Scientists argue that a few hours of silence dramatically help to the rejuvenation of brain cells just the way sleep does.

From the old times, people who appreciated silence a little more than the ordinary were confronted by their social community with suspicion or “burdened” with the label of “monotonous” and “peculiar”. Now, however, it is time for the supporters of silence and generally all those who don’t appreciate the bustle, the noisy spaces, and the endless talking, to celebrate.

But, let’s get things right: in 2011 the Finnish Ministry of Tourism launched a campaign that used silence as an exportable product(!). This campaign called for tourists to visit Finland and discover the healing properties and beauty of the tranquil landscapes of the country.

In fact, they had gone on to publish promotional material, in particular, a series of wonderful photos that their main slogan was “Quiet, please” and was accompanied by a few more words: “No more talk, actions!”

Eva Kiviranta, who manages the social media of VisitFinland.com, said:

We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing.

Probably, she ignored a scientific project that was conducted on the beneficial properties of silence.

How Silence Benefits the Brain?

In particular, on the basis of studies carried out from 2013 until today at Oregon and Duke universities, both in newborn mice and humans, it has been found that two minutes of absolute silence benefits the brain; it can be as relaxing as if we were sleeping for 15 minutes or if we listened to our favorite music for 5 minutes.

The study titled Brain, Structure and Function revealed a truly amazing finding: 2 hours of absolute silence were enough to create new cells in the hippocampus, the brain region involved in the transfer of information from short-term memory to long-term and to better containment of this information.

In this sense, scientists have argued that silence helps in the development and proper functioning of our brain. They explain that noise and talking affect the functioning of our brain, causing it to produce high levels of stress hormones.

Sound waves affect the brain, which perceives them even when we sleep. So, either by looking for a two-hour pause in the day or by sleeping in a completely quiet environment, you will benefit your brain.

H/T: LIFO

References:

The mind and your reality.

The world is a looking glass, it gives back to every man a true reflection of his own thoughts. We live in a world created by our own thoughts. There is no reality, but a reality created within ourselves. Rule your mind or it will rule you. There’s no point living for the future if you do not know how to live now.

This moment is all you truly have, because happiness is not a destination, but a way of life. The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment. Watch this inspired and thought provoking video:

 

Video credits: TJOP (The Journey of Purpose)

What are the habits that drive us away from achieving success?

We all have bad habits and that’s perfectly normal. But some of these habits may be the reason why your career or your personal life does not evolve the way you want.

Here are 11 habits that may prevent you from achieving success:

1. You are not saying your opinion

Society teaches us to be obedient and not to break the rules. But, if you don’t take risks and don’t say your point of view, don’t expect something exciting to happen to you. Make yourself heard and do not be afraid to express your point of view.

2. You are always late

A successful man is trustworthy and very devoted, so if you have the habit of being late, no one will take you seriously. According to a San Francisco University study, continuous lag is related to anxiety and low self-esteem.

3. You hold grudges

If you keep grudges, all you do is filling yourself with negative thoughts and feelings. In fact, keeping such intense feelings within you can cause health issues.

4. You conform

If you believe absolute compliance will lead you to success and increase your popularity, you are wrong. Every time you choose to follow others, you lose great opportunities. Don’t be a conformist!

5. You are wasteful

Do you often end up with an empty wallet and over-indebted credit cards? This can be a reflection of your financial future. Finances are very important and the proper organization and management of money show a responsible person.

6. You procrastinate

People who procrastinate lose opportunities because they fail to complete their job they undertake in time. They harm their reputation because they are inconsistent.

Watch: Stop Procrastination

7. You are not honest

Lying can become addictive and one lie leads to the other. Soon, you will be trapped in a vicious cycle that you won’t be able to escape from. The solution? Be honest from the beginning. Sometimes it can be annoying when you see others succeeding through lies, but the satisfaction of a success based on the truth is much greater.

8. You whine

It is good to say what you are thinking, especially when there is something that bothers you, but you should not be exaggerated. People have the habit of avoiding those who grumble and criticizing others all the time.

9. You push people away

The key to success is to have a large contact network that could save you from future problems. The road to achieving success can be long and difficult, but with a little help, it can become easier and enjoyable.

10. You don’t take care of yourself

Always take care of yourself to be healthy. Stress can become your worst enemy, so don’t let the bustle of everyday life stop you from eating healthy foods or exercising.

11. You don’t practice body language

Good first impressions are very important, but the same is true for the second and third. Your body speaks more than your words. Learn to behave like a reliable and confident man. Always keep eye contact with the person you are talking to and have a straight posture.

H/T: Business Insider

Many of us walk around beating ourselves up for the things that we did or didn’t do. We tell ourselves that we are not good enough and overtime this can affect our self-esteem and feelings of self worth. We all have this harsh inner critic inside of us and if we don’t become aware of it and change how it operates, it can be very difficult to find the motivation and confidence to go after our dreams and ambitions.

While everyone’s inner critic speaks a little differently, there are some words that you want to pay attention to. If you find yourself using these words frequently, it is time to reprogram your mind.

Here are the 4 words you need to stop using to silence your inner critic:

1. Sorry

Of course, there is nothing wrong with apologising when you have made a mistake or hurt someones feelings, but many times people use sorry to apologise because they feel like they have been an inconvenience.

Like -“sorry can you pass the salt” or “sorry for not getting back to you” or “sorry, would you mind doing me a favour”.

When you start using sorry to apologise for being an inconvenience that is when you need to step up and take notice- Are you using this word because you lack self esteem or don’t feel worthy enough?

Often people who overuse the word “sorry” need to build up their self-esteem and feel confident in taking up space in the world. Often these people need to work on feeling more grounded and secure in themselves and their surroundings.

If you find yourself saying “sorry” a lot, you may want to consider using the words, “Please” or “Thank You” instead. For example, “please pass the salt” or “thank you for waiting, I know I didn’t get back to you.”

These small tweaks can help to gradually reprogram your mind and change how you perceive yourself.

Over time, these changes will also help you to feel more confident and that you don’t have to apologise for everything that you do or say.

2. “Should”

Another word that you have to be mindful of using is “should”. For example, “I should have done this” or “I really should eat healthier”.

When you use “should” in this way it instantly creates a judgement on yourself and even others. For example, you may also find yourself saying- “She really shouldn’t have done that”. Even though that statement may feel true in the moment, placing expectations on people often leads to disappointment.

We don’t really have any control over what other people choose to do, and using language like “should” makes us defensive rather than solution orientated. Saying “should” can also put harsh expectations on yourself and can also affect your self esteem and confidence.

Instead of saying “should” simply state what you are going to do and mean it. For example, “I am going to do this” or “I am going to eat healthier”.

By removing should you remove the judgement and the expectation, which in turn allows you to take a focused step in the right direction.

3. Try

Try is another word that we have to be mindful of using. When you find yourself saying “I am going to try and do this” it often represents that you are not fully committed.

When you “try” to do something, it also indicates that there is a part of you that doesn’t believe you are capable of doing it. It may be on a subconscious level, but having this self-doubt can block you from achieving your goals.

If you really believe in something and if you really believe in yourself, there is no reason to use the word “try”. Instead, consider changing your statements to be more directed like, “I am going to do this” or “I am going to give it my best shot”.

By removing the word “try” it helps to enhance your self-esteem and boost your self confidence naturally. It also helps your energy and mindset to shift into a place of pure self-belief.

>>Watch: Improve Your Self-Esteem

4. Naughty/Bad

These words tend to crop up around food and lifestyle habits like “eating this cupcake is so naughty” or “it’s so bad I haven’t exercised in a week”.

Labelling yourself as being “bad” or “naughty” for doing or not doing something, instantly lowers your vibration and feelings of self esteem. This negative self-talk can actually do damage over time and make you feel self-conscious.

By labelling something as “bad” it also causes you to beat yourself up for it and even place blame or shame on yourself.

This is not a good mindset to have and can actually hinder you from going after your goals rather than motivating you. It is so important to be kind and loving to yourself and it is so important to watch how you speak to yourself. Eating a cupcake does not make you a bad person, so why beat yourself up for it?

Instead of using “bad’ or “naughty” to describe your actions, consider being gentle with yourself and perhaps even more aware of what you are doing in the moment.

If you know eating the cupcake is not the best choice but you feel like you want to do it anyway, own that and celebrate it, don’t beat yourself up for it.

If you are going to do it, you may as well enjoy it and think positively about the experience, rather than shaming yourself for it. Changing the way you use language and talk to yourself can have a profound effect on your energy and mindset.

By being more aware of these 4 words, and changing them into something more positive and self-loving, it will help to change your outlook and transform your life.

This article was originally created and published by Forever Conscious and re-posted here with permission.

By Tanaaz

If the ego had an engine, its fuel would be fear. Trepidation isn’t all bad, but it certainly has its time and place. Fear can render us quivering and useless, or motivate us toward change. In the study of Zen, we learn how to not only overcome our fears, but to become fearless. This is called the Lion’s Roar of Zazen.

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.

~ Buddha

The lion is the living embodiment of self-possessed power. This animal has dominion over all he sees as well as the courage, speed, and might to attain all he desires. His deportment is regal and calm, though, never bullying and neither shrinking. The metaphor of the lion is used to describe how one overcomes fear in the Majjhima Nikaya, a Collection of Middle Length Discourses on Buddha’s teachings, and they are immaculate at describing the fears most of us face. Many Zen teachers describe how to become regal and fearless in their discourses as well.

Fear of the Loss of Life

Zen master, D.T. Suzuki says that fear of the loss of body is usually what we must overcome first. Following this, an internal consciousness becomes aware that we are threatening the slated, well-accepted notion of being merely corporeal, and we ‘think’ we are frightened. Suzuki says we needn’t look any further than the bodily sensations that arise when we simply ponder fearfulness. An empty feeling in the lower abdomen ensues, there is an immobility at the base of the tongue, and our breathing becomes restricted. If we were to remove these sensations, though, fear becomes a meaningless thing.

Suzuki attests that according to Zazen, we aim to keep a lower abdomen full of power, the breathing always uniform, the heart beat tranquil, and the muscles of the whole body resilient so that if emotions like fear arise, they can easily be encountered and dismissed.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasures you seek.

~ Joseph Campbell

Fear of the Loss of ‘Self’

Some fear is understandable, even – such as when we realize we must face a spiritual death in order to progress on our path. Although we may long to richer higher levels of consciousness, we aren’t always so keen to let go of the habits and crutches that have propped up our current level of awareness. As the Sufi poet Rumi once said, “No one will find his way to the Court of Magnificence until he is annihilated.”

Other types of fear make us meek and fallible. Our consciousness easily wavers, and we cannot attain Mu, or a state of Zen, let alone get on with our daily activities.  It is only by cultivating the 4 Zen States of Mind that we can ‘fill our abdomens’ with power and roar like a lion with fearlessness.

4 Zen States of Mind

  1. Shoshin or “Beginner’s Mind” (初心) is the first stage in cultivating fearlessness. Think of a time when you were excited and eager to start a new endeavor. There might have been unknowns, but you were brimming with glee over trying something new. This is the type of mind we want to cultivate with all aspects of life. Instead of begin nervous or fearful, we can aim to be eager and open, accepting all that comes our way. In order to approach life from the beginner’s mind we need to let of preconceived notions, and be optimistic. If you’ve been able to have this feeling with one thing you’ve done in life, you can translate that feeling to other areas also.
  2. Fudoushin (不動心) means you have an “Immovable Mind.” It doesn’t mean you are stubborn, but fudoushin does translate to being determined in the face of obstacles. Does a lion run away from present danger? Hardly. The animal doesn’t get angry or judgmental about obstacles either. He is peaceful like the eye of the storm until he is upon his prey. If you can develop fudoushin when you are under stress, you will be unstoppable in life.
  3. Mushin (無心) or “Without Mind.” This is a similar philosophy to the Chinese Taoist idea of wei wuwei. When we are ‘in the zone’ working on a great masterpiece or doing something we love, we’ve likely already experienced the state of mushin. When we are empty of thoughts, yet moving and acting purely in the present moment, without fear, anger, ego, or other emotion, we are a force to be reckoned with. By developing equanimity and learning how to focus to the point of no-thought, we can cultivate mushin.
  4. The last of the four states of Zen Mind is called Zanshin (残心) which literally translates to “Remaining Mind.” This state of mind contains two precise elements. It means you are both relaxed and keenly aware of your surroundings. This is the state that martial artists aim to be in so that they can react at any moment to anything that comes their way. By maintaining relaxed alertness fear cannot sway you, even in the face of a frightening opponent.

Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.

~ Salvador Dali

Fear of Suffering

The Buddha taught that self-grasping and ignorance are the root of all remaining fears. Healthy fears aside, our tendency to try to avoid suffering – the fear of failure, heartbreak, being trapped, being lost, etc. are all caused by a single root – and arise from the mind. In Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, it is said that the Buddha articulated, “The source of all our fear comes from our own uncontrolled minds or “delusions.””

In order to overcome this root cause of fear, the Buddha, and Zen masters alike, teach to strive for no-self or emptiness. This doesn’t mean a nihilistic view of life is adopted. Friedrich Nietzsche accused Buddhism of being existentialist, but the Buddha taught us to seek the Middle Way between the mundane and the spiritual, seeing objects as real but dependently originated, not-self and unsatisfactory. Instead of seeing all things as pointless and empty, we see mundane life as meaningless but recognize spiritual goals as meaningful.

As the Zen master, Sojo has said, “Heaven and earth and I are of the same root, the ten-thousand things and I are of one substance.”

After all, even once the Buddha gave up all his worldly possessions he realized he was no closer to achieving Nirvana. He discovered that exaggerated asceticism was not required to attain enlightenment.

By learning how to work through these fears, we can achieve the ‘lion’s roar’ of full realization.

This article was originally posted on The Mind Unleashed.

Photo credits: Conscious Reminder