Tag Archive for goal setting

A Meditation Primer: Method, Mantra, Mindfulness and More

picture of john kobikI’m old enough to remember the time when meditation got some rough treatment. It was seen as a practice for “hippie types” and health “nuts.” Meditation was considered, well, woo-woo! Today meditation is getting a much kinder reception as it proves its worth in areas like stress and anxiety reduction and addiction recovery.

This report takes some of the mystery out of meditation. It shows you how you can put meditation to work in your life.  

 
man meditatingMeditation refers to a state where your body and mind are consciously relaxed and focused. Practitioners of this art report increased awareness, focus, and concentration, as well as a more positive outlook on life.

Meditation is most commonly associated with monks, mystics and certain spiritual disciplines. However, you don’t have to be a monk or mystic to enjoy its benefits. And you don’t even have to be in a special place to practice it, although a quiet place is best. You can try it in your own living room if the TV is switched off.

Although there are many different approaches to meditation, the fundamental principles remain the same. The most important among these principles is that of removing obstructive, negative, and wandering thoughts and fantasies, and calming the mind with a deep sense of focus. This clears the mind of clutter and prepares it for a higher quality of activity.

The negative thoughts you have – thoughts of noisy neighbors, bossy colleagues, that parking ticket you got, or unwanted spam – are said to contribute to the ‘polluting’ of the mind, and shutting them out is allows for the ‘cleansing’ of the mind so that it may focus on deeper, more meaningful thoughts and ideas.

Some practitioners even shut out all sensory input – no sights, no sounds, and nothing to touch – and try to detach themselves from the commotion around them. You may now focus on a deep, profound thought if this is your goal. It may seem scary at first since we are all too accustomed to constantly hearing and seeing things, but as you continue this exercise you will find yourself becoming more aware of everything around you.woman meditating

If you find the meditating positions you see in books and elsewhere threatening, you need not worry. The principle here is to be in a comfortable position conducive to concentration. This may be while sitting cross-legged or on a chair, standing, lying down, and even walking.

A good starting point is a position that allows you to relax and focus. While sitting or standing, the back should be straight, but not tense or tight. In other positions, the only no-no is slouching and falling asleep.

Loose, comfortable clothes help a lot in the process since tight fitting clothes have a tendency to restrict you and make you feel tense.

The place you perform meditation should have a soothing atmosphere. It may be in your living room, or bedroom, or any place where you feel comfortable. You might want an exercise mat or cushion if you plan to sit cross-legged on the floor. You may want to have the place arranged so that it is soothing to your senses.

Silence helps most people relax and meditate, so you may want a quiet, isolated area far from the ringing of the phone or the humming of the washing machine. Pleasing scents also help in that regard, so stocking up on aromatic candles or incense isn’t such a bad idea either.

The monks you see on television making those monotonous sounds are actually performing their mantra. This, in simple terms, is a short creed, a simple sound which, for these practitioners, holds a mystic value. You don’t need to perform anything like that. Focusing on your breathing is enough.

The principle here is focus. You do not have to try to control your breathing or anything else, just be aware of it. You could also try focusing on a certain object or thought, or even, while keeping your eyes open, focus on a single sight.

One simple routine is to silently name various parts of your body and focus your awareness on each. While doing this you can be aware of tension in any part. Mentally visualize releasing this tension. This can be very effective.

Studies have shown that meditation does bring about beneficial effects to the body. And there has been a growing consensus in the medical community to further study these effects. In all, meditation is a relatively risk-free practice and its benefits are well worth the effort (or non-effort – remember we’re relaxing!)

 

JohnK 2-8-2016

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Clipart image of overheardOverheard:  “Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end.”

                  ~ J. Krishnamurti

Mark Coleman and Make Peace with Your Mind

picture of john kobik

(The earlier version of the Mark Coleman post apparently had some audio player issues so let’s try it again!)

 

 

The CHI FOR YOURSELF interview with Mark Coleman is up and available for your listening. Mark made quite a life turn early on. He was a punk rocker who found mindfulness meditation and he’s stayed with it ever since.

Mark Coleman is the author of MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR MIND: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You From Your Inner Critic. 

 

Here are some talking points from the show:

  • Mark goes from punk rock to mindful meditation
  • Kids and social media
  • Helping parents recognize their children’s inner critic
  • Mindfulness and body image
  • Mindfulness and neuroplasticity

Click below to hear the interview. By the way, you’ll be getting some additional meditation tips by way of a GenuLines blog post in the days ahead! 

 

 

 
 

JohnK 2-6-2017

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(re-posting) Mark Coleman and Make Peace with Your Mind

picture of john kobik

(The earlier version of the Mark Coleman post apparently had some audio player issues so let’s try it again!)

 

 

The CHI FOR YOURSELF interview with Mark Coleman is up and available for your listening. Mark made quite a life turn early on. He was a punk rocker who found mindfulness meditation and he’s stayed with it ever since.

Mark Coleman is the author of MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR MIND: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You From Your Inner Critic. 

 

Here are some talking points from the show:

  • Mark goes from punk rock to mindful meditation
  • Kids and social media
  • Helping parents recognize their children’s inner critic
  • Mindfulness and body image
  • Mindfulness and neuroplasticity

By the way, you’ll be getting some additional meditation tips by way of a GenuLines blog post in the days ahead! 

 

 
 

JohnK 2-6-2017

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Mindfulness, Compassion, and Mark Coleman on CHI FOR YOURSELF

picture of john kobikMany of us are well acquainted with our “Inner Critic.” It’s the voice that makes us second-guess our every step by saying “not enough,” “not good enough,” or sometimes “too much.” At times the Inner Critic can be so strong that it feels invincible, but bestselling author and renowned meditation teacher Mark Coleman promises that it is not.

 

Mark Coleman is the author of Make Peace with Your Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You from Your Inner Critic

picture of mindfulness teacher Mark Coleman

 

You can hear the interview–pardon my congested voice 🙂 — and other CHI FOR YOURSELF interviews by clicking on the player below:


 
 

JohnK 2-3-2017

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Mindfulness and The Inner Critic: Next CHI FOR YOURSELF

picture of john kobikMany of us are well acquainted with our “Inner Critic.” It’s the voice that makes us second-guess our every step by saying “not enough,” “not good enough,” or sometimes “too much.” At times the Inner Critic can be so strong that it feels invincible. Mindfulness is not on the critic’s menu!

On the next CHI FOR YOURSELF, bestselling author and renowned meditation teacher Mark Coleman will join us. Mark’s world changed for the better when he went from punk rocker to mindful meditator. He’ll bring tools we can use to begin turning the lens of attention inward, with kindness and clarity. Mark Coleman is the author of MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR MIND: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You From Your Inner Critic  

The interview will be posted this Thursday or Friday but due to scheduling conflicts. it will NOT be available to hear live on the chiforyourself.com home page.  GenuLines will let you know the exact time and date in the next few days. 

picture of mindfulness teacher Mark Coleman

   Mark Coleman

 

JohnK 1-30-2017

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Today on CHI FOR YOURSELF: New Year’s Resolutions with Helene Segura

picture of john kobikToday on CHI FOR YOURSELF we welcome Helene Segura for her second visit. We’ll be talking about New Year’s Resolutions- making them and keeping them. Helene Segura is the author of The Inefficiency Assassin: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer. 

 

We get underway at 2 pm Eastern, 11 am Pacific time at chiforyourself.com.

 

JohnK 1-5-2017

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New Years Resolutions: Making Them and Keeping Them

picture of john kobikHere we are at the start of another year. A great time for changing our ways or blazing new trails through our intentions. Making New Year’s Resolutions is a big tradition, but following through with them is a whole other matter.

 

Each year, the top resolutions include living healthier, spending more time with family, and getting organized – all of which are positive life changes. Yet studies show that most people scrap their plans by the end of January.

Our first scheduled CHI FOR YOURSELF guest for 2017 will pay us her second visit. Helene Segura is the offer of THE INEFFICIENCY ASSASSIN: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer. She’ll talk about failure to keep resolutions, what goes wrong and how to change that. 

picture of Helene Segura

Helene Segura

Hear CHI FOR YOURSELF with Helene Segura on Thursday, January 5th at 2 pm Eastern, 11 am Pacific time. at chiforyourself.com 

 

JohnK 1-2-2017

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Where There’s a Will There’s a…Habit!

picture of john kobikThis final offering in the series on creating new habits takes a look at willpower and how it relates to habits. Maybe you’ve questioned yourself about “having the will” to lose 10 pounds or to find a better job. Your story CAN end well, and today’s installment will show you why.

All the best to you with your intentions!

 

The Inverse Relationship Between Habits and Willpower

It’s hard to keep up willpower for any length of time. Yes, we can stick to a low-fat 1,000 calorie diet and go hungry for a week or two, but eventually, our willpower fades. And yes, we can do exercise we hate for a while… until we run out of willpower.

But what about getting up to take the kids to school every morning, brushing our teeth or going to work every day. Those may not be our favorite things to do either, but we do them daily without the risk of running out of willpower.

That’s because they have become habits. They are so ingrained in what we do and who we are that we do them without even considering skipping a day or a week. We don’t have to make a conscious decision each day to shower or drive to work. It’s just what we do – a habit.

When you start to think about it, there is an inverse relationship between habits and will power. When you first want to build a new habit, it takes a lot of will power to get it done day in and day out. As you start to establish that habit, it becomes easier and easier to do until you don’t even have to think about it anymore.

Just being aware of this process helps us stick it out. We know we don’t always have to make such a big effort to work out or skip the donut for breakfast. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We know that eventually going out for a run first thing in the morning and grabbing some fruit or fixing some eggs for breakfast will become habits.

While we’re in that transition from willpower to habit, we can use tools to make it easier. Use a to-do list or set a reminder to help stay on track.

Find an accountability partner so the two of you can motivate each other and help bolster that willpower when it starts to fade after the first enthusiasm wears off. Even something as simple as laying out your running clothes the night before and keeping your sneakers by the door will make it a little easier to go out for that run.

Do what you can to help your willpower along until you have made the new behavior a true habit. After that, it’ll be easy and automatic and you’ve created a new lifelong habit.

 

JohnK 12-30-2016

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Get Some Help – Simple Hacks To Help You Build New Habits

picture of john kobikInstallment number 4 of our CHI FOR YOURSELF habit creation series reminds us that creating new habits isn’t easy. Here are six simple hacks that will make it a little easier. Use them until you’ve internalized the new habit and don’t need them anymore.

 

Schedule It And Put It On The To-Do List

Sometimes we forget to do that new thing we were trying. Maybe we forget that we’re supposed to be having eggs for breakfast instead of a stack of waffles, or that we need to do that daily walk.

Schedule your new habits or make them part of your daily to-do list until they become something you do automatically.

Make It Public and Be Accountable

Let family and friends know what new habits you’re trying to establish. They will call you out if you don’t stick to your plan and get you back on track.

You may even go as far as sharing it publicly on Facebook or write a blog about your new journey. Knowing that others read it and know about it might be just enough to keep you going when you feel like throwing in the towel.

Piggyback On A Habit You Already Have

Whenever possible, add the new habit to one you already have. For example, if you fix a cup of tea or coffee at 4 pm, and you want to get in the habit of taking a daily walk, make the new ritual to go for your walk and then come back and enjoy your tea.

It’s much easier to amend an existing habit or ritual than creating an entirely new one.

Make Slipups Costly

Here’s a fun idea. Put a jar on the kitchen counter and each time you slip back into your bad habit or forget to stick to the new one you have to put five dollars in the jar. It will quickly help you remember to skip that sugary food and motivate you to go out for that walk. For extra motivation donate the money to charity at the end of the month or hand it over to your spouse to spend on him or herself.

Find A Partner and Help Each Other Along

Find someone with the same or similar goal. This could be a workout partner or a diet buddy. Keep tabs on each other and encourage each other to keep going. It’s much harder to skip a walk if you know someone else is depending on you being there.

Make It A Group Challenge

If one accountability partner is good, a whole group is even better. And they don’t even need to be local. Find a supportive group online and challenge each other to stick to your new habit for the next 30 days or so. Not wanting to be the first one to give up will keep all of you going until you establish that new habit.

Give these simple little hacks a try. Keep using the ones that you find helpful until you have made new habits you can stick with without the help of any tools or support.

 

JohnK 12-28-2016

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Make It A Habit – The Benefit Of A Routine & Habit Filled Day

picture of john kobikPart 3 of our series on creating new habits deals with putting some new routine in our days. Read on to see how this can go a long way toward locking those new habits into place.

 

Make It A Habit – The Benefit Of A Routine & Habit Filled Day

Have you noticed that it gets harder to make decisions toward the end of the day? You’re too tired to figure out what to have for dinner or what to watch on TV. That’s because we all have a finite number of decisions that we can make on any given day.

Knowing that helps us prioritize. We can cut out a lot of decision making by implementing habits and routines. That way we save them for the important stuff. It also frees brain space for more creative and productive thinking. Routines are great tools that simplify our lives and cut out a lot of our daily stress.

Chances are you already have a morning routine. You get up, you get your coffee, read the paper or check email and fix some toast before heading into the shower. Let’s expand on that. If you create a “uniform” for yourself, you don’t even have to think about what to wear. You just grab a pair of pants and a shirt, or a skirt, tights and sweater and off you.

Put some routines into your work day wherever possible. Meal planning helps you figure out what meals to fix and eat. A cleaning schedule makes sure you stay on track with your household chores without you having to spend any valuable decision-making skills in the process.

Wrap your day up with a bedtime routine that not only helps when you’re too tired to make smart choices, it also helps you fall asleep more easily. What works for your toddler works for you as well.

Start by doing a few chores that make the next morning easier. Making sure the kitchen is clean and the kids’ school things are in order are great examples. Come up with a few calming things that help you slow down and get ready for sleep. Read a book, listen to some music or wind down with a cup of herbal tea.

 

JohnK 12-28-2016

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