Mental Wellbeing

Building Routine Around Self-Care

Building Routine Around Self-Care

Showing kindness to ourselves can be one of the more challenging practices to commit to. Life happens, challenges arise, we get busy, and it is only illness, fatigue, burn out, and moments of overwhelm that ask us, with urgency, to prioritize self-care. Yet, by living in a human body we have every tool needed to support ourselves in sustainable well-being.

One of the simplest means of showing kindness to ourselves is to create personal rituals. Rituals are a single action or series of actions that are meaningful and performed the same each time. Rituals are tools that offer us space to pause, honor ourselves, and become present. 

3 Ways To Stop Negative Self-Talk

3 Ways To Stop Negative Self-Talk

Often, we find ourselves holding back from saying certain things to people, but when it comes to our own inner dialogue -- we have no filter. Think back to a time where you were feeling down even though you knew you were being too hard on yourself. Fortunately, by paying attention to our inner dialogue, we can free ourselves from self-doubt and become more comfortable with who we are. Here are 3 ways to stop negative self-talk:

Why Peak Performance Requires a Strong Mind Body Connection

There are two types of exercise critical to reaching your peak performance in life: mental and physical. Physical exercise is organized, premeditated, focused physical movement that is intended to achieve a set of fitness goals. Common physical exercises include running, weight lifting, swimming, and yoga. With repetition, you get better over time.

Mental exercise is a bit more complicated. Your brain is active 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The brain is a super-powered processing machines constantly analyzing your external environment, while commanding your bodily functions. Your brain also regulates emotions, stores memories, and processes information both consciously and subconsciously. Just like physical activity, there is a distinction between brain activity and mental exercise.

Mental exercises are challenging. They require more cognitive power and eat up more energy. They are also the activities that make you smarter. Some examples include learning a new instrument, studying for a test, strategizing a new business model, and even reading for long periods of time.

Mutually Exclusive or Complementary?

What you may have noticed is that these examples of physical and mental exercise are not mutually exclusive. To play piano, you need to think about which notes to play and move your fingers and feet accordingly. To swim a proper breaststroke, you have to apply a learned technique to move efficiently and get better.

It is important to understand the difference between mental and physical exercise to understand an even more powerful type of exercise - the mind body connection.

The Mind Body Connection

Going as far back as ancient Greece, people believed that the mind and body were deeply intertwined. Medicine and sports were predicated on the idea that our bodies and minds depend on each other for peak performance. This notion was almost lost at the beginning of the seventeenth century, but has come back to popularity. Scientists in modern times have found again and again that the body and mind are a synchronized unit. For example, what separates Olympic athletes from recreational athletes is not their superior bodies; it’s actually their ability to make decisions on the fly, and command their muscles accordingly. Vice versa.

Here’s another example. Think back to the last time you were very hungry and trying to work. Not easy right? A body that’s properly fed, hydrated, and has stable glucose levels feeds a sharper, more focused, and calmer mind.

Though we do not yet fully understand the connectivity between the mind and body, it is a growing topic in a variety of fields from meditation to physiology to fitness. Peak performers, doctors and scientists all want to know how this relationship works. One thing is for sure. If you want to reach your peak performance in life, it’s critical to find a happy balance between mental and physical exercise.

Why Peak Performance Requires a Strong Mind Body Connection

There are two types of exercise critical to reaching your peak performance in life: mental and physical. Physical exercise is organized, premeditated, focused physical movement that is intended to achieve a set of fitness goals. Common physical exercises include running, weight lifting, swimming, and yoga. With repetition, you get better over time.

Mental exercise is a bit more complicated. Your brain is active 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The brain is a super-powered processing machines constantly analyzing your external environment, while commanding your bodily functions. Your brain also regulates emotions, stores memories, and processes information both consciously and subconsciously. Just like physical activity, there is a distinction between brain activity and mental exercise.

Mental exercises are challenging. They require more cognitive power and eat up more energy. They are also the activities that make you smarter. Some examples include learning a new instrument, studying for a test, strategizing a new business model, and even reading for long periods of time.

Mutually Exclusive or Complementary?

What you may have noticed is that these examples of physical and mental exercise are not mutually exclusive. To play piano, you need to think about which notes to play and move your fingers and feet accordingly. To swim a proper breaststroke, you have to apply a learned technique to move efficiently and get better.

It is important to understand the difference between mental and physical exercise to understand an even more powerful type of exercise - the mind body connection.

The Mind Body Connection

Going as far back as ancient Greece, people believed that the mind and body were deeply intertwined. Medicine and sports were predicated on the idea that our bodies and minds depend on each other for peak performance. This notion was almost lost at the beginning of the seventeenth century, but has come back to popularity. Scientists in modern times have found again and again that the body and mind are a synchronized unit. For example, what separates Olympic athletes from recreational athletes is not their superior bodies; it’s actually their ability to make decisions on the fly, and command their muscles accordingly. Vice versa.

Here’s another example. Think back to the last time you were very hungry and trying to work. Not easy right? A body that’s properly fed, hydrated, and has stable glucose levels feeds a sharper, more focused, and calmer mind.

Though we do not yet fully understand the connectivity between the mind and body, it is a growing topic in a variety of fields from meditation to physiology to fitness. Peak performers, doctors and scientists all want to know how this relationship works. One thing is for sure. If you want to reach your peak performance in life, it’s critical to find a happy balance between mental and physical exercise.


 

How Going Offline Makes You More Productive

How do you feel about being connected to your devices around the clock? Does it keep you in the loop and help you get more done? Or is it the opposite and your attention is being pulled in a thousand different directions?

Our devices, while very useful, can sometimes distract us from our desired path. By spending time offline, you can enjoy more clarity, peace of mind, and higher peak performance to thrive in life.

Here’s why going offline makes you more productive:

A Better Night’s Rest

You’re lying in bed, about to go to sleep, and then “beep, beep”... your phone goes off. Sound familiar? Whether it’s a social media notification, a text, or some other reminder, we often check it out. Even though we’re settled in bed, looking at the alert gets our minds racing again. On top of this, studies say the blue light from phone screens interferes with your body’s sleep cycles. All of this combines for a poor night’s rest, and affects tomorrow’s mood, energy level, and productivity.  

Focus On What’s Important

Constant connection to our devices makes it all too easy to be distracted - especially when the next notification appears. It takes great self-control and even greater willpower to avoid checking our phone every-time it beeps. After all, it’s our very nature to give attention to something that’s calling for us.

The challenge with ignoring notifications and technology is that it takes focus and energy. Whether you turn your ringer to silent or turn off your devices altogether - more power to you!

Be Present and Focus

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By spending more time offline, you can access focus and clarity of mind. For instance, you’ll be present to the people you spend time with. They will appreciate your focus and you’ll be able to appreciate their presence. This can help strengthen your relationships immensely.

 

An Inspired You

Most importantly, going offline lets your mind rest. Sometimes social media, emails, and notifications can make your mind work harder than it needs to. By taking a break from all that extra information, your mind is free to focus on what really matters to you.

Taking a break from your devices can be very refreshing. Whether it’s for a week or just one day, you might be surprised by your how clear you feel.

This is Your Brain on Meditation. Any Questions?

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The human brain is an incredible thing. It has tons of memory capacity, can multitask with the best of ‘em, and has the power to transform the way people see the world.

Smartphones are great and all, but technology ain’t got nothin’ on your brain!

However, just because your head is packed with a well-oiled cerebral machine, doesn’t mean it won’t need a little jumpstart every now and then. That’s where meditation comes in. During and after meditation you probably notice a difference in how you feel. But do you know what’s happening in your head to make you feel that strong and clear?

Allow us (and science) to explain.

Reduced stress and anxiety.

Researchers affiliated with Harvard University found that people who meditated for just eight weeks were able to quiet the amygdala, the part of the brain that triggers fear. A study led by the smart cookies at Harvard also found that meditation led to decreased gray matter density in the amygdala, and that participants reported reductions in stress. Proof that meditation will help you stay sane next time your mother-in-law shows up for an unannounced visit.

Increased concentration and focus.

In a recent study, Harvard researchers found that meditation can literally change your brain, including the part associated with attention. A study team at Texas Tech University also found that after just 11 hours of meditation, participants had structural changes in the part of the brain tied to focus. See, shutting off your brain for a little bit actually makes it run better. If only you could go back and use that line with your 6th grade teacher!

Increased compassion and empathy.

More Harvard researchers again, this time they found that MRI scans of meditators showed a major increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with self-awareness, compassion, and empathy. Further to that point, some brainiacs in Sweden discovered that meditation is accompanied by activation in brain areas involved with empathy as well as with happy and pleasant feelings. So, meditation thus far makes you calmer, more efficient, and happier. Meditators: 3. Everyone else: 0.

Improved performance and productivity.

Switchin’ it up here with a UCLA study that found meditators showed significantly larger volumes of the right hippocampus, which accounts for a meditator’s ability to cultivate positive emotions and retain emotional stability. Get this: Brain scans of meditators show a shift in activation and gray matter density from the areas of the brain associated with negative emotions like stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction to the areas associated with positive emotions like happiness and contentment.

Well, according to this research from some of the top medical schools around the world, meditation makes people less stressed, more focused, happy, and productive. Can your phone do that for you?

How to Meditate Your Way to a Better Night’s Sleep

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Why is it that when you’re extra tired after a long, hard day at the office, lying in bed ready to drift off to *ahhh* dreamland, you can’t fall asleep? Instead, you’re stuck with random thoughts on repeat.

Blame it on the monkey mind.

Now that you know what causes this endless internal dialogue, how do you fix it? That’s where we come in.

Here’s some handy advice on meditating your way to a better night’s sleep (no extra sheep needed).

  • 20 minutes before you’re ready to hit the sack, turn off your devices and get ready to unwind. Read a few lines out of a book, listen to a soothing song, or just sit and enjoy a warm cup of tea

  • Once you’re in your bed, ready to catch a few winks, focus on something calming: an ‘om’ sound, your breath, or a mantra (“I will bring bellbottoms back, I will bring bellbottoms back”)

  • Let your body sink into your bed. Keep your focus on your calming sound or thought while your body disconnects from your mind

  • As sleep overtakes you, don’t fight. Allow yourself to naturally release that calming thought or sound so the power of slumber can envelope you

Repeat this practice however many times you need until you drift off. This quick process can also help you when you shoot out of bed at 2AM because of a wild dream or buzzing cell phone. The more you practice, the easier you’ll find it is to fall and stay asleep. *Ahhh*

The True Cost of Stress

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Why do people become stressed? For so many, feeling “stressed out” is a sign of caring, working hard, and being a good employee.

But did you know that employee stress is one of the single greatest sources of lost revenue for businesses?

In David Gelles’ book, Mindful Work: How Meditation is Changing Business from the Inside Out, he describes how highly stressed workers are less productive and incur more health care costs than their less-stressed colleagues. According to the World Health Organization, stress costs American businesses as much as $300 billion per year.

What could your company do with all that extra money?

More importantly, how productive would your employees be without all that stress?

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years by millions of people looking to relax, find balance, and feel calm. Stress has mental and physical manifestations -- it can lead to depression and anxiety that affects both the mind and body. Because meditation strengthens the connection between the head and the heart, the physical and the mental, it is a simple, accessible way to reduce stress.

Journey helps people focus their attention and clear their minds. Just a few minutes a day can make a big difference for body, mind, and business.

3 Ways Meditation Can Improve Your Life Right Now (Yes, Right Now!)

When you think about it, 15 minutes a day isn’t a lot of time (that’s what we recommend for your daily Journey practice). In fact, 15 minutes is only 1% of your day. So how can it make such a big difference? Remember, big waves are generated by small ripples.

If you’re wondering what meditation has done, or could do, for you lately, look no further than these five benefits.

1.  Better communication with your loved ones and colleagues.

Next time your boss asks for the presentation a day earlier, meditation will be there to keep you calm and centered in the face of an all-nighter. With a meditation practice you can problem-solve like a rock star without losing precious time to stress and confusion. A quick, simple breathing exercise will clear your mind and open up your communication pathways.

2. More go with the flow.

We’ve all been there: the hotel lost your reservation or bad weather rained out your show. Life doesn’t always go according to plan, but it’s how you deal with the ups and downs that define who you are. Meditation provides you with the tools you need to stay balanced and flexible in situations that would otherwise drive you crazy.

3. Reconnect you with you.

In high school it felt like the clock moved backwards, like the end of 5th period would never come and you’d be trapped in an Algebra 2 black hole forever. But now that you’re an adult it’s like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Weeks, months, years fly by, and in the midst of it all you’ve got conference calls, boozy brunches and your mother nagging you about when you’ll finally settle down. But where are you in all of that chaos? Meditation not only helps you find yourself but it guides you to reconnect with your inner wants, desires, and values, whether time is standing still or flying by.