Using Your Body To Strengthen Your Mind

For thousands of years, physical disciplines like yoga, Tai Chi and Sufi Dancing have been said to increase mental and spiritual powers. If this is true, how might one explain this, and even better, how can we use this fact, practically, to enhance our lives as artists, business people, parents, and partners?

First, we have to strip away the mysticism from the activity. Not that these activities have no esoteric aspect, but rather that we have to approach them on the most down-to-earth level. The higher the tree, the deeper the roots. The taller the building, the deeper the foundations. If you want to soar, be certain that your tether is strong. So we need to start with a simple, physiological explanation (if possible!) and then suggest a way that this ties in to advanced artistic accomplishment, relationship skills, intellectual clarity, and spiritual growth.

My own enlightenment in this regard came from studying the work of Coach Scott Sonnon.  . There, they found movement and wellness concepts equivalent to anything in China or India. They shared many of these concepts with Sonnon, and invited him to share them in turn with Americans. Over the years, Coach Sonnon has created hundreds of books, videos and essays on his interpretations of this core knowledge.Perhaps the single most important in terms of Body-Mind is what he calls the “Flow State Performance Spiral.” In order to relate this breakthrough thinking in such a short essay, we’ll have to condense considerably:

1) All physical technique is composed of three aspects: breathing, movement, and structure.

2) Each of these aspects is controlled by the other two (breath is created by movement and structure, etc.)

3) Stress “dis-integrates” this structure. In other words, when you are under stress, the physiological signs will manifest in your breathing rate or shallowness, your posture, your muscle tension. This is why lie detectors work!

Before he died, Hans Selye, the creator of the “stress” concept, said that he had misspoken himself, that it is not stress that hurts us, it is strain. Stress is the pressure we are under. But strain is the degree to which that stress warps us out of true.

Stress is not the enemy. In fact, when handled healthfully, it is the primary trigger for growth. So the key is to avoid strain.

Let’s skip around a bit to a truth about artistic and intellectual pursuits: your ability to utilize your intelligence, education, skills or talents will be in direct proportion to your ability to maintain “flow” under stress. Or to put it another way, in life, we are rewarded for how much stress we can handle without folding. Writer’s block, for instance, is nothing but a poor reaction to performance stress.

Combining these ideas, what we have is that mental and emotional balance under stress leads to excellence. Combine this with the fact that learning to cope with physical stress develops skills that are tremendously applicable to the mental arena. The most vulnerable portion of the “Flow State” triad (breath, movement, structure) is breathing. Proper breathing will be degraded by stress before you can detect it in posture or muscle tension. This is one of the reasons breath control is addressed in most religions and spiritual disciplines, whether this is through pranayama (yoga), exercise, hymns, ritual prayers, dance, or sacred postures.

A good yoga teacher, for instance, will place the student in a posture sufficiently extreme to force total concentration. When the student learns to relax and focus, that posture becomes relatively easy, and a more extreme posture is given. The point is to teach the student to monitor their own internal process. Fine martial arts or breathing meditation teachers use similar techniques.

The student learns to recognize the early signs of strain, and to dissipate them. NOTHING in life creates more stress than lack of oxygen, and learning to remain calm in the midst of oxygen debt will teach you to remain calm when the children are screaming, when your boss is on the rampage, when someone cuts you off on the freeway.

Or when you have a writing deadline, or when insecurity and fear hammers at the door of your resolve.

Deliberately practicing a physical discipline to enhance this quality of calmness and centeredness, while simultaneously working toward goals balanced in body, mind, and spirit, exposes you to the currents of life while helping you develop the skills and strategies necessary to excel. This, over time, leads to excellence, even in a purely mental arena.

There are numerous disciplines that will teach proper breathing under stress, and this article has listed a few. If you wish to reach your maximum potential as a mental, spiritual, and emotional being, seek one of these techniques out, and integrate it into your life. It is one of the best investments you could ever make in your future.

Getting In The Zone: 5 Strategies To Help You Keep Focus, Be Calm and Perform Under Pressure

Setting a strong foundation – repetition, repetition, repetition.

One of the most effective ways to increase your performance in anything is simply by turning up and practicing! This may sound extremely obvious but it can be discounted far too often. Some people want all the glory but are not willing to put in the time to achieve it. So repetition, repetition, repetition cannot be overlooked as it’s the cornerstone of executing the task in hand.

Moving practice to performance

With a strong foundation in practice, our next task is to convert that to the match or performance. A classic example is the musician. They practice for many years in their bedroom to then hopefully one day play to hundreds or thousands of people. Their next step is to then move that playing to the stage.

The paradox of performance

Let’s just quickly address one area that can cause many people to trip over when trying to perform at their best. Always wanting to perform at perfect standards can cause problems if it’s not addressed and managed. We want to create an environment in which we push for our best performances, aim for a high level/standard, but have a heavy level of perspective whilst doing it. So if we have a bad day at work or at the session, we can quickly turn ourselves back around and get back to it.

Taking off the pressure

One of the most effective ways to take the pressure off yourself is to simmer the amount of focus on yourself. This is a little paradoxical, but the best way to do it is to focus on your main mission. Some performers, instead of focusing so much on themselves, switch their focus to entertain the crowd; giving them a great evening or offering a product or performance that can impact their lives. This can be especially helpful for entrepreneurs. When they focus on their overall mission, it can help keep them on track when the challenges come. It helps to alleviate the pressure THEY PUT ON THEMSELVES!

So let’s take a look at ten techniques that you can apply in any pressurised situation:

  • Visualisation – visualisation plays a huge part for many athletes and performers. Simply put, it’s the ability to visualise the desired outcome you would like by mentally running through your performance, bit by bit. This is a great technique for many golfers, basketball players, musicians etc – they clearly visualise the outcome they would like. A study by Edmund Jacobson proved how effective visualisation truly is with a set of basketball players. Check it out! http://www.llewellyn.com/encyclopedia/article/244
  • Movement – your physical body (the way you position your body). Resetting your posture under pressure can massively affect your performance. Take Cristiano Ronaldo’s body positioning when he steps up to take a free kick. With Ronaldo being a ‘J’ shape kicker (direction of the kick) he inputs greater power into the ball in the direction of the kick. His upright posture gives him a ‘power’ stance that can also add huge mental benefits. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has done some phenomenal work on body language and how it effects our testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain. Fascinating! http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are
  • Meditation – in any pressurised situation, being able to regulate your thoughts and emotions is huge. Meditation can be a great tool to keep your emotions and impulses at bay in performance. Restful alertness is the key here: with training we become more and more aware of our thoughts and emotions. Therefore, we can respond more effectively in high performance.
  • Language – reframing the situation – a healthy way to increase your performance is the way you shape the situation. Many performers still feel nerves before aperformance, but it’s how they manage and use it to their advantage that is the key. Mike Tyson before many of his boxing fights would be extremely nervous, but his coach would say: “The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It’s the same thing, fear, but it’s what you do with it that matters”.
  • ‘There are many opportunities’ – think about how many times you have to get it right. The band Coldplay got turned down by over 20 record companies but they kept going. You will have other opportunities if you put yourself out there and keep on being proactive. The irony is you feel less pressure knowing there will be other opportunities.

These are five of many strategies you can begin to develop in your arena. Start with one and see how it can help with your development and training.

Step into your greatness today!

Bio:
Musician, teacher and life coach, Daniel Rutter is on a mission to help people find their own greatness across the globe. Whether its increasing performance, having better relationships, finding your purpose in life or finding the happiness you want, Danny has developed the tools needed to help each individual awaken their own greatness.
Find out more here:

7 Tips to Make You More Creative

Follow these tips to be more creative. Use your improved creativity to develop and donate ideas to help others.

Many great things have started as an simple, creative idea. Consider donating some of your best ideas to help others. The more creative you are, the more ideas you will be able to create. You can be creative even if you don’t think you are.

I have known many people that were scared to use a computer for the first few times. However, after diving into it they became more comfortable. They were willing to take a risk and make some mistakes. The result was an ability to learn and do things they would never be able to do without the use of a computer.

Being creative and thinking up world-changing ideas occurs in the same way. Everyone can be creative but they have to be willing to start. The creative process will then become more natural over time.

Try the following tips to help you on your journey to be more creative:

1. Record your ideas on whatever is comfortable and convenient at the moment .  What is important is that you record your ideas. In the past, I have forgotten ideas that I thought of when I was on a walk. Now I carry a digital recorder with me on those walks. At other times I use my computer, notepad or journal. Choose what will work best for you and make sure you have a way to record your ideas at all times. You never know when an important idea will surface.

2. Don’t limit yourself to ideas that seem possible. Capture all of your ideas.  Even those that seem impossible to implement are important for a couple of reasons. First, what seems impossible to you may not be impossible sometime in the future or for someone else. Second, impossible ideas encourage further creative ideas that might be more likely to be implemented.

3. Change your scenery or location.  A change in scenery can stimulate the creativity inside you. A change might be as simple as looking out a window. You can also visit someplace new like a park, beach, or mall. The new environment can foster new ideas.

4. Read on many topics . It is amazing how many things in a totally unrelated subject can prompt new ideas. By broadening your knowledge into more areas, you make your creativity potential grows.

5. Go for a walk. Some of my best ideas have happened when I was on a walk. This applies to any form of moderate exercise. I have heard of others that have written articles and speeches while waalking or jogging.

6. Focus in 10-15 minute increments. It does not take a significant amount of time to brainstorm some potential ideas. In fact, brainstorming works best when done for short periods of time. Concentrate for a few minutes on generate as many ideas to address a specific area or problem. Then capture anything that comes to mind throughout the rest of the day (see tip #1). You will have several ideas for consideration for little investment of time. One of those could become something tremendous for helping others.

7. Think big. What question are you asking to prompt your ideas? The larger the question, the larger the impact those ideas may have on the world. You can start by addressing smaller problems but don’t limit yourself to those. You have unique experiences, knowledge and talents that should be applied to helping others on a grand scale as well.

Follow these tips and you will be on your way to generating ideas that have the potential to change the world. Don’t let your previous lack of creativity keep you from developing and donating your ideas. Get started today.

How Ready Are You To Take On New Challenges Of 2017?

The as the New Year unfolds, we leave behind the worries and challenges of 2016 but bring the lessons we learned with us.

The year 2017 is another chance for us to create a story in the new chapter of our lives. This is the time to discover new things and explore new possibilities. However, along with new opportunities, 2017 is also a year full of new challenges. So let me ask you, how ready are you to take on the challenges of 2017?

If you not sure yet if are ready for the challenges, here are some simple tips all of us can make use of to prepare ourselves as the New Year starts.

Have Some Time For Self-Reflection

We don’t need to be in hurry all the time. When times get tough, sometimes, we just need to stop and ponder. Set aside time for self-evaluation. This is the time where we ask ourselves several questions with can help us determine your personal mission and our state of mind.

Self-reflection is especially useful when we are at our lowest and darkest time. We have to go to the deeper part of our soul to re-evaluate our goals. What we will discover about ourselves will help us come up with a set of rules and guidelines on how we are going to face the challenges ahead of us.

Be Creative

This year, it is time to think differently. Oftentimes, tough challenges need a non-traditional solution. You just have to summon your creativity and innovativeness.

Let us try to look at adversities at different angles. Maybe it is not as difficult as it may seem. Maybe it’s our approach that makes them difficult. Start from simple things and practice creativity. A simple garage makeover for our new home will help us exercise our creativity. It would be easier for us to think outside the box if we start from our simple daily activities.

It Is Ok To Let Go

There is a time that the best solution to overcome challenges is to let go and adapt. Overcoming challenges does not necessarily mean that we have to push our hardest to take control of the situation, there are times that we just have to go with the flow and let things happen.

When things go out of control and let us allow things to happen naturally, and more likely, things will work out better. Letting go means freeing ourselves from unnecessary sufferings which can bring us to a more peaceful life.

Chase Success But Be Guided By Your Happiness

Success is not as fulfilling as it may be when we are not happy. We’ve seen this in movies, people who gave up everything in life to chase success but in the end, they ended up still unhappy. Success and happiness should be on the same page to find fulfillment in life.

To be happier this 2017, we need to chase success as guided by where we will be happy. We want to achieve our dreams but chasing for our dreams won’t be easy. There will be trials, but what is important is that we chase our dreams because that is where our happiness is. And whenever there is happiness, there lies our success.

Last Words

None of us have an idea what lies ahead as this year starts but it doesn’t matter whether we have different struggles to take. We need to face it whether we like it or not and the outcome really depends on how well we handle the situation.

The tips mentioned above are just a few tips which could help us get a head start but what we can do is not limited. It is still up to us on how we approach every situation. What is important is that we learn from them and we keep our heads up as we face every challenge that comes.

From  : PICK THE BRAIN