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Why You Shouldn’t Suppress Yourself in Face of Temptations

Why You Shouldn’t Suppress Yourself in Face of Temptations

When that little devil pops up on your shoulder, urging you to give in to your desires, of course your first instinct is to swat him away and do the “right” thing. Right? Well, maybe not. Perhaps giving into your temptations is healthier than ignoring them, in calculated moderation of course.

Society tells us to suppress our urges, but releasing them in a healthy way could be more beneficial.

By suppressing our urges, we are denying ourselves of our true nature. There are a number of reasons why we hold ourselves back; be it social norms, laws or rules, or our own personal inhibitions.

But by letting go and letting ourselves act freely, we are transcending to a new level of self acceptance and empowerment. Furthermore, the more we suppress our urges, the more likely [1] they are to surface in an overwhelming or destructive manner.

With a little bit of compromise, you can give in to your urges, or find healthy alternatives to satisfy them. Depending on the nature of these urges, whether they’re bizarre, quirky, or on some level heinous, you can find a way to appropriately adapt them into your lifestyle.

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In the ancient practice of Ayurveda, denying your urges is a crime against wisdom.

We are taught to suppress our urges during our developmental years, conditioning us to do so throughout the rest of our lives. Wait until after class to use the bathroom, only eat during designated break times; refrain from coughing, sneezing, yawning, farting or burping in public. These are just a few examples of conditioned suppression. Because this is the polite thing to do.

Our bodies experience the sensations [2] to release these urges, because the stimuli in our nervous systems call for it. Denying our body of what it calls for can be a major cause and agitator of disease development. We need to listen to our bodies and honor what they call for. Or it will disrupt the homeostasis, the internal balance of the body and mind.

Just as our nervous systems stimulate us to release these natural urges, our desires and imaginations stimulate us as well; requiring us to act or react in a certain manner in order to find balance.

By nurturing your urges as they arise, you may be avoiding a huge conflict down the line.

Although at times suppression may be necessary; as in an instance where you need to ignore negative feelings in order to overcome an obstacle, or you’re in a situation where acting on your desires just would not be appropriate. Expression is really also equally as vital for your well- being.

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Just as we are conditioned to suppress our natural urges, we are taught to suppress our emotional urges as well. The helpful aspect of this practice is not allowing the emotions to take on a roll of their own by always keeping them in check. But at the same time you are denying yourself the benefits that come with the coping process and allowing yourself to heal.

Various scientific studies have shown that suppression can lead to high levels of stress and relapse.

In a case study [3] orchestrated by scientists Brett J. Peters, Nikola C. Overall, and Jeremy P. Jameison, it had been concluded that the suppression of urges had very negative psychological effects on both the subjects and their partners. In extreme cases, the data shows that suppression can be linked to extreme stress, memory impairment and psychopathology.

When the subject is instructed to suppress their reactions and feelings, it makes their partners uncomfortable because they cannot assess their moods or intentions. In turn, this takes a very negative toll on the relationships.

Another case study [4] carried out by James A.K. Erskine, George J. Georgiou, and Lia Kvavilashvili, a group of individuals who smoke were split into two groups during a 3 week period.

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During this time, half of the group was asked to mentally suppress their urges to smoke. During the second week when they were no longer required to suppress, the controlled group smoked more cigarettes than those who were not asked to suppress. These people also had much higher stress levels than those not asked to suppress.

In conclusion, the individuals who were asked to suppress experiences high levels of stress, and were more inclined to indulge in the activity they attempted to suppress than those who were not asked to do so. Basically, if you deny yourself something, you’re going to want it more.

Don’t suppress, express! Use these methods to indulge in your urges in a healthy manner.

To Compromise

Now before you lower all of your inhibitions and let that freak flag fly, just consider the nature of your urges. If they are at all harmful, you need to find a different outlet for that release.

Let’s say you have the urge to punch someone in the face. Well, you can’t really do that and it will probably pan out very negatively for you. Instead, take a kickboxing class. Punch a bunch of punching bags, it’s what they’re there for. Or perhaps you’re trying to quit smoking. Vaping is an excellent alternative. Or you could also keep a stash of healthy snacks on hand to satisfy your oral fixation.

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To Plan Ahead 

If you know that your urge is going to become overwhelming at some point, make a game plan.

Let’s say that you have strong sexual urges that can sometimes be destructive. If you find yourself in a situation where you can predict a regrettable morning after, acquire a suitable wing-man (or woman) who will keep you entertained and ensure that you go home alone.

Planning ahead and having a substitute for the unhealthy urge will help to disconnect the thought process between the urge and giving in to the temptation.

To Analyze Appropriateness 

Gauge your surroundings. If it’s an appropriate environment to exercise your urges, then have it. Sexual urges? They have clubs for that. Violent urges? Join a gym. Cross-dressing urges? Book a gig at a drag bar. Feel like busting out a dance number as if your life is a musical? Well as long as you don’t hit anyone while you flail about you can do that just about anywhere.

Just ensure that by indulging in your desires, you aren’t harming anyone else.

Reference

More by this author

Jenn Beach

Traveling vagabond, freelance writer, & plantbased food enthusiast.

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Published on November 28, 2018

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

So how to do meditation?

The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

  • Living things, such as plants
  • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
  • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
  • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
  • Furniture away from walls
  • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
  • Incense or something else that smells good
  • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
  3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
  4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
  5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
[2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
[3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
[4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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