When a serious depression is impacting one’s life, the worst thoughts often come in the morning or late at night. To be honest, I can’t think of a more awful way to start my day, than continuing to hear those same old thoughts which pull me deeper down, towards the vortex of agony and self-torture through blame, fear, shame, hopelessness and anxiety.
When the morning menu includes negative thinking, that’s often what you’ll walk with stomach full through the day. Of course, the course can change, since the wind’s always blowing. What’s best, we can adjust our sails to the wind.
However, wouldn’t it be nice to step into the day with your right foot and ease in your mind? If you could begin the day with rather positive thinking, it would provide a launching pad to make the day better, and more enjoyable. That’s why mornings are important.
Observe your thoughts
In my upcoming book, I’ll go through in far greater detail, how to observe the mind, in order to catch the thoughts that hinder from feeling better. I’m still going to hand over a few simple and effective advices here.
An easy way is simply just to begin observing our thoughts that arise without warning. Majority of our thoughts have been on an auto-play for so long that we might not even know that they exist. We just feel their constant pull to some kind of dark and nasty place, which doesn’t feel right. It’s an inner process, that definitely deserves attention, and care.
One great way to develop the ability of self-observation (or self-awareness), is through meditation. It’s effectivity and results are astounding compared to the “effort” which it requires. There are a great amount of studies that point out the benefits of meditation. It really isn’t something hippy-happy new age thing, but something which has been around for thousands of years.
Some studies point out, that
– Meditation increases the amount of gray matter in the brain (that is, more brain cells!)
– Studies have found a greater degree of activation in the right hemisphere for meditators versus non-meditators. (Pagano & Frumkin, 1977; Earle, 1981) This increased activity in the right hemisphere leads to more creative intuitive thought and less verbal/analytical thinking. (Source)
– Meditation lowers blood pressure and reduces stress; The amygdala is involved in processing negative emotions, detecting threat, and fear-learning. Researchers have found that long-term practitioners of mediation show less activity in the amygdala and therefore experience less physiological arousal related to stress. (Kabat-Zinn & Davidson, 2011)
Meditation is, simply put, sitting comfortably on floor, chair, bed (the place doesn’t really matter), and being there with the purpose of just sitting.
There are many different ways that include focusing on breathing, or “body scans”, and they’re effective too. For this purpose, you can imagine yourself sitting on a shore next to a river. The river is your thoughts, which is flowing, beautifully and smoothly, with no resistance, and you’re observing this happening. Just watching it. You can set a timer to “wake you up”, for 5 minutes or more, whatever you feel comfortable with, or you can do it with no timer at all. Try this and begin to feel the magic flowing in your life.
We all have some kind of routine in morning. We go to the toilet, take a shower, drink a cup of coffee & fresh water, we eat breakfast. Many of those routines are helpful and fun to do. We can also give a shuffle to our routines in order to keep the brains healthy and flexible, since changes in our behavior makes changes between our ears.
I highly enjoy my mornings, because I’ve made them to be so pleasant, and here’s my routine – the order of these vary:
1) Write my dream journal right after waking up
2) Take a warm (or cold) shower
3) Do a little bit of stretching, plus jumping jacks + 5 pushups + 5 crouches to get the blood flowing
4) Take deep breaths to fill my body with rich oxygen, and if time, a short meditation
5) Drink plenty of water
6) Eat a healthy breakfast
7) Think constructing thoughts, focus on positive aspects of life
8) Go on my balcony (or for a walk) to greet the world with gratitude, and to breathe the rich air of nature
9) Nurture and water my few plants
As you can see, the routine I have, gives no room for negative thinking, as it’s constructed on being positive and healthy.
This morning, I caught myself beginning to think a little bit of fearful and doubtful thoughts about the upcoming days. I felt the crunch in my stomach, as negative thoughts often give to me, and I was amazed how quickly I caught it. Then I thought, Vesa, why bother worrying so much, it gives nothing to you to worry about these things, since the upcoming days will come, whether I think about them or not.
Then, because I’ve developed a such skill of doing so, I stopped myself thinking the worrying thoughts. I thought, I’ll just go with the flow, and a huge ease came right after. There was silence, and I was present in the moment.
If I would’ve gone with the flow of negative worrying and rumination, it would’ve destroyed my day. Or at least, my morning. I’m glad I caught it as it came, and by so I continued enjoying the beautiful morning with beautiful feelings of ease and inspiration.
10 Tips for beginning your morning with right foot
Move your body.
Listen to music that makes you feel good.
Visit or look at nature.
Think about the positive aspects of your life (seriously, there are many).
Remember not to overanalyze your upcoming day (or days).
Start the day slowly.
Drink a lot of water & eat healthy.
Move your body to get the blood flowing. Breathe deeply to fill your body with fresh oxygen.
Do you consider yourself as a lucky person? If you do or don’t, either way, after reading this article you might look at the concept of luck differently than before. In addition to discussing about luck, I’ll also go through what kind of role our attitudes play in the “good and bad” coming into our lives (plus how I won 500€ from a scratch card).
He had arranged an experiment within a small town called Todmorden in Yorkshire, England. The town has a long tradition of rumors, mythology and mysteries. By so, it was an ideal town for spreading a new rumor. Derren had found a sculpture of a dog in the central park, and decided to transform the sculpture to be a lucky dog.
He asked seven volunteers to begin pat the dog to see, if it had any impact on their luck over the next few months. Derren was also secretly observing what kind of attitudes these seven people had, to see if their attitudes placed any role in their luck. He had an assisting journalist, Dawn Porter, to aid him to spread the rumor of the lucky dog all over the town. The rumor slowly took ground, and after a while, it was discussed in the newspapers. Some people even traveled there long distances to see and pat the dog.
It turned out, that two fellows of the experiment group had very diverse attitudes towards luck. The butcher, Wayne, considered himself to be an unlucky man, and had accepted his faith to be so. “What will be, will be”, he said.
The other, Gemma, a student from a vintage fashion shop, was from a different world. She told that if you’re happy, your body is happy. She seemed a very bright, optimistic, wellbeing person, who had enthusiasm and plans for life.
It turned out that their attitudes played a critical role in their luck. It was their way of treating life, which made them lucky or unlucky. For example, Derren Brown with his assistants set up multiple opportunities for the test subjects. The more optimistic subjects took the opportunities with an open mind, and got rewarded (a “lucky” instance).
The optimists considered themselves to be more lucky than before, while the grouchy butcher, who was far more pessimistic, did not took the opportunities. The assistants even placed a 50-pound bill right on his walking course, and he missed it! I won’t reveal more of the show here, but I dare you to watch it.
I think the show was a beautiful and spot-on example how our attitudes mold our lives. Attitude definitely counts.
Which side of the spectrum are you at?
It seems that people who have more optimism, plans and expectations towards life, tend to receive more out of their life. They see opportunities as they come, and grab them. They take new ventures, and dream of what they could, would and intend to do.
A pessimistic, therefore takes the different road. They don’t have much expectations, and if they do, they’re often on the negative mindset. They won’t grab many opportunities because they think, “Why would I do that because I know I’d fail”. Or, “It’s not worth my time”.
Imagine yourself learning to ride a bike for the first time in your life. You hop on the saddle, and tell yourself, “I’m going to keep my balance, and for that I only need to concentrate to have my full attention on this. I won’t quit until I’m successful at riding the bike!”
Let’s rewind a bit, and now you think, “I have never rode a bike before, it looks hard and scary… What if I fell? I could crack my head open… I’m sure I will fall down… Well, let’s try, but I know it’s going to be hard… I have a bad balance, I’m not going to learn this…”
Which one of the attitudes would provide you more chances of the success? The optimist is concentrated on the success, the high end of his purpose, while the pessimistic is scared and his attention is in the possibility of failing. It won’t be a 100% chance that the optimist will keep his balance, who knows if a bird pooped on his face and he loses his sight and falls down. That could happen (and if it did, he’d probably just laugh at it and try again).
The “lucky” people who I’ve met, have without exception been optimistic about life. They’ve always cherished new opportunities, and took new ventures. They’ve been bright, joyful, and fun to be with.
I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that, what you’re focused on, the life brings you. If a writer wants to write, he won’t succeed with it, unless he’s focused on writing. An athlete won’t be a successful athlete, if his attention wasn’t in the sports. The same applies to luck and opportunities.
If you’re focused on the dullness of life, that’s what life will bring you. If you keep your mind open, and prepare yourself to see new opportunities, then life will present them to you. It doesn’t really matter, if the life really brings those things to you, or is it just because you shifted your perception, and therefore you notice them better. They will be there, and that is what matters.
A while ago, I did an experiment myself.
I decided I would win a great amount of money somehow, by focusing on the expectation of winning. I bought a scratch card and won 5€. With that 5€, I bought another one, and won 20€. I focused even more, and waited for an intuition for the next time to take the right moment to buy another one. I “suggested” myself to grab the right lottery or scratching ticket when I went to the grocery store next time.
My intuition “guided” me into one of the counters, and I chose a scratch card. I went home, scratched it, and guess what? I won 500€.
It could’ve been a coincidence, but I’ve never won such amount of money. By the intention of myself winning a bigger amount of money, I believe it made a difference.
Try it out
Now you can try to change your attitude towards anything you’d wish to receive into your life. Maybe you’re looking for a job, wishing to become more healthy, trying to find a place to study, want to acquire healthy habits or to get new friends. Whatever it is that you’d like to receive into your life, focus upon the positive aspect and receiving of it.
You can imagine your goal as a wooden stick. There are two ends on it, and it’s your decision which end are you looking at. The other end is the optimistic (positive, faithful) result, and the other is the pessimistic (negative, doubtful). Be open, and even if the opportunity doesn’t present itself within a blink of an eye, don’t lose your faith. It can take time, depending on how true to yourself you’re being.
And hey why not give it a shot, you’ve nothing to lose.
Having goals seems to be a rarity among today’s society. They are often an underestimated source of power, since they’re those milestones ahead that make you charge forward and live your daily lives with enthusiasm on the journey towards those goals.
Many people I’ve known have had their only goal to survive until the next weekend. There’s nothing wrong with that. I personally love to set some goals now and then, to keep me excited of having something to achieve, and look forward to. It also makes me push myself to my limits to see what I’m capable of. However, I’m not giving the most value to my destination, but rather enjoying the ride I’ve set myself into.
The benefit of goal setting is that it focuses you on something (positive) you could, can and will do, if you devote yourself in achieving of it. It focuses your sight on the things you desire to achieve, and thus it makes you focus on the more positive aspects of life, while clearing off room from negative thoughts, habits or other activities you might have.
Wherever your mind is set to, it’s working by the Law of Attraction (more on that topic later). When you dive into encouraging activities, even just the dreaming part of it, your mind hits the button of positive change rather than the negative, useless rumination.
In a way, it is a programming to set your subconscious mind to aim at the target you’re willing to hit.
Imagine yourself trying to shoot an arrow with a bow. The target is your goal. If you don’t know where or what your target is, it’s hard to get a hit. Many people shoot their arrows all around aimlessly and blindfolded. You could, of course, remove the bandage from your eyes, and find that target. If you can see the target, the more likely, you will hit it. If a ship left the shore to set sail, it’d be more directed journey if it had a destination.
But, in addition, not all who wander are lost. Wandering around and just following your gut instinct can lead to amazing things, and is just as fun and useful as setting intentional goals. I personally like to blend the two, since either way shouldn’t be neglected.
Goals for depression
In the case of depression, or in another disturbance of mental and emotional wellbeing, the goal could simply be “I’m going to feel better”, or “I’m going to be healthy, with more energy and vitality”, or something similar, simple goal. The goals don’t have to be ground shaking, but the purpose of them is to set you to positive direction in life, and therefore, improve the quality of your life.
It’s crucial to imagine as vividly as possible yourself achieving that goal, and paying attention to how it feels to be there. It’s a trick for your mind to believe that you’re already there. This process soothes the “resistance barrier” to take the first steps to walk forward, and so your mind will work in favor. It’s also worth considering not to set too far off goals, because then the task could be seen as too demanding and hard to achieve, and thus lower your motivation. Of course, bigger goals can be chopped down into smaller pieces, for which Mini Habits (a concept by Stephen Guise) is a great tool.
Nevertheless, being optimistic of your future will ensure hope, faith, and belief that you’ll be alright. And you will, if you’re ready for it.
Make a list
I strongly suggest you to write a list of what you want personally to achieve. Make shorter and longer-term goals. Write down your personal what-and-whys. If you don’t have a clue what your goals could or should be, think and write down what matters to you in life. What do you focus on the most of your time? What gives you an emotional boost, and makes you happy or feel good? Is it a hobby, people, your own wellbeing, nature, scratching your butt, gaming? Could your goals somehow relate to those things you’re the most focused on?
For me, one of my goals (in addition to helping people, which I’m executing by writing), is to become better musically. By so, I’m constantly trying to learn new things with guitar. This is a so-called endless goal, a journey that’ll last till the day I drop. Life is also that kind of journey, so the life is also a continuous journey of development, experience, becoming greater, and greater.
Your mind needs justification and reason to head in to certain direction – a reason for what you desire adds emotion to it. Getting emotionally involved with your goals will affect your subconscious that will help make those goals real. For example, if you desire to feel better, you can make it clear for yourself and write the following with your own words (and yes, it’s important to write it down):
I desire to feel better and make the necessary actions towards my desire. I truly believe in myself to be able to feel better. I can vividly see and feel how great it is to have more energy, to live my days with more enthusiasm, vitality, happiness and joy. This goal makes my life more meaningful, as I have something to achieve, and look forward to, when I wake up every single day from my bed. I will enjoy my joyful ride towards that goal, since it’s for the purpose of my own wellbeing. The reason for me to feel better, is to live a life of quality, so I can enjoy life as I’m supposed to. I also know that day after day, while I work for my own wellbeing, I’m going to feel greater and greater. Even if some days of the journey got harder, I know and believe it’s all worth it as I desire to see the positive aspects of my journey, and as it ensures my personal growth as a beautiful human being.
You can add more reasons why you’ll work for your goal, like
– Because I feel better, I can enjoy life
– Because I feel better, I can spread the joy for others
– Because I feel better, I’m going to be a more loving, friendly, and nice person
…and so on.
You can try this method of goal setting in whatever area of life you want to develop or achieve. It could be learning to play piano, being more active, getting in shape, getting wealth, finding a job, being more caring and loving, starting a business, getting to know more people. It’s a motivating thing to do, and it’s fun to dream of all the things you could achieve.
The benefit of setting goals and taking on the journey, is that you focus your mind and actions to a more beneficial way of living, since you’re beginning to do something constructive that is for your own, and other’s good. When you deliberately act according to your own principles, you’re creating a (healthy) habit, that serves your purpose, clearing out the room out of old negative habits.
You can also set some mini goals for every day, like doing one small task (take a walk, for example) that engages you into something positive, and works in favor for your wellbeing.
Now check that you’ve understood the principles of setting goals
Goals can be used to improve the quality of personal life, as they draw the mind’s attention to more positive, rather than negative, aspects of life.
Goals give motivation to see the brighter side of life. They help to see what one is capable of
If you have goals in life, you’ll have more focused, positive desires than most of us
Goals can be simple, short and long-term, and they can be a door towards the next thing you’re willing to achieve
Goals can keep life interesting, and provide enthusiasm for every single day.
You can achieve basically anything you desire, if you’re devoting to it
Make a list of what you desire (emotionally, physically, financially), and begin walking your personal path, step by step
The great benefit of working towards goals, is that by time, it becomes a habit to engage in positive, beneficial activities.
Bonus: Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. 😉
This is an article which I hope will raise your understanding of the dreams and what they can offer to each one of us. I’ve included a tool and advices for you to help remembering your dreams better, in case you’ve had trouble at remembering them, plus an example how to use dreams as a tool for resolving problems. I’ll also provide further resources for you, if interested, to go deeper into the realms of dreams. I hope you’ll enjoy this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Leave me a reply if it was helpful!
Almost since the dawn of time, dreams have awed, mystified, frightened, warned and guided the mankind thorough all the ages. Nowadays, some psychoanalysts and psychiatrists place great store in dreams and their symbolism as an aid to probing of mental and emotional disturbances. Also, many individuals give dreams huge value in their aid to guide oneself through their daily lives.
Dreams are magnificent. They are those seemingly irrational images and adventures occurring to each one of us every night, and are actually all but irrational. They can be seen by everyone, even though some people claim they don’t see dreams. There have been studies, which showed that even those who claim not to see dreams, actually do.
In one study, during the volunteers dreams, the scientists woke them up and asked if they had been seeing a dream. Everyone affirmed, even those, who claimed of not being able to do so. Scientists have done their research and now know, when humans begin to dream. The change of the brains activity can be shown clearly.
Some people claim that dreams are just irrational mush of the subconscious mind, gluing up things that happened during the day, and to restore the relevant information into your long-term memory. Yes, there’s truth to that, since one aspects of sleeping is to put some information to your memory.
I still think, that there’s more than that when we talk about dreams. Why would our mind see dreams or sleep just to live the day twice? Let’s go deeper.
Dreams of depression
Have you ever woke up in the morning, scratched your head and asked yourself: “How can my mind make up things like that?” I believe, we all are familiar with that feeling. It’s confusing. Often, and unfortunately, after a short burst of wonder and confusion, we skip those weird dreams and walk into our days and forget about them without second notice.
When in the realms of depression, one might have nightmares occurring occasionally. It’s when one feels constant anxiety, fear, sadness, or such emotions, those emotions and thoughts attack us even while we’re asleep. It can be very exhausting. One might think, “Can’t I ever get a good nights’ sleep without waking up shaking and sweating?”
I heard a story of a man having constant nightmares of a big nasty demon chasing him, night after night. The man was tired of waking up every morning feeling exhausted. Then came a point, when he simply could not bear it anymore. The next night, the when the demon appeared and begun chasing him, he stopped, turned around, and asked the demon: “Why are you chasing me, what do you want?”. The demon stopped, looking very confused and surprised, stood there and said “How should I know, it’s your dream”. When you look at that, and realize that the nightmare is you, trying to be heard, it’s great and opens up new realms of self-understanding.
If a certain occurrence in your dreams keeps repeating itself over and over again, and it is so powerful that it cannot be left unnoticed, it might be your unconscious trying to get your attention to look into some problem, which simply needs immediate attention and action.
This is often the case I have had, when serious changes or necessary actions needed to be made. At certain life situations, powerful emotions and occurrences came into my dream world, as long as I procrastinated on solving the problem at hand. When I took action and solved the situation, my sleep became much more restful, and my anxious dreams vanished.
The meaning behind dreams
It’s not only me who thinks, that dreams are more than irrational mush of the days events.
Over thousands of years, dreams have been a gateway to the spiritual world for many natives. They have sought guidance and answers from dreams. Those natives would probably scratch their head when hearing of someone not remembering or giving second thoughts to their dreams. Even though, if you’re not into spiritual things, dreams have a lot of beneficial aspects and they can provide guidance for our daily lives.
The things we see, hear and feel in our dreams are often representations of our current life situation. It’s our unconscious mind, or soul, that wants to represent some problem or situation at hand in our lives, or to rearrange some solutions to our problems. They also can be very delightful and nice, if things are going good.
Interestingly, some of the greatest inventions of mankind have occurred during dreams. For example, the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev, who invented the periodic table, was preying for months to find a logical way to arrange the chemical elements. By his own quote: “In a dream I saw a table where all the elements fell into place as required. Awakening, I immediately wrote it down on a piece of paper.” It seems that his unconscious mind took action in resolving the problem that his conscious mind had been working on for months.
Another great example is the father of quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr. In time, he set upon understanding the structure of the atom, but none of his configurations would fit. One night, he went to sleep and began dreaming about atoms. He saw the nucleus of the atom, with electrons spinning around it, much as planets spin around their sun. Immediately on awakening, Bohr felt the vision was accurate, and it held true – and Bohr’s vision of atomic structure turned out to be one of the greatest breakthroughs of his day.
The dreams seem to come from our unconscious. It is mystifying, how our minds stay active even while we’re asleep. It’s when we wake up, those dreams are captured and thrusted into our conscious mind.
It would be silly to provide one, general list of dream symbols for all of us to help interpreting dreams, although there are numerous books doing just that. However, there are some usual symbols or dream occurrences like escaping, running, flying, falling, being attacked, sexual dreams, mountains, rocks, and seeing beautiful landscapes, just to name a few.
The symbols and dream images are individual and personal for all, and that’s why each of us can only ourselves understand profoundly our own dreams. Seeing a burning flame might mean fear or destruction of something mental or physical, or it could mean an emotional purification process which one is undergoing. It simply might also refer to a flame or campfire one has seen, or one having a fever.
We are the best sages of our own life, and life situations at hand, and therefore, it’s our personal job to be the interpreter of our unconscious world.
Remembering and recording dreams
For a couple of years of my life, I thought I could not remember dreams. However, I stumbled across The Dream Book by Betty Bethards – a really good introduction to the dream world, and which encouraged me to begin a dream journal. By doing so, I slowly and steadily begun remembering my dreams more vividly and clearly than ever, and was drawn into this mysterious world. It has ever since helped me significantly understanding myself as a human being, but also my unconscious, and also, I’ve found important guidance, amusement and joy in my personal dream world.
You can also train your skills and capability of remembering your dreams. There is a simple but unbelievably effective way to do it, dream journaling.
Simply, every night, place a journal or voice recorder or camera near your bed. When you wake up, the first thing you do, ideally, is to write down or record with another way your dreams. If you don’t remember anything, simply try to focus on how you are feeling. Think, if that feeling refers to your dreams somehow. If all that you remember is the emptiness of the last night, write that down.
Sometimes, when I’ve written ”I don’t remember what dream I had last night”, the second all my dreams of that night have popped up in my mind. Try to get into your journal as much details of the feelings, sights, colors, images, sounds, as possible. Often, the remembering of details is a beautiful unfolding – you remember one thing, it opens up a second thing, then a third, and so on.
The reason to do this right after you wake up, is because when we began our morning routines, our conscious minds take more resources, and our unconscious becomes more quiet. That’s why it’s important to write them down in the freshness of waking up from your unconscious mind. Do it daily. In a quite short period of time, which varies from person to person, you will begin to remember your dreams more vividly, day after day, it’s my promise.
Using dreams and sleep as a tool
If you are particularly concerned over a major problem, review all angles of it objectively and then, without trying to reach a conscious solution, go to sleep. Have faith and confidence that your higher powers of mind will take it from there and reveal what needs to be done in a dream, or have the answer waiting for you in the morning. If you go to sleep fearing that the problem is unsolvable and that conditions will get worse and worse, it is the same as ordering your creative power to produce this very state of things for you. Hence the saying, “I’d better sleep on it”.
Often after a good nights’ sleep, your mind is refreshed and released of tension. In the morning, you’re right on track to get back at looking your daily problems or tasks. It’s our conscious mind that needs rest, to unclog it from the never ending stimulus bombarded to us each day.
In regards to dream interpretation, it’s always good to maintain common sense attitude. You will find, in time, that the vagueness and distortions will diminish and the clarity and genuineness of your dream impressions will increase.
Once you have started giving attention to your dream life and making record of it, you will be astonished at the amount of information and foreknowledge you’re actually acquiring through the dream state.
In case you’re having dreams or nightmares that really bother you and affect your day to day life in a negative way, consider making an appointment with a doctor or psychiatrist, who is familiar with dreams. It can be helpful.
A few more words
There seems to be different “layers” or “levels” of dreaming, some of which are more shallow, and others more deep or spiritual. The spiritual dreams are those, which are not easily interpreted or comprehended, since they often carry out symbols or occurrences that have seemingly no clear link to our physical life. This article’s main subject has been more of those shallow dreams, which do refer to our personal lives. The spiritual dreams would need a lot more research, and they surely are fascinating.
Some people are capable of seeing in to the future in dreams, which bends our comprehension of time. There is also a type of dreaming called Lucid dreaming, in which the person who dreams comes conscious of it, and can take charge of their dream world. It’s really fascinating area, and it can be used for consciously exploring the worlds of the unconscious. Its said that anyone could learn to Lucid dream. I’m going to find that out, and am working on my Lucid dreaming skills.
Sometimes, I just wonder – are the dreams we see at night really just dreams, and our waking state the reality, or is it the other way around?
Now check what you have learned in the article
– Dreams is a language of our unconscious mind, and offer sole guidance, messages or representations of our life situations at hand or about problems which are unsolved.
– Dreams are seen by everyone, and every night, even by those who claim not to dream
– One can enhance enormously their remembering of dreams simply by each morning writing a dream journal
– It is important to bear in mind the common sense when interpreting dreams, avoiding over analyzing of dreams
– Once a person begins to give attention to their dreams, they often become more comprehensible, clear, and more easily remembered
– Dreams can even be used for looking for a solution to a problem at hand
To learn more from this fascinating subject, here’s a couple of links for resources:
Todays’ post will be slightly different from those I’ve published so far. It’s my journal from this morning, with an additional and exciting story at the end. You can see how my train of thought goes through different landscapes, leading into a place of insights. It’s a small evolution, happened in the freshness of the morning. Now it’s here – right in front of you. Enjoy.
It’s a very good morning. The sky is painted with a tone of glorious gray, and the birds are singing. I’m feeling fresh and anew. I’ve just been born into this new, beautiful day, where everything I want can be created. Today, right now.
I’m going to talk about a dream I had last night. In my dream, I was a very confident person. Strategical and decisive. I felt sure of myself, and sure of what I was doing. The sun was shining, and I felt a warm radiance in my body and on my skin. The surroundings were soaking in the luster of pure sunlight. There were people, trees, plants, a road and a car. I was planning to make a trip to somewhere similar to bank, from where I had to get a diamond. I had to go and get it, and I was planning how to do it.
I’m now recalled of my previous dream from two nights ago. I was swimming in water, and heard the words ”You must search, you shall investigate”. It left me with the question, well, what do I have to investigate or search?
In the last night’s dream, clarity came. The bright luster of the sunlight in my dream represented my inner clarity. I must search the answers within me, when there’s something to search for. It is the diamond which I must attain. I must investigate my inner realms and connections with the highest cosmic guidance, which flows through me, to find answers, and to find the way to walk my path of life and soul. Some call this power intuition, God, universal wisdom, soul, life, it has many names. Whatever you want to call it, you all have it.
To clarifyyou about my insights – let me explain. Earlier in my life, I’ve been commanded by the words of dozens of teachers and other people. I’ve tried to grasp the ideas they’ve had, insights, lessons, how-to-do’s, all that kind of stuff. I’ve read and read, listened and listened and tried to sink it all in, thinking that I must follow others to gain a wider perspective of life, and therefore, walk somehow right and socially acceptable path of life.
I haven’t always during my life acknowledged the guidance system within myself, although it’s always been there. It is what lead me to those teachings and books which I’ve grasped, or the teachings to me. Way or another.
It’s my intuition what has lead me to my life’s big turning points, at where I’ve felt I must move to another place to continue my life. It’s my inner guidance which has told me what, how, and when to do it.
Have you noticed that sometimes just the right books ”find” you right at the moment you need them?
Many of the times, though, I’ve considered far too much and leaned on other’s opinions and thoughts of what I should do and not to do. I haven’t always leaned or relied on my own instinct. But now it’s clear – it’s time to begin learning from myself. To go and get that clarifying diamond. To be a teacher to myself in a whole different and new manner. It’s time to pay close attention to my intuition and what it has to say. It’s time to leave the monster of Doubt in its cage for a while. It may break free from time to time, but I can always remind myself of my intuition that I have within. It’s great to have something to trust within yourself, and we all have it.
There surely are times in life, as in childhood, when our behavior must be led and guided to “socially acceptable”. These social rules, spoken or unspoken, written or not, aren’t always for our own good. They sometimes can harm us.
We can hear a nurturing mother telling her young kid: ”You can’t do that! I don’t like what you’re doing! It’s not good if everyone behaved like you! You must listen what I and other people tell you!”. The last one is probably the worst. To listen to what other people tell you. Listening is not bad, but acting accordingly, can cause harm.
It can slash the trust and confidence off for one’s own intuition, if they were always concerned what others will think and tell of their behavior. This is the child who grows to be the worrier in school, grade after another, being far too concerned of her own actions and what other people think of her. She slowly can start seeking for approval, because she has learned that’s the way she should behave. And, if she doesn’t find the approval of others, yet that’s what matters for her, she will find that she’s done something wrong. She’ll become insecure, uncertain, shaky, have hard time of making decisions, and doubtful. She isn’t sure, if this was the path she should walk.
This can cause a lot of pain in her future life, all the way to the point she may realize that she doesn’t have to rely on others opinions. She doesn’t have to act according to what others think of her.
She can finally realize that she has her own intuition, her own guidance system, which ”wants” the best for her, which is for her own good, physical, mental, spiritual, and if it got polluted by others black marks, she can use her mental turpentine to wash them off as soon as they come. She’ll find that she can be her own teacher. She’ll find that she can trust herself.
She’ll have a much more joyful life, because finally she has got her own personal freedom of decision, action, willpower, faith, courage, love, appreciation and one the most powerful forces of life, intuition, back.
This doesn’t mean she will become cold or disrespectful towards others. Some may get bitter when they’ve realized they can be their own boss, but this is not the road all should or will take. She still can and will be respectful, if someone tries to shove their opinion down her throat.
She respects to hear different perspectives about her situation or actions, and listens to them carefully. She can grasp the ideas, and pick out golden nuggets from others speeches and teachings. She can give close attention and concern what others say.
The difference is, that she won’t have to rely on those teachings anymore. She can be her own teacher. She will and can ask for help when she needs, but only bring her to the upper level of knowledge, the higher level of being, where she finds her own intuition back to use.
Real life experience of a strong intuition
It was an evening on October 11th, 2002. I was only 8 years old at that time. We were going for a lunch with my whole family including my mother, step-father, my big- and little brothers, and me. As we drove our car to a park of a local shopping mall, we opened the car doors and were stepping out, ready to head to the restaurant.
Suddenly, my mother got a hunch that maybe we should go eat somewhere else this time. It came out of the blue. We hesitated for a while, but my mother seemed to be sure of her idea. We had to go somewhere else.
So, we drove to a different restaurant, maybe 20 minutes away, walked in, and sat down to order our meals. Around 8 P.M., as we were waiting for our meals to arrive, everyones’ phones started ringing, and the whole restaurant got to hear of terrible news from television.
There had been a bomb attack at the exactly same mall where we first parked our car. It happened right next to a clown performance, around the time we arrived to our next location, and killed seven people, injuring 164. I can believe if we happened to walk past that performance, we would’ve stopped to enjoy the show.
This is a great example how great our intuition can be, if we only carefully listened to it. If my mother hadn’t paid attention to her intuition, we could all be dead. I’m thankful for her strong inner guidance, and it surely taught me a lot when I realized what had happened.
It’s the same gut feeling you have when thinking of whether you should turn right or left with your car at the crossroads. Listen to your intuition, and it just might save your life.
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For the sake of this blog post, I have to mention how on Monday I woke up to see that Jeffrey Reddick – a magnificent filmmaker is supporting my book project here. It’s unbelievably great feeling when completely strangers (to me) from the other side of the planet give their support to a small human being living up here in North. You can also support me just in a few seconds, click the link and press ”Support with” -button. I’d appreciate it a lot!
Thank you for reading! I wish you a very intuitive day.
Okay. Now that I have your attention, we’re ready to talk about attention.
It requires attention for you to read through this whole article of 1840 words. It’s up to you, whether you keep your focus or not. If you do, I promise you’ll find interesting and useful things to learn about attention.
In our constantly changing world, where things are rapidly evolving, it seems like an unusual ability to be concentrated on a single task for long periods of time. It’s no wonder, since we’re constantly bombarded with various stimulus, flashing ads and lights in the city milieu, dozens of channels of television, only if we could watch them all at the same time! Internet has even more ”channels”, in fact it’s an endless stream of distractions. Look at your Facebook site, and if you happen to click one link, you soon may notice how hours of your precious day disappeared somewhere. This is how insidiously distractions carry us around the wonder world of internet.
Not to mention all other distractions around you, like smartphone yelling it’s messages that you should answer the second they arrive, maybe kids screaming behind your back and wanting attention, or a little brother or sister teasing and poking you, trying to annoy you on purpose. To add some cherries on the cake, then there’s all of your personal tasks, which you just can’t get a hold to. School, work, life’s purpose, relationships, cleaning your house or room, trying to lose weight or get fit, eat healthy, all of these may just pile up, and since there’s so many tasks to do, it seems like a mountain to climb, to begin with these tasks. Or, if you get started on one of them, you’ll be very easily distracted.
Our attention system, like the rest of the brain, was built to make sense of the surrounding environment as it existed ten thousand years ago. In our cybercentric world, however, we quickly learn to expect things to happen immediately, and if they don’t, we’re easily frustrated. If our cell phone doesn’t ring or our e-mail inbox sits empty for more than an hour, we wonder what’s going on. Why bother stay at a given task for an hour or more, when we can always click to the next?
It’s been said, that humans now have shorter attention span than a goldfish. Goldfish’s attention span is 9 seconds, and a study that took place in 2013, resulted that an average attention span of humans is only 8 seconds. If you made it this far without distracting yourself, you’re far off better focuser than most of us in the western world (okay, the study examined 2,000 Canadians). Also, you’re a better focuser than goldfish! Congratulations!
From the book – ”SPARK: How exercise will improve the performance of your brain” by Dr. John J. Rate and Eric Hagerman:
“Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) stems from a malfunction of the brain’s attention system, a diffuse linkage of neurons that hitches together areas controlling arousal, motivation, reward, executive function, and movement. Let’s take one element of the attention system: motivation. While it’s true that people with ADHD “just need to get motivated,” it’s also true that, like every other aspect of our psychology, motivation is biological. What about the child who can’t pay attention in class but can sit perfectly still for hours playing a video game? Or the woman who “spaces out” when her husband is talking but has no trouble focusing on magazine gossip about Brad and Angelina? Obviously, they can pay attention when they want to, right? Not exactly. If we were to look at functional MRI (fMRI) scans of the brains of these people – and scientists have – we would see distinct differences in activity at the reward center in each situation. The reward center is a cluster of dopamine neurons called the nucleus accumbens, which is responsible for doling out pleasure or satisfaction signals to the prefrontal cortex, and thus providing the necessary drive or motivation to focus.”
Duringmy life, I’ve found it hard to focus on one thing for a long period of time. I’ve surely had some attention problems. Things I’ve been able to focus at my best, have been playing guitar, drawing, or playing video games. I guess my reward system was firing, when I was doing those things. I have to admit, I’ve been most of my life a terrible reader, too. I remember, as a kid, when I tried to study for an exam, my mind was wandering somewhere else the second I started reading. On the other hand, I was able to dive in many fictional books in a way I could read that whole book during one day. I’ve always thought that when I’m interested in doing something and find it important, I can focus on it.
Many with ADHD, ADD, depression, or other cognitively special qualities (if your brains
are just hardwired differently than with most people), they, or “we” have an ability to hyper-focus. That said, we can focus on one thing so hard that we ignore everything else around us. The roof could collapse on us, and we wouldn’t notice. It’s great for productivity, I have to admit.
It feels, though, that we aren’t always able to get into that focus mode, when we’d want or need to. There are many tips and tools to boost up your attention. It’s been said, that our attention is like a muscle, the more we use it, the more stronger it comes. It can be trained.
One of the greatest ways to boost your focus (at least for me, and thousands of people), is exercise. I will explain how that process works in my upcoming book. In a nutshell, exercise naturally balances your brain’s neurotransmitters, which are involved in performing tasks, your feelings, attention, memory, reward system, and so on. Simply put, exercise makes your brains operate better.
Other great ways to improve your focus is meditation, breath exercises, or just simply by practicing to focus on something for short periods of time. Also, calming and soothing music can help you enormously. Take regular breaks, so you can refresh your mind during the task.
If you have an upcoming task where you don’t want to be distracted from, try this breathing exercise. It’s familiar with thousands (if not millions) of people around the globe. It’s similar to meditation, but I’ll just call it an exercise to grow your attention (or calmness) muscle for this purpose.
Before the given task (you can also do this in the morning, if you want better attention thorough the day), sit down on a chair, or cross-legged on the floor, or lay on a bed if you wish (be careful not to fall asleep!). Just set yourself anywhere where it’s comfortable for you, and where you can be without being distracted.
Close your eyes, and begin to breathe deeply (not too deeply) and take long, slow breaths. Bring your inward attention to your expanding and contracting belly. Remember to take it slow. With each breath, let yourself relax.
Soon you probably will notice your mind wondering into irrelevant things, and that’s completely normal, actually it almost should be happening, if you tried this for the first time. If your mind didn’t wander, you’re already very good with this practice, or a naturally gifted focuser.
When your mind goes anywhere it wants to go, to future, or to the past, simply notice it, and bring your attention back to your breath. Feel your breaths, and feel, how the beautiful, clean air is carried thorough your body. You might have to bring your attention back a several times, and this is the exact purpose of this exercise; to bring your attention back to the given single task, the second you notice your attention losing its grip.
Only doing three minutes of this exercise (you can set up a timer if you wish), improves your attention span significantly. If you find it hard to do, that’s fine, you’ll get better at it after a few practice sessions. You can even do it for a one minute, if you wish. We at least can’t claim that there’s no enough time for us to train our attention muscle, anyone can spare one to three minutes of their day for their own good.
The practice trains you to pay attention to your ability to focus. The better you get at it, the longer you’ll be able to hold your attention to your breathing. This will help you to remain attentive during the day, it helps you to focus on basically any given other task. It’ll grow your attention muscle!
Note: your attention span might vary from time to time you do the exercise, so don’t get frustrated, if after a several times your attention is shorter than in the first time. It’s a sign you should practice more. Listen to your feelings!
The practice also quiets your mind, since you’re focusing your attention away from distracting thoughts. You’ll notice your mind going silent, and it frees up you from your fuzzy thoughts, making space for new thoughts to arise. It’s like giving a break for your dear friend, brains. So, the calming effect is included in the price of a few minutes. (I got my idea of writing this article when doing the exercise; when you’re relaxed, new ideas pop up more easily in your mind.)
In regards to depression, practicing paying attention to your thoughts makes you easily to catch them when they arise (negative thoughts being the ”distractions”). When you notice any harming thoughts coming to your mind, take deep breaths, and try to keep your attention in your breathing, just as in the exercise above.
Note: negative emotions are often begun by negative thoughts. It’s much more easy to keep our attention on our emotions than thoughts, since humans have around 40,000 – 60,000 thoughts per day, but far less emotions. So, begin tracking your emotions. If you’re having a negative emotion, bring your attention to your thoughts, and listen what you’re talking to yourself.
This can break you loose from the chain of depressive thoughts. I’ve found it very useful.
Now, try it, and hopefully you too will find it useful. Feel free to share this exercise with anyone you think who could benefit from training their attention. That is, every one of us.
PS. There’s a great post by Stephen Guise, where he talks how multitasking is killing your productivity. I suggest you to read it!
Thank you so much for reading, I wish you a more focused life!
Sincerely & with Love,
If you liked the post, and want to see more, you can support me as a writer here (it’s for funding my book in YouCaring.com and they use PayPal for contributions, even an amount of coffee will help me!)
Hey everyone. I know that many of you are having rough times. Some are in deeper trouble or pain than others, and economically it’s also been hard for all of us during the last few years, which surely is testing our strength in many aspects of life. You have come here by your own path of life, your life is unique, it’s different than anyone else’s in the entire universe. You have taken each step, which has led to this point. What do you see from the point you’re standing at right now? Do you see flowers, or do you see gray skies? I don’t know what you might see, but I’m glad that you’re there. I’m glad that you’re standing where you are, and I’m glad that you’re exactly the one who is reading this.
There’s no other like you. You were the one of those millions of sperms racing to da EGG, and you WON! So just promise me one thing, continue to be that one, who’s the winner. Continue to be yourself, and allow yourself to be you. Don’t allow anyone else define or boss you around what you should and should not do in your life. Do what you feel is right for you, do what feels the right decision. You may feel the life’s energy pulling you to a direction you feel is right. We have these phases in life, where we develop spiritually and as a human being, and then life tells us when it’s time to move forward. If you don’t know or feel it, at the moment, don’t let others to decide for you when it’s your time to do anything. The answer will come, your intuition will tell you, if you listen carefully.
Just… be yourself, okay?
Even if it feels that your whole body is simmering in the muddiest water ever found on earth, keep your head above that thick water, and glance around if you can see a shore where to rest. I’ve been in those muddy waters many times in my life, and sometimes I felt like giving up, I wanted to drown myself in those waters. Something deep inside of me told me – keep swimming, keep swimming. And so I did. Eventually, the shore came. All the exhausting pulls to get forward in that water can be rough and tough, but at least, you’re not drowning. You’re going forward. You’re living your beautiful, unique, one of a kind life. Keep your head up. ❤
I recently watched a video by Brendon Burchard called Myth of Limiting Beliefs. He’s talking about how over the past decades, and probably longer than that, we have globally focused on our limits rather than our strengths. Maybe not all of us, but I believe this is very, very common especially with people who have depression.
They somehow have acquired a belief they’re not good enough, lovable, good-looking, confident, or whatever aspect they might be focusing on. These beliefs may come from believing what people tell us, but, seriously, who has the power to control your thoughts about your own capabilities and strengths? Who has the power to change your focus from “I can” to “I can’t”? Nobody but you.
In the video, Brendon’s talking about RWID – Relative Weight of Importance and Duration. We have to consider to which thoughts we give weight, importance, and duration – which thoughts and feelings we focus on.
Some people seem like they have never heard of positive thinking in their lives, as if it was impossible from them to think about something good rather than negative. I know because I’ve been there myself. But believe me, it’s possible.
It’s what we focus on, what we weight and keep important, makes us feel so. If we give weight and importance and duration to fearful or worrying thoughts, then what we feel and think of most of the time become those thoughts.
Doesn’t it make logical sense? I don’t know where so many people have grasped the idea of them not being able of doing something. One of the big reasons is lack of action, or lack of persuasion.
We haven’t shown ourselves that we can do something, and if one handles the skill of pessimistic attitude we won’t, because then it feels not worth even a try.
But hey, Henry Ford’s engineers and his devoted team made up the solution to construct V8-motor engine, and John F. Kennedy wanted to get a man to the moon, and so they did. Both of these achievements were considered as impossible. Still, they somehow managed to achieve those things.
There is one major factor – their attitude.
Their achievements are clear proofs of the power of optimism, and what we can do with that power. Sure, we don’t have the crew to hire to launch us to the moon, but we have the abundance of our personal riches, from which we can grow, learn, and achieve. We all have the ability to think big, be optimistic, and achieve great things with that power we were born with. If it’s lost at some point of our journey, we can always revive that. We have the control of our own lives.
”Get by with what you got, as you build your dreams.”
Brendon also points out how the fields of psychology has changed in the last decades. We are shifting from studying mental illnesses to studying mental health, thus focusing on the positive side of the human cognition and abilities. This is great news for us humans.
It’s so true that psychology has focused more on the negative, the ”ill” side of the human mind, and that’s probably because the field of psychology got started from studying the ”crazy” ones, which are considered as more negative than positive in terms of our society. How many studies or statistics can we find of how many happy people there are in the world? I found none, but yet, there are countless mentions of how many people are affected by depression, or other illnesses in this world.
We have to remain attentive of where our focus is. Is it more in the positive or negative? Remember, what seeds you plant, the fruits of that same strain will eventually flourish. Let those fruits become for your own good, for your wellbeing.
Let’s begin to plant those good seeds, shall we? They’ll eventually sprout.
”In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”
Gratitude – The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
I have found it very useful, fun and even crucial to be intentionally grateful. Especially for those things and aspects of life which many of us take for granted. They are the things that we didn’t get in exchange for money, but things that came to us free of charge, and without asking. Usually (and unfortunately) we notice their importance when they don’t exist anymore, at the point when they’re gone.
For example, think about that you’re able to breathe the beautiful air which constantly surrounds us. We rarely give it a notice. If you were drowning now, gasping for breath, you’d do anything to get even a small portion of the precious air, which you and I are both breathing every moment, including now. Or, if you were in the middle of Sahara desert, and had been walking for days with just a bottle of water with you, and drank the last drop down this morning, how precious would you consider a glass of cold and fresh water, that pours down from your sink just with a flip of a switch? Yep, it’s much up to how we look at things.
Just because some things do and have existed there for our whole lifetime, doesn’t make them less significant. We simply get used to things around and within us, and so easily forget how important they are to our wellbeing, and to our whole existence.
By looking at these very simple but yet vital and essential aspects of life, we can see how much we take for granted. There are so many things constantly around that enable us to be alive, providing us the lifestyle of bread and circuses. They become routines of our daily lives, and are easily left unnoticed.
Routines and getting used to things, like our motoric functions, is a part of development in humans. Since the action doesn’t require so much energy to concentrate, we can effectively strive our energy towards other things, such as thinking, for example planning your day ahead while driving to work. It’s actually quite amazing. Sometimes, though, if your energy is ”leaking” to energy wasting wells, such as negative or self-destructive thinking, which threats your wellbeing, it’s good to be able to steer your thoughts and attention towards more simple and positive things, such as the beauty of nature, or your body, or a person you love. As Eckhart Tolle says, ”Simplify, simplify”. In the end, we are responsible for where do we ”consume” our energy. The target can be useful, or not so useful.
The world of science has discovered that neurons that fire together, wire together. This means that the thought patterns you use the most become hard-wired into your brains. 1) Just like learning playing an instrument or a language, the more you do it, the more automatic it becomes so you can execute that action with less resistance. New thoughts fire up neurons that create pathways in your brains, so you’d better consider twice which kind of highways you want in your head!
”Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
Back to being grateful. One can just think about things to be grateful for, or talk them aloud, write them down, whatever feels comfortable. I often just sit down, cross my legs, close my eyes, relax and speak or think about the things I’m grateful for. At the same time I concentrate my attention to feel my body thoroughly. I can feel how my body is alive and how the vitality is lingering in my body, and that’s one thing to be grateful for. It amazes how good things actually are, so I tend to deeply apologize for myself and the universe if I’ve been neglecting these important aspects, by not appreciating them and instead concentrated into something negative.
For example, I can be thankful that I still have my hands and legs intact and I can walk, or execute simple daily actions thanks to my body. I’m thankful for those people close to me, who care and unconditionally love and support me. I’m lucky to have a lovely family, a roof over my head, a workplace, money for food, I have friends, and an eyesight which with I can sense the beauty of nature, or the glorious first glimpses of morning sunlight. I have the sense receptors to feel the cold winter breeze. I’m thankful that sun is shining, and the birds are singing. I have clean water available, and I’m disease-free. Things are great in the end, and we have so much to enjoy!
If, however, you don’t find or feel right now to be grateful for something, you can always send your best wishes to people, nature, universe, for everyone and everywhere. You can ”send out” this positive energy simply by wishing peace, love, harmony, understanding to every single human being on the planet, especially to those who seriously need it and are in trouble, and have difficulties surviving the everyday life, maybe because of hunger, illness, war, being homeless or other reasons. If you can’t be grateful for your own life at the given moment, at least be kind and wish happiness for others. I suggest anyone to try doing this.
I’m not really saying that by praying for the war to an end on the other side of the planet will cause it to an end, but anyhow, our thoughts are energies, which are able to cause physical chain reactions in the human body. And let’s say, interesting coincidences have happened when concerning ”prayers”, which simply are focusing on or wishing for something, often positive aspects of life. I like that there is a lot of mysticism in the world, things that we don’t yet know about (at least in the name of science). It makes things interesting.
Being grateful also leaves your focus on things that really matter in life, things that are important to you. When this “gratitude exercise” is done in the morning, those important things, thoughts and emotions float with you thorough the day, and so it’s much more easier to remember how well things actually are, if you happen to become sad, frustrated or angry during the day. Instead of fully being dwelt in the negative emotions, the light, positive and constructive thoughts, emotions and aspirations take more of the space, and it does great for the wellness of a human being.
PS. It’s a great idea to show your gratitude towards other people, a kind act of appreciation doesn’t hurt anyone. 😉
Thanks for reading!
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” -Epictetus