The magic formula to de-stress.

We have limited energy in our body. Most of it is being utilized by constant thinking. We keep thinking 24/7 (Yes even when we are asleep, in the form of dreams). Even with minimum physical activity too we feel tired and exhausted. The reason is that our energy is being spent in thinking.

If we analyze, most of our thoughts are not required. Past and future are also thoughts. So is there any way to stop thinking ? No.

We can not stop thinking. We can only do something in place of thinking. Be in present moment. Like you can not remove darkness from the room but you can bring light instead. Darkness will disappear automatically. As soon as we become aware of present moment, thinking slows down. More aware we become, less thoughts will come to your mind. Awareness and thinking can not go together.

So what is awareness ?

You can call it attention, focus, Dhyan or mindfulness.

Normally, all of our activities are autonomous. Very little attention is required. Walking, driving, eating, talking etc are done without our attention or with very little attention. In the background, our thinking process is taking all our attention. Any activity which is done first time takes lot of attention. Imagine you are learning to drive. You will give full attention. As soon as you know how to drive very less attention is required. It is same with all activities.

How do we bring mindfulness in all our activities ?

  1. Anything you do, do it slowly.
  2. Be aware of all your physical activities. like, if you are washing your hands, look at water, soap. feel the water touching your hand. be aware of smell of soap.  if you are driving, feel the steering wheel. look around and feel the speed. If you are walking, feel your legs moving, feel the steps, air surrounding your body. Be in the moment. If you are just sitting, watch your breath, feel it at your nose then it moves inside and touches your lungs. Stay with it. While eating, accompany the whole activity. Touch the food, see it moving in your hand, again touch it in your mouth, be aware while chewing it, feel it when it goes inside your stomach.
  3. It will come with practice. It may take months or years.

What are the benefits if you be mindful?

  1. You will be at peace.
  2. Your thinking will reduce.
  3. You will be more energetic,
  4. You will worry less. Less worry, less stress to your mind and body.
  5. You will do focused thinking. It means you will be able to divert all your energy to the topic for which you want to think. Hence wonderful and intelligent outcomes.
  6. As you become aware of your physical activity, you will be able to be aware of your thoughts too.
  7. All of our negative emotions and thoughts are reason of our unawareness. Once we become aware of it, less anger, greed, hatred, jealousy etc will occur to us.

Start small.  No need to rush. Everyday 5 minutes, sit in meditation. Sit straight. Be aware of your breath. stay with it. You will lose your attention, you will start thinking. It’s ok. Gently come back. Again give attention to your breath. If you are successful in 5 minutes, make it 10 minutes.

During the day practice more mindfulness. Mindfulness is meditation while you are active.

 

Zen sharp focus

Stay-Focused

Is your “to do list” getting bigger and bigger? Do you feel that still there is a lot more to be done and very less is being done? Smile :), you are not alone. We all are sailing in the same boat.

We feel that whatever we have just done is not yet complete. It is half done as some new work has come up. In this crazy and fast moving world we feel as if we are left behind. While we are not yet content with what is going on, we see someone getting new degree, new car, making more money, building new house etc,. We add few more to do’s in our list. Our “to do list” is never ending. Our content level is dropping.

While we have these wishes, desires and hopes, it seems that we are hardly reaching to the finish line of any. Facebook, surfing through web oceans, emails, twitter, blogs, chat on whatsapp, social media, Blackberry’s blinking light, the list of distractions are endless.

So lets admit that we have lot of distractions in our life and due to that we achieve very little.

When walking, walk. When eating, eat.- Zen proverb

 Zen monks are well known for their focus, simplicity and command over them selves. While reading on Zen, I have learnt few tips. I will share few of them which has worked for me :

  1. Simplify, simplify and simplify :  When we are surrounded by too many “to do’s “, our life becomes complex. Solution lies in simplification.  Review each task carefully. Choose only most important tasks. Prioritize. Remove those which do not align with your yearly goals. The idea is to focus on those things which matters the most. Lesser tasks means more time to focus  on important tasks.
  2. Is it necessary ? Every time you take any task in hand. Reflect. Is it necessary ?  Imagine you are working in your office and you get a call. Think before taking the call. Is it necessary ? Can it be done later ? You see new car passing. You liked it. Now this idea keeps coming in your mind to obtain it. Reflect. Is it necessary ?
  3. One task at a time : The reason for very less done is we do not have sharp focus. We multitask. Meetings, calls, deadlines, facebook, twitter, emails, whatsapp all are attacking us simultaneously. Choose three most important task each day. The trick is to clear your mind from worrying about the sheer volume of your tasks and focus on one task at a time. It’s best to start AND finish 3 things than start and not finish 20
  4. Commit to it : Now, once you have picked your tasks for the day, commit to it. Don’t change your priorities during the day, don’t take on more tasks to complete ‘in between’ and don’t even think about the mountain of things you have to do after these 3 tasks. Focus.
  5. First thing first : Do not start another task as long as you haven’t completed the first.

 Focus on being productive instead of busy- Timothy Ferriss

Happy focusing  !

4 things you can do when you lack self discipline

We need self discipline to do everything (Yes, you heard right, everything. Even to get out of bed at right time). To  get into Fitness habits, eating right, to be focused, to work effectively, to progress in our projects, to maintain healthy relations, to sleep and wakeup early, to de clutter , to grow and many  more aspects of  our life.

So here are 4 things which has worked for me :

  1. Don’t beat up  yourself : You may fail in your discipline. So what ? Its ok. Don’t think you are not worthy.It will lead to a mindset that you are a failure. Self discipline is just a  habit. which you can create like any other habits.
  2. The right thing is motivation : We believe that self discipline means pushing yourself to do things which you don’t want to do. We hate those kind of activities. How can we get any benefit doing things we hate ? so first of all find out whether the activity  you want to do, is worth doing it ? if yes ,then find out why ? Do you have enough motivation to do such activity ? Don’t push yourself to do things, instead, let things to pull you towards it. Right motivation can lead you effortlessly towards your goal. Understand the “Why” first. Gather enough reasons. Focus on motivation rather than discipline.
  3. Start small : We often jump start out of enthusiasm. Lets take example of eating right. Imagine you start your diet on first day with only vegetables, fruits, whole grain, milk, low calories etc. How many days this diet will sustain? a weak ? May be. Instead, start small. Add salads to your meals for few days. Then cut down red meat for days. Like meatless Mondays. Only Sunday is chicken day.  Slowly add fruits to your breakfasts. What you are doing is creating a habit. In 30 days you can create any habit(more on this some other time). Research proves that anything you do repeatedly for 30 days, you have created a habit.
  4.  Focus on enjoyment : The underlying truth is we avoid doing things , when we hate what we do. Find something enjoyable in the activity. Healthy eating : Look for food which you love to eat, Exercise: listen music while you workout, look for a partner. Hard to focus on work? : Take breaks in between. Give yourself reward when you finish a part, like nice cup of tea or  coffee. The idea is to associate your activity with enjoyment.

Whatever you do, you  will slip up sometime. Its ok. Get up, dust yourself, and start all over with step 1 and get going.

I can handle it !!

Hey Friends !

We all are afraid of something.(well, someone will say I am not). Public speaking, making decisions, changing jobs, expanding business, failing in new project, being alone, disapproval, loss of image, aging, losing a loved one, making new friends, raise your  hand to answer in a meeting or class,  the list is endless.

We all know how these fears can make us limit ourselves. We begin to shut down and close out the world around us. We become timid and shivering. Our thriving life starts narrowing. First time when I was asked to speak in public, my mouth was drying and  I was literally shivering. Those 3 minutes of mine were like 3  years.                                                                   .

So if we strip this fear little bit . we find the biggest fear of all is only one fear.” I CAN’T HANDLE IT”.

Public speaking : If people will not like me “I can’t handle it”

Making decision : If my decision is wrong and if outcome is bad “I can’t handle it”

Making new friend : If I call for friendship and he/she denies it, I will feel ashamed and ” I can’t handle it”

Raising hand in a meeting: If I raise my hand and if my suggestion/answer is not accepted by others “I can’t handle it”. so on and so forth.

This means if we know we could handle anything that comes in front of us, what would we possibly have to fear ? the answer is NOTHING.

Susan Jeffers in her book “Feel the fear…….and do it anyway” says “All you have to do to diminish your  fear is to develop more trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way”

So the mantra is “I CAN HANDLE IT” you will say that’s it ? Yes, this is the mantra. In any life situation externally or  any state of mind internally, This mantra will help.

We have to keep developing trust on ourselves. Every time we feel the fear ( which we will always feel) and if we know the mantra ” I can handle it” we should jump in it and do it anyway. By doing it repeatedly, fear will have no power over us.

Lets see few truths about FEAR

1. The FEAR will never go away as long as I continue to grow. As long as I continue to take risks in making my dreams come true, I am going to experience fear. What a revelation! So now we are not going to wait for fear to go away and then pursue our dreams. We know it is going to be there.

2. The only way to GET RID of fear of doing something is to GO OUT AND DO IT. You can only get rid of it if you go out and do it. Doing it comes first before fear to go away. Normally we think that when I get rid of fear I will speak in public,but the truth is contrary to that. The fear will only go away if you go out and speak in public. Doing it comes first.

feel-the-fear-and-do-it-anyway

3.The only way to FEEL BETTER about myself is to GO OUT…..AND DO IT. Same principle. “Doing it” comes before the feeling better about yourself.

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4. Everyone out there including my super heroes are fearful. :Really ? So you mean to say those big shots, motivational speakers, superstars all of them feel fear on unfamiliar territory ? YES. why didn’t somebody tell me before ? I guess I never asked. We think we are the only person on this earth who is afraid. It is such a relief to realize that I am not alone in this. I have the rest of the world to keep me company.

5. Doing it anyway… is less frightening than staying with fear and not fulfilling your dreams.  For example, if you dream to change your job or career but because you  are afraid, the whole life you will live under dread. whereas if you  do  it despite of your fear, imagine feeling you will have achieving it.

better than dippresion

Lets feel the fear……. and Do it anyway.

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Take one risk a day- one small or bold stroke that will make you feel great once you’ve done it. Call someone you  are intimidated to call, buy a pair of shoes that costs  you would ever pay in the past, ask for something you want to that you have been too frightened to ask for before. Break the pattern of holding back and being “stuck”.  Watch what starts to happen when you expand your comfort zone.

Each night before you go to bed, plan the risk you are going to take the following day.

feel the fear and do it anyway.