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Mastering a Moment of Purposeful Peace

Mastering a Moment of Purposeful Peace
    Untitiled by OtherThink on flickr

    Our minds are always preoccupied with inconsequential thoughts and pending tasks. We create a facade of constant motion to fool ourselves and others that we have a purpose in life.

    Instead, it is actually a purgatory of limitless wanting, made up of over shopping, eating, traveling and working. All of it used to alleviate the guilt of being aimless.

    There is no time to think, just forward momentum and a false hope that things will improve on their own. Ultimately, it results in a jarring collision with reality, and questions like, “Am I happy?” and “Am I satisfied with my life?” arise in our mind.

    We realize that we are living an unfulfilling existence. Forcing us to find meaning, relief from medication, alcohol or from someone who appears to have the answers.

    However, there are alternatives that allow you to create your own destiny and answer your own questions. Give yourself a moment of purposeful peace, where you can appraise your life and  true feelings without distraction or outside influences.

    Finding satisfaction

    Without meaningful goals to focus our attention and define our actions, we only experience small glimpses of happiness and satisfaction.

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    Actual satisfaction is achieved when we are aligned with our true purpose. It is not a fleeting sense, but something that energizes our motives. It goes beyond the contentment of a full stomach, warm clothes and a comfortable home.

    Without self-reflection, we have no way to measure our true needs. Instead, we measure fulfillment through intimacy and the accumulation of material goods. It is a faulty process that leads to dissatisfaction and forces us to replace our current relationships and goods with new people and objects.

    Easing into a moment of purposeful peace

    You need to walk before you can run.

    Remove your expectations and embrace the idea of silence, peace and contemplation.

    It is about conditioning your mind to clear out the inefficient thoughts that race through your consciousness. And, over time you will focus on meaningful and useful thoughts.

    Allow your mind to wander and your unconscious thoughts to bubble up to the surface. Be aware of your true feelings and take an honest inventory of your life to see what you want to change and how you are going to find meaning in your actions.

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    Isolation

    The key to self reflection, is finding a place and time that is free from distraction. A place of mental and physical isolation, that allows you to think and consider without outside forces influencing or contaminating the process.

    The Power of the Pre-dawn Hours

    The early hours of the morning (between 2 to 5 a.m.) has a certain power when it comes to contemplation. If we are concerned about something or have a hard time reconciling a situation, we spend a sleepless night thinking about it.

    We cannot analyze these problems properly during the day because so many distractions block our ability to think clearly.

    Also, the lack of sleep intoxicates the mind, making it more open to exploration.

    What is next?

    Close your eyes and allow the unconscious mind to express itself, and thoughts will emerge.

    Usually, the most confusing and doubt ridden thoughts are the thoughts you will want to embrace and dissect.

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    Take notes of these thoughts. This is not a journal, so write them down in point form and sum them up into single ideas, items or actions.

    Techniques to focus your attention

    Write down categories like home, family and work or use goals like renovations and vacations to guide your thought process and focus your attention.

    If nothing else, writing down some key goals on paper is a victory. Even simple goals are enough to guide your mind and focus your conscious and unconscious attention during your day and serves as a record of your intentions for subsequent sessions.

    Even after just a few sessions you will notice a change in your perception of time and your actions. You will give more consideration how you divide your time and effort throughout the day. Slowly aligning your actions and thoughts towards your goals.

    What to do with the information you write down

    Depending on your state of mind, and the urgency of the situation, you can do two things. Leave the information and access it at some future time or prime your mind with a few basic questions.

    Such as:

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    • How important is this to me?

    • Does it conflict with other goals?

    • What resources do I need?

    • When does it need to be achieved?

    In the future when you return to the list, you will find that you have already taken mental notes on the resources and tactics needed to develop a plan of action.

    These sessions and plans you develop should remain private until you are comfortable in sharing them. Otherwise, your commitment to change and motivation can be diminished by other people’s input.

    No matter what you do with the information you access, giving yourself the few hours of silence, isolation and contemplation will go a long way towards reducing anxiety and helping you focus on what is important to you.

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    Last Updated on August 15, 2018

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

    Video Summary

    Why is it important to train up our core strength?

    There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

    This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

    Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

    In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

    One Exercise, multiple benefits

    There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

    By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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    When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

    Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

    In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

    What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

    What will happen when you start doing planks every day

      1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

      Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

      • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
      • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
      • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
      • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

      2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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        Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

        Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

        3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

          Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

          4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

            Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

            A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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            A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

            On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

            5. You’ll improve overall balance

              Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

              6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                  Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                  How to hold a plank position

                  1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                  2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                  3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                  4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                  5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                  6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                  7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                  Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                  Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                    How to improve your plank time gradually

                    1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                    2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                    3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                    Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                    Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                    You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                    • Prolapse
                    • After prolapse surgery
                    • Pelvic pain conditions
                    • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                    • Previous childbirth
                    • Overweight

                    Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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