Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 12, 2017

Don’t Wait for People to Praise You. Do It Yourself Every Single Day

Don’t Wait for People to Praise You. Do It Yourself Every Single Day

Looking within ourselves is not often second nature to us. When we’re young, we get into the habit of looking to our parents and peers for recognition in order to validate ourselves – it’s how we tend to learn about the world around us and our place within it.

In our structured school systems, we’re used to waiting for a teacher’s approval and recognition and rarely learn to actually recognize ourselves. Doing this often led to accusations of arrogance rather than self-empowerment.

Our Culture Teaches Us to Focus On Our Weaknesses

It’s this early structure in our culture that limits our sense of discovery about our inner selves. But it also transcends throughout our lives through our general mindsets on self-improvement.

When we talk about improving ourselves, it tends to come from a space of lack.  We sense we’re not doing something right or we’re heading down the wrong life path and it’s usually in these circumstances that we feel the need to improve the flaws that have taken us there.

When we ask for feedback, more often than not it’s our flaws and what’s not good enough that’s highlighted rather than what we did well. The danger of this comes when our strengths aren’t celebrated and instead neglected in a way that is never developed into great ones.

Advertising

What Recognition Does to Our Brains

Recognition from others can be important but not when it’s your only source. Recognizing our own achievements and strengths is much more powerful than any outside validation.

Studies show writing down and recognizing our accomplishments, no matter how small, actually creates activity in the reward circuitry of our brains. Dopamine, along with other key chemicals, is released causing us a sense of energy around our achievements and allows us to get that feel-good factor.

This is why waiting for recognition from others can be futile. It may seem positive to get that feedback and validation from other people but when it doesn’t ultimately come from within, it can wear off easily. When we do well, often we’re the first to notice and we can overestimate how much others care about our accomplishments. This is why you shouldn’t wait for recognition but instead feel the power of recognizing yourself.

How To Recognize Your Own Achievements and Gain Empowerment

Write Down 3 Small Achievements Each Day

We can go through our whole day and assume we haven’t achieved anything but this is never the case. Even the smallest things such as meeting a new person, walking 10 minutes more than usual or helping a stranger should be considered accomplishments and celebrated.

Advertising

Writing down at least 3 small achievements each day can get us noticing that we do achieve more than we think. And it’s the collection of these small achievements that add up to the huge successes.

J.K Rowling spent many years achieving small tasks before she became hugely successful. Persevering with writing every day with the odds seemingly piled against her would have been extremely hard with no outside validation and constant rejection from publishers. Instead, she took note of how well she did every day and how much closer she was getting to accomplishing her goal.

For Every Weakness, Write Down a Similar Strength

We can easily focus on our weaknesses but a good strategy is to counteract any weakness with a strength. In other words, putting a positive spin on something seemingly negative. This helps you see the glass half full and see strengths that you haven’t necessarily recognized.

If you’re an over-thinker, write next to it that you’re detailed-minded. Being a perfectionist means you take pride in attention to detail. Having a tendency to be over-eager means you’re passionate.

Advertising

Writing these down enables you to see things from a different perspective and you’ll recognize not to dwell on weaknesses as completely negative.

Don’t Play the Comparison Game

We are all victims of comparing our lives to the success of others. But this causes us to focus from a space of lack and stops us from seeing what we do have going for us.

We have to remember that everyone is on their own path and at their own pace. Most of the time we only see a small fraction of someone’s life so it’s futile to believe someone is ultimately doing ‘better’ than us. Social media presents us with this constant opportunity to see a small window into others’ lives but be aware that feelings of envy are pointless and diminishes our sense of achievement. Don’t get sucked into the comparison game.

Keep Listening But Remain Detached

Advertising

The modern world has a competitive nature about her. We feel we need to be the best, and to do so, struggle and strive to be better – but at the cost of what? The feedback we get tends to focus on the negative but the key is to be able to filter out the helpful from the unhelpful.

It’s up to us to decide what is constructive in our growth and what is just unnecessary. Don’t get caught up dwelling on other’s opinions about you but instead accept if it’s something you genuinely want to work and focus on or not. Recognizing this from within rather than relying on outside validation will help you grow much more quickly and in your own way.

So, while being recognized for your achievements will give you a boost, it has the danger of being very conditional to your sense of worth. By learning to celebrate and recognize your accomplishments from within, you will move forward and grow in much better ways than you thought.

More by this author

Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

Best Chrome Extensions to Get Things Done Faster 24 Best Habit Tracking Apps (2018 Updated) How to Make Money Fast: 10 Easy Ways to Make Money in the next Hour This is How The Use of Emojis Can Shape Our Impressions Envy Used to Be a Good Thing, Why We Don’t Need It Any More?

Trending in Mental Strength

1Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly 215 Ways Meditation Benefits Your Brain Power and Your Mood 3How the Power of Positive Thinking Can Pay Off in Your Career 4Signs of Depression in Children (And How to Help Them to Overcome It) 5How to Forgive and Live a Happy Life Again (A Step-By-Step Guide)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on June 13, 2018

Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly

Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly

Imagine yourself running at top speed. After a few minutes pass, you feel yourself slowly getting out of breath. You feel the aches in your muscles as your body slows down but you keep pushing yourself to keep going. Eventually, you collapse because you’ve exhausted all energy and you can no longer function.

For many people, this is what we do to our minds when we are constantly under stress. All the thoughts dictated by our endless to-do lists accompanied by our worries and fears are burning out our brains.

What if I told you there was a simple process backed by science that you can do in as little as 20 minutes a day that will lower your stress levels, improve your decision making skills and relieve anxiety?

This process is meditation. It has now become widely popular with over 18 million people practicing it in the U.S. alone[1] and it now also has grown into a billion dollar business.[2] Leading companies such as Google, Goldman Sachs and Salesforce use meditation practices in the workplace and 22% of employers have offered mindfulness training to staff back in 2016.

We’ve created this article about meditation for beginners so you can learn about what it is, and how you can use it right now to start experiencing the many benefits it provides.

What meditation means to your body and mind

The actual practice of meditation can be done in many different ways but the one type that has shown promising results is known as mindfulness meditation.

The purpose of the practice is to train your mind to be firmly focused on the present moment. It involves the act of focusing your attention on something such as your breathing, as well as taking moments to simply observe and be aware of things around and within you.

Advertising

Meditation recharges your brain

Meditation is what helps you to be in a restful and recuperative state where you are not controlled by your thoughts and feelings. As a result your mind will become better able to manage them in a way where you just observe them so you can make better decisions.

“Meditation isn’t about becoming a different person, a new person, or even a better person. It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.”[3]

Meditation keeps your brain healthy

Just like how exercises will make your body physically stronger, this mental exercise will make your brain stronger. It activates the parts of your brain that promote things like intelligence, empathy, and happiness just to list a few.

It’s a known fact that our brain start slowly shrinking starting around the age of 30[4] but keeping your brain in shape with meditation can prevent the shrinking altogether.

Meditation hears the cries of your body

When we’re too busy, we may not notice the subtle symptoms of our body. For example, when we are stressed, there are early symptoms such as tightness, irritation and heaviness in the body. When we ignore these symptoms, it can lead to much more amplified symptoms such as high blood pressure, fatigue and anxiety.

Meditation helps you become more aware with what your body has been trying to communicate with you about your health and well-being in order address certain issues before it’s too late.[5]

Why it’s worth it to start meditation

Over 50 years of scientific research has shown compelling evidence of the many different types of benefits meditation can have on both your brain and your body.

Advertising

One of the most compelling piece of evidence for meditation that I have found was that it literally changes your brain. Brain scans have shown that the neuron rich part of the brain known as grey matter was noticeably increased in multiple areas of the brain involved with important functions such as decision making, emotional regulation and memory.[6]

To learn more about some of the amazing benefits, you can read my other article: 15 Ways Meditation Boosts Your Brain Power and Your Mood

A simple way to meditate (even for absolute beginners)

If you’ve never meditated before, spending as little as 2 minutes a day may be a great start to develop a meditation habit and experience the results.[7]

One thing to keep in mind is that meditation isn’t about trying to stop your thoughts. It’s more about being aware of them and then simply allowing them to come and go.

All you need is a comfortable space where you are likely not to be disturbed and do the following:

  1. Sit with your back straight at a comfortable level, either on a chair or on the floor (Whichever is more comfortable).
  2. Start by leaving your eyes open with a relaxed soft focus.
  3. Take one deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  4. While breathing out, gently close your eyes and resume normal breathing
  5. Take a moment to pause and enjoy being present in the moment. Feel the pressure of your body on the chair beneath you, the feet on the floor and the hands and the arms just resting on the legs.
  6. Gently bring the focus back to your breathing and notice the breath and the body with its rising and falling sensation.
  7. When you’ve realized your mind has wandered from any thoughts, sounds or other sensations, gently bring the focus back to your breath again.
  8. Gradually bring the attention back to your body and the space around you. Then gently open your eyes again.
  9. Take a moment to soak in how that felt for you before going about your day.

Clearing the obstacles to meditation

There are many things that may be preventing you from experiencing the amazing results of engaging in regular meditation. Here are some challenges to expect as well as some guidance on how to handle them:

  • Doubt – Your skepticism might take over and you might be questioning if such a simple practice can really help you in any way. A ton of evidence has shown it does, so go in with an open mind and trust the process. You will notice the changes gradually and the possibilities will soon become a reality for you.
  • Restlessness – You may find yourself restless and constantly distracted with thoughts when meditating. Be aware this is totally normal especially in the beginning. Like any other practice, you will have some good days and bad days but as you continue training your mind, you’ll become more and more fluent with entering into a calm state.
  • Impatience– You might not experiencing the benefits as quickly as some other people do. Don’t worry. While it might take you a little longer to see the positive outcomes, go at your own pace and as you continue to practice and get better, you will definitely experience the results.
  • Sleepiness – You will definitely have trouble focusing if you’re tired or low on energy. If you find this happening often, try to meditate during a time where you are more awake such as earlier in the day rather than closer to bedtime.
  • Discouragement – As with any other new habit formation, life happens and you will miss some days that you were hoping to get a meditation session in. Don’t let this discourage you into giving up. Keep moving forward and do it whenever you can. Every little bit helps to create a big result.

Basic techniques and practicing exercises (With specific steps)

Two of the most researched types of meditation include focused attention meditation (FAM) and open monitoring meditation (OMM).

Advertising

Focused attention meditation involves the active focusing of attention on an object, your breathing, an image or some words.

Open monitoring meditation involves more of a observation approach where you practice being aware of any experience that comes up without any judgement nor focus towards it.

Most mindfulness meditation sessions use a combination of both these types with focused attention meditation usually in the beginning and gradually shifting to open monitoring meditation.

To help you take your meditation a little further, here are some basic techniques you can practice for each type:

Focused attention meditation

Focused attention meditation can be done in a variety of ways as there are many things you can choose to focus on. Here are some basic techniques that you can use to incorporate:

  • Breathing Meditation – This is a very common form of focused attention method where you focus on the breath while meditating. Simply count to 10 with each breath that goes in and out and repeat. Whenever your mind wanders, gently bring the focus back to your breath and start the count over again.
  • Walking Meditation – Go out for a walk at a comfortable pace. As you do, start focusing on the sensations you feel in your body. Notice the weight of your feet as it hits the floor and the swinging of your arms with each stride. If you find thoughts coming into your mind, just gently bring the focus back to the sensations you feel as you walk.
  • Mantra Meditation – A mantra is a word or phrase that you repeat to yourself. It can be any word so choose a positive one you like that’s comfortable for you to say. As you begin meditation, close your eyes and repeat your mantra to yourself. Focus only on the sound and feel of your mantra and gently bring your focus back to it whenever your mind wanders.
  • Object or Image Meditation – This involves placing your focus either on an image in your mind or on an actual object in the environment. Meditation with images can be done with your eyes closed whereas you would need to do it with your eyes open when focusing on an actual object such as a flower or candle flame.

Open monitoring meditation

Open monitoring meditation is all about observing experiences without judging or getting attached to them. This sort of awareness of your thoughts and feelings without being controlled by them is what’s referred to as mindfulness.

This promotes the clarity, perspective and wisdom that comes when gaining insight and helps you make better decisions especially when handling challenging emotions such as fear and stress.

Advertising

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Get comfortable into your meditation position and relax.
  2. Take long and deep breaths. With every exhale, feel how your body is getting more and more relaxed.
  3. Now rest your awareness in the present moment.
  4. Tune into your sensory experiences for several moments. Take a moment to observe the weight of your body on the chair and your hands on your lap. Notice any sounds or smells in your room.
  5. Monitor your organs by doing a body scan from the top of your head to the tip of your toes and observe any sensations as you do it.
  6. Take your awareness deeper by monitoring and thoughts or feelings. Recognize any deep emotions. Remember not to think about these emotions, but to simply notice them instead. One way that can help you not get caught up in the emotion is to label them. If you experience fear, just tell yourself “This is fear”. Then let go of it.
  7. When your mind wanders from the moment, resist the urge to attach yourself to those thoughts. Just let them come and go.
  8. Exit the meditation by letting your mind slip out of awareness and back to the present moment.

Guided meditation

One way to help you get started and really experience the perks of meditation is to participate in guided meditation.

You can always search for a local class or if you’re more introverted, you can download great apps like Headspace that have free meditation sessions that you can do in the comfort of your own home.

You can also try this Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day)

The transformation you’ve been searching for

One of the key ways that meditation helps you, is by bringing you to the realization that you are not your thoughts or feelings; meditation frees you if you’ve been chained by your thoughts.

By simply connecting with and being more aware of yourself, you develop the amazing ability to handle stress, improve your health and increase your intellect.

So take two minutes now to close your eyes, focus on your breath and be present. Then you’ll be on your way to changing your life for the better.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

Read Next