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Ending Self-Sabotage

Ending Self-Sabotage

Study Shows A Grateful Heart is a Healthy Heart

posted by mbundrant

People with thumbs upIt turns out that emotions play an important role in physical health, according to a study released early April by the American Psychological Association.

According to their findings, both recognizing and giving thanks for every positive moment and aspect of your life improves the body both mentally and physically, as shown by patients with asymptomatic heart failure.

Typically associated to those with higher levels of spirituality, gratitude can be attributed to any number of things, including pets and a divine deity. Those in the study that acknowledged their blessings slept better, had better moods, were less tired and, more importantly, had lower levels of inflammatory bio-markers.

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The study assessed 186 men and women who had been diagnosed with asymptomatic heart failure for no less than three months. This meant that though they had developed heart disease, they did not show heart failure symptoms. Because those at this stage can easily progress to symptomatic heart failure with a death rate five times higher, doctors recognize it as a crucial point to halt the disease entirely, hence the reason why finding any means of halting progression is important.

The study was performed by using psychological tests to grade spiritual well-being and gratitude levels. These were then compared to sleep quality, depressive symptom severity, self-efficacy, fatigue and inflammatory markers. The tests showed gratitude and spirituality supporting better scores all around.

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The most surprising bit of evidence, however, was that spirituality was only partially correlated with healthier scores. In the end, it was gratitude that made the real difference.

Researchers studied this phenomenon further by asking some patients to keep a gratitude journal every day of the week for eight weeks. Those that did so showed a decrease in cardiac risk. It would seem that a mind less focused on a stressful situation would cause the body less stress, leading to an overall improvement in health.

Watch a dramatic example of these principles in action right here.

Research source:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150409093940.htm

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Meaning of Life? Here Are Five Better Questions

posted by mbundrant

imagesIf you’ve struggled with existential issues, then you understand the sense of futility that can come with them.

Struggling to find meaning of life is a real struggle for those so inclined. Most people attempt to tackle one big question.

What is the meaning of life?

This is a very difficult question to answer. Philosophical counselors, mental health therapists and professional coaches of all kinds know well the existential impact of meaning vs. meaninglessness. One of the greatest sources of stability for all of us is to feel grounded in a life full of meaning.

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What makes it so hard to come up with a pragmatic, satisfying answer?

One simple yet concrete part of the problem is the wording of the question itself. For example, it assumes that there is one sole meaning to be had. Secondly, it assumes that life has a meaning apart from the meaning you give it.

Most people understand that meaning is malleable. It can change depending on point of view and circumstance.  People, things and events can be interpreted in a plethora of ways. Meaning is dependent upon perceptual filters. Perceptual filters are highly subjective and individualistic.

How are we, then, to find the “one single meaning” of life?

That said, many have answered this question of life’s meaning in spite of it’s vague nature. Yet, if you are still struggling with it, consider that there may be better questions to ask.

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Here are 5 questions that serve as alternatives:

1. What is it that makes my life worth living?

This is a very fresh rephrase, isn’t it? Asking what makes your life worth living puts you in the driver’s seat. If you ask this question sincerely, ideas should come immediately to mind. My family, my work, my time spent learning, etc…are all viable options.

If “nothing” comes to mind, you can still work with this one. You simply substitute a couple of words. For example, “What is it that would make my life worth living?” Or even, “If my life were really worthwhile, what would I be doing differently?”

These questions are pragmatic and empowering.

2. What do I believe is most important in life?

Along the same lines as the first, this question hints at life values. Values are simple indicators of importance. Life values are words that describe what’s important to you in life. For example: Faith, family, freedom, security, interdependence, accomplishment, productivity, and so on.

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Identifying your life values gives you a clarity and focus like few other activities. Knowing your values clarifies decisions, sorts out relationships and even defines career moves. That said, relatively few people take the time to clarify their values. Why not clarify yours?

3. How can I find more satisfaction in life?

Higher levels of life satisfaction make the big, scary existential question less intimidating. If you’re very fulfilled, it may bother you less that you haven’t pinpointed the “meaning of it all.” It’s not that the meaning of life is less important. However, not knowing your own answer will throw you off balance less if you are highly satisfied in life.

How can you become more satisfied? What do you need to do or stop doing to create greater fulfillment? What do you need from people around you? Pursuing inner satisfaction can be much more productive than chasing the meaning of life.

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4. What meaning am I giving life in this moment?

Hop back into the driver’s seat. Ask yourself, moment to moment, “What meaning am I giving life right now?” Putting it this way honors the fact that life means what you make it mean. There isn’t a specific meaning lying next to some pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Your life takes on meaning precisely according to the meaning you give it. If you become conscious of the meaning you project onto life, especially when you need to reverse negative situations, then you may develop greater choice over the meaning of your life.

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5. Which life experiences have meant the most to me so far?

With this question, we are getting specific. We’ve all had profound learning experiences. Other people have moved us. We’ve made mistakes and recovered. We’ve accomplished things we’re proud of.

If you could narrow down your list of meaningful experiences to just five, which five would be on the list? Try it. Then, discover what those five experiences have in common. Did you learn something profound? Accomplish something worthwhile?

You’ll learn a lot about yourself by taking the time to address these questions. In fact, your answers could clarify your purpose and point you in a new direction, if you’re open to that.

If you like this article, then like my Facebook Page to keep up with all my writing.

Further reading:

https://philosophynow.org/issues/59/What_Is_The_Meaning_Of_Life

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Experience Deep Soul Satisfaction

posted by mbundrant

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We all know that certain things like money, toys, and status do not provide deep soul satisfaction.

Yet, most of us spend our lives in hot pursuit of these things and rarely pause to reevaluate. Why?

And how do we get that deeper soul satisfaction reliably?

That’s what this post is all about. We’ll cover what it is, how not to get it, and finally, how to have deep soul satisfaction every single day, for free.

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What is Deep Soul Satisfaction?

It’s a term I came up with that – on the surface – sounds a bit goofy. Yet, when I really think about it, deep soul satisfaction is what I most want in life. I believe it’s what you want as well. What is it?

Deep Soul Satisfaction

The ongoing inner fulfillment that comes from accepting and connecting to the world around you. Deep soul satisfaction is nothing other than the pure pleasure of sensory experience.

Deep soul satisfaction cannot be chased own and captured. It’s not a goal. It’s a simple experience that is available to anyone, anytime. Best of all, it’s very, very fulfilling. Nothing quite compares. You might even call it bliss.

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Amazingly, we’re looking for satisfaction in all the wrong places. Science proves that so much of what we do to find satisfaction is nothing beyond useless. But that doesn’t seem to stop us from trying. Here are two places you may be looking for satisfaction in vain.

1. Your Stuff

Nope, sorry. Stuff can be fun to have. And it certainly can be useful. But stuff falls desperately short of providing lasting satisfaction.

The new dress, shoes, motorcycle, jet ski, phone or tablet. Fun stuff. Useful stuff. Not inherently satisfying. Materialists are less satisfied and more depressed, according to research done at Baylor University.

Materialistic couples score worse in every area of marriage evaluation than their non-materialistic counterparts.

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It’s not the stuff that is the problem, though. It’s the pursuit of stuff. The expectation that the stuff will do something for you that it cannot do. It cannot satisfy you as a person.

2. Your Status

Forget stuff – go for status. Recognition by peers. Social clout. Respect!

Forget it. Philosopher Allain de Botton dedicated an entire book to the anxiety that comes with status seeking and maintenance.

Status seeking is intimately tied to what other people think. It’s something you can spend a lifetime trying (in vain) to control. And most of us to just that.

But this is a far cry from deep soul satisfaction, is it not?

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What really works every single time to provide deep soul satisfaction?

Your senses.

They work every single time you use them well. Here are some examples:

Yesterday I was watching some paper come out of a printer. It was pure bliss. The printer gently grinding away….the color ink creating a design right before my eyes….and the satisfaction that I was involved in the process.

That morning I was taking a shower, listening to the hum of the water making its way though the pipes, eventually landing warmly on my skin. All the while, I was lost in a steamy haze.

I drank a cool glass of clear water. The water glided down my throat, and I felt it all the way down into my stomach!

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Stupid? Yeah…silly stupid bliss. It’s all I want. And I’m just an average dude who likes to drink a few beers now and again. It’s not the printer itself, or the shower, or the glass of water that made any of this so satisfying.

It’s that I took the time to really see, hear and feel it happening as it was happening.

That’s deep soul satisfaction.

Pursuing anything else may be a grand effort toward self-sabotage.

Other helpful resources:

Greater Good posted a very interesting article on happiness vs. meaning in life. It’s worth reading.

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Jeff Haden at Inc. wrote a very interesting piece on scientifically proven ways to be happy. And it’s very, very good advice!

If  you like this article, then like my Facebook Page to keep up with all my writing.

 References:

 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331180613.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013085237.htm

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Lucid Dreamers are More Insightful, According to this Research

posted by mbundrant

A lucid dream is not much different from a regular vivid dream, with one exception. In lucid dreams, the dreamer is fully aware they are sound asleep, having a dream and that none of it is real.

Now, there is evidence that lucid dreamers are particularly insightful people.

How does a person know they are caught up in dream world? The devil is in the details, or in this case, perhaps the dream is in the details.

Lucid dreamers become aware they are dreaming by spotting subtle clues within the dreams. For example, if a person is dreaming about being in their home, they may discover things that are unfamiliar or do not mesh with the usual landscape of their home. Perhaps the staircase is curved instead of straight. Maybe there are more windows in the kitchen than there should be.

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Even if the landscape of the dream is unfamiliar, lucid dreamers can still recognize the things that do not make sense, be it flying pigs or snow in July. Although often the inconsistencies are more subtle, the dreamer picks up on the things that do not seem rational or logical.

Lucid dreamers are aware they are sleeping because they have a heightened sense of insight, according to a new research study.

Conducted by Dr. Patrick Bourke, Senior Lecturer at the Lincoln School of Psychology, and assisted by Hannah Shaw, now a graduate, this is the first study of its kind to show evidence of a link between insight and lucid dreaming.

Published in the American Psychological Association’s journal, Dreaming, the report entitled “Spontaneous Lucid Dreaming and Waking Insight,” explains how the researcher arrived at these findings.

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To test the cognitive abilities required for a sleeping person to be aware that he or she is dreaming, waking tests of 68 participants between the ages of 18 to 25 were conducted. Some of the participants were frequent lucid dreamers, some occasional and some had never had a lucid dream.

A series of questions, 30 in all, were used as tests for measuring insight. Thinking about problems in a different manner is the key indicator of an insightful mind.

Comparing the responses of lucid and non-lucid dreamers, the results of the study found that lucid dreamers got 25% more of the problems correct than their non-lucid peers. Bourke feels that this ability to problem solve with insightful observations is also how lucid dreamers know they are still sleeping.

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41jP7lVWsxL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Mike Bundrant is author of the book Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage.

If you like this article, then like my Facebook Page to keep up with all my writing.

Previous Posts

Study Shows A Grateful Heart is a Healthy Heart
It turns out that emotions play an important role in physical health, according to a study released early April by the American Psychological Association. According to their findings, both recognizing and giving thanks for every positive ...

posted 6:49:46pm Apr. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Meaning of Life? Here Are Five Better Questions
If you’ve struggled with existential issues, then you understand the sense of futility that can come with them. Struggling to find meaning of life is a real struggle for those so inclined. Most people attempt to tackle one big ...

posted 11:34:37pm Mar. 17, 2015 | read full post »

Experience Deep Soul Satisfaction
We all know that certain things like money, toys, and status do not provide deep soul satisfaction. Yet, most of us spend our lives in hot pursuit of these things and rarely pause to reevaluate. Why? And how do we get that deeper soul ...

posted 7:00:03pm Mar. 04, 2015 | read full post »

Lucid Dreamers are More Insightful, According to this Research
A lucid dream is not much different from a regular vivid dream, with one exception. In lucid dreams, the dreamer is fully aware they are sound asleep, having a dream and that none of it is real. Now, there is evidence that lucid dreamers are ...

posted 4:11:30am Feb. 10, 2015 | read full post »

10 Signs You Are Emotionally Attached To Negativity in Your Past
You cannot let go of what you don’t realize you are hanging onto. Perhaps this is why so many of us appear to be attached to negativity in the past. It's a difficult thing to acknowledge. Most of us want to deny any effects that the past ...

posted 11:42:35pm Feb. 02, 2015 | read full post »

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