Daily Ramblings – Spiritual Saturday – Meditation Benefits

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Mayo Mindfulness: Meditation is good medicine

The above link will take you to a terrific article about the benefits of meditation. I highly recommend taking a quick look if you have any doubts about this practice. Just 10 minutes a day can have a tremendous impact on your memory, your sleep, and your concentration. It can reduce your blood pressure, improve your mood, and sometimes, reduce chronic pain (Sparks, 2019).

There are quite a few apps that can help you with meditation, like Calm and Headspace. You can take courses on Mindfulness and meditation on Coursera. You can also find many guided meditations on YouTube. So what’s holding you back?

Meditation is a good workout for your brain, just like a good workout in the gym. It’s something you can do first thing in the morning or late at night. You can do it during a lunch break.

Personally, I would recommend using an app. Yeah, it’ll cost you a few bucks, but there is a lot of competition and the apps offer a great deal of content for the price. Content includes various meditations, meditation programs for reducing stress, productivity, or even self-care. Most of them will also have meditations specific to improving sleep. Calm’s sleep stories are awesome!

Anyone can meditate. It is just closing your eyes and concentrating on your breath and only your breath (It’s harder than you think). One of the shocking things I discovered is how crazy the mind really is. It is so hard to focus on the breath initially, but it will get easier over time.

If you haven’t meditated before, try the apps or YouTube. It’ll be worth your while. Articles like I provided above and cited below, provided by the Mayo Clinic, are beyond credible. Give it a whirl, you won’t be disappointed.

That’s all I got today, folks. I wish you great success with your new meditation practice.

Until next time…

Dave

Reference

Sparks, D. (2019). Mayo Mindfulness: Meditation is good medicine. Retrieved from: https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-mindfulness-meditation-is-good-medicine/?cauid=100503&geo=national&linkId=71697218&mc_id=us&placementsite=enterprise

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Daily Ramblings – Funny Friday – Star Wars Joke

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My son Luke loves that we chose Star Wars characters as an inspiration when naming our kids. His sister Chewbacca and his brother Boba Fett are less amused.

joke credit: Short-funny.com

Have a great Friday, folks!

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Workout Routine – Full Body Home Workout

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Today’s workout was a combination of exercise bands and pilates. Pilates is nice because it works the core and keeps my post-back surgery body stable.

Here are the exercises I did:

Exercise Bands:

  • Squats
  • Single-arm Bent Over rows
  • Chest Flys
  • Shoulder Press
  • Bicep Curls
  • Triceps Overhead Extension
  • Calf Presses

Pilates:

  • Swimming
  • The Hundred
  • Double Leg Stretch
  • Dart
  • Side Leg Lifts Right
  • Side Leg Lifts Left

See you at the finish line!

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Thankful Thursday – New Followers

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I decided to start a blog a few years ago because I wanted an outlet for my writing and wanted to interact with other bloggers. I enjoy writing about the things I care about, like exercise, spiritual topics, productivity, and anything else that comes to mind.

Daily Ramblings broke the 600-follower mark this week. To all my new followers this week—Thanks! I also want to thank those of you who have stuck around. It’s nice to be appreciated by folks across the globe for the ideas and content I submit to this blog every day and I appreciate everyone who has interacted or just clicked like.

We all live very busy lives and I realize spending the time to look at other people’s work in and around working, going to school, traveling, taking care of your families, gardens, and fur babies, is tough. That’s why it means so much to get some response from you on a daily basis.

Honestly, most of us who are blogging would blog regardless of our followings. I know I would. But, it is nice to get feedback and comments on my work. Today, I appreciate all of you for giving me a bit of your time.

If you are new, here is my posting schedule:

  • Motivation Monday
  • Ted Talk Tuesday
  • Wisdom Wednesday
  • Thankful Thursday
  • Funny Friday
  • Spiritual Saturday
  • Series Sunday (when I find a topic to be passionate about and want to do some long-form writing on it)

Well, that’s it for today. Thanks again to all of my new followers. Have a great Thursday!

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Wisdom Wednesday – Daily Agenda: What Are You Really Doing?

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“The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda.” – John C. Maxwell

Quote credit: Brainyquote

What do you do every day? What do you really do?

I went through a Dale Carnegie course on leadership about a decade ago. During one of our initial sessions, we were given a few sheets of paper with “:30” on every other line. We were instructed to fill out these sheets for 5 days, tracking what we did every 30 minutes. This is an eye-opening exercise.

When each of us returned to the class, we had to brief the group on our sheets. Almost every person who stood up to brief explained it took at least two days just to get in the habit of tracking their time accurately. It was the same for me. After I began tracking my time I was shocked at what I discovered. I was not working as hard as I thought I was. I was unfocused most of the day, flipping from doing actual work to non-work items almost every 30 minutes. This exercise motivated me to begin looking at not only how I spent my time, but what I wanted to focus on.

Success is different for all of us. We all define it differently. I think some people’s problem with success is that they are having their ideas of success defined for them. Success to me is being healthy, happy, setting, and achieving goals. That’s it. Your definition may be different. What is it?

Think about what you want out of life. Write down the things you want to do. Just write down as many things you can think of, whether it’s learning how to do something new, improving your relationships, improving your health, anything. Your list is your list. No one else’s. Then, once you have gotten your big list, go through the list and identify three things you want to focus on first. Once you have spent some time deciding what your focus will be, write down what you will need to do each day to get yourself closer to achieving these three things.

Here’s an example: Let’s say I want to read 48 books this year. I write down getting books. I also write down reading books. I have two sources for the books I read. The first is a service called Freebooksy. The second service I use is a subscription service called Scribd. Between these services I have no shortage of books to read. Other sources I could use if I needed to are my public library and a Barnes and Noble store. The next step I will take is actually reading the book. One of the things I schedule daily is reading one chapter of a book. That’s it.

Your agenda or daily to-do list should be composed of the things you want to focus on each day. Obviously, you have a job you go to each day. This will eat up 8 hours of your life. Then you have 8 hours of sleep. That leaves you 8 hours to pursue the things you want to. This where you have to make a decision about what it is you want to do and how much time you will dedicate to it. We all have busy lives. I would recommend putting 30 minutes into each of your three things each day. If you want to exercise every day, that’s 30 minutes. If you want to read every day, that’s another 30 minutes. If you want to write every day, that’s another 30 minutes.

Spend 1 hour and 30 minutes each day on the three things you want to work on right now. To get your 30 minutes, you can use a focus timer. I use an app called Focus Keeper. It is a simple Pomodoro timer that will track 25 minutes of focused effort on each of your top three.

Track your progress for 5 days. At the end of the 5 days, did you spend your 30 minutes daily on each of these top three tasks? If not, begin looking at what happened instead. Do the 5 day evaluation of your focus for another work week. Did you make it this time? You’ll find that you may have some work to do in the focus area, if you keep missing your 30 minute times for each of these tasks over a two-week period. You can continue this exercise until you have established the habit of doing your top three things every day.

Here’s another example of what your agenda may look like:

  • Read 30 minutes everyday
  • Exercise 30 minutes everyday
  • Write 30 minutes everyday

Let’s say you try out this exercise of monitoring your focus for 3 weeks and still struggle with putting in your 30 minutes on one or more of your top three tasks. That’s ok. Maybe that’s just too much. You can try the Mini Habits technique to help. With Mini Habits, you won’t be so focused on the time you spend, but rather a specific task that takes minimal effort to accomplish. Instead of reading for 30 minutes each day, you could opt to read 1 chapter every day or read 1-2 pages every day. Instead of exercising for 30 minutes, you could use an app like the 5MHW. Instead of writing for 30 minutes you could write 250 words each day. You see how flexible this can be? This hack is used to establish habits and help you move a little closer to your goals each day.

Try this out, folks. If you struggle with setting and achieving goals, find out what you really want to do, set aside some time for these things each day, and then do them, even if you start out only doing 5-10 minutes of work toward each one of your goals initially. Even this small time commitment will generate results.

Remember, success is what YOU decide it is. Your definition will change over time, but remember success is self-defined. Don’t try to make success what other people define success as, even your favorite self-help guru. Success is yours, no one else’s.

I hope each of you has a terrific Wednesday!

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – TED Talk Tuesday – Jaron Lanier

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Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay 

This was an interesting Ted Talk and one that resonated with me. With all the talk about how social media has been exploited to influence elections and modify our behavior, this  Ted Talk by Jaron Lanier offers suggestions on how we could change the Internet for the better.

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Motivation Monday – Changing Yourself

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“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” – Carol Burnett

Quote Credit: Brainyquote

Have you ever tried to change someone else? It’s pretty tough right? What about yourself? Also tough, right?

I’ve discussed change quite a bit on my blog, because it is constant. The change I am talking about are the changes you make to yourself. Do you want change or is someone else trying to change you? If you want change, you’ll get it done. If someone else wants you to change, you will resist.

In order to make a change in your life, you must want that change. Whether it is adding exercise to your day, meditation to your day, reading and writing to your day, or any number of things, you must make the change.

So, why is change so hard? It is hard because of the way our brain works. Our brain is terrific at automating things. Do something new and you struggle initially. Over time, the struggle transforms into something you do automatically. This is the very process I am talking about. Your brain records the actions you take. Do something enough and the neural pathways your brain uses to perform these tasks become stronger, much like adding twine to a rope. The more you do something, the stronger the neural pathway is.

So how long does it take? Some pundits say 60 days, others say 120 days. Honestly, I couldn’t care less. If you want to do something, do it. If you want to make a change, do it. If you really want to make the change, the time period that it takes to make it more subconscious shouldn’t matter.

Exercise has always been a challenge for me. I like doing it. I like the benefits that come from exercise, but some days I just don’t want to go. So, there it is. You may have something like this going on with you as well. Maybe your challenge is around a writing project, a yard project, school project, or something else. I struggle, but continue to push to get in an exercise routine in every day. What keeps driving me back to the gym? I want to be as healthy as I can be.

This brings up another discussion point—your why. Change is hard. It is impossible if you do not have a strong why. Why are you making the change? What benefit are you seeking? In order to be successful, your why needs to be stronger than your resistance to change.

What are some techniques you can use to make a change? You can put a daily reminder on your calendar or to-do app. You can have a set time during the day to do something. One of the best ways to get something solidified is to start small. Small changes build over time. These small changes build to big changes. Let’s say you have a goal and you want to begin working toward it. Instead of making a drastic change to your current life, make a small change. Small changes don’t take a lot of time or effort to do. They do, however, start building neural pathway. The stronger the neural pathway, the easier this task will become and the resistance you feel will dissipate.

Here’s my schedule for the week:

  • Workout Mon-Saturday
  • Meditate Daily
  • Write Daily
  • Writer’s Course Daily
  • Python Course Daily
  • Book Writing Daily
  • Journaling Daily
  • Reading Daily

I’m also doing a few fun things:

  • I’m watching a Netflix series called 3%, which is quite good.
  • I’m also reading a book called The Clone Problem, which is also good.

Well, that’s it for now. Have a great week everyone!

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Spiritual Saturday – Happiness

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.” – Earl Nightingale

Quote Credit: BrainyQuotes

I use quotes to spur my writing. They are terrific writing prompts because they require us to think about what they are saying. I like writing about happiness because so many people are unhappy. Why? Part of the reason is people associate happiness with something outside themselves.

Their whole life is based on things, people, and events outside of themselves. Why let anything outside of you drive your happiness, when all you have to do is decide to be happy. Yeah, life happens. We get sick. We lose our job. We lose a loved one. We lose a pet. Anyone would be bummed out if these things happen, but you can still maintain your happiness in and around these events. All of these events are normal and inevitable.

How do I maintain my happiness? I cultivate it within. I maintain a sincere gratitude for life. I no longer focus on what I want, but what I need. We all need food, water, air, a place to sleep and have shelter. We need something to wear, to keep our bodies covered. Besides these things what else do we really need?

Some of the happiest people live in absolute poverty. Some of the richest people in the world are unhappy. Think about that for a moment. How does this even make sense? It makes sense because a person’s happiness has nothing to do with wealth. It is internal. Happiness is a choice.

I thank God every day for this life. It is a blessing to be alive. I am grateful for a great many things, but my gratitude for life is my source of happiness. Think about the grand adventure you’ve been on since you were born. Think about the richness of your experiences.

 

Life is God’s greatest gift.

Until next time…

Dave