Do you sometimes feel like it’s hard to measure up to what everyone else is posting online? It can be hard to compare the full-length version of your life with everyone else’s highlight reel. Watch this video with Dr. James Rouse to learn how to avoid envy, and to practice mindful engagement with others online.
By: Dr. James Rouse
What if I told you that you could stop negative thoughts in their tracks? Or that the solution to finding your happiest self, and becoming a more loving partner and engaging friend, is up to you??
We sometimes forget that our thoughts are actually up to us, and that we have the power to minimize negative thinking. Everybody has pessimistic thoughts sometimes, but it’s important to know that those thoughts are totally normal.
The answer to negative thinking is not to pretend that we don’t feel upset or down from time to time. The answer is to own those negative thoughts by acknowledging them, accepting them as a part of life, and then CHOOSING to turn our attention to a place of optimism.
Since it can be difficult to be optimistic when life gets tough, it’s important to actively look for things that you can be grateful for. You can see it as enduring a gloomy day and thinking “today is rainy, but the past week has been beautiful!” You might even start to appreciate the rain as it helps you to recognize your fortune during the sunny days.
Gratitude has been shown to benefit our lives in a variety of ways, including overall optimism, more energy, improved sleep, an overall feeling of peace, and a stronger immune system. It allows us to shake our minds free of cluttered and gloomy thinking, and create space for clarity, peace, and a solid foundation from which to support ourselves and our loved ones.
Some ways to turn your focus to a place of gratitude include:
Send a Thank You Note
This is truly a Win-Win, since it helps us to feel connected each other and lifts up both people’s spirits. Thank You Notes can be done a variety of ways, including through email, but a hand written and “snail mailed” version really goes the extra mile to demonstrate the gravity of the impact the other person’s actions had on you.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Gratitude journals are a place to keep track of the blessings in our lives. They encourage us to notice all of the little things that bring us joy, rather than only noticing the big/obvious things that make us happy.
These written accounts also allow us to peek back on our journaling history in order to reflect on all of the gifts we’ve been given, so that we can feel hopeful during challenging times. Gratitude Journals can be an actual diary, recorded memos on your phone, or created using one of the dozens of Gratitude Journal apps available.
Give a Gift of Gratitude
Offering our time to others allows us to show people that we are grateful for their friendship. Not only does this improve the other person’s life, but knowing that we have the capacity to brighten someone else’s day reminds us that we have the power to turn our own attitudes toward happiness. Ideas for sharing your time might include baking cookies for a friend, helping a neighbor to mow their lawn, or showing a colleague how to use the latest version of your company’s content management system.
Seek Out Beauty in the World
One way to zero in on happiness is to stop running our lives on Auto-Pilot, and observe the simple beauty that might go unnoticed but exist right in front of us. Watching a bird glide gracefully through the sky, or noticing the shape of your city’s skyline, are just a few of the things that can help us to disconnect from monotonous daily tasks and enjoy our lives with newfound gratitude and appreciation.
How much time can you dedicate to your morning ritual?
Here's a practice that will take just 5 minutes - the Morning High 5 – and includes visualization, prayer/mantras, gratitude, reading, and HIIT physical exercise.
Gandhi once said, “There’s More to Life Than Increasing It’s Speed,” and that certainly couldn’t be more true that it is for me today.
Watch this video to learn how you can slow down and enjoy each moment of your life.
Human Touch was recently able to donate a massage chair to Peyton White, who lives in Texas. Peyton and his mother, Lynne, plan to conduct a study to determine the effects that a massage chair will have on Peyton’s Autism, including regular updates from Peyton where he will discuss the results from his perspective. We are excited to follow along with Peyton on his journey, and invite you to join us with his updates as well! Here is an excerpt from Peyton’s latest post:
A couple weeks ago, I got a new Human Touch massage chair. It helps me reduce anxiety, get rid of muscle soreness and have better sleep at night. When I sleep better, it helps me with my autism, as I don’t stress as much. When I do stress, I sit in the chair, and it helps me calm down. I use the massage chair about 2 or 3 times a day. My favorite parts of the massage chair are using foot and calf and rolling and kneading which really makes me relax to help me become confident. While I’m sitting and relaxing on the massage chair, I can study my notes when I’m worried about a quiz or test so that I’ll do better at it. Whenever I’m stressed or need a better sleep, I sit on the massage chair for 15-25 minutes. I just wanted to tell you how awesome and comfortable my chair is and how much it is already helping me.
Read Peyton’s Full Blog Post Here.
We’re pleased to share this post from Peyton White, who is conducting a research study on the effects that his Human Touch massage chair has on his Autism. This original post can be found on his blog here. Being Autistic sometimes I have trouble sleeping, and that isn’t good. The Reason why sleeping is important is because it helps you be healthier and increase your brain function to positively think and learn. It also helps prevent heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. When having little sleep, people feel less positive and can have a rough day at school or work. Having 2 or 3 hours of sleep is never a good thing to do at night, especially when you have to focus. When having too much sleep, it can also increase the risk of having heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure. Having proper sleep actually helps people do well in sports, quizzes, math and music and more. A short period of sleeping is called a nap, many people take something called a “power nap” during the day. Naps also help people become healthy and increase their brain function. The difference between sleep and nap are that sleep is for nighttime and people usually spend 8-11 hours of sleeping and nap is usually for daytime and people spend at least 30-90 minutes of napping. Why am I telling you all of this? Because sleep is very important for me, so I can focus better. When I focus, I learn better and have fewer meltdowns. Every day and night, I sit in my massage chair to help me calm down, it helps me have good sleep at night and do well on my schoolwork. I did very well on my final quizzes after I sat in my massage chair and studied my notes before I took my final tests. When I relax I make better eye contact, speak well and become more aware, as well as get a good night’s sleep. Before I go to bed, I watch something on TV in the media room and sit in my massage chair to relax. I turn on the programs and sometimes have the lights off a bit, turn on the massage chair and relax. This helps me get ready for bed and allows me to sleep sound. I love having this massage chair as it is helping me in so many ways.
Meditation can sometimes be misunderstood by people who feel that it seems inactive or boring. Other people are so used to the daily buzz that they don’t think it’s possible for them to sit silently for a period of time. Others still feel like they’re just TOO busy to meditate, even for a few minutes.
However, there are a multitude of ways to meditate, with options that can fit just about any lifestyle. Here are a few forms of meditation for practitioners of any concentration level, schedule, and interest in meditative spirituality.
This is the simple practice of directing well-wishes toward other people. To practice, sit comfortably with your eyes closed, and imagine what you want for your life. Start by directing phrases at yourself, such as “I wish to feel more peace.” After this, you extend well-wishes toward other people, and determine what positive hopes you have for them. These visualizations go beyond just friends or even people you feel neutral about, and reach out to people whom you don’t generally care for, in order to spread happiness to your surrounding world. This type of meditation has been shown to increase positivity, empathy, and kindness.
Best for: Those struggling with low self-esteem; those looking to become more empathetic to people around them.
There are several forms of moving meditation that can help people who like to multitask, or those who struggle sit still. Exercises such as Yoga or Tai Chi encourage people to move their bodies at a deliberate pace, all while focusing their attention inward in order to really connect their minds and bodies as one. Even walking can be a means of meditation if you simply focus your attention on your mind and body. During any form of moving meditation, it’s important to keep the body in continual motion, in order to maintain the mind-body connection.
Best for: Busy people; athletes.
This style of meditation is centered on the idea that we are made of seven different “energy centers,” each of which is located in a different part of the body. These energy centers, or chakras, are associated with a different color, sound and purpose. Mediation involving one’s chakras often uses sound, touch, and visualization to hone in on a specific area of the body, and heal any issues or heavy emotions that dwell there. Many people who practice yoga believe in chakra meditation, and use it as a supplement to their yoga practice.
Best for: Spiritual individuals; yoga practitioners.
Also called “Insight Meditation,” Vipassana Insight Meditation is the practice of paying close attention to sensation. It emphasizes awareness of breath, and teaches you to focus your attention on the thoughts that arise while you breathe in and out through the nose. No matter your thoughts, it asks you to allow them to flow through you without taking them too seriously, and then gently return your awareness back to your breath. This is the most common type of meditation that is offered at silent meditation retreats.
Best for: Beginners; those looking to attend a silent retreat.
Open Monitoring Meditation
Experienced practitioners see this as an actual purpose to meditation, and not a form of meditation itself. Open Monitoring Meditation encourages turning their focus on their awareness itself, rather than focus on one’s breath or their thoughts. One way to accomplish this might be to sit or lay down, and simply listen to the goings-on in the world around you. You might notice the weight of your body as it distributes onto your chair or the ground, or you can listen to the sounds outside of your window that were only background noise until now. Your state of awareness is heightened as you really start to pay attention to each passing car, gust of wind, or cool breeze. This type of meditation really enhances your connection to the world around you, and helps to calm your mind as you own racing thoughts become more still.
Best for: Busy thinkers; those who struggle to sit still.
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