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10 Reasons You Should Meditate Every Day

10 Reasons You Should Meditate Every Day

I have been meditating seriously for a little over a year now, and I can genuinely say that it has changed my life for the better. No, I have not reached enlightenment or experienced some coveted cathartic state, but I have learned how to be more mindful through meditation.

I have learned how to better understand my internal self, and observe how it coincides with my external self. I have learned (in most situations) how to be more passive and thoughtful as opposed to more aggressive and irrational.

Quite frankly, meditation has taught me a lot, and I believe it can teach others a lot as well. It is more than sitting in an awkward position and chanting.

Meditation is about becoming one with your mind, and learning something about yourself that you may not have known before you undertook the practice of meditation. Your practice can be as long or as short as you would like, but try to take the time to meditate every day.

You will be thrilled with the results, and we’ve put together 10 reasons meditation should be on your list of new hobbies to undertake.

1. You will become more mindful and aware

Being mindful means that you are more aware of your thoughts and your actions in general. Unless you are in a heightened state of awareness, you can’t observe your thoughts rationally.

Perhaps your thoughts take you on a wild ride throughout your day, dragging you along. It is time to get off that ride and undoubtedly determine which thoughts are truthful and which thoughts are just bollocks.

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Meditation offers you the time to reflect on your thoughts and focus mainly on your breathing or some other aspect of your being. It gives you the awareness to refocus your mind on the present moment, as opposed to the past of the future.

This kind of awareness is a useful skill as you progress through your everyday life.

2. It can decrease unnecessary stress

You experience stress just like everyone else. Some stress is unavoidable, and therefore, not so toxic. Too much stress can be unhealthy and damaging if you are unable to combat it.

Meditation is a quiet time you should dedicate to yourself every day. Use deep inhales and exhales to refocus your attention on being in the moment.

The stress isn’t going to go away automatically but you will observe a transformation in the amount of stress you accumulate. Simply closing your eyes and steadily breathing has a tremendous effect, especially when you acknowledge stressful situations arising.

3. You will gain more control over your emotions

You don’t really want to abdicate all your power to emotions, do you? I think it is safe to say that, like most people, you desire more control over your emotions.

When you are happy, you want to express those emotions freely. At the same time, you may want to express emotions of anger, sadness, and grief, but under your own control. You have the right to express any emotion you want as long as you are in control of the feeling or emotion.

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Too often people lose control over their emotions and they simply accept it. Don’t allow the various archetypes of your mind to seize power of your emotions. Learn how to react skillfully in stressful situations by taking the time to simply observe what the mind is doing.

Meditation gives you the opportunity to do this. The more you meditate, the more you will notice the thoughts and actions that trigger the emotions you might not find desirable.

Unless you make the effort to observe your thoughts and attempt to understand what the mind is doing, you are never going to learn about your inner self. Simply believing every thought that pops in your head and living under your mind’s umbrella is not constructive.

4. You will likely make better life decisions

As you gain more awareness of your thoughts, actions, and emotions, you will notice that you make better decisions. Instead of merely reacting to adverse situations, you will obtain a more useful comprehension of what’s going on in your mind.

This comprehension arms you with the skills to think before you act and therefore make purposeful decisions.

5. It can help you slow down the pace you live your life

Unless you enjoy living at an extremely fast pace, you are going to want to slow down and enjoy living. Meditation arms you with the ability to take life gradually.

Life is not a sprint; it is a marathon. Don’t rush through it and miss out on things you are going to regret later. Slow down your mind first, and then everything else will follow suit.

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6. You can learn a useful new skill

If nothing else, you will learn something new through meditation. Meditation is a skill, and like any skill, it takes much practice and concentration. It is always beneficial to introduce more useful skills into your life.

The first time you learned how to read and write was advantageous for your academic development. Learning how to meditate is useful for the development of your mind.

It is not a competition. There is no right or wrong way to do it. You simply can’t fail at meditating. If you are on the fence about trying it, realize that you have absolutely nothing to lose.

It is not a religious technique that only Buddhists or Hindus practice, but rather it is a life technique than can only help you prosper in life.

7. You can experience more well-being

Who doesn’t want to be happier and feel more contentment with life? Meditating consistently is a great way to open up your eyes to your life, and really experience all that life has to offer.

It will help you appreciate life more and feel more connected with the word you live in.

8. It is free

This might be the alluring reason of all. It won’t cost you a cent, and you can do it from the comfort of your home too, so why not give it a try?

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9. You can do it anywhere

Find a place that is comfortable for you to meditate. Some people use a quiet space at home or in the office. Churches are a great place to meditate because they are typically quiet and empty.

You can meditate outside in nature as well. Look for a place that is inviting and calm and make that your spot.

10. It works

I wouldn’t be imploring you to meditate if I didn’t believe that it works. There is a ton of science behind the benefits of meditation. It is proven that long-term meditation practitioners are more adept to dealing with the ebbs and flows of life.

The time between thoughts gradually increases as you meditate which invites the opportunity for you to consider your thoughts more carefully and, perhaps, rationally. The physical benefits of meditation include decreased blood pressure and lower levels of anxiety, as well as an overall healthier immune system.

Besides the mental benefits, meditation has the capability to broaden your consciousness, which in turn will grant you the ability to understand your feelings and thoughts more. And the more conscious you become through meditation, the more control you are going to have over your emotions, and the more likely you are to choose to live happily.

Featured photo credit: Fbcdn via fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net

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Mike Oppland

Mike is the Creator of Carpe Diem Motivation. He aspires to inspire individuals who are seeking a little extra boost in their lives.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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