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The 2016 Christmas Sock Drive is On!

The Total Image Design staff and clients are collecting new adult sized socks to donate to Urban Peak, a local shelter for young men and women from 14 to 21 years of age.img_4147

The sock drive takes place all through the holidays. It seems like a small gift to give but the comfort the new socks can bring would warm your heart and does warm the feet of many young people who are working to improve their lives. img_4144

Total Image Design has been collecting socks for those in need for the last 20 years and we invite you to help Total Image Design meet that need once again. New socks can be dropped off at the salon any time during working hours. New socks of any kind are welcomed and will be appreciated! If you don’t have time to shop for socks you can stop by and donate money and the Total Image Design staff will do the shopping for you!

Thank you to all who donate! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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With great sadness we say good-bye to Normajean Korn

Normajean....missed by many, forever in our hearts.

Our dear friend and colleague Normajean Korn, unexpectedly passed away July 8, 2015. She was the owner of Total Image Salon in Colorado Springs.

As a Michigan native, she was involved in teaching and administration for the Lakeview School District in Battle Creek, Michigan, while attaining her Doctorate Degree in Education. Normajean represented the state of Michigan at the White House Conference on Education, while meeting with the President and serving on his committee. She was always actively involved in her profession.
After retiring from education in 1978, she moved to Colorado Springs and opened the Total Image Salon at 1410 South 21st Street. Continuing her lifelong involvement in her community, she helped develop and participate in the Look Good, Feel Better program with the American Cancer Society, receiving special recognition and awards for her outstanding work. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/gazette/obituary.aspx?n=normajean-marie-massa-korn&pid=175272143#sthash.OBdc4TC2.dpuf
Total Image Design will continue as the salon that cares about you and wants to help you with all of your styling needs. The same staff will be there to take care of you and we continue to be a part of our community as Normajean has inspired us to be.
Once again we are holding a sock drive with all the socks collected being donated to Urban Peak youth shelter. The only shelter for youth in the Colorado front range with a shelter in Colorado Springs and in Denver.

Founded in 1988, Urban Peak is the only non-profit organization in Denver and Colorado Springs that provides a full convergence of services for youth ages 15 through 24 experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Their goal is to help these youth overcome real life challenges and become self-sufficient adults.

They do this by providing five essential services at little or no cost to the youth (youth in housing do pay a minimal rent each month):

  • an overnight shelter
  • a daytime Drop-In Center
  • Street Outreach
  • Education and Employment programming
  • Supportive housing

Their goal is to meet youth where they are and to provide them with the assistance and support they need to become self-sufficient or obtain the necessary services they need to exit a life on the streets. Urban Peak’s programs and services are founded on the principles of trauma-informed care* and positive youth development and assist youth in reaching their potential and living a successful life off of the streets.

*To provide trauma-informed services means that we understand an individual’s experience of trauma impacts every area of human functioning — physical, mental, behavioral, social, intellectual and spiritual. Trauma-informed care is an approach to engaging people with histories of trauma that recognizes the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role that trauma has played in their lives.

We hope you will all join us by donating new socks for the youth in need.

You can drop socks off at the salon any time during business hours.

If you wish to donate more you can visit their website at:

http://www.urbanpeak.org/colorado-springs/donate/donate-to-urban-peak/

There are many ways to donate and they have a wish list included on the website if you would like to help them out with specific needs that they have.

She will be missed by many and certainly remembered fondly by those who knew her.

The salon is continuing on and we hope we can continue to fulfill your styling needs.

This entry was posted on November 14, 2015, in Our blog.

Smile, and take care of yourself.

What can a smile do for you? What is the value of a smile? It is actually amazing what a smile can do for your well being and your happiness. A smile you give or a smile your receive can change your outlook and your emotions. So much of our communications come from our smile, from our facial expressions. We even communicate with little babies using our facial expressions and smile. We can share smiles and we can give smiles away, with smiles we can make someone’s day. We can improve our own world, our attitude, relationships, health, outlook, and even our accomplishments by smiling, to ourselves, to others around us. Using our smile we can change or improve our total image!

Across most cultures people understand the value of a smile and other facial expressions that point toward the emotion we call happiness or joy. And we know that smiling itself can help increase positive, pro-social behaviors. We can express friendliness, pleasure, an invitation to have fun and make friends using a smile. We can express amusement, pride, love, encouragement and so many positive emotions. Smiles can communicate a wide range of positive emotions, depending upon their specific makeup. Not only can they express those things to others, using a smile can express those things to ourselves.

Just try it. As you are sitting there reading this….. smile, and feel it pass through you. I feel the pleasure travel from my smile, to my eyes, to my neck, my shoulders and it sweeps on down into the middle of me, making me feel a definite sense of pleasure, a real feeling. Smiling can release Endorphins, natural pain killers and Serotonin, all made by our own bodies and together they make us feel better. Try smiling while you meditate, it is wonderfully uplifting! Smiling can even offer stress relief. We all know a good laugh is very relaxing. Some people even breath deeper when they are smiling which adds to our feeling of well being and happiness. A real smile will spread to our eyes and can express even more positive feelings and show love and concern. Smile are contagious too, spread some around and your environment will improve! A smile is an outward sign of perceived self-confidence and internal satisfaction and happiness. It has a favorable influence upon others and on yourself as well.

Smiling also increases attractiveness and likability between humans. It conveys respect, patience, empathy, hospitality and compassion. It has been proven that an authentic smile is much more effective than a counterfeit or fake smile.
Make sure your smile is real and authentic. For many too much smiling can be viewed as a sign of shallowness or dishonesty. People may smile when they are embarrassed, anxious or nervous too, so be thoughtful and understand the possible reasons for their smile and send one of your own to comfort, reassure and show compassion. It is beneficial for you and them.

Smile, it’s free therapy.
– Doug Horton

Smiling to yourself can actually improve your mood! The action of a smile can be simple and that just may improve your spirits. Smiling is most certainly not a cure-all, but in the struggle with the our everyday stress, every thing that helps in even a small measure is worth a try! Smiling is an uplifting behavior.                       

Even making a point of smiling when you don’t feel like it can change your mood. Researchers have even concluded that by forcing a smile, you activate a specific set of muscles in the face. That set of muscles is closely connected to the emotions of happiness and joy. By smiling, you are signaling the emotional centers of your brain to tell them that everything is good. And your emotions can release chemicals in your brain that are uplifting and positive. Practice smiling everyday. Put a big, warm smile on your face. Not a fake, artificial smile, but a real smile, like you are seeing an old friend or remembering a special event in your life. Now, think of something unhappy but keep smiling. It is difficult to hold an unhappy or negative thought in your mind while keeping a smile on your face! Smiling can help increase happiness and decrease negativity. Smiling can improve your outlook on life and therefore it can improve your life and increase your happiness.

Studies have shown that smiling will even help your body to function better. Smile to improve your health, your stress level, and your attractiveness. Even just a small, almost unnoticeable smile can alter your mood. Again, studies have also shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin, making us feel good and feel less pain. Smiling is a natural drug. Smiling is known to reduce your blood pressure, another benefit and proof that it is good for us.

Feel good, smile

It is amazing, people who smile while talking make a much better impression – they appear more confident and friendly. Have you ever noticed that you can even “hear” a smile over the phone. So if you smile while taking a call, the tone of your voice will lighten and you’ll be able to make a better connection through the phone.

Smile and the world smiles with you. Cry and you cry alone.”
– Source Unknown

Studies support that when you smile at someone, their muscles maneuver into a smile as well, even if they don’t intend it. Thus the saying that smiling is contagious. Therefore, when you smile at someone else, they smile and you are causing physiological changes within their bodies. How powerful is that?

So, do someone a favor and smile at them, hopefully they will smile back at your and do you the same favor you just did them! Frequent smiling has many therapeutic and health benefits, particularly when the smile is an authentic smile. Smiling boosts the immune system, increases positive affect, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and on top of it all, smiling enhances other people’s perception of you. This also provides you with positive feedback and improves your self-esteem!

If you can learn to smile to yourself during meditation, an inward smile, you can bask in a warm, harmonizing energy that will fill your whole being and permeate your entire energy-system. Then you can experience a pleasant sensation of well-being –not only of being healthy, but that all is well with the world. That is the transforming power of smile learning to smile to yourself!

If you’re not using your smile, you’re like a man with a million dollars in the bank and no checkbook.”  –  Les Giblin

Smile – it increases your face value
– author unknown

So, start today, use your smile to help you take care of yourself, you’re worth it!

Taking care of your self-esteem.

Self-esteem is an important part of our every day lives. It is influenced by our upbringing and by our social circles and by our inborn attitudes and our way of thinking. It is hard wired into our make up but at the same time it is ever changing. Self-esteem is a combination of self-respect, self-confidence and self-perception.
Self-esteem can affect our psychological health and our physical health, and those are intertwined. Just like we know we have to work on taking care of our physical health, we should also work on taking care of our psychological health.
As stated in an earlier post, meditation can be a great tool for both our physical and our psychological health. We can work on our self-esteem using our meditation and in training ourselves to think more positively.

For a sense of high self-esteem we need to have a stable sense of personal worth or worthiness. To me, self-esteem is a combination of self-confidence and self-respect ( giving us the feeling of personal worth ). A person’s self-esteem is built on the beliefs one has about oneself, thus it’s how one’s self “perception” affects their well being and self-esteem.
Our personality affects our self-esteem, our upbringing another part and our social atmosphere are yet another part of it. Our innate ability to competently cope with the basic challenges of life, our attitude in response to that and our perception of being worthy of happiness are important to our self perception and again our self-esteem. Most everybody is affected by what others think of us and therefore they influence what we think of ourselves. You might hear yourself say that you don’t care what they think, but for all but that rare person, we care a lot.

All that being said, for our health and our well being, we need to work on having positive or high self-esteem. Our psychological health and our

Smile, it makes you feel good

physical health are intertwined so just like we know we have to work on taking care of our physical health, we should also work on taking care of our psychological health. As stated in an earlier post, meditation can be a great tool for both.

Some people use their successes and failures as a measure of their self-esteem and of course their looks compared socially within their circle of family and friends and sometimes even so far as what we see on TV. So much of our way of thinking is ingrained in us beginning as small children. But the reality of using successes and failures, is in my mind, is not valid because those are separate issues from who we are as people. The problem with making your self-esteem contingent upon successes is that we are bound to fail at any moment for reasons beyond our control and that makes our platform pretty shaky.

During meditation we can work on building our self-esteem, our self respect and our self confidence. People with good healthy self-esteem share some important beliefs and ways of thinking. We can learn to use positive ideas and thoughts to build and keep our self-esteem strong. Good self-esteem can come from learning from the past, planning for the future, and living in the present.
We should not lose time worrying about what happened in the past because we can’t change it. Nor should we worry excessively about what could happen in the future because we only have so much control over that as well. So we need to fully trust in our capacity to solve problems, and we should not hesitate after failures or difficulties, but we should feel secure enough to modify our choices and move forward in light of our experiences.

It's true.

People with a healthy level of self-esteem firmly believe in certain values and principles, and are ready to defend them even when finding opposition. They also feel secure enough to modify their beliefs and values as needed because they consider themselves equal in dignity to others, rather than inferior or superior. People with positive self-esteem accept that everyone has different talents, personal prestige or financial standings. Those with self-confidence and self worth take for granted that they are interesting and valuable to others, especially for those with whom they have a friendship or relationship. Our acceptance of these truths can be key to building our self-esteem.

Self-esteem is also built on sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others and not taking advantage of other people in a negative way. You just can’t feel good or positive about yourself if you treat others with disdain or disrespect or also if you don’t trust your own judgment to do the right thing. Tearing down others does not truly improve your own sense of self-worth because eventually it will eat you up inside and it is a false feeling of superiority. In others words, you know the truth in your heart so rather than tearing down of others we need to work on building up of ourselves. One of my all time favorite says is “Every time you throw a little dirt, you lose a little ground”.

We need to recognize and accept that we are all individuals and we are each unique in our own way and beauty is what you make of it. We need to accept that we are not perfect and neither is anyone else. Then we need to love ourselves for who and what we are with all of our virtues and all of our faults.

Most people will feel lower self-esteem when they are struggling with health issues. It is import to work on more positive thinking in regards to oneself when we are ill or fighting illness. It is affected by how we care for ourselves, all the more reason to take care of yourself in every way possible.

In order to achieve a high self esteem, it is essential to focus on identifying your strengths, positive assets, and resources related to each component of taking care of ourselves, and using these strengths to cope with life challenges and dealing with stress.

Being confident in yourself is infectious and if you present yourself well, others will notice how good you look and how radiant your self-esteem will shine and it will come around full circle in making you know that you are valuable to yourself and to others. Building self esteem and self confidence is the key to happiness and success, not only for you, but for those around you.

Find the positive in everyday living. Heed the old saying, count your blessings. Positive thinking can be practiced and help you avoid negative thoughts that erode your self esteem and add to your stress. Don’t use words like “must” and “should have”. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake, just learn from it and think positive about what you learned from your mistake. Everyone makes mistakes but mistakes aren’t permanent reflections on you as a person. They’re isolated moments in time, and they are quickly the past. Tell yourself, “I made a mistake, but that doesn’t make me a bad person.” Use your inner voice to encourage yourself and use your meditation time to focus on the positive. Work to recognize the thoughts and beliefs that contribute to your low self-esteem, you can and should actively counter them. This will help you accept your value as a person. As your self-esteem increases, your confidence and sense of well-being will be beneficial in many ways to you and those around you as well.

Live in the moment!

Live in the present and not in the past. Only use the past as a learning tool and find the ways you grew in a positive way from the experiences.      I had a client that was legally blind, but you know what her hobby was? She did cross stitch! And I actually changed my preoccupation with unhealthy worry due to a little plaque that she made in cross stitch for me and I have kept that plaque as a reminder of not only what it says but a reminder of that great lady who challenged herself beyond her handicap, she had self confidence and high self-esteem. The plaque simply said “Worry is like a rocking chair – it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere”!  I used to spend hours and lose sleep due to worry and that little thought brought me away from my negative thinking. I know it’s not as simple as that sounds really but it did make me realize that it was up to me to change my thinking and get up and do something, and that was the beginning!

Along with learning to meditate and to worry less, I also learned to lighten up. If it wasn’t life threatening or life changing then I learned to not take it so seriously. It was amazing how learning to ask yourself that simple question will alleviate so much stress and negative feelinsg from you life. When something bad or negative happens, regardless of the reason, before I get all worked up about it I ask myself, will this kill me? Will it kill someone else? Will this actually change my life? If you answer no, then accept your mistake, your failure, your happening and move on. You will do better next time! To keep your self-esteem healthy you can work on your way of thinking. It’s not always easy, I know, but it is worth the effort, you are worth the effort and those you know and love are worth the effort that you put into you!

Another way to help you build you self-esteem is to help others. Volunteer to help those less fortunate that yourself, there is always someone who is less fortunate or worse off than you are. When you know you are making a positive difference in other people’s lives (even if it’s just being kinder to the people that are part of your day, servers, co-workers, receptionists, ect. ), you’ll know that you are a positive force in the world–which will boost your self confidence and self-esteem.

Embrace the day, embrace the journey, own it

Realize that negative thinking is often based on unhelpful interpretation. The problem is that as humans we often find negative and not so helpful thoughts in our lives based on just one or two experiences. We have to break that habit and purposefully begin to think positive and keep tabs on our self-esteem, consciously taking care of it as a part of ourselves. Don’t under rate or underestimate yourself. Try to push yourself beyond your physical or mental limits. Such a pressure can help you see how easily things can be achieved and thereby helps you hone and recognize your skills. If you don’t succeed at first, learn from it and try again and if it means anything to you, you will master it!

Everyday as a matter of practice count your blessings, identify your successes, know that no one is perfect, be thankful for what you have, determine to be and think positive, and accept compliments as honest feedback and add them to your knowledge that you are a worthy and valuable person.

Taking care of your appearance can give you a boost and maybe earn you good feedback which will elevate your self-esteem and elevating your self esteem will help you project a positive image which may also earn you good feedback and again, strengthen your self-esteem and that will increase your successes and thus again, your self confidence and self-esteem. However, don’t depend on hearing it from others, your thoughts are what matter to you and you can choose to see the good and the positive in you. Consciously feeding good thoughts into your own mind will help change your way of thinking from negative to positive. Doing things like getting your hair done and your nails done and taking care of yourself only increases your feeling of well being and self-esteem and really, you know you deserve to take care of yourself. So build your self-esteem and it will in turn, make your life better.

The very fact that you found and have read this article should show you that you are ready, willing and able to work on taking care of yourself and bettering your world and therefore improve the lives of those around you because of it!  

Take care!

Learn to meditate, part three!

Taking care of your inner self! Learn to meditate!
Part three

As you know, regulated breathing is a big part of meditation and relaxation. Here are two types of breathing exercises that you can use during meditation.
First an exercise in “deep breathing”.
Start by getting in your position, sitting or lying down or even standing. If sitting or standing straighten your back, trying not to bend or arch it.
Exhale completely through your mouth. Place your hands on your stomach, just above your waist. Breathe in slowly through your nose, pushing your hands out with your stomach. This ensures that you are breathing deeply.
Hold your breath if you can, to a count of two to five, whatever you can handle. You will usually find it is easier to hold your breath if you continue to hold out your stomach. Slowly and steadily breathe out through your mouth, feeling your hands move back in as you slowly contract your stomach, until most of the air is out. Exhalation is a little longer than inhalation.
After some practice you don’t need to use your hands to check your breathing and you can concentrate on clearing your mind and relaxing your muscles.

Another breathing exercise to help you relax and meditate is a measured breathing exercise. I was taught that it is called the “4-7-8 exercise”.
Sit with your back straight while learning this exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue. If this seems awkward  try pursing your lips slightly, it may help.

Exhale completely through your mouth, actually making a whooshing sound.
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making that whooshing sound to a count of eight.
Thus the 4 – 7 – 8.
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Understand that you should always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation should take twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important but the ratio of 4 – 7 – 8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4 – 7 – 8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. This exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice. Do it at twice a day if you can. You cannot do it too frequently but do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month or so of practice. Later, you can extend it to eight breaths if you want and practice enough. After the exercise, during meditation keep your breathing even, deep and slow.

Make time for yourself to take care of yourself. Take time to meditate. Use meditation to deal with stress, improve your health, get better sleep, handle your emotions, bring out your inner beauty. Take care of yourself and in turn take care of those you love and who love you!

Taking care of your inner self. Learn to meditate, part 2.

I hope you have dabbled a little in some relaxation and have begun to meditate. I also hope you came back to read more because you have discovered at least a little desire to meditate and learn more about it.

Serenity

So, maybe you have found a place and a position that you are comfortable in. Hopefully you have learned how to control your breathing for relaxation, at least enough for a start.
The effort of focusing completely on our breathing takes our minds away from the distractions that constantly try to invade our mind and eliminate feelings that will lead to a time of calm. With repeated effort the ability to clear your mind, to think of nothing, does occur and the process of meditation takes on its own energy.

Our mind and our body can only tolerate so much stress, emotional reactions, anxiety, worry and even anticipation. Each and everyone of us reaches a saturation point and the results become uncomfortable at best; for some it may be unbearable, but for all of us it is unhealthy and detrimental to our well being and to the well being of those around us. We can not avoid these parts of our lives, we can not eliminate the feelings, fears and anxiety that comes with the daily struggle to live our lives and do our jobs. However, we can takes steps to manage our concerns, worries and/or challenges with meditation.

Be assured, there is no right or wrong way to meditate. Just remember your goal is to relax and clear your mind.
Your time to meditate is your time – for you, and you deserve it. We all deserve it.
You can use music in your meditation or silence. You can use scent or lighting. You can repeat a word or phrase to help you concentrate and prevent distracting thoughts. I find that using texture helps me meditate, I have what they call a worry stone made out of malachite. It is a stone

unakite worry stone

with a small indentation that I rub with my thumb or finger as I relax. Yoga is a form of meditation that many people find useful. Find what works for you. The answer is inside you.

There is even research that tells us how meditation can help us deal with medical conditions too. Of course meditation is not a replacement for traditional medical treatment but it may be a useful addition to your other treatment. It has been known to help with anxiety disorders, asthma, binge eating, cancer, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, pain, sleep disorders ( and thus fatigue ) and even substance abuse. Please do talk to your doctor about using meditation and the pros and cons of it if you have any of these conditions or other health problems. If nothing else, meditation can help you deal with the stress and anxiety of these health problems.

So, you have your place and your comfortable position. You have even decided what tools help you relax, sounds, scents, an object a word……now you need to practice deep breathing to attain full relaxation. The technique of relaxed breathing involves deep, even-paced breathing. You use your diaphragm muscle to expand your lungs. The purpose is to slow your breathing, take in more oxygen, and reduce the use of shoulder, neck and upper chest muscles while breathing so that you breathe more efficiently, deep even breaths.
Focus all your attention on your breathing. Concentrate on feeling and listening to your breathing as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. Breathe deeply and slowly. If your attention begins to wander, return your focus to your breathing.
While you are controlling and listening to your breathing, begin to focus on your body. Focus attention on different parts of your body. Become aware of your body’s various sensations, whether that’s tension, pain, warmth or coolness. Gradually work at relaxing your muscles and your limbs, all the while controlling your breathing, deep and even.

meditation in motion

Some people combine walking and meditation and this is a healthy way to practice meditation. You start by slowing your pace and feeling your movement, so that you can focus on each motion of your legs or feet. Don’t focus on your destination or how soon you will get there. Concentrate on your legs and feet, maybe repeating the actions in words in your mind such as lift, move and place as you lift each foot, move your leg forward and place your foot on the ground, making the process your “mantra”. I have meditated while quietly riding a horse, using the slow rocking motion, the good smells of horse and leather and the place I’m in to all lull me into relaxation, slow breathing and clearing my mind.

It is common for your mind to wander during meditation, no matter how long you’ve been practicing meditation. If your attention wanders, slowly return to the object, count, sensation or movement you’re focusing on. You will get better and better at it and even a few minutes of uninterrupted meditation will benefit you in many ways.

Remember, there’s no right way or wrong way to meditate. Experiment, and you’ll find out what type of meditation works best for you and what you enjoy doing. Adapt meditation to your needs at the moment and even consider doing more than one type of mediation. Soon you will find that you can relax and do these things without conscious thought, letting your mind clear and your inner self will appear to you then and you will improve your life and your health and your entire well being. In turn, that will benefit those around you. When they ask you what you have been doing that makes you so able to deal with stress and makes you confident and look so rested and healthy, go ahead and share, teach them the benefits of meditation.

The next article will be two kinds of breathing exercises that can be used for meditation. Check back again!

Taking care of your inner self! Learn to meditate!

You know that you need to take care of yourself and learning to meditate and making time to meditate everyday can be a big part of that.
With meditation you can improve your health, your mind and your emotional attitude.
You do not have to be religious to meditate, you do not have to belong to a cult to meditate! What you do need to do is make time to meditate. This is a great skill to add to your arsenal of ways to take care of yourself and to create and nurture your total image!

There are many many religions that do practice meditation. That is not because meditation is religion based but because the practice of meditation can help you find your  spiritual self and then for you to clear your mind and meditate on your faith and your relationship with your Diety is a common objective shared by many religions. Meditation is practiced in Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism, Jainism and in New Age Faiths and in the Baha’i Faith. Meditation is practiced in Yoga and it is practiced by anyone who wants to improve themselves and their health. Meditation can be used in medicine.

So, don’t be afraid of practicing meditation, afraid it will convert you or relate you to some belief that does not fit your life or your beliefs or your mind set. Practice it because it is good for you and realize the benefits you will attain by practicing it everyday. Even if it’s just a few minutes, you will benefit!

So, what are the benefits of meditation? Let’s start with being able to reduce stress, increase your well-being and overall health, sleep better, develop positive thoughts, improve mental clarity, improve problem solving skills, improve relationships, work better and be more productive. All that and more, heck, you can change your life!

Meditation is a method for understanding and working on our own mind and even controlling our own body better.
We begin by learning simple breathing meditations to help quiet the stress, worry and turbulence within and to develop more mental peace.  We then begin to progress to identifying our own negative mental states such as our anger, worries, stress, anxiety or depression. By understanding our mental states we can begin to identify which states of mind make us calm and happy and which cause pain and mental discomfort.
Our own inner understanding grows through this process as we learn how to develop those peaceful and positive mental states of mind that bring better health and happiness.
With meditation and practicing it regularly we are able to maintain the positive thoughts we have developed and as a result we become more able to use  wisdom to solve the problems or difficulties of our daily life.

As we become more positive our actions easily become more healthy and constructive, which naturally leads to our lives becoming more satisfying and meaningful as well as our relationships with others. That’s a part of why taking care of yourself is import to being there for your loved ones and being able to help them in their daily lives as well.

You don’t need a lot of time or experience to start meditating. You do need to take a few minutes every day to settle your mind. Once you learn the basic meditation techniques, you can use these methods for 5-10 minutes every day to help you improve your health and your life. You can take classes on meditation if you don’t want to start off by yourself. Meditation is generally an inwardly oriented, personal practice, which individuals can do by themselves.
In over 1,000 published research studies, various methods of meditation have been linked to changes in metabolism, blood pressure, brain activation, and other bodily processes. Meditation has been used in clinical settings as a method of stress and pain reduction. Again,  it will benefit you in so many ways.

You can use prayer beads or rituals if those help you to relax but remember, meditation need not be religious. You can use it to deepen your spirituality too though if that’s what you choose.

Three main criteria have been identified as essential to any meditation practice: the use of a defined technique, logic relaxation, and a self-induced state/mode. Other additional criteria considered important by some, but not essential, involve a state of physical relaxation, the use of a self-focus skill, the ability to achieve a state of suspension of logical thought processes, or a state of mental silence. For some putting it into a philosophical, spiritual or religious context helps.

The first step is to find a place or places where you can relax, concentrate and pay attention to your breathing. You can sit in a chair or on a couch or on the ground, or you can lay down or stand…..what matters is that you are comfortable. You can focus intensively on one particular object, known as “concentrative meditation” or a wide field of awareness, like a beautiful location or a place that is relaxing to you. Some people even walk or perform simple tasks while meditating. Your goal is to achieve “serenity” or “tranquility” during meditation and eventually another goal is “insight”. You need to be able to relax in your meditation to achieve results. Through meditation you can achieve serenity and then you are able to suppress obscuring distractions; and, with the suppression of the distractions, that is when you develop insight and you gain wisdom and peace.

I am going to stop here for now and I will present more on this subject in my next article. Check back soon!

( Part one of three )