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Musings on living well.

7 Top Tricks To Beat Common Meditation Challenges

Meditation

Whether you already know how to meditate and love how it calms your brain and lowers your stress levels, or are new to meditation and struggling to practice regularly, obstacles abound. A wandering mind, busy schedule or uncertainty about progress can make it hard to meditate for experienced and novice meditators alike. So, how do you make meditation easier? Consider these strategies to turn your meditation impediments into improvements.

Challenge 1: Sleepiness

The Fix: Try meditating at different times in the day to determine when you’re most alert. Standing up, stretching and even splashing some cool water on your face beforehand can help, too.

Challenge 2: Doubt

The Fix: Recall the real benefits. Meditation isn’t flaky – researchers have linked it to improved sleep, lower anxiety and blood pressure and other positive health outcomes. Start small with short sessions each day, experience the payoff first hand and then let go of your concerns. (Get inspired by reading how meditation has helped celebrities such as Sir Paul McCartney, Lena Dunham and Oprah Winfrey, too.)

Challenge 3: Wandering thoughts

The Fix: Notice your thoughts and then bring your attention back to your sensations and surroundings. The brain sensing Muse headband can also help you stay focused. It’s the first tool in the world that can give you accurate, real-time feedback on what’s happening in your brain while you meditate.  As you meditate with Muse, you’ll hear peaceful weather sounds when you’re calm. When your mind wanders, you’ll hear the weather sounds getting stronger, gently guiding you back to calm. So Muse lets you hear your own mind as you meditate, helping you improve.

Challenge 4: Emotions

The Fix: Observe sadness, irritation or other feelings as sensations only and let them pass. It’s not uncommon for meditators to become distracted by emotions and dwell on them. Muse can help you identify when your brain becomes distracted, letting you quickly regain focus.

Challenge 5: Boredom

The Fix: Embrace the calm. Remind yourself that your restlessness may actually be resistance to the very tranquillity you need. You may want to try something new, too. Muse lets you switch between a virtual beach or rain forest environment when you meditate, and offers challenges to help you stay engaged.

Challenge 6: Feeling unmotivated

The Fix: Recall how refreshed you felt after your last meditation session. (And If you’re new to meditation, remember that it typically takes 21 days to build a new habit.) Let the motivational tracking and rewards in Muse encourage you to build a regular practice, too.

Challenge 7: No time

The Fix: Wake up three minutes earlier. Even a few minutes of meditation at the start of your day can boost your focus and happiness. (Get eight more tips on making time for meditation here, plus expert meditation tips.) Scheduling reminders with Muse can also help you fit meditation in.

Don’t have Muse yet? Buy it now and experience all the benefits of meditation with none of the uncertainty. Also, read on to find out how Muse works and what people have to say about it.

 

 

 

6 Stay-Calm, Back To School Survival Tips For Parents

It’s time to stop the back-to-school insanity. Whether you’re shovelling school supplies into your cart, buying an entire fall and winter wardrobe for multiple children or compulsively bookmarking online roundups of “adorable nut-free lunch ideas,” take a deep breath and step back. Sure, you can now count the days until the first day of school on your hands. And yes, you’re probably starting to dread the inevitable first-day jitters and nightly homework squabbles. But this year you can choose to start and end the school year on a calmer note by paring back and focusing on your family’s peace of mind. Here’s how.

  1. Put down the 48-pack of pencil sharpeners. While your kids’ school may have provided a list of required school supplies, many teachers outline requirements after school starts. Plus, if you’re like us, you may have lots of erasers, markers and supplies tucked in the back of your art baskets already. Hear from teachers first and get kids involved in reviewing what you already have before you hit the store. 
  2. Focus on feelings. As parents we’re often so busy running through a mental shopping list—and savouring the last days of summer—that we forget to chat with our kids about first-day fears, being kind to students and teachers and managing the emotional ups and downs of school. Dr. Debra Pepler, a York University psychology professor and the scientific co-director of the bullying prevention research group PREVnet, offers some excellent tips for parents to prepare their kids for the mental and social challenges of the school year in this Canadian Living article.
  3. Start new routines. Rather than accepting parental stress as a given, why not carve out a few minutes a day to meditate? Research indicates that mindfulness meditation boosts our physical and mental health and may enhance family relationships, too.  Starting or boosting your meditation practice is easier with Muse. Other apps offer guided meditations, but Muse is the only guided meditation tool with brain-sensing technology to let you hear whether your mind is calm or active as you meditate. (Check out this video on how new mom, Liza, uses Muse.) 
  4. Take a break from the mall. You may have to buy school uniforms or a first-day outfit beforehand, but you probably don’t need to clean out The Children’s Place. Why buy six pairs of cords only to discover all the kids are wearing Adidas track pants this year? 
  5. Lose the lunch guilt. Hey, we survived eating bologna sandwiches for seven years in a row. Go ahead and offer a wide variety of healthy foods, but don’t stress if you’re not offering homemade charcuterie in cookie-cutter shapes. 
  6. Choose calm. Make time for family meditation as well. A recent meta-review of the effect of meditation interventions in schools concluded that meditation boosted cognitive function, success and emotional regulation in students. (Note that Muse is for people 16 and up, but Sarah Rudell Beach offers some easy ways to teach your kids mindfulness meditation in this Huffington Post article.) Demonstrating the benefits of meditation to kids is a gift that keeps on giving, in the school year and beyond.

Want to find out more about meditation? Read about the latest meditation research, how to find time to meditate and what people are saying about Muse, your personal meditation assistant.

 

What Gisele Bundchen, Ellen DeGeneres & Other Celebrities Say About Meditation

Gisele Bundchen meditating on instagram

Singer Sir Paul McCartney, TV and movie stars Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Lena Dunham, Hugh Jackman and Eva Mendes, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, basketball player Kobe Bryant, and comedian-activist Russell Brand are just a few of many celebrities reported to meditate. From staying grounded to reducing anxiety to boosting emotional resiliency, here’s what they have to say about meditation, in their own words.

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9 Expert Meditation Tips

Meditate more effectively with expert meditation tips.

Looking to turn your interest in meditation into a more regular and effective practice? Sometimes it takes some experienced insights to help you meditate more often and more deeply. Consider these nine tips from leading meditation experts today. 

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Meditation Research News

You may have heard anecdotally that meditation is good for you, but increasingly, studies are showing just how and why it’s so effective for the brain and overall health. From lowering stress and anxiety to boosting your grey matter and control over thoughts and emotions, meditation clearly offers many positive mental health effects. Review some of the recent research and check with your healthcare practitioner to find out if meditation is right for you. Read more

The Most Unconventional Way to Learn Meditation.

Yes, we all know we should be meditating. It’s the new thing… but are you one of the people that just can’t seem to get it? Do you ask yourself: “Am I doing it right?”, “Am I improving?” or “Is this even working?”

You can learn to meditate just about anywhere with Muse. Today, we wanted to you show just that. Even in the most unconventional way, for instance on horseback.

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New Meditator Ryan Littzen: The Man to Get the Job Done

Meet Ryan | Toronto, ON, Canada.

Ryan is a man with an unquenchable thirst for life, learning, and discovery. A traveler by profession, Ryan sets his goals high and his standards for personal achievement even higher. Ryan is about to start  21 Days of Meditation with Muse – an initiative designed to show the profound impacts meditation can have on your mind and body with just three weeks of dedication.

We asked him a few questions about his life and his experience with meditation.

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How To Make Time For Meditation

In the busy whirl of our days, it can be a challenge for even the most experienced meditators to fit meditation in. But to reap the benefits of meditation, such as reduced stress, a calm mind and better health, regular practice is key. Try these proven tips to make meditation part of your daily routine.

Seize the day (or night). Many meditation experts advise walking up a bit earlier to meditate, or meditating at the end of your day. There are fewer distractions at these times and it’s ideal to begin and close the day on a tranquil note. Read more

500 people showed up to a brain experiment and you’ll never believe what researchers learned.

When neuroscientists study living human brains, their work usually involves a few dozen participants who visit a lab separately and must sit still for an hour or more. But a consumer technology innovation may have just opened the door to powerful new insights into how the brain works outside the lab, in real life social environments, in the home, at work, at school and at play.

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