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To Be a Better Person, We Need to Go Through 5 Stages of Changes

To Be a Better Person, We Need to Go Through 5 Stages of Changes

Change isn’t a given.

Despite all the many ways that we all want to change and irrespective of our track record – it is never a simple process. In addition, the bigger the change you want to make, the harder it can seem to accomplish it.

Making a change, a life affirming change, that continues on for the rest of your life and not for the next year can be a cumbersome process fraught with unique plans and directives on how to accomplish it. But when broken down to it’s most simplest of components, there are really only five stages one need go through.

Stage 1: Identify What You Can’t Accept About Yourself Anymore

I want to be a better person!

I want to find my passion!

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Change starts with identifying what you want to accomplish. It doesn’t have to be specific at this point, you only need to identify the high-level accomplishments of what you want to achieve. Perhaps “finding your passion” is too nebulous and something more direct such as “I want to figure out what I really like about my job” are more useful. However, you start, you must identify what the change is you are looking to make.

Stage 2: Break It down into Baby Steps

Change begins to fail when we don’t further decompose or break down what steps we need to take to make that change in ourselves. By breaking down the steps to make the change in our lives, we are simplifying the work to create change and identifying the barriers in our way that could slow us down and hinder our progress.

What is passion?

What is being a better person?

A further refinement of these changes (re: the goal) could be – “I will write down daily what I enjoy doing to find my passion” or “I will do three kind things for three strangers every day”. We have now taken our change and attached objectives to what we are looking to change along with time based accomplishments for the when and where of what we will accomplish.

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Change is not a single, arching achievement, it is a consistent implementation of small, executable tasks.

Stage 3: Start Tracking Everything, No Matter Big or Small

Large goals – being a better person, finding your passion – can be hard to measure, but it can be done. However, what is most important is for us to track the occurrence of those changes on something as simple as a Google Spreadsheet.

How many people did I help this month?

How many journal entries did I write down this past year?

It is inevitable that we become frustrated with the lack of progress in change because we do not think we have achieved our overall goals for change when what we have made is progress. Progress towards the goal, progress towards change.

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Tracking and recording your change is an incredible way for you to be able to look back at where you started and say to yourself – “Wow, I have come a long way and I am ready to keep going.”

Stage 4: Keep Failing, and Grow Stronger Every Time

I have consistently found, my greatest success at implementing change to be the result of my ability to keep failing. This seems backward to keep failing while trying to implement a change in yourself, but I have found time and time again that it is the failure in trying to implement that change that makes me stronger and more willing to get back up and try again. As I push myself harder to make that change, to get better at something, to improve, I will fall and make mistakes and through those mistakes I will learn to get better.

If you are continually succeeding as you implement your goals towards change, than you are not really making a change, you are instead, patting yourself on the back for having not pushed yourself today.

Stage 5: Rinse and Repeat

Even when I have implemented these first four stages of change, I have often found the need to take a step back and re-examine my goals and what I want to achieve.

Is the change I seek to implement still to big?

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How am I tracking my progress?

Am I pushing myself hard enough?

For this reason, the final stage of change is for you to look back at what you are trying to change and tweak what you are doing. Oddly enough, this can be the hardest stage of change as we turn a critical eye to ourselves in what we are trying to change.

Am I really being a better person by doing something nice for three strangers a week? Has it become so easy at this point that the change I’m looking to implement really is no longer there?

Beyond all these stages of change, there is a consistent theme of will, commitment and the desire to make this change. It’s inherent in the entire process and can be the deciding factors as to whether we actually achieve change. These stages cannot imbue you with that sense of will, commitment, desire and drive but where they can help is to reduce the barriers you face, how you approach them and you do when faced them.

The rest is up to you.

More by this author

Greg Thomas

Software Architect

Successful People Aren’t Luckier Than Everybody Else, They Just Know How to Make Good Decisions To Be a Better Person, We Need to Go Through 5 Stages of Changes Bad Bosses Bark Out Orders, Good Bosses Coach Their Teams Your Routine is the Key to Achieving Your Goals Why you need a Weekly Reset

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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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