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Everyone’s Mind Matters

Developing Optimism

Everyone’s Mind Matters

Developing Optimism

Having an optimistic outlook on life is not just scientifically proven but it is also highly beneficial to our minds and bodies. Being optimistic is seeing things in a less stressful manner, seeing the lighter side of life, enjoying the adventure rather than worrying what’s to come. Having optimism makes us feel happier and more content with life no matter who or where you are. Wouldn’t you rather be optimistic

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Optimism is a thought pattern that can be taught and learnt successfully, it may be true that they’re are some people born with a more optimistic outlook on life, these guys just have a head start.

Optimism can be taught and learnt successfully, just like any other thought pattern, repetition, patience and kindness to yourself go a long way. The good news is that optimism can be implemented into your life almost instantly.

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When I was a Buddhist monk in rural Thailand we sometimes used to ride into town in the back of an Land Rover with those bars holding up a canvas roof. Every big bump in the road, and one of the monks would bang his head on one of those metal bars, not once did I hear a scream of pain or abusive language, every time it happened the monk would burst out laughing.

Of course I thought it was strange, until I started to change my mindset and slowly I also found I too could laugh at adversity, it even feels good

How To Change Your Mindset

Meditation has a direct impact within our brains resulting in increased activity within the Anterior Cingulate Cortex, the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex and the Hippocampus region which is directly responsible for the grey matter produced in our brains. The possibilities this may have within the scientific fields of Alzheimer’s and memory retention, are only just being realised

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The Benefits of Meditation have been well documented in the last ten years and with MRI scanners now showing us the actual visible results that meditation brings.

The reduction in Stress, Anxiety and Depression are reported in 95 percent of all participants from as little as two weeks of mindfulness meditation training. The increase in Optimism, Happiness and Contentment are equally as impressive with over 90 percent of participants reporting a dramatic change.

Imagine the benefits of keeping this wonderful and simple exercise up everyday

How To Start Meditating

Sitting in a comfortable position, either cross legged on a meditation mat, using a meditation stool or a solid chair, keep a straight spine, not over pulling it one way or the other, gently relax your shoulders and bring your chest forward to allow your lungs to be fully open.

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Softly close your eyes and take a few long deep breaths, start to feel your muscles relax and your worries drift away, when your ready bring your attention to your breath.

Breathing in be aware you’re breathing in, 

breathing out, be aware you are breathing out. 

Count one.

Repeat this for five or ten counts then start again. This is the basics of Breathing or Samadhi Meditation

For more on Meditation and Mindfulness training techniques, from the different positions and correct posture to use, too Basic and more advanced meditations to try. Visit our Meditation Page

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

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Everyone’s Mind Matters

Anxiety and Modern Man

Written by Guest Author:- Matthew Rigby

Mind Matters, Anxiety

Anxiety is a simple emotion we all experience. To some, it is best described as a feeling of worry, yet to others it is fear. An anxiety disorder is a crippling disability that doesn’t discriminate and while you aren’t always left with physical scars, the mental ones can be clear for all to see.

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Male suicide is the largest killer of men aged 20-49 in the UK and anxiety is often cited as a cause. Whilst being both a mental health sufferer and within that age bracket, I think it’s important to acknowledge and empathize with others in the same position. Mental health now comes with serious discussion and more household names are coming forward to talk through their own troubles, further shining a light on the plight of the common man.

Rapper Professor Green has spoken openly about his troubles with mental health in the past years, even penning a regular column on battles he’s faced with his own head. Meanwhile, Celtic footballer Leigh Griffiths took time away from the game to focus on getting himself well.

For the first time in some years, young male mental health sufferers are being represented and men now have the opportunity to come forward and discuss their issues.

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Breaking the cycle

Everyone’s anxiety is different; it’s simple – different lives, different worries. Regardless of your experience there are techniques everyone can employ to help break the cycle. The Benefits of Meditation can be endless for mental health sufferers and answer some questions in your own psyche.

Whilst some sufferers may be hesitant to try meditation, anxious of silencing their inner monologue, positive reinforcement is the key to breaking free from endless fear. The power of positive thought may sound like a book you’d scoff at someone reading on the train, however your self worth in many ways determines your anxieties and it ultimately comes from a feeling of inadequacy. This isn’t something we should be ashamed to say – just because you think you’re rubbish doesn’t mean you are!

I often think of myself in a circle when having an anxious episode – a panic attack or general shutdown. I work out a way to break the circle of negative thoughts – a common Cognitive Behavioural Therapy technique. You can even draw it on a piece of paper.

Draw a line and write your action, this physical action will provide a mental reaction, one that hopefully eases your stress. Following this with a period of meditation to soothe your active mind, will help you come to a solution for your worries I promise.

The most important thing for an anxious person to remember is to be yourself. Remember that version of you that you like and be it; we may never be anxiety free but it sure does seem to disappear when you’re having fun.

Meditation can help

The Benefits of Meditation have been well documented in the last ten years and with MRI scanners now showing us the actual visible results meditation brings it’s all time we started this wonderful new science.

Meditation has a direct impact within our brains resulting in increased activity within the Anterior Cingulate Cortex, the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex and the Hippocampus region which is directly responsible for the grey matter produced in our brains. The possibilities this may have within the scientific fields of Alzheimer’s and memory retention are only just being realised

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The reduction in Stress, Anxiety and Depression are reported in 95 percent of all participants from as little as two weeks of mindfulness meditation training. Imagine the benefits of keeping this wonderful and simple exercise up everyday.

Breathing or Samadhi Meditation is by far the easiest of mindfulness training to grasp, or perhaps Metta Bhavana Meditation, also known as Loving Kindness Meditation will work wonders, however the untrained mind will find it a lot harder than it sounds. The good news is, just like going to the gym regularly you start to build those muscles up, and so too with meditation you powers of concentration become greater and meditation becomes easier.

kind regards

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loving kindness

Captain of my Soul

Invictus

By William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,

      Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

      I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

      Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

      Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

      How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

      I am the captain of my soul.

This poem has been used by many famous people as inspiration through hard times, Nelson Mandela is said to of taken comfort and motivation from this poem on his long imprisonment on Robbin Island, South Africa.

Please share with someone you love today. After all Sharing is Caring.

Kind regards

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loving kindness meditation

Loving kindness Meditation

loving kindness

In an all too busy world it is easy to overlook loving kindness and it’s benefits. Life today seems to be harder than ever before, our society seems to offer everything we could possible desire yet it is a fact that there are more and more of us struggling with difficult and upsetting emotional states. Depression, anxiety and mental health are this century’s biggest challenges. The practice of loving kindness is just an inherited quality but loving kindness can be learnt and taught and that is what we are about to discover.Loving kindness, meditation, spirituality, spiritual, Metta, positivity, happiness, mindfulness, compassion

Loving kindness infographic

Loving kindness is compassion, happiness, and unconditional love, it isn’t anger or hatred, greed or despair, loving kindness as described by the sacred Buddhist text is the first of the four sublime states, the others are compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity. Wikipedia quotes loving kindness, or Metta, as “the cultivation of benevolence” and the Oxford English Dictionary states loving kindness as “tenderness and consideration towards others”.

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What is loving kindness in Buddhism?

Loving kindness or Metta Bhavana meditation has been used by the Buddhists for over 2500 years, developed to build the characteristics of compassion, equanimity, happiness, joy and wellbeing. The only way to know, is to practice. It is a practice not just for loving kindness to oneself but should be directed out towards every living being, to our greatest loves and to those we may be having difficulty with. Metta Bhavana practiced regularly helps to build our concentration rapidly in meditation practice, enabling us to progress much quicker along the path. The four sublime states that practicing Metta Bhavana ring are called the Brahmavihara and they are compassion, loving kindness, altruistic joy and equanimity.

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Lao Tzu quote

Loving kindness meditation benefits

The health benefits of the practice of loving kindness and Metta meditation, have been studied in great number from western scientists in the last 30 years and all can agree that stress levels reduce, depression can be eliminated, anger subsides, a sense of calming and wellbeing arise, blood pressure lowers, gives you a sense of satisfaction and of belonging and will Increases happiness and compassion. There are many other positive side effects with no negative reactions or problems. The mental health benefits are equally impressive, nut this is not some quick fix pill to take this still takes time and practice. So how do we practice

How do you practice Loving kindness?

There are a few methods and ways to practice loving kindness, the method I describe below I find works wonderfully for me. It is one of visualisation, I was a Buddhist monk in Northern Thailand and after many years of meditation practice and guidance I find this is the most suitable way for my western mind. This method however is just one of the three ways to practice which will achieve loving kindness in the heart. Reflecting and auditory are the other two methods used to create the feeling of loving kindness. Reflect on the positive qualities of yourself or a loved one will ensure loving kindness to flourish with in the heart. Using a mantra is the auditory approach and an example could simple be the words loving kindness.

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Love quote Herman Hesse

The First thing we need to do is find the love from within ourselves. Now I understand that may sound a little scary to some. Visualisation is a great way to achieve love inside, we all have something we love, something that will bring that feeling back when you start to think deeply enough about it. For me this is my adopted stray dog Marley and the crazy fun things he gets up to. If your still finding difficulty thinking of something that your really love this much, then try hitting this link 7 wonders of life, it will help you find something wonderful in your life to feel that loving kindness and to help with the practice. Now that we have our object of focus, it time to relax.

Find a comfortable place somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Now sitting in a comfortable position with a straight spine, gently relax your shoulder and neck muscles and slowly close your eyes. Take a few long deep breaths and feel yourself relaxing. Let’s start by calmly watch your breathing, don’t disturb your breathing, just let it be natural. Breathing in, be aware your breathing, breathing out, be aware your breathing out. Count one. This is a great link to learn how to practice Breath Meditation. Relax and do this for s count of ten.

Now bring your object of love to the forefront of your mind and begin to feel the love you have. really start to explore that feeling, the feeling of love. Don’t worry if you feel a little resistance at first, be kind to yourself and be patient. Try to find where the feeling is coming from, do you notice how the feeling grows the more you explore it. Again don’t panic if you feel resistance to this, it is all ok, it just means a little more patience and kindness towards yourself is needed. Now feel that love start to consume you, feel it’s warmth, is your smile hurting you cheeks yet. If you are having trouble visualising, please still use loving kindness with yourself, this is not going to be easy for some. Tell yourself it’s ok we can have another go later, always be patient and kind towards yourself and even that is practicing loving kindness.

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Meditating monk

Once we have the feeling of love flowing within ourselves, it’s time to send out our love to others. We now use a mantra with our loving kindness, to truly send out our positive vibration to the chosen person. First we start with ourselves. Repeat this ten times to yourself, or out loud that’s entirely up to you.

May I be happy 

May I be free from metal suffering and distress

May I be free of physical pain and suffering

May I be peaceful and at ease

Now we are going to give that love from our heart, that loving kindness to someone dear to us, this could be a spouse, child or a loved friend. Again repeat ten times.

May (insert name) be happy

May (insert name) be free from suffering and distress 

May (insert name) be free of physical pain and suffering 

May (insert name) be peaceful and at ease 

If you find your mind wanders or you notice your loving kindness looses it ferocity, at this point always be kind and patient with yourself, slowly return to the original object of focus, take a few deep breaths and start again. once you have established the feeling again in your heart, continue with the mantra.