How to get in touch with your soul and become a happier person.

We can all agree that life on Earth is becoming more and more stressful as the years go by. In order not to go completely crazy, many people turn to their inner selves, seeking meditation and tranquillity so they could easily survive the hectic lives we lead in this century.

Here is the list of the best ways to get in touch with your inner being, and thus help yourself get rid of the stress the environment imposes on you every day:

Do the things you love and love the things you do

What’s a better way to reconnect with your soul than actually doing things that you love and enjoy? If you’re a bookworm, use your day to go somewhere quiet, take your favorite book with you and indulge in all the adventures with the characters. If, on the other hand, you love drawing, feel free to draw as much as you want. It is very important that we let ourselves do the things we love from time to time and completely forget about our responsibilities. Leave your phone behind, forget the world and make yourself happy.

Connect with nature

You know the cliché sentence ‘’your body’s a temple’’, right? Well, it’s true. And not only that – your soul is a forest that needs constant nurturing. It’s well-known how relaxing and healthy being in nature is, but apart from that, the greenness and fresh air can definitely put your life into perspective and open your mind, especially if you are anxious, nervous or blue. A great exercise that you could do in nature is just observing the beauty, listening to all the sounds, and smelling all the scents. It sharpens your senses, it quiets your mind. And it’s perfect.

Try yoga and meditation

Quite similar to the previous tip, yoga and meditation really help in calming yourself down. Yoga is not only good for de-stressing your body, but also for taking a break from the world around you in a calm and soothing way. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and breathe. If you have scented candles, light them. Isolate yourself from the negative influences and people for at least an hour a day.

Dance

It’s impossible that Despacito didn’t make you dance at least once. You probably have a list of songs in mind that you just can’t be sitting down while listening to. That’s because music has a calming effect on our brain, and dancing to it relaxes your mind. If you are into hip-hop and street style dancing, it could be quite challenging and interesting to learn a few moves. And you should definitely do it; there are many beginner dance classes for adults out there, and who knows, maybe you’re the next Chris Brown!

Inhale love, exhale hate

This quite pacifistic approach to life can also do wonders. Don’t be a Carrie Bradshaw trying to find negativity everywhere (for God’s sake, she was unhappy even on her wedding day!) If you think about our time on Earth and how limited it is, you will see that life is too short for us to have negative feelings towards anything. Try to surround yourself with the people and things you love and leave everything else behind, without words or feelings of hate. Tell someone you love them at least once a day and always be thankful for the things you have.

Write down your thoughts

According to researchers from the University of Rochester, keeping a journal is a great way to keep track of the feelings you have, and a healthy way to dispose of negativity and reduce stress. Putting all your emotions on paper is a good way to get rid of them, and thus go to bed with a clean slate and clear mind. On the other hand, reading old positive motivational quotes can also alleviate your spirit. If you read an entry that was made while you were extremely happy, those feelings might come back even years later.

Yes, your body is a temple and your mind and soul are the forest surrounding that temple. Keep them clean and nurtured, don’t infest them with negativity and you will see how happier a person you will be.

Research has now demonstrated that meditation builds brain cells and increases gray matter in the brain.

Using magnetic imaging (MRI), Harvard researchers found that meditation produced physiological changes in the brain’s gray matter. Some areas in the brains of the study participants thickened after only eight weeks of mindfulness practice.

The research was published in 2011 and represented the first time that physical changes to the brain caused by meditation were documented. The research was conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital by researchers from Harvard University. The research was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the NIH. Research subjects spend eight weeks doing a mindfulness meditation program.

For an average of 27 minutes a day, the study participants listened to audio recordings of guided meditation during the eight-week trial. The group met weekly as well.

Magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI) were taken of the participants’ brains two weeks before the trial started and at the end of the eight-week program. A control group also had brain imaging (MRI) but did not listen to the audio-recorded meditation guides.

The research findings

Study participants reported feeling less stressed after the eight-week period. MRI scans revealed decreased gray matter in the amygdalae and increased gray matter in the hippocampus.

The amygdalae are the parts of the brain that help the body deal with anxiety and stress and controls the “fight or flight” mechanism. The hippocampus, which showed an increase in gray-matter density, is the area of the brain that controls memory, learning, self-awareness, introspection and compassion.

Watch: Release Stress

Conclusion and implications

The study concluded that meditation builds brain cells. The shrinking of the amygdalae indicated a reduction in the body’s stress response, which was expressed as the feelings of relaxation and stress reduction that were reported by the study participants.

With the shrinking of the amygdalae, the pre-frontal cortex around them can then thicken. The pre-frontal cortex is the decision making part of the brain and is also in charge of concentration and awareness.

It has been concluded that meditation builds brain cells, increases gray matter and allows the brain to slow responses to stress, providing better concentration, learning and memory.

This article was originally published on Natural News.

A new study has found an association between meditation and wisdom.

Researchers with the University of Chicago’s Department of Psychology have found that meditation, and physical practices such as ballet, might lead to increased wisdom. The study, “The Relationship between Mental and Somatic Practices and Wisdom,” was published in PLOS ONE.

The researchers gave 298 participants a survey that asked about their experiences practicing meditation, the Alexander Technique (a method for improving posture, balance, coordination, and movement), the Feldenkrais Method (a form of somatic education that seeks to improve movement and physical function, reduce pain, and increase self-awareness), and classical ballet. The participants also answered psychological exams related to various elements of wisdom, such as empathy and anxiety.

The team found that individuals who practiced meditation had characteristics associated with wisdom more often than the other groups. The types of meditation being practiced include vipassana, mindfulness, and Buddhist. The researchers also found that participants who practiced ballet had the lowest levels of wisdom, but with consistent practice of ballet individuals scored higher on measures of psychological traits typically associated with wisdom.

“The link between ballet and wisdom is mysterious to us and something that we’re already investigating further,” said Patrick B. Williams, lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Chicago’s Department of Psychology. Williams plans to monitor practitioners of both meditation and ballet for months and years to study the results over a longer period of time.

Williams also said that he believed this study to be the first to look at the possible link between physical practices and the cultivation of wisdom. Howard Nusbaum, professor of psychology, is a lead investigator in a research project on somatic wisdom. Nusbaum believes that understanding wisdom will lead to greater insights.

“As we learn more about the kinds of experiences that are related to wisdom, we can gain insight into ways of studying the mechanisms that mediate wisdom. This also lets us shift from thinking about wisdom as something like a talent to thinking about it as something more like a skill,” he said.

Williams stressed that the research was not looking to establish a causal relationship between wisdom and the four practices. “We hope our exploratory research will encourage others to replicate our results and look for other experiences that are linked with wisdom, as well as the factors that might explain such links,” Williams said.

The benefits of meditation have slowly been recognized by Western medicine as more studies confirm what many cultures have known for thousands of years: Meditation is a powerful tool. In November 2015, a study found that adolescents who undergo a mindfulness meditation program may see improvements in memory. In April, Anti-Media reported on another study that confirmed the healing power of mindfulness meditation. The study, published in The Lancet medical journal, found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be just as effective as pharmaceuticals when it comes to preventing chronic depression relapse.

Meditation has also been used to help former soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In September 2014, TruthInMedia spoke with Heather Linebaugh about her experience with United States Air Force from 2009 until March 2012. Linebaugh worked in intelligence as an imagery analyst and geo-spatial analyst for the drone program in Iraq and Afghanistan. Linebaugh has suffered from PTSD and now works to promote natural treatments such as cannabis, yoga, and meditation.

The consistent practice of meditation can help one establish a balanced mind. By maintaining a balanced mind and learning to use meditation as a tool for peace and clarity we are helping promote a more compassionate world. If more people opted to begin meditating on a regular basis it is likely we would see an increase in wise, compassionate, and awakened minds.

This article was originally published on Activist Post.

About the author

Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter.

We all breath, a necessary function to live, but have you ever considered how you are breathing, and in what ways it may benefit your body?

Rather than just relying on this automatic bodily function to act as it should so choose, take control of your breathing and put it to work for your mental, emotional and physical health!

Conscious breathing is the act of breathing with intention and awareness as to your experience in the moment. It allows you to focus the mind, body, and spirit in the moment, creating a connection between all of these parts of your person.

For some, this can be as easy as just taking a few moments to relax the body and focus the mind, whereas for others it is a much more intense practice used to deal with periods of stress and even post-traumatic situations.

The root of many yoga and meditation practices, taking control of your body and employing a breathing technique has been found to benefit the body in many ways including:

  • Improve your mood
  • Promote healthy digestion
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Eliminate oxidative stress on the body
  • Feed healthy cells in the body
  • Reduce cravings
  • Increase mental focus
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Stimulate blood flow to your skin
  • Improve quality of sleep

Try This Powerful Breathing Exercise

This exercise is an introduction to the world of conscious breathing, designed to allow you to experience what you can do through focusing on your breathing techniques.

That being said, breathing exercises can be intense and there are some people who should not be partaking in these exercises without medical supervision. If you have a history of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, retinal detachment, aneurysms, glaucoma, or if you have recently experienced a physical injury or surgery we recommend first speaking with a medical professional. Pregnant women should also practice caution.

Prepare a Safe Space: Anytime that you are practice breathing techniques or meditation it is important that you ensure that you have the appropriate space prepared.

You want to eliminate potential distractions, choosing a quiet space where you will not be disturbed. The exercise involves lying down, so find somewhere with a firm, safe place for you to remain throughout the duration of this experience such as on a yoga mat on the floor. You may also wish to place a pillow or rolled up towel either under your head or your knees. You will want some form of timer nearby, which should be set to 20  minutes.

Step #1: Lie on your back, allowing yourself to get comfortable with any rolled up towels, pillows or blankets for warmth that you may require. Once you start you will remain in this position so it is important that you ensure that you are going to be comfortable enough to relax. Close your eyes and allow yourself to just breathe for a few minutes.

Step #2: Take a deep breath in, focusing on breathing down into the diaphragm. If you are doing this properly you stomach should move outward slightly with the breath. Slowly exhale, keeping the same pace in your breathing regardless of whether you are inhaling or exhaling. Continue focusing on this breathing pattern, being careful not to leave any gaps of time in between inhaling and exhaling. Try visualizing your breath as a circular motion, moving in and out of your body.

Step #3: Continue the circular breathing pattern while allowing your whole body to relax. Feel the tension leaving the different parts of your body with each breath. The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be to continue this breathing cycle.

Step #4: Now that you have allowed any physical tension to leave the body, turn your focus to releasing any negative emotions and energies in the body. Every time that you breathe out of your mouth envision these energies leaving with your breath.

As you continue this exercise it is important to note that you may feel your body entering into an ‘altered’ state of consciousness approximately 10 to 15 minutes into this exercise. This may present itself as an overall feeling of euphoria or tingling in your hands or feet.

 Step 5: As your timer goes off, marking the 20-minute mark, it is now time to slowly come back to your physical reality. Take the time to focus on bringing your breathing back to the way in which you would normally breathe on a daily basis. Don’t get up too quickly as you may find yourself light-headed. Take a moment to reflect upon any realizations you may have had throughout this experience.

This article was originally posted at Evolve Me.

Photo credits: Remedies for me

Are you looking for some practical and natural ways to overcome anxiety?

Anxiety is usually defined as an emotion characterized by the unpleasant state of inner turmoil and often accompanied by nervous behavior. It’s a disabling condition that makes your life a lot harder and can have a huge impact on your overall health.

Experts usually call it “fight or flight” response since it’s a normal response to stress and dangerous situations. There are many things that can cause anxiety – from stress and traumatic life experiences to alcohol, caffeine, and sugar intake as well as hormone disbalance. Since this is something all people experience in their lives, it’s no wonder why statistics show that 1 in 13 people will suffer from anxiety.

Besides extensive tension and constant worrying, the symptoms of anxiety include a wide range of physical discomforts, such as muscle tension, high blood pressure, chest tightness, insomnia, panic attacks, sweating, digestive problems, and much more. That’s why doctors usually prescribe psychotropic drugs to people dealing with anxiety but this is a field where natural medicine can do a lot, too. Since anxiety is all about tension, there are some natural remedies that can lower it down and help you relax and thus make a great way to stabilize or overcome anxiety.

Eat your way to calmness

It’s no secret that dietary choices and psychological behavior are closely intertwined – you are what you eat and that’s why food can be your greatest ally in the battle against anxiety. As we already mentioned, consuming too much alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and processed food can lead to anxiety while anti-inflammatory foods can be natural remedies. Also, magnesium-rich and omega-3 foods are very desirable so make sure you include wild-caught fish, eggs, leafy greens, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy fats, nuts, seeds, and unrefined grains in your everyday diet.

Add what’s missing

Sometimes food itself isn’t enough and you need vitamins and supplements to support your organism, to make it ready to fight and overcome anxiety. Vitamin B complex and magnesium are what people dealing with anxiety usually lack the most. Magnesium relaxes your muscles and provides better sleep, while B vitamins combat stress and stabilize your mood swings. There are also some herbs known as anxiety’s greatest enemies, so taking natural supplements with Withania, kava root, or ashwagandha is a must. The traditional Ayurvedic herb Withania helps the body adapt to stress and reduces insomnia, kava root boosts your mood and improves sociability, while ashwagandha destroys free radicals that cause damage to the brain and the body.

Switch traditional therapy for aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the practice of using natural oils to enhance physical and psychological well-being. Inhaling these essential oils can stimulate the brain so all you have to do is to choose the ones that are good for fighting anxiety and then give in to the aromatherapy. Lavender oil is the most popular option since it can relax your body, ease your anxiety, and help you finally get a good night sleep. It deals with nervousness, headaches, and muscle pain while roman chamomile essential oil has a mildly sedative effect. If insomnia is your biggest concern, you can use these two oils to scent your path to the dream realm and get some quality rest.

Adopt a lifestyle

It goes without saying that physical activity can be beneficial to the mental health but, when it comes to anxiety – choosing the right activity is essential. Yoga is proved to be able to suppress neural activity, alter your brain and thus address the effects of stress and anxiety. Experts also suggest practicing tai chi because of the deep breathing techniques it involves which can relax both your mind and muscles. If you’re not much of an athlete, you can take it easy and meditate for a start. Meditation can have multiple benefits on your body and it’s all about relaxing and taking control over your body and mind, so make sure you try it out.

There’s one thing in common for all of these remedies – they can only help you because there’s no risk of side effects, meaning that you have nothing to lose but so much to gain. Give it a shot and overcome anxiety!

This article was originally created and published by Visual Meditation. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution (active link to this article) and author bio.