How to Stay Centered in Stressful Situations

Stress management is a lifelong practice. Whether it’s exercising, eating healthy, or learning to meditate, dealing with stress through a healthy lifestyle works wonders. What about those acute stressful moments though? It could be a fight with a spouse, a difficult conversation at work, backing up into another car, or any number of any “in-the-moment” stressful situations. Along with everyday stress management practices, here is a simple 3 step process you can use next time stress comes on suddenly.

Step 1: Take A Breath

You’ll hear this tip often when it comes to stress management advice, and that’s because it’s a good one. Breathing increases oxygen to the brain, while simultaneously reducing cortisol and raising serotonin levels. The simple act of breathing nourishes your mind, which helps put your brain into a chemically clearer state. Taking even a few deep breaths also gives your mind a moment to catch up with what is happening in your external environment. Acutely stressful situations can come on fast, so allow yourself to process what’s happening.

Step 2: Notice Your Body

When we get stressed, a few things tend to happen with our bodies as we enter into a “fight or flight” mode. At this time, you might find your heart racing, or your palms sweating. You might even feel a little shaky. That is because your body is producing adrenaline, which is normal and worth noticing.

As you feel your body, keep breathing deeply as you try to bring yourself back to a calmer state. Remind yourself with each breath that you are safe, strong, and capable. This is especially useful if you are in a verbal confrontation. Often times, stressful conversations move into hyperspeed, and both people involved don’t get a chance to take a step back. The few seconds you take to breathe and calm your body down also gives the other person a moment to consider the situation.


Step 3: Respond

By providing your body with relief, you have the opportunity to let that quieter, wiser voice in your head become audible again. During stressful situations, the primal fight or flight voice tends to yell from a place of fear, drowning out sense and reason. What is actually happening is that the amygdala (the ancient, fear-center of your brain) is taking over for the prefrontal cortex (the more developed, rational part of your brain). Although that part of your brain is trying to warn you to survive, it is not wise enough to know that you are safe. You are safe, and you are wise.

As your brains chemistry shifts back to normal, chances are you’ll hear a clear and calm response to the situation come up in your head. You’ll know when you hear it because it too will have a calming effect. Something like “I love my wife, and we will work through this, let me tell her that,” or “Okay, I need to write down this car’s license plate.” Start with that first rational action and go from there.

By responding in accordance to that wiser part of yourself, your body will continue to calm down. Try practicing this simple three step process next time unexepected stress pops up in your life.

Stay Balanced Between Your Emotional Highs and Lows

In today’s culture there is a certain expectation for happiness. Why shouldn’t there be? It’s what we should all strive for, right? We see smiling faces in advertisements, successful people on social media, happy TV shows, and movie stars. The media is full of seemingly perfect lives. So much so, that we can begin to question ourselves when we are feeling anything less than perfectly happy. The reality is life is filled with ups and downs, and everyone experiences them. In order to fully understand and appreciate the positives in life, they must be contrasted with negative experiences.

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Imagine a black and white photograph of a mountain range. The sky is dotted with rows of puffy white clouds, the mountains are jagged, dark, and mighty, the grass is soft and glittery in the light, and the lake shines bright. Now imagine turning down the contrast on this image. As the lights merge with the darks, the sharpness and definition is lost. Lower the contrast even more, and you end up with a grey and boring picture. Even if you were to then turn up the brightness, the image would still look flat.

The same goes for life. The diversity created by the darks and lights of life is what make it interesting. Negative experiences give context for good ones, while making life richer and more interesting.

Emotional low points are difficult, but developing a mindful awareness of that discomfort will lead to much greater emotional highs. To get through difficult times, try taking a step back. Rather than fighting the feelings or trying to numb them, try accepting them as they are. Anger, sadness, and stress are just emotions. These will come and go just like the weather. Sit with the feeling and try to understand where its coming from.

Negative emotions exist to notify us when something needs to be fixed. By accepting them, you putting yourself in a wiser place where calm, rational action can begin. The next step is to cultivate the courage to address those problems.

When you take action in response to negativity rather than dwelling in it, you are taking control of your life. Seeing the dark allows you to work towards joy, love, gratitude, and abundance with clarity and direction. So next time you’re not feeling at your best, try to remember that it’s temporary. Be kind to yourself and listen to your needs in those low times, so that when happiness returns, you can embrace it in equal or greater measure.

What Comes First - The Coffee or Meditation?

For many of us, the morning can be an optimal time to meditate. It can also be great for a comforting cup of joe. Either way, coffee and meditation are two habits that can shape a balanced morning routine.

Is there a balance between morning coffee and meditation?

Feeling Out A New Morning Routine

There’s no one right answer when it comes to finding an optimal morning routine. For some, coffee aids in creating a clear mind, but for others it’s just too much when trying to meditate. Here’s how you can find out what works best for you:

Start by drinking a cup of coffee first thing. Then settle down to meditate. As you move through your practice, pay attention to how you’re feeling. Do you feel alert and focused? Or jittery and restless? If you are feeling alert and focused, then coffee before meditation is for you. A calm, clear, and focused mind is the goal.

If your heart starts to race, your toes keep wiggling, or you even start sweating - you may need to rethink coffee. If you experience this sort of restlessness while meditating, you may be sensitive to caffeine. You might just be drinking too much coffee. In this case, a smaller cup could be the solution. Try again the next day and if it still doesn’t feel right, try meditating before drinking coffee. Whether it’s coffee, meditation or both, having a positive morning routine is great way to set the tone for your day.

Will I Fall Asleep If I Meditate Before Coffee?

In the morning, everyone gets a natural boost of “wake-up” hormones. As your body prepares to wake up the mind, it slowly releases cortisol. This process gives you a boost of energy and appetite. These hormones are enough to get some people through a morning meditation session without any caffeine. While for others, a cup of coffee goes a long way to helping you concentrate.

Meditation is all about listening. As you practice, listen to your body. The meditative experience varies from person to person - as does caffeine tolerance. After you drink a coffee, settle into meditation and you’ll soon find what works best for you. The power is to find a balanced morning routine to start your day with clarity and focus.

The Sensible To-Do List: Where Productivity Meets Compassion

When managing a busy life, the common solution is a to-do list. While writing your thoughts on paper helps make your to-do list actionable, the key is to be kind to yourself as you write.

You Are More Important Than Your Task List

When it comes to productivity, there is one thing you can keep in mind: you have the power to manage your life. We’ve compiled some ways to tackle your to-do list with self-love. This process will make you more productive and happier in the process. Sustainable productivity starts with compassion, and here’s how you can do it everyday:

1. Prioritize Your Tasks

After you’ve listed out all the tasks, center yourself by closing your eyes and taking a three deep breaths. Then write the due dates beside each task. During this process, try to be as calm and rational as possible. Remind yourself: Choosing realistic deadlines means you’ll produce better work that you’re proud of.  Once the deadlines are set, chose the top 3 tasks that need to be done and rank them in order. Now tackle them one at a time, starting with the most important.

2. Accept The Work

The one often overlooked yet essential part of productivity is remembering why you want to complete these tasks in the first place. Ask yourself:

  • What do these items mean to me?
  • Why do I care so much about them?

  • How do they fit into the bigger picture?

If any item on the list doesn’t answer these questions - cross the task off.

3. Dive In

If all of the overwhelming thoughts and feelings won’t let up, just start. You’ll feel more productive after working just 20 minutes! Don’t worry about perfection or speed. Instead, be present with what you are working on and focus on the task fully.

Once you get the first task done, it provides momentum for the next one. Celebrate the small wins to give yourself confidence that you can do it.

4. Take Time To Relax

It may sound crazy, but taking time to relax is critical for sustainable productivity. David Allen, author of Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress Free Productivity, sums it up perfectly. He says, “your ability to generate power is directly proportional to your ability to relax.” A clear mind is most effective at making good decisions.

5. Thank Yourself

Sometimes we remember to thank everyone except ourselves. It takes bravery, courage, and persistence to do the work now that supports your future self. Take the time to acknowledge and internalize that effort. Say to yourself: I am doing a great job! Don’t let your mind tell you otherwise.

How to Build Mental Toughness for Everyday Life

Despite what people may think, being mentally tough isn’t about hiding your emotions. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Often, those with the greatest mental toughness are also the most open people you will ever meet. They have the courage remain honest about their thoughts and feelings in a variety of situations.

Why isn’t everyone open about how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking? Simple - being open means being vulnerable. It’s natural to protect ourselves from being vulnerable to judgement and criticism. No one wants to feel uncomfortable, but accepting discomfort is actually very good for your peace of mind.

Practice Being Vulnerable

Believe it or not, one of the best places to practice being vulnerable is in the workplace. If you’re having communication issues at work, try out this thought experiment:

You’re talking through a problem with a coworker, and you can tell they’re holding something back. Perhaps they’re shrugging or saying “maybe” a lot. Now imagine they said exactly what they’re thinking. In that moment, they have made themselves vulnerable to rejection. Would you shut them down immediately? Probably not. The immediate human reaction to vulnerability isn’t rejection, it’s compassion.

Why is Mental Toughness So Important?

Many companies are intentionally designing their workspaces to support vulnerability. When people are free to express their thoughts and feelings without judgement, it opens a whole new world of possibilities. Working in this type of environment makes communication so much easier. This is critical for idea development and creativity. By allowing ourselves to work through more complex opinions, feelings, and ideas, we strengthen our ability to problem solve.

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is a great place to start. When you have freedom to be vulnerable, you allow ideas to flourish, foster better, more open communication, and build long-lasting mental toughness.

How to Bring Your Full Self to Work (While Keeping it Professional 😊)

Imagine it’s Monday morning. The weekend was full of friends, fun, and excitement that has left you feeling healthy and refreshed. Wouldn’t you like to carry this energy with you into the work week?

On a personal level, there are many benefits of bringing your full self to work.  Finding balance between your home and work-life personas and integrating both sides can boost satisfaction all around - for you, your family and your coworkers.

Here are some benefits when you do this in a balanced way:

  1. Deeper Bonds and Connections: As you open up to others, they will do the same to you. It’s these interactions that help you connect with people on a personal level - not just a professional level.
     

  2. New Perspectives: By embracing your full self, you are free to share your perspective without fear of judgment. At the same time, you will discover new perspectives as you listen to your peers.

  3. Meaningful Appreciation: When you really know someone, you appreciate them for more than just their work output. This is reciprocal - it goes for you too. People will begin to fully appreciate your unique traits, as you appreciate their special traits.

 Photo via  Healthyfoodlove

Photo via Healthyfoodlove

The idea of bringing your full self to work may be intimidating at first – but remember it’s healthy to do so. As you open to others, you may be surprised by the connections you form. Give yourself the freedom to open up. You’ll discover a deeper passion and more energy to drive you through the work week.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few ways to bring your full self to work while keeping it professional:

  1. Spark up a conversation with a coworker about their weekend. Ask what was most fulfilling and share your experience.  

  2. Decorate your workspace with photos and objects unique to you. You’re a unique person - bring that out.

  3. Be vulnerable with a colleague and share something personal. It’s amazing how people respond when we’re being authentic.

Bringing your full self to work means embracing all the characteristics that make you who you are. Your strengths, weaknesses, family, partner, interests, and hobbies. All of these are a part of who you are. So why leave them at the office door? Being you improves your personal peace of mind, while inspiring others to do the same.

How Going Offline Makes You More Productive

How do you feel about being connected to your devices around the clock? Does it keep you in the loop and help you get more done? Or is it the opposite and your attention is being pulled in a thousand different directions?

Our devices, while very useful, can sometimes distract us from our desired path. By spending time offline, you can enjoy more clarity, peace of mind, and higher peak performance to thrive in life.

Here’s why going offline makes you more productive:

A Better Night’s Rest

You’re lying in bed, about to go to sleep, and then “beep, beep”... your phone goes off. Sound familiar? Whether it’s a social media notification, a text, or some other reminder, we often check it out. Even though we’re settled in bed, looking at the alert gets our minds racing again. On top of this, studies say the blue light from phone screens interferes with your body’s sleep cycles. All of this combines for a poor night’s rest, and affects tomorrow’s mood, energy level, and productivity.  

Focus On What’s Important

Constant connection to our devices makes it all too easy to be distracted - especially when the next notification appears. It takes great self-control and even greater willpower to avoid checking our phone every-time it beeps. After all, it’s our very nature to give attention to something that’s calling for us.

The challenge with ignoring notifications and technology is that it takes focus and energy. Whether you turn your ringer to silent or turn off your devices altogether - more power to you!

Be Present and Focus

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By spending more time offline, you can access focus and clarity of mind. For instance, you’ll be present to the people you spend time with. They will appreciate your focus and you’ll be able to appreciate their presence. This can help strengthen your relationships immensely.

 

An Inspired You

Most importantly, going offline lets your mind rest. Sometimes social media, emails, and notifications can make your mind work harder than it needs to. By taking a break from all that extra information, your mind is free to focus on what really matters to you.

Taking a break from your devices can be very refreshing. Whether it’s for a week or just one day, you might be surprised by your how clear you feel.

3 Tips to Travel Mindfully This Summer

There is so much joy to experience in travel. When you take a step back from your busy, fast-paced life, you can learn a lot – especially about yourself.

Are you thinking of skipping town? Here are 3 tips to travel mindfully this summer:

1. Happier and Healthier Intentions

Before you set off on your trip, ask yourself a few questions about why you want to travel:

 Photo by Rathish Gandhi

Photo by Rathish Gandhi

  • Are you looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to reclaim your sense of passion?
  • Are you seeking new adventures to inspire untapped creativity in your day-to-day routine
  • What’s really speaking to you in this moment?

The goal is to remind yourself why you’re traveling in the first place. This way, you can access a happier and healthier self on your summer excursion.

These intentions will keep you centered while navigating the trip’s many experiences. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the attractions a destination has to offer. If a tourist attraction sounds enticing, then go for it. Otherwise, you may want to take a step back and see if it truly will fits into your happier and healthier intentions.

2. Let Yourself Wander

One of the most freeing aspects of travel is seeing where life takes you. Let go of any prior expectations and just let yourself wander.

Some people enjoy a thoroughly planned trip with an itinerary. There is no shame in an itinerary. It can be a powerful tool to help free the mind and be present. But don’t be afraid to give in to wanderlust - letting yourself roam is a very liberating experience.

You may consider the many attractions, or you might not. The idea of racing towards the next tourist craze because someone says it is a "must see,” is just that -- an idea. The truth is, those options will always be there, and will always be easy to find. The real adventure starts when you choose your own path. So free yourself from the routine and restraint that everyday life demands.

3. Disconnect from Distractions

Your Summer trip is the time to find balance between the many people, places and things in your personal life. Your friends, family, and colleagues want you to be happy, and giving yourself the free space and time is a great place to start.

Let's start with your phone, one of the most connected devices in our lives. Introduce another daily trip practice, create a morning or evening habit of checking your phone for five minutes to respond to messages. Remember, friends and family want you to have a great time. It can even be helpful to set communication and connectivity expectations.

Quick tech tips: Limit phone notifications by activating the device’s “do not disturb” function, set up email away messages, and lastly, log out of your social media applications.


People often ask, “where did you go on your vacation?” The more thoughtful question is, “why did you go on vacation?”  Next time you’re planning a trip, try asking why you want to go before asking where you want to go. How am I going to come back from my trip feeling happier, and healthier? That is how you set yourself up for a truly nourishing Summer trip.

6 Companies Using Meditation for a Productive and Happier Workplace

How does your company empower a more productive and happier workplace? Many thriving companies are using meditation to empower a community of happy and healthy employees.

Research suggests that meditation has many in-office health benefits - both mental and physical. Meditation has the power to reduce blood pressure, while easing the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It reduces stress, improves listening skills, decision-making skills, and even boosts employee engagement.

Companies Embracing Meditation

Here are 6 NYC companies that are using meditation for a more productive and happier workplace:

1. Nike

  Photo credit:  o+a

Photo credit: o+a

When it comes to meditation, employees at Nike are encouraged to “just do it”. The company is very familiar with the fast pace of modern life. To help employees stay clear, focused, and calm in the workplace, in-office meditation and yoga classes are provided for free. In Nike’s New York office, you will find rooms dedicated to napping, praying, and of course, meditating.
 

2. Google

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Google is known for its social conscious efforts and pioneering the in-office meditation movement. The company has offered meditation courses to its teams since early 2007. These “Search Inside Yourself” sessions still continue to evolve over time. Today, Google offers seven different types of meditation classes to choose from. This includes attention training, self-knowledge and self-mastery, and building mindful mental habits.
 

3. CBRE

 Photo credit:  Perkins + Will

Photo credit: Perkins + Will

CBRE believes that wellness in the workplace is more than a trend, it’s an evolution. All of their offices are being redesigned to be more natural and liveable. The layout includes stretching and relaxation areas, fresh vegetable juice stations, and access to personalized wellness coaching. According to their 2016 report, Wellness In the Workplace, “the idea is to give people an environment where they want to be every day, can focus and where they can be productive.”

4. Sony

 Photo credit: Eric Laignel

Photo credit: Eric Laignel

Sony first implemented it’s wellness program in 1992. Since then, the program has continued to help employees as well as their domestic partners live healthier, more active lives. By offering free health assessments, Sony is able to provide personalized help in and out of office. At their New York facility, you’ll find an onsite fitness center, a health-focused cafeteria, and weekly farmers market.

5. Hospital for Special Surgery NYC

 Photo credit:  Hospital News

Photo credit: Hospital News

 The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York has the firm belief that healing patients quickly and thoroughly is the most productive thing they can do. With that in mind, the hospital has integrated meditation and mindfulness in patient healing programs that staff can join too. When people can be aware of their pain with a certain amount of detachment, it removes fear. This allows faster healing and more personal power. 

6. Facebook

The work environment at Facebook is designed to encourage calmness and creativity. Through weekly in-house meditation sessions and “No Meeting Wednesdays”, the company aims to boost employee morale. Facebook recognizes that happier employees are healthier, more collaborative, and produce better ideas.

Many of the world’s top companies are using to meditation to inspire a happy and healthy workplace. Wishing yours would do the same? Bring the idea to your employer - a healthy company starts with healthy employees.

3 Steps to Overcome Stressful Times

Have you ever met someone who thrives when the going gets tough? Wondering how they manage to stay calm and centered when life is challenging? The good news is most people aren’t born level-headed and calm under crisis. It takes practice to keep your head constantly clear. Here is a simple 3 step process you can use to stay centered during stressful times:

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1. Set Your Intention.

Rather than getting overwhelmed when things get stressful, imagine your ideal outcome. What is your intended result for this situation? By setting an intention you are directing the situation towards your preferred outcome.  Whatever your intention may be, keep the phrasing the same and as simple as possible.

 

 

2. Act According To Your Intention.

Once you have your intention, it’s much easier to take clear and logical next steps. This will help you remain calm as you overcome the current problem. Take a moment to visualize your ideal solution and how overcoming this problem now fits into the big picture.

While working through stressful times, keep your desired outcome in mind. Imagine as if it were real, and one day it will be. Life's challenges are a great opportunity to learn and grow. Responding to obstacles in accordance with your original intention ensures that you’re headed in the right direction.

3. Build The Habit.

Repeat your intention to yourself often. The more you come back to your intention, the more ingrained it can become. Keep practicing. Eventually, your subconscious mind will default to this process when times get tough. With persistence, staying centered in stressful situations will become easy.

No matter how stressful the situation, these 3 steps will help keep you centered. Having a clear desired outcome helps you focus on the path to your best life.

 

This is Your Brain on Meditation. Any Questions?

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The human brain is an incredible thing. It has tons of memory capacity, can multitask with the best of ‘em, and has the power to transform the way people see the world.

Smartphones are great and all, but technology ain’t got nothin’ on your brain!

However, just because your head is packed with a well-oiled cerebral machine, doesn’t mean it won’t need a little jumpstart every now and then. That’s where meditation comes in. During and after meditation you probably notice a difference in how you feel. But do you know what’s happening in your head to make you feel that strong and clear?

Allow us (and science) to explain.

Reduced stress and anxiety.

Researchers affiliated with Harvard University found that people who meditated for just eight weeks were able to quiet the amygdala, the part of the brain that triggers fear. A study led by the smart cookies at Harvard also found that meditation led to decreased gray matter density in the amygdala, and that participants reported reductions in stress. Proof that meditation will help you stay sane next time your mother-in-law shows up for an unannounced visit.

Increased concentration and focus.

In a recent study, Harvard researchers found that meditation can literally change your brain, including the part associated with attention. A study team at Texas Tech University also found that after just 11 hours of meditation, participants had structural changes in the part of the brain tied to focus. See, shutting off your brain for a little bit actually makes it run better. If only you could go back and use that line with your 6th grade teacher!

Increased compassion and empathy.

More Harvard researchers again, this time they found that MRI scans of meditators showed a major increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with self-awareness, compassion, and empathy. Further to that point, some brainiacs in Sweden discovered that meditation is accompanied by activation in brain areas involved with empathy as well as with happy and pleasant feelings. So, meditation thus far makes you calmer, more efficient, and happier. Meditators: 3. Everyone else: 0.

Improved performance and productivity.

Switchin’ it up here with a UCLA study that found meditators showed significantly larger volumes of the right hippocampus, which accounts for a meditator’s ability to cultivate positive emotions and retain emotional stability. Get this: Brain scans of meditators show a shift in activation and gray matter density from the areas of the brain associated with negative emotions like stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction to the areas associated with positive emotions like happiness and contentment.

Well, according to this research from some of the top medical schools around the world, meditation makes people less stressed, more focused, happy, and productive. Can your phone do that for you?

6 Life Lessons to Rock Your World

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Life comes with lessons. Some we learn the hard way (Miami in July, a newfound appreciation for SPF) and some we just try hard to remember (seriously, does anyone actually cut the tags off their pillows?). Every situation provides it’s own kind of lesson, and at Journey, we’ve got a few words of wisdom to help you better navigate the wild and crazy ride that is life.

Life is about the journey, not just the destination.

C’mon, you know we had to lead with this. Our name is Journey Meditation, after all. But this is about more than us, it’s about your life experience. It’s easy to get caught up in the get-’er-done/hustle so hard mindset, but when all you do is focus on the end result, you miss out on the good stuff: life.

Make yourself a priority.

Between your best friend’s existential crisis  and your dog’s need to keep peeing on your living room floor, it can feel like there’s little time for li’l ol’ you. You already know all the reasons why it’s important to make yourself a priority (your own physical health, mental well-being, and emotional balance), and the better you take care of yourself the better you’ll be able to serve others.

Appreciate the little things in life.

It’s easy to cram a lot into a day and lose sight of the moments that make it up. Like the big smile you always get from the guy who sells coffee to the compliment on your new haircut from Jessica in accounting. It’s the small stuff that makes the big stuff so meaningful, and the only way to truly appreciate major life events---like getting married, becoming partner, or traveling on your dream vacation---is to appreciate life’s little things.

Find your purpose and take action.

Everyone’s life has meaning, and it’s up to each of us to find it. Your purpose may be to make America laugh, throw the fastest curveball or find a cure for malaria. Or it may be to become a father or neighborhood leader. Our lives are part of an interdependent ecosystem where each of us has a role. You know what they say, no small parts, only small actors, and it’s true. Look within and consider what your purpose is, then go after it with all you’ve got.

Be kind to yourself and others.

Do we really need to explain this one? Yeah, didn’t think so.

Make the world a better place.

That’s all it takes to make the world a better place -- doing something positive for another person. You don’t need Bill Gates money or Nobel Peace Prize power to affect change in the world, all you need is the willingness to give and the commitment to do good. Hug your grandma, pick up trash, help a kid learn how to read. You’ll be amazed at how much better the world will start to look.

How to Meditate Your Way to a Better Night’s Sleep

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Why is it that when you’re extra tired after a long, hard day at the office, lying in bed ready to drift off to *ahhh* dreamland, you can’t fall asleep? Instead, you’re stuck with random thoughts on repeat.

Blame it on the monkey mind.

Now that you know what causes this endless internal dialogue, how do you fix it? That’s where we come in.

Here’s some handy advice on meditating your way to a better night’s sleep (no extra sheep needed).

  • 20 minutes before you’re ready to hit the sack, turn off your devices and get ready to unwind. Read a few lines out of a book, listen to a soothing song, or just sit and enjoy a warm cup of tea

  • Once you’re in your bed, ready to catch a few winks, focus on something calming: an ‘om’ sound, your breath, or a mantra (“I will bring bellbottoms back, I will bring bellbottoms back”)

  • Let your body sink into your bed. Keep your focus on your calming sound or thought while your body disconnects from your mind

  • As sleep overtakes you, don’t fight. Allow yourself to naturally release that calming thought or sound so the power of slumber can envelope you

Repeat this practice however many times you need until you drift off. This quick process can also help you when you shoot out of bed at 2AM because of a wild dream or buzzing cell phone. The more you practice, the easier you’ll find it is to fall and stay asleep. *Ahhh*

A World Distracted: How to Find Focus Today

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There’s no denying it: Technology has transformed our lives in incredible ways. It’s made information accessible, remote communication possible, and business more seamless than ever before. It has also created some challenges.

Research has shown that our attention spans have gotten shorter and our ability to store information in long-term memory has been reduced. In fact, a Microsoft study states that North American attention spans fell from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015. Constant streams of text messages, emails, Tweets, Snaps, and news feeds have taken their toll on us.

Because meditation focuses the mind away from these distractions, it helps to strengthen people’s ability to pay attention. Meditation can help improve focus and memory, which allows people to be more productive at work. It also helps people stay present and in the moment, which leads to a greater sense of fulfillment.

Employers are discovering the profound connection between individual happiness and corporate success. The Journey practice is designed to give everyone the tools they need to manage stress and become more productive.

Stress Less with This Simple, Easy Meditation

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Before you begin, find a comfortable position---seated in a chair, cross-legged, lying on your back---and a quiet-ish space (yes, your office bathroom stall counts).

Start by focusing on your breath.

We use the breath because it’s always with us, so we can do this anytime and anywhere. Focusing on your breath makes focusing your attention easier. Try it now.

Don’t worry if your mind wanders.

If you find yourself thinking about tonight’s cycling class or tomorrow’s deadline, don’t beat yourself up about it. Let the thoughts enter your mind then quietly leave. Don’t focus on them, but don’t try to force them away.

Gently return your focus to your breath.

Keep it going: Breathe and stay focused on that breath. Allow your mind and body to center, and then calmly, silently do it all again.

You can keep this practice going for one to 30 minutes, depending on your level of stress or need for balance. Next time you find yourself overwhelmed with all that life throws your way, return to this simple, daily meditation and find peace within.

The True Cost of Stress

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Why do people become stressed? For so many, feeling “stressed out” is a sign of caring, working hard, and being a good employee.

But did you know that employee stress is one of the single greatest sources of lost revenue for businesses?

In David Gelles’ book, Mindful Work: How Meditation is Changing Business from the Inside Out, he describes how highly stressed workers are less productive and incur more health care costs than their less-stressed colleagues. According to the World Health Organization, stress costs American businesses as much as $300 billion per year.

What could your company do with all that extra money?

More importantly, how productive would your employees be without all that stress?

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years by millions of people looking to relax, find balance, and feel calm. Stress has mental and physical manifestations -- it can lead to depression and anxiety that affects both the mind and body. Because meditation strengthens the connection between the head and the heart, the physical and the mental, it is a simple, accessible way to reduce stress.

Journey helps people focus their attention and clear their minds. Just a few minutes a day can make a big difference for body, mind, and business.

Training the Monkey Mind: Tips for Worrying Less and Doing More

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Think about all you think about in a day -- it’s a lot!

In fact, the renowned Cleveland Clinic says that the average person has over 60,000 thoughts in just one day.

That’s the Monkey Mind. Sound familiar?

We all go through it: thinking too much and feeling like we’re not doing enough. But the real question is, how do we change it?

The most important thing to remember is that mindfulness is a daily practice. It’s about more than flipping a switch and paying attention, it’s about being present, open, and aware.

Thankfully, we’ve got a few easy, everyday tips to help you clear your head and train that monkey mind.

1. Listen to What You’ve Got to Say

If a friend is asking for help, you’d probably ask what’s wrong. Well, you should do the same anytime you find yourself caught in a downward spiral of internal chatter. Listen to your thoughts and respond in practical ways. Jot down a few notes, check your schedule for upcoming to-dos, or create a plan of action for outstanding projects. The more you listen, the less you’ll have to scream.

2. Meditate

Now, that said, just because your mind talks doesn’t mean you always have to listen. Meditation is a simple, accessible way for you to become more familiar with you. Find a quiet place where you can sit still for five minutes. Plant your feet, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. As powerful thoughts come to your head -- like why was Smurfette the only female in the Smurf village or how many licks does to take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?  -- allow them to announce themselves then move on, never staying long enough to be explored.

3. Do Something

The best way to do more is to, well, do more! Like idle hands, an idle mind can lead to mischief. Turn off autopilot and get out of your head all in one go. Physical exercise, creative projects, and a good book are just some of the ways you can tame your overthinking. Find out what activities excite you and make a point to include them regularly in your schedule. The sooner you start training your monkey mind, the better it will perform.

Better Business through Better Relationships: How Meditation Helps People Understand Themselves and Each Other

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FACT: Meditation improves relationships because it gives people a better ability to understand themselves and others.

We read people’s emotions everyday, often incorrectly: how many times have you mistaken a frown for a sign of disapproval rather than an indication of stress? All too often people project their own fears and insecurities onto others, and in the workplace, that can lead to strained relationships and an imbalanced culture. And nobody wants that -- not employees, not employers.

Seeing others clearly is a key component in positive relationships. A study at Emory University found that meditation makes subjects more equipped to read the emotions on other people’s faces (a handy little trick when navigating the very personal world of business). Furthermore, a study in the Journal of Psychological Science suggested that mindfulness helps us see ourselves more objectively, too.

Yeah, meditation is powerful.

And Journey Meditation is uniquely designed to help every individual see themselves more clearly so they can see the world as it truly is: awesome.

Is There Power in Your Purpose? How to Bring More Meaning to Your Everyday

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1. Find your tribe and love the heck outta them.

Life is grand when you’ve got friends to go through it with? Somehow, with just a couple of trusty mates to confide in, lean on, complain to, and depend on, a bad date turns into a hilarious story, a scary new thing becomes your new favorite thing, and life starts to feel like it really makes sense. When you have people to share experiences with you’re more open to everyday opportunities, and to understanding how impactful your own love, trust, and loyalty can really be. Good friends will help keep you grounded.

2. Lend a helping hand.

No matter where you live, you’re part of a community -- an apartment building, a neighborhood, a school, a company. The more involved you become in your communities, the more empowered you’ll feel about your direction in life. Get out and help your fellow man, woman, neighbor, or colleague. Not only will you be supporting another person---which will always leave you feeling warm and fuzzy---you’ll be putting your own skills to the test and seeing just how purposeful you really are.

3. Stop worrying about things.

Remember when you were nothing without LA Gear light-up sneakers, Carrie Bradshaw’s Fendi Baguette or iPhone whatever or… The point is, things come and go (and come and go again and again). If you attach your happiness to a ‘thing,’ whether that’s a piece of fashion or a piece of technology, you’ll never find real fulfillment in the real world. Focus on valuable relationships and rich experiences instead of material things.

4. Prioritize what’s important.

You don’t have to know who you want to be when you grow up---*gulp* we’re still figuring that one out---to know what’s important to you right now. For some people it’s traveling the world, for others it’s building a home. Whatever it is you love---from cooking to gardening to singing karaoke realllly out of tune---make it a priority in your life. This way you’ll not only enjoy yourself but work towards honing a craft (yes, destroying the chorus to “Don’t Stop Believing” is a craft -- you heard it here first).

5. Be you!

Cliches aside, this is the best advice we can give for helping you feel powerful, purposeful, and meaningful in your everyday life. Authenticity is super-important to us and it should be to you. Being true to yourself is the fastest, easiest way to feel like you’re bringing value to the world. After all, there’s nobody out there like you. There’s a lot of meaning in that distinction: the you-ness of you. Don’t ever lose sight of that, and don’t ever forget to celebrate it.