Archive for the ‘Guest Posts’ Category
By Diane L. Ross
What is the most powerful tool you have? Your mind, your most powerful resource. Are you using it, or is it using you? How do you learn to use your mind to get what you want? How do you harness your power?
What does that mean and how do you do it? Most people have a vague idea of what meditation means, but that vague idea is just that – vague. Vague is the opposite of what one wants to achieve through meditation.
Meditation is the practice of focusing your attention on a single object or idea, usually of a divine nature. Prayer has been called talking to God. Meditation has been called listening to God. How can you listen to God if your mind is full of chatter? That chatter takes up the space in which God can speak to you. That’s why meditation is so important. Meditation stills the chatter of the mind so that space is available for inspiration, creativity, bliss, and other God-like experiences.
Focusing your attention is easier said than practiced. Ever notice that meditation is referred to as a “practice?” That’s because it requires practice. It’s a skill, and all skills require practice.
Most meditation techniques suggest that you “get comfortable,” and focus your attention on your breath. When your mind wanders off (notice that the mind wandering off is assumed) simply put your attention on your breath again. I dare you to try it!
First of all, how do you “get comfortable?” That statement assumes that you already have the ability to be comfortable in your body and that you know how to access that comfort almost instantly. Secondly, the mind gets bored easily, and focusing just on your breath can become tiresome and boring after about 15 seconds. The mind doesn’t like tiresome and boring. The mind wants a job, but not a boring job.
One of the meditations I teach (Instant Meditation, available at www.dianeross.com/audio.htm) addresses both of these pitfalls. First of all, I take your body through a modified progressive relaxation, so that you are comfortable and relaxed before the mind is addressed. Then you are directed to alternate your attention between your breath and your “third eye.” The third eye is the area in the center of your forehead, about an inch above your eyebrows. It has been called the portal into the spiritual realms, and requires your focused attention in order to be activated.
By first achieving comfort, the mind is more easily harnessed. The attention is directed between the breath and the third eye, therefore eliminating the boredom most commonly associated with meditation. What happens when you begin “practicing?” The side effects are incredibly awesome and truly endless! First of all, you learn to be aware of your thoughts so that you can shift your attention away from the negative and toward the positive.
Studies have shown that the brains of long-time meditators actually change. The frontal cortex grows! This is where all the good stuff is – your ability to reason, your ability to access peace, tranquility and bliss! This is also where your creativity is accessed.
In addition, when you meditate, your heart rate decreases, your blood pressure lowers and your respirations lessen. Stress is released and the benefits of deep relaxation are multiplied. The ability to access happiness becomes natural and automatic!
Want bliss? Begin to meditate and utilize your most important power – the power of your mind!
To harness the energy of your mind, check out my, “InstantMeditation,” CD at: www.dianeross.com/audio.htm.
Bio: Diane Ross, author of Meditations for Miracles and more than 50 audio CDs, has studied meditation since 1970. She has a Master’s Degree in Secondary Reading, is a Certified Hypnotist and is a Master Practitioner of NLP. She is available for public speaking and sees clients privately. Meditation for Miracles is available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.
Meditation is a powerful for mental health, clarity, and overall well being. However, the benefits of meditation can go beyond our immediate selves and extend its powers to improve life at the office as well.
Meditation can make you physically healthier. Studies have shown that those who meditate often boast a stronger immune system those who don’t meditate. A stronger immune system means fewer illnesses for employees, which means fewer sick days from the office. Additionally, improved employee health keeps insurance costs down and leads to a more positive office moral.
As for employee mental health, the positive benefits of meditating are clear. The ability to drone-out the static noise which clogs our day through quiet reflection provides an avenue for less stress and heightened creativity. Additionally, quiet reflection allows for more clarity and focus which helps employees better tackle the task at hand.
Office Dynamics and Increased Productivity
As Meditation Den has previously noted, “If you’re looking for an effective way to get more done in your workday in a more efficient manner, meditation can be a practical solution. Meditation can reduce anxiety about your job and help you identify priorities that you can act on one at a time instead of worrying about everything and accomplishing nothing.”
Meditation produces mental clarity which strengthens thinking skills to foster fewer mistakes and enhances job satisfaction which leads to increased productivity and profitability.
Two important components of healthy employees and a healthy business: less stress and more creative productivity. Reduction of stress and anxiety is a clear benefit of meditation. The ability to tune out the static of a hectic day and pool one’s thoughts into a calm central string of consciousness allows for the hectic stress of a workday to fade way. Once stress and daily static fade, meditation allows for attention to focus on tasks at hand and creative ways to develop tasks in the future.
Working In Time With Retreats
With all of the benefits, it’s no wonder that retreats focused on meditation practice and training are popular among small businesses and corporations a like.
Retreats allow for employees to learn and establish meditative practices in serene setting. Meditative retreat provides insight into exploring ways to integrate meditation into office life. This will help solve conflict or provide insight into alternative therapies and healing methods to boost communication and clarity amongst co workers.
The holistic health of a business is important for maintaining healthy businesses practices and retreats are a tax deductible method of healing an office.
Deducting expenses and covering costs
According to the IRS publication 535, for an expense to be deductible, “it must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade or business.” A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your trade or business.
Maintaining a healthy office is essential to a productive business. Meditative retreats provide an outlet for promoting and sustaining employee health and increasing performances. This is often necessary and appropriate for most types of businesses. Particularly those which seem to be lacking focus or a work group which lacks cohesion.
Establishing a clear set of goals shaped at strengthening company weaknesses. The beneficial properties of meditation such as increased focus, clarity, creativity, and understanding will undoubtedly strengthen almost any work group. Understanding the needs of your particular office will help establish the necessity and appropriateness of the retreat which will help provide a more beneficial experience and make deducting the expenses much easier.
In order to deduct expenses, an accountable plan must be utilized. Meals and entertainment are typically deductible to up to 50% of the cost. Sole proprieters use the travel reimbursement on line “24a and the deductible part of the meals and entertainment reimbursement on line 24b, Schedule C (Form 1040) or line 2, Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040).” Corporations include meals and travel deductions lumped with the amount claimed on the Other deductions line of Form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return. Other types of businesses should follow instructions with regard to deducting expenses.
Meditation is a wonderful tool for increasing mental clarity and performance. Engaging in meditative retreats and meditative practices helps arm employees and businesses with those tools to provide a more productive and profitable workplace.
Katei Cranford is a recent UNCG graduate and freelance journalist who’s making her mark beyond academia and advising others not so far behind.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that can affect people during the winter. Its symptoms include a loss of energy, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, or withdrawal from social time with friends and family. Attributed to a decreased exposure to natural light, SAD can negatively impact your life and make an already-cold time of year more difficult to get through. Thankfully, there are several options when it comes to navigating the winter blues. Read on for tips that can help you get back to productivity and positivity.
Although the winter months mean the holidays and fun activities like ice skating and sledding, the decrease in temperature can make people less than cheerful. It may seem difficult to stay warm without wildly inflating your heating bill, but it is possible with the simple addition of space heaters. The cold can be insidious, seeming to eke its way into your bones. If you can stay warm, you will likely be happier and more motivated to do things around your home rather than grousing, huddling under a blanket, and wishing spring would hurry up and arrive. Let warmth beget comfort and happiness.
A viable option when treating SAD, light therapy involves exposure to artificial light, most often from a light box. As the sun’s rays help your body produce Vitamin D, it’s possible that SAD may be a result of a deficiency. You can find your way out of the blues by sitting in front of a light box for as little as half an hour each day, as well as taking an over-the-counter Vitamin D supplement. As with any medicinal therapy, discuss your symptoms with your doctor to make sure this is the right approach for issues you are facing.
Though it may seem to contradict the advice to stay warm, stepping outside for a brief meditation during the daytime is another treatment option for SAD. As you center your thoughts, let your mind drift to a place that is full of sunshine and light and warmth. Rather than letting your mind run wild with thoughts about winter or the fact that you’re probably chilly, incorporate these thoughts into your time outdoors. While you’re probably not going to head outside during a blizzard or when the temperature is dangerously low, a short session (10 minutes or so) can jumpstart your practice and teach you how to meditate anywhere and at any time. Embrace the change in temperature and how it affects your body. Consider sitting on a yoga mat on the ground to better connect with the earth. Inhale deeply. Let the fresh air clear your mind. Re-enter your home refreshed and ready for cocoa.
It’s important to keep in mind that a case of the blues can be symptomatic of a more serious depression that needs to be discussed with your doctor. Try some of the aforementioned tips, noting what works for you. Above all, be kind to yourself and let your body acclimate to the wintertime. If low feelings persist despite your self-care measures, be sure to speak with a medical professional who can help you find your way back to happiness.
Danielle, who blogs on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands, enjoys hiking and meditating daily to keep centered. Read her work at Dose of My Own.