10 Tips for Loving Yourself

You’re a wondrous being, a miracle called life. You’re unique. You’ve followed a path, a path which has turned you into what you’re now: energy, dreams, smiles, a lovely human being. Maybe you want more things, maybe you wish for more… that’s OK. Don’t blame the past for anything, as such past has allowed you to be here. And that past is offering you the opportunity to be better. The Beatles said it: All you need is love. And for loving, we have to start by loving ourselves. We have to love ourselves, we have to accept ourselves as we are right now: with our fears, our limitations, our physical image, our weaknesses, and our beliefs. If you do not love yourself, how may you be able to really love others? If you don’t accept yourself, if you don’t love yourself, you’ll probably end up looking in other people for such traits and features you don’t have and would like to have for being happy… but you will likely end up being hurt if that people go away. Love yourself, right now:

  1. Accept your weaknesses. They’re are part of you.
  2. Forgive yourself. All those things that you “perceive” you have done wrong… they’re past. You don’t live in the past anymore. You can only control the present time. Past & Future are just images, not reality.
  3. Express your feelings with total freedom.
  4. Don’t worry about things you cannot have control over. Instead, focus on the only things you can really control: your decisions right now.
  5. Trust your inner values and your personal resources. Don’t be afraid of losing, go ahead!
  6. Believe in your positive experiences, believe there’s an abundance in health and life for you.
  7. Don’t fight your negative thoughts or your fears… when you’re feeling negative or scared, thank your mind and your body for such thoughts and emotions, and leave them behind, you’re very positive and brilliant and have a lot of wonderful things to do.
  8. Do this exercise: write a little and happy song about those things that you fear the most. And sing it occasionally 🙂
  9. Do this other exercise: close your eyes and visualize yourself as a small child. Imagine this child laughing and running through some beautiful scenery, full of colors, full of life. Hug this child close to you. Tell him or her how much they are loved, and how special he or she is.
  10. Enjoy your body and care of it through nutrition and exercise (both physical and mental).

Life is beautiful. Enjoy it 🙂

What is Mindful Breathing?

In my previous post, The Transformative Power of Meditation, I touched upon Mindful breathing (also referred to as Conscious breathing). Mindful breathing is a simple yet powerful practice that can have a profound impact on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In today’s fast-paced world, where stress and distractions are prevalent, incorporating mindful breathing into your daily routine can help you find peace, clarity, and presence. Let’s explore the art of mindful breathing, its techniques, and the myriad benefits it offers for overall health and wellness.

What is Mindful Breathing

What is Mindful Breathing?
Mindful breathing, also known as deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, is a mindfulness practice that involves focusing on your breath to cultivate awareness, relaxation, and inner peace. By paying attention to the sensations of each inhale and exhale, you can anchor yourself in the present moment, quiet the mind, and reduce stress and anxiety. Mindful breathing is a fundamental aspect of mindfulness meditation and can be practiced anywhere, anytime.

Benefits of Mindful Breathing
The benefits of mindful breathing are numerous and far-reaching. By incorporating mindful breathing into your daily routine, you can reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, improve focus and concentration, enhance emotional regulation, and promote relaxation and calmness. Mindful breathing can also boost energy levels, increase self-awareness, and foster a sense of inner peace and well-being.

Techniques for Mindful Breathing

  1. Deep Belly Breathing: Find a comfortable seated or lying position, place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Inhale deeply through your nose, feeling your abdomen rise as you fill your lungs with air. Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your abdomen fall. Repeat this deep belly breathing for several breaths to promote relaxation and stress relief.
  2. Counting Breaths: Focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale, counting each breath cycle from one to five. Concentrate on the rhythm of your breathing and the sensation of air entering and leaving your body. If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath and continue counting. This technique can help improve focus and mindfulness.
  3. Box Breathing: Box breathing is a technique that involves inhaling, holding the breath, exhaling, and holding the breath again, each for a count of four. Visualize tracing a square or box shape as you breathe, inhaling for four counts, holding for four counts, exhaling for four counts, and holding again for four counts. Repeat this box breathing pattern for several cycles to calm the mind and body.
  4. Alternate Nostril Breathing: Sit comfortably with a straight spine, using your right thumb to close your right nostril and your ring finger to close your left nostril. Inhale through your left nostril, then close it with your ring finger and exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril, close it, and exhale through your left nostril. Continue alternating nostrils for several breaths to balance energy and enhance focus.
  5. Sama Vritti (Equal Breathing): Sama vritti is a technique that involves inhaling and exhaling for an equal count, such as inhaling for a count of four and exhaling for a count of four. Focus on creating a smooth and steady rhythm with your breath, maintaining a consistent pace throughout the practice. Sama vritti breathing can promote relaxation, balance, and harmony within the body and mind.
  6. Ocean Breath (Ujjayi Breathing): Ujjayi breathing is a technique that involves creating a soft whispering sound in the back of your throat as you breathe. Inhale deeply through your nose, slightly constricting the muscles at the back of your throat to create the sound of ocean waves. Exhale slowly through your nose, maintaining the gentle constriction. Ujjayi breathing can help calm the mind, regulate emotions, and deepen your meditation practice.
  7. 4-7-8 Breathing: The 4-7-8 breathing technique involves inhaling for a count of four, holding the breath for a count of seven, and exhaling for a count of eight. Start by exhaling completely, then inhale quietly through your nose for four counts, hold your breath for seven counts, and exhale audibly through your mouth for eight counts. Repeat this 4-7-8 breathing pattern for several cycles to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
  8. Visualization Breathing: Combine mindful breathing with visualization by imagining a peaceful scene or symbol as you inhale and exhale. Picture yourself in a serene natural setting, such as a beach, forest, or mountain, and breathe in the tranquility and beauty of the surroundings. As you exhale, release any tension or negative thoughts, letting go of stress and worries. Visualization breathing can enhance relaxation, focus, and creativity.
  9. Progressive Relaxation Breathing: Progressive relaxation breathing involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in coordination with your breath. Start by inhaling deeply and tensing a specific muscle group, such as your shoulders or fists. Hold the tension for a few seconds, then exhale and release the tension, allowing the muscles to relax completely. Continue this progressive relaxation technique with different muscle groups to reduce physical tension and promote relaxation.
  10. Mindful Breathing Meditation: Set aside dedicated time for a mindful breathing meditation practice, finding a quiet and comfortable space where you can sit or lie down. Close your eyes, focus on your breath, and observe the sensations of each inhale and exhale. Allow your breath to be your anchor to the present moment, letting go of distractions and thoughts. Practice mindful breathing meditation for several minutes to cultivate mindfulness and inner peace.
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Individualism, Attempts At Philosophying

When men are born, their habitat is already defined. Eventually, they will adapt to it, i.e., they acquire the required consistency that will help them to overcome the obstacles that life has. This way, mankind achieves such intrinsic nature that defines a concrete existence in time and space, further arriving to a propensity to act according to its own discretion, and not in concert with the community, becoming isolated and selfish in affections, interests, studies, and other dimensions. Finally, men become full of themselves, forfeiting any other purposes.

Individualism, Attempts At Philosophying

Thus, since the VIII century, individualism constituted a topic of controversy. Several centuries later, St. Thomas Aquinas says that the principle of individualization is, in sensible things, “matter”, while for Duns Scotus it’s only a philosophical form that he calls haecceitas, i.e., this, here, and that reduce to the ultimate essential reality of each individual, i.e., particularly distinguishable from one class, collection or series, indivisible, impossible to separate in parts without altering its character, without stopping being a mere being. Therefore, at least, the individual contains two principles: its nature and its individual entity, elements that exist only by a formal distinction, not by factual reality.

The individual is a real being, unlike its species, which is ideal. The problem that creates this concept derives from the relationship essence-existence, an understanding of the nature of the singular, and so further. With this value, the problem of individualism comprises the fields of sociology, psychology, and politics, invading existentialism.

Self-centered people creates a harmful environment, which typically leads to irreversible damage. Because society has been imbued with these people’s actions, it has been steadily adapting to such individualistic behavior, which in turn leads to societies being directed by monopolies and messianic pseudo-leaders. Often, development of such societies depends on unilateral theories, normally based on confrontation, created by the diversity of characters and conceptualizations.

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Visualizing your Goals

A goal is a very specific result that we want to achieve in a precise, future time. It’s an experience not yet lived, although firmly wished. Let’s recall from our first post about goals, that an objective or goal is a personal or perhaps organizational desired end point in development. It is usually endeavored to be reached in finite time by setting deadlines. Albeit goals, dreams and expectations are related concepts, there are important differences that will be discussed further on. As it often occurs with dreams, there are virtually no limits on the number of goals we may set, since goals represent, in essence, states or things that we wish to achieve in the future. Unlike dreams, though, goals require that we define them precisely, and we have to work for them in the present time, right now. Thereby, goals are nearer, within reach.

visualizing goals

Goals and Expectations

We should not confuse goals and expectations. Goals are the concrete and positive result of a fulfilled wish, and they provide satisfaction and success. On its side, expectations are focused on the behavior that we expect from other people. Setting a goal also means directing all our efforts towards achieving the goal, combining several tasks in order to attain it. However, to have an expectation reduces to delegating our wishes to the lucky concurrence of external factors.

Therefore, setting goals helps us to empower strategies, to create effectivity and to dominate the process of achieving whatever thing we wish. Besides, our goals create new opportunities, and improve our capacity for overcoming obstacles and conquering unexpected hurdles. As we move forward and reach the little goals that we had set, we also have the feeling of walking our paths faster, with a boosted self-confidence and a diminishing desire to return to the past. By the way, when we feel little or no desire to return to the past, we can be sure that we have improved as human beings.

Goals and Dreams

As aforesaid, a difference between goals and dreams lies in the time required for reaching them. Goals are closer. Besides, motivation also establishes a notorious difference between goals and dreams. We have more immediate and realistic motivations for reaching goals. On the contrary, dreams’ motivation is typically diffuse, sometimes very unclear.

However, dreams are the ultimate fuel of life, no matter how fuzzy they may be. As life moves on, we will feel the dream, approach the dream, dream the dream… we will be continuously reshaping the dream. Dreams are, after all, made of a very malleable matter. In life, we walk towards the sun, and our sun is composed of just dreams. Every step toward such sun kills a doubt. And each of such steps is a goal.

Organizing our Goals

We have to prepare a few lists for visualizing our goals and, in general, our action and thinking paths. When we write down our goals in a list, we are defining and outlining a plan to reach the goals. We are committing ourselves to fulfilling them based on practical aspects. On the contrary, the list of dreams contains relatively remote possibilities, excepting perhaps the first or second dream. In order to reach the first dream of the list, we have to conquer a chain of goals. In short, goals are the intermediate steps required for achieving the ultimate objective of your life.

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Colors of Life

After publishing my friend’s message and commenting on her intentions to take a vacations trip, I somehow wished to take a little vacation too. As I have no ties to prevent it, I adhered to my wish. I took a few days trip, totally disconnected from the Internet and the current rush of technology. Over there, I met up with a longtime friend and her family… It had been ages since I saw them last, so it was good to finally catch up, and we all had a good time and a lot of stories to tell. Thank God, they’re OK, in general. All of her kids have grown up nicely, already graduated, and have married. Except for the eldest daughter, who has a health problem. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with diabetes, and that fact did lead to many drastic changes in her lifestyle. Of course, now she follows healthier food and exercise habits, which is totally recommendable (and mandatory!). However, there are some changes which are too excessive and harmful, in my opinion. Despite her disease is medically controlled, and shes does not feel any physical problem (on the contrary, she externally reveals a spectacular health condition), her courage and joy have fallen considerably. She used to be a playful and lively girl, but now she decided to give up parties, to go shopping with her friends, love… and everything joyful, simply because she is afraid of suffering a sudden, unexpected diabetic complication or coma, amidst the happiness of the reunion. She would become a disturbance… others would see her weak and in panic, prey to fear. And she does not want to go through that. She is concerned about what might happen, and what her friends could say. In a sense, she fears rejection.

Colors of Life
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On Regrets, Anger and Envy

In today’s fast-paced world, it is easy to get caught up in the past, dwelling on regrets and missed opportunities. However, it is crucial to realize that dwelling on regrets only serves to hinder our progress and prevent us from living a fulfilling life. Time is a precious resource, and we must use it wisely. By focusing on the present moment and looking towards the future, we can make the most of our time and create a life that brings us joy and fulfillment.

The image of regret: Maud Muller by John Greenleaf Whittier

Similarly, holding onto anger only drains our energy and prevents us from living a peaceful and contented life. Anger is a natural emotion, but when we allow it to consume us, it becomes toxic and detrimental to our overall well-being. Instead, redirecting our energy towards positive pursuits and finding healthy ways to cope with anger can lead to a more harmonious existence.

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Looking for True Happiness

It is very difficult, although not impossible, to win a race if we have to start down in a hole. However, this is the precise handicap which a lot of people face during their search for happiness. Because of such handicap, climbing out of the hole and arriving to at least the starting line represents an exhausting endeavor. Apparently, this is not logical… this is not how life should be. But truth be told, we can only start from the position we are right now, and we can only use the resources available to us right now. In order to achieve happiness we have to shut off perturbing messages, such as “I cannot”, “I’m going to lose”, “Maybe tomorrow is a better day”, and so further. We have to put all these miscreant ideas aside from our mind, to remove these slimy sentences which do not contribute to our goals. It’s easier for us to attribute the responsibility of our failures and defeats to others… those who taught us, for instance. Some people like to attribute to their parents and teachers an alleged fraud… everything bad has been their fault, not ours. They hold on to the past. They are losers. On the contrary, winners focus on overcoming each obstacle that rises until accomplishing their goals. Winners want to be happy and to bring happiness to all the people around them, sharing the love, their views on life, and perhaps, their goals.

True Happiness
True Happiness

 Some serious studies demonstrate that people from developed countries are not necessarily the happiest ones. A lot of nationals and residents of such countries manifest to feel unhappier than those of some developing or poorer countries. In this sense, let’s recall the Easterlin paradox, based on a study by professor and economist Richard Easterlin: Does Economic Growth Improve the Human Lot? published in 1974, while he was with the University of Pennsylvania. Basically, the paradox states that economic growth does not necessarily lead to more satisfaction. It’s obvious that people in poor countries become happier once they can afford basic necessities. But the important idea behind Easterlin paradox is that absolute income does not matter as much as relative income does. In other words, how much you make compared with others around you is what really matters. To put it in today’s terms, owning an iPad doesn’t make you happier, because you then want an iPad Pro 🙂

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Meditation Gems: Managing your Time

We are used to recur to the time parameter to assess all of our activities. Worse yet, time assesses our own reality. We love to classify life in an orthodox fashion: past, present and future, unyielding frames we can’t live without. Indeed, as humans, we love to classify things, especially when classifying makes us feel special or protected. We classify things as living or not living. Above all, though, we love to classify things according to time. Thanks to this parameter, everything becomes an event. And we are continually struggling to link events, to establish logical relations of cause-effect between them. If we think this over, we’d note our predilection for going to the ends of classification. To classify, after all, is a proof of intelligence.

time meditation

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On Good Sense

Even to cut a flower requires good sense. Good sense, prudence, sound practical judgment. There is nothing in the world which deprives us of enjoying this quality. Good sense allows us to be excellent managers, professionals, friends, husbands/wives, and especially, it opens the doorway to the most precious gift of human beings: self-confidence. Self-confidence is one of those virtues we frequently don’t know how to handle, or that simply we mistreat.

Good sense is the primary and the conditio sine qua non of a better and longer life. Thanks to it we are able to avoid wars, conflicts, hunger, and getting into troubles in general. It is only a matter of just applying it. The converse, i.e. a bad sense of life balance, turns us into fragile souls, easy preys for evil, envy, and lies. A lack of good sense provides a fake sensation of power… power which indeed is only a cheap mask for selfishness. A lack of good sense separates us from our family, our friends and from the entire world. Moreover, that fake power may lead to an hyperactivity which ultimately will burn us.

 

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10 Short Tips for Keeping Anxiety at Bay

Anxiety is a (sometimes annoying) emotional and cognitive state. Emotionally, we recognize it as sensations of fear, grief, worry or general apprehension. The cognitive component entails expectation of a diffuse and uncertain danger. The threat or perspective of danger triggers the body’s defenses: the flow of blood to the muscles is increased, which in turn implies rising blood pressure and heart rate. Needless to say, such alert activation involves a higher consumption of body’s energy, and also other parts, such as the immune system, are inhibited in order to increase energetic reserves and focus for fighting the hypothetical danger.

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