditation are tremendous. In a world that is “on” 24/7, few of us get much regular rest. We go go go — perhaps getting a lot of work done, or cramming loads of activity into the day — while ignoring our body’s natural rhythms and need for post-sprint recovery. The result is that many of us are more stressed out, anxious, and depressed than previous generations.
A terrific antidote (that we all have with us all the time) is simple meditation. Scores of studies have shown the benefits of meditation to be broad and profound: meditation lowers our stress and anxiety, helps us focus, and, ironically, makes us more productive. Meditation even makes us healthier! After meditating daily for eight weeks, research subjects were 76% less likely than a non-meditating control group to miss work due to illness, and if they did get a cold or a flu, it lasted only five days on average, whereas the control group illnesses lasted an average of eight.
Here’s how: Sit in a comfortable position, spine straight and hands relaxed in your lap. Close your eyes, and turn your attention to your breath. Breathe naturally, controlling your attention, not your breath. When your mind wanders (it will) gently bring your attention back to noticing your breath. Try to meditate for 10-20 minutes before you go back to the hustle and bustle of the day, to really give yourself a break.
(If you are new to meditation, you can also start with just a minute or so and build up to 20 minutes. Or, check out some of these free guided meditations here; there are many different ways to meditate. I particularly like loving-kindness meditations if you want to get fancy.)
Photo courtesy of Anton Petukhov
Gratitude has inspired both of these women in two very unique ways! See their heartwarming stories here.
A film by Hailey Bartholomew. More at 365 Grateful.
Many people agree that taking a vacation is one of the best ways to escape from the hectic lifestyles we live. They can improve your health, put you in a better mood, and give you the energy you need to get through the day. But where does that happiness go after you come back and jump into your daily routine?
Well fear not because experts have found tips that can maximize the happiness you feel during and even after you get back from your trip .
Turn off your cell phone — really and truly, totally off — for several hours today.
Technology can be addictive, and it can change the core of who we are as people. Researchers believe that when we are over-connected to technology (including our email, the Internet, and our cell phones) we can become more impatient, impulsive, forgetful — and even more self-centered. These qualities do not make us happier people or better parents.
Disconnecting from technology can help us reconnect with who we really are, what is truly important to us, and what really makes us happy.
Take Action: This week, designate time to fully unplug. Perhaps you unplug during dinner, or from 9:00 pm to 9:00 am.
Join the Discussion: When will you disconnect?
Photo courtesy of Garry Knight
Fantastic productivity tip from Marie Forleo. This 4-minute trick has helped me get more done with less stress — I find I can get to work and get into the flow faster because of it.
“The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.”
– Frederick Buechner