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How to Meditate: 10 Steps to Meditate Anywhere

How to Meditate: 10 Steps to Meditate Anywhere

Being the new kid in class sucks. It’s made especially difficult when the subject is your inner self and connection to the universe. It seems a lot more complicated than it is. Jack White wasn’t born with a guitar in his hand, nor was Lil Wayne born with an iced grill. Meditation takes practice. With enough effort, any of us can reach a meditative state. Through the experience and wisdom gained through repetition, you can meditate anywhere you are. It’s not that you’ll grow an invisible force field. You’ll just get so efficient at reaching the state that you’ll need less and less time to reach it. You can get a benefit from just closing your eyes for 30 seconds if you make use of that time correctly.

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    1 – Relax

    Anytime you reach an obstacle in your life, relaxation should always be the first step. You need a clear head to ensure you’re exploring all of the available options. It would suck to drive off a cliff just because you were too panicked to hear your GPS or read a map. When your mind is clouded, the overcast blocks out the light of your inner bulb. You limit your possibility of ideas. So relax. Stay calm, and walk it off…

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    2 – Breathe

    You’d think since breathing is the most important and consistent function you’ve performed in your life, it wouldn’t be necessary to be reminded to breathe. The thing is, that’s all meditation really is: a reminder to breathe. By focusing on your breath, you’re forgetting all of your problems and dropping the weight of the world off your shoulders to pay attention to the most important thing going on right now in the present. Your breath — the fact you’re alive to experience anything — is all you need to care about. Just breathe…

    3 – Close Your Eyes

    Sometimes in order to focus on our breath and reset, it’s necessary to close our eyes. There’s less stimuli that way. Obviously, you don’t want to close your eyes in the middle of a freeway or battlefield, but when you’re immobile and in a decently safe place to stand, close your eyes for a minute. Focus on your breath entering and exiting your body. It’s like throwing a blanket over a birdcage to convince a bird to relax and go to sleep. Closing your eyes is a great way to ground and balance yourself.

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      4 – Smile

      Feel your face. You don’t have to touch it with your hand (although that’s perfectly acceptable as well). You can feel the stress in your face, and it shows to people you interact with. By smiling, you’re relaxing your face, your entire body, and the world around you. People are more likely to respond to someone who is smiling. If a person is your perceived cause of stress, then smile at that person… if for no other reason than to piss people off. Making a concerted effort to smile forces you to think happy thoughts. Happy thoughts are literally the basis of positive thinking. It’s something you control, and smiling is the first step to happiness.

      5 – Breathe

      I can’t focus enough on how important it is to just breathe. It’s not just for meditation. Breathing is a life skill. Learn to breathe from your diaphragm. Close your mouth and breathe from below your throat as though you’re taking a huge gulp of air after popping out the water. Only instead of breathing through your mouth, breathe through your nose. Congratulations, mouth-breather, you’ve learned a valuable new skill, courtesy of Lifehack.

      6 – Focus on a Mantra

      Some forms of meditation involve a mantra. How you get a mantra is up to you. Whatever you decide to use, just keep repeating your mantra until you’ve stopped thinking about whatever is troubling you and/or keeping you from enjoying your present surroundings. This can be done with your eyes opened or closed and from anywhere you are in the world. You can even repeat your mantra (silently in your head, muttering, singing, etc.) while walking, driving, or performing any number of tasks.

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        7 – Stop Thinking

        All of the meditation practices you’ve ever heard about are designed to teach you to stop thinking, if even for only a second. It doesn’t sound like much, but that one second break is capable of stopping all those constant nagging thoughts jockeying for position in your consciousness. You may be in debt. Work may be difficult. Friends and family may be acting the fool. Is it happening right now? If it’s not, then don’t think about it. If it is, then these meditative techniques will assist you in finding a solution.

        8 – Picture Yourself Somewhere Else

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        Sometimes in life things get really bad. I mean really bad. I’ve woken up in bathrooms, bars, beds, cars, sidewalks, prisons, and all sorts of unsavory places. Sometimes situations occur in life in which it’s better to put yourself somewhere else. Click your heels and chant, “There’s no place like home.” Pretend you’re on a beach, in a forest, or out in the middle of the ocean — whatever is comfortable to you is where you should be. Your mind is capable of traversing time and space. While living in the present is ideal, it’s okay to daydream for a minute every now and again.

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          9 – Light a Candle

          If you’re able to, light a candle. It doesn’t have to be a huge candle. Even a tea light will suffice. You just want some scents in the air and a dancing flame to focus on. Staring at a candle dance is called candle-gazing and is a very effective form of meditation. It’s like sitting and staring at a camp fire. For one reason or another, fire calms us. The flickering of a flame is useful for many things, but clearing your mind and pulling yourself into the present is definitely one of the top ones.

          10 – Breathe

          At the end of the day, your money, possessions, food, surroundings, family, and everything in your life only exists in your head. Why we’re here doesn’t matter. How we got here doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter is that we’re here. We’re not going anywhere. If we’re going to be stuck here, we may as well be in control of ourselves. Learn to breathe. It’s the most important skill you’ll ever gain. Nothing else matters. Just breathe…

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          Last Updated on July 10, 2020

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

          We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

          So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

          Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

          What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

          Boundaries are limits

          —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

          Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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          Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

          Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

          Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

          How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

          Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

          1. Self-Awareness Comes First

          Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

          You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

          To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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          You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

          • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
          • When do you feel disrespected?
          • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
          • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
          • When do you want to be alone?
          • How much space do you need?

          You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

          2. Clear Communication Is Essential

          Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

          Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

          3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

          Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

          That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

          Sample language:

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          • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
          • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
          • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
          • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
          • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
          • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
          • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

          Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

          4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

          Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

          Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

          Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

          We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

          It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

          It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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          Final Thoughts

          Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

          Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

          Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

          The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

          Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

          Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

          They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

          Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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