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If You're Too Busy to Meditate, Read This

If You're Too Busy to Meditate, Read This | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
Doing nothing for 20 minutes a day actually increases your productivity.

 

This morning, like every morning, I sat cross-legged on a cushion on the floor, rested my hands on my knees, closed my eyes, and did nothing but breathe for 20 minutes.

 

People say the hardest part about meditating is finding the time to meditate. This makes sense: who these days has time to do nothing? It's hard to justify.

 

Meditation brings many benefits: It refreshes us, helps us settle into what's happening now, makes us wiser and gentler, helps us cope in a world that overloads us with information and communication, and more. But if you're still looking for a business case to justify spending time meditating, try this one: Meditation makes you more productive.

 

How? By increasing your capacity to resist distracting urges.

Research shows that an ability to resist urges will improve your relationships, increase your dependability, and raise your performance. If you can resist your urges, you can make better, more thoughtful decisions. You can be more intentional about what you say and how you say it. You can think about the outcome of your actions before following through on them.

 

Our ability to resist an impulse determines our success in learning a new behavior or changing an old habit. It's probably the single most important skill for our growth and development.

As it turns out, that's one of the things meditation teaches us. It's also one of the hardest to learn.

 

When I sat down to meditate this morning, relaxing a little more with each out-breath, I was successful in letting all my concerns drift away. My mind was truly empty of everything that had concerned it before I sat. Everything except the flow of my breath. My body felt blissful and I was at peace.

 

For about four seconds.

 

Within a breath or two of emptying my mind, thoughts came flooding in — nature abhors a vacuum. I felt an itch on my face and wanted to scratch it. A great title for my next book popped into my head and I wanted to write it down before I forgot it. I thought of at least four phone calls I wanted to make and one difficult conversation I was going to have later that day. I became anxious, knowing I only had a few hours of writing time. What was I doing just sitting here? I wanted to open my eyes and look at how much time was left on my countdown timer. I heard my kids fighting in the other room and wanted to intervene.

 

Here's the key though: I wanted to do all those things, but I didn't do them. Instead, every time I had one of those thoughts, I brought my attention back to my breath.

 

Sometimes, not following through on something you want to do is a problem, like not writing that proposal you've been procrastinating on or not having that difficult conversation you've been avoiding.

But other times, the problem is that you do follow through on something you don't want to do. Like speaking instead of listening or playing politics instead of rising above them.

 

Meditation teaches us to resist the urge of that counterproductive follow through.

 

And while I've often noted that it's easier and more reliable to create an environment that supports your goals than it is to depend on willpower, sometimes, we do need to rely on plain, old-fashioned, self-control.

 

For example, when an employee makes a mistake and you want to yell at him even though you know that it's better — for him and for the morale of the group — to ask some questions and discuss it gently and rationally. Or when you want to blurt something out in a meeting but know you'd be better off listening. Or when you want to buy or sell a stock based on your emotions when the fundamentals and your research suggest a different action. Or when you want to check email every three minutes instead of focusing on the task at hand.

 

Meditating daily will strengthen your willpower muscle. Your urges won't disappear, but you will be better equipped to manage them. And you will have experience that proves to you that the urge is only a suggestion. You are in control.

 

Does that mean you never follow an urge? Of course not. Urges hold useful information. If you're hungry, it may be a good indication that you need to eat. But it also may be an indication that you're bored or struggling with a difficult piece of work. Meditation gives you practice having power over your urges so you can make intentional choices about which to follow and which to let pass.

 

So how do you do it? If you're just starting, keep it very simple.

 

Sit with your back straight enough that your breathing is comfortable — on a chair or a cushion on the floor — and set a timer for however many minutes you want to meditate. Once you start the timer, close your eyes, relax, and don't move except to breathe, until the timer goes off. Focus on your breath going in and out. Every time you have a thought or an urge, notice it and bring yourself back to your breath.

 

That's it. Simple but challenging. Try it — today — for five minutes.

 

And then try it again tomorrow.

 

This morning, after my meditation, I went to my home office to start writing. A few minutes later, Sophia, my seven-year-old, came in and told me the kitchen was flooded. Apparently Daniel, my five-year-old, filled a glass of water and neglected to turn off the tap. Oops.

In that moment, I wanted to scream at both Daniel and Sophia. But my practice countered that urge. I took a breath.

 

Then, together, we went into action mode. We got every towel in the house — and a couple of blankets — and mopped it all up, laughing the whole time. When we were done soaking up the water, we talked about what happened. Finally, we all walked together to our downstairs neighbors and took responsibility for the flood, apologized, and asked if we could help them clean up the mess.

 

After that, I had lost an hour of writing. If I was going to meet my deadline, I needed to be super-productive. So I ate a quick snack and then ignored every distracting urge I had for two hours — no email, no phone calls, no cute Youtube videos — until I finished my piece, which I did with 30 minutes to spare.

 

Who says meditation is a waste of time?


Via Jim Manske
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Conference: Empathy Neuroscience: Translational Relevance for Conflict Resolution - British Academy

Conference: Empathy Neuroscience: Translational Relevance for Conflict Resolution - British Academy | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
This conference brings together empathy neuroscience research to tackle a key translational challenge: its relevance for conflict resolution. It focuses on the idea that taking the other person’s perspective is ultimately necessary to resolve conflict; and that conflicts are perpetuated by adopting a single perspective.


The conference considers the relevance of empathy neuroscience for policy makers working in conflict resolution.


The meeting brings together an international panel of speakers drawn from outstanding scientists, clinicians, scholars, and charities, focusing particularly on the potential role of empathy in the Israel-Palestine conflict. The aims are to enable dialogue and a better understanding of empathy, and to promote the development of evidence-based interventions that foster empathy in conflict zones.


Convenors: 

  • Professor Simon Baron-Cohen FBA, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Haifa Staiti, Gather Fellow, Seeds of Peace, Canada
  • Dr Ahmad Abu-Akel, Birmingham University, UK
  • Professor Ruth Feldman, Bar-Ilan University, Israel and Yale University, USA
  • Professor Simone Shamay-Tsoory, Haifa University, Israel
  • Alex Gabbay, Film Director, London, UK

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Jennifer Aaker: Capturing the Power of Empathy

Jennifer Aaker: Capturing the Power of Empathy | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
Why product designers should put themselves in the shoes of their consumers.
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Mindfulness Without Meditation Creating Mindful Habits That Actually Stick

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Stop Googling. Let’s Talk. - NYTimes.com

Stop Googling. Let’s Talk. - NYTimes.com | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
RT @willeggbeer: Interesting article about impact of tech on conversation and empathy #longreads - http://t.co/p9mQvc6KZP
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The Bamboo Project : "Take Yourself to Work Day"

The Bamboo Project : "Take Yourself to Work Day" | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
For years, we've had "Take Your Child to Work Day." But lately, as I listen to people talk about the false selves they bring to jobs that feel pointless, I'm thinking that we need another day--"Take YOURSELF to Work Day."...

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Twitter

Twitter | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
"Love & compassion are necessities,not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive."Dalai Lama #WellbeingWednesday http://t.co/dTCelMCblw
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The Power of Gratitude: 5 Small Tips for a Lighter and Happier Life Starting Today

The Power of Gratitude: 5 Small Tips for a Lighter and Happier Life Starting Today | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.”

Lionel Hampton

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

Marcel Proust

Maybe the simplest and most effortless habit for living a happier life is to take one or a few minutes every day to focus on what is already here and that you can be grateful for in your life.

It can help you to…

Lift your mood and boost motivation very quickly.

Find the things in your life that you want to focus even more of your time and energy on.Not just take things for granted and to find joy even during the tougher times.

It is simply an awesome habit to cultivate that demands little but gives much back.

So this week I’d like to explore 5 small tips that you can use to cultivate more gratitude and happiness in your life.

1. Pause and look around yourself.

A first simple step to build the gratitude habit is simply to pause in your everyday life and to ask yourself questions like:

What can I be grateful for in my life today?Who are 3 people that I can be grateful to have in my life and why?

If you cannot come up with several things or people every day then that is OK. If you find one thing or one person then that is great too. Don’t get hung up on the numbers. Just take a few minutes and see what you come up with.

Try to not repeat the same things too often. Instead, try to think of more things and people you can be grateful for in your life.

2. Look towards yourself.

Don’t just look outward.

Take a look at yourself too. A habit of being appreciative and grateful towards yourself is a simple way to improve self-esteem and self-confidence.

Ask yourself:

What are 3 things I can be grateful for about myself?

It could be that you were a good father in a moment of crisis this week. It could be that you finally got done with that task you had been procrastinating on.

Your self-gratitude does not have to be all about achievements at work or in school for example. You can simply be grateful for your good sense of humor or that you help people out a lot by being a good listener from time to time.

3. Take a closer look at the very smaller things or what you may take for granted.

Don’t just focus on the big and obvious things you can be grateful for.

Think about what very small things you can be grateful for too.

Like the plant just in front of my laptop that I am writing these words on.

It is not a remarkable plant. But its simple beauty in the vibrant green color, how it keeps growing on just a little water and sunshine and the faint smell of nature is something simple I feel grateful for.

Another thing that I am grateful for today – that I may sometimes take for granted – was my lunch. It was a few potatoes with some grilled chicken and a dollop of sauce. It was delicious. And, more importantly, I don’t have to go hungry. I am in the very fortunate position of being able to eat lunch every day.

Ask yourself:

What is one very small thing that I can be grateful for today?What is one thing I may usually for granted that I can be grateful for?

Opening your eyes to the small and daily things you can appreciate lets you truly see more of the simple beauty in life.

4. Do it early or late in your day.

But how do you get the gratitude habit to stick and not just become one of those things you forget about or abandon after a few days.

Two things that I have found effective are:

Take 1 minute in the morning to get a good start to your day by finding 3 small or big things you are grateful for in your life.Take 1-2 minutes each evening and use a journal to write down maybe 3 or 5 things you are grateful for about your day, about yourself or about your life.

Try one of these tiny time commitments every day for a week and see how it impacts your life.

5. Express your gratitude.

Don’t just keep the gratitude on the inside. Express it.

Make other people happier too – and help them to perhaps pay it forward later on – by expressing how you are grateful for having them in your life. Plus, their smile and the joy in their eyes when you tell them this will make you happier too.

Now, that gratitude could just be a small sentence. But it can have a big impact on someone’s day, week or even life sometimes.

So tell the people in your life.

Tell them in person tonight. Or write an email or a letter to someone a little further away in the world. Or send a small text message right now.


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Society Gone Mad: We Need Empathy Now More Than Ever

Society Gone Mad: We Need Empathy Now More Than Ever | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it

While we are busy showing empathy to the victims’ families and friends, perhaps we should also wonder what kind of horrible experience these shooters have encountered in modern society that could evoke such rage in a young man for him to give up his entire future just to kill...

If we were capable of showing more empathy to the ones that were isolated, depressed, awkward or maybe just too shy, wouldn’t this society become a more caring place for all of us?

By Marrian Zhou


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D\Construct with Jody Turner: Empathy is at the Root of Innovation

D\Construct sits down with Jody Turner, a Brand Anthropologist, Futurist and Founder of Culture of the Future in the latest episode of D\Construct by Doner. She discusses why empathy is at the root of innovation. Jody also covers the merits of the nurturer mindset and the new meaning of feminine.

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Efforts To Instill Empathy Among Doctors Is Paying Dividends

Efforts To Instill Empathy Among Doctors Is Paying Dividends | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
Often considered less important than technical skills, having a good bedside manner is important to helping patients and can lead to better outcomes.
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5 Steps to Create a Compassionate Workplace

5 Steps to Create a Compassionate Workplace | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
A 16-month longitudinal study at a long-term health care facility with 185 employees, 108 patients, and 42 of the patients' family members was conducted to test how the employees treated the patients and families versus their colleagues.

The researchers found that there was lower absenteeism and employee burnout, as well as higher levels of employee engagement with their work with greater teamwork and employee satisfaction. In addition, the culture of compassion spread to patients and their families. Then, to see if the same positive results would be found in industries such as real estate, finance, and public utilities, they performed a second study involving 3,201 employees in seven different industries.

Again, a greater culture of compassion in the workplace led to greater work satisfaction, commitment, and accountability.

...What steps can we take to develop or increase a compassionate workplace?

1. Try a morning ritual where you literally set a positive tone for your day....

2. Look for what you have in common with others today. ...

3. Practice intentional, but random, acts of kindness...

4. Start a gratitude journal where each day you write three new things you are grateful for at work....

5. Each night write about your day....

Susie Wolbe


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10 Awesome Ways to Inspire Others - Entrepreneur

10 Awesome Ways to Inspire Others - Entrepreneur | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
Entrepreneur
10 Awesome Ways to Inspire Others
Entrepreneur
To realize the utmost potential and minimize wasted effort, identify exactly what you're going after and make sure your people do, too. Redundancies arise when communication falters.

Via Mike Klintworth, Jean-Philippe D'HALLUIN, Roger Francis
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John Michel's curator insight, June 14, 2014 5:22 AM

Effective leaders must choose the right tactic for the right mission, no matter if it’s the boardroom or the battlefield. Inspiring others comes in myriad different forms. Here are 10 leadership guidelines to inspire others:

JASON CAVNESS's curator insight, June 15, 2014 8:51 PM

Be the type of leader  for your people that you want your leader to be for you.

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11 Simple Tricks That Will Make You Happier And More Productive

11 Simple Tricks That Will Make You Happier And More Productive | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
“ It doesn't take long to get happier, you just have to know how to do it.”
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Study: Empathy in Medical Students as Related to Academic Performance, Clinical Competence and Gender

Study: Empathy in Medical Students as Related to Academic Performance, Clinical Competence and Gender | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it

ABSTRACT

Empathy is a major component of a satisfactory doctor-patient relationship and the cultivation of empathy is a learning objective proposed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for all American medical schools. Therefore, it is important to address the measurement of empathy, its development and its correlates in medical schools.

We designed this study to test two hypotheses: firstly, that medical students with higher empathy scores would obtain higher ratings of clinical competence in core clinical clerkships; and secondly, that women would obtain higher empathy scores than men.

A 20-item empathy scale developed by the authors (Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy) was completed by 371 third-year medical students (198 men, 173 women).

Associations between empathy scores and ratings of clinical competence in six core clerkships, gender, and performance on objective examinations were studied by using t-test, analysis of variance, chi-square and correlation coefficients.




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1 Daily Habit That Will Disrupt Your Business and Change Your Life

1 Daily Habit That Will Disrupt Your Business and Change Your Life | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
What does mindfulness have to do with success and business? Everything! Learn how this simple concept can change the way you live and work.
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The Mindful, Self-Compassionate Way to Change Your Brain

This is an edited version of a 3 hour course that Denette Mann teaches at SMU - CAPE (Continuing and Adult Professional Education). "The Mindful ...
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Medical treatment has its limits. Empathy does not.

Medical treatment has its limits. Empathy does not. | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
My patient was dying, and there was nothing I could do about it.
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Crow Hill Conversations :: » 10 practices for a happier life

Crow Hill Conversations :: » 10 practices for a happier life | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it

I especially like #2


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The 7 Habits of Highly Empathetic Women Entrepreneurs

The 7 Habits of Highly Empathetic Women Entrepreneurs | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
You probably hear the word empathy a lot. You probably also think it means, "the fact or power of sharing the feelings of another, especially in sorrow or trouble; fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration." That's actually the definition of sympathy. So what exactly is empathy?The dictionary defines it as: "the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another." In other words, empathy is walking a mile in another's shoes, or trying to understand the feelings and perspectives of an individual. It isn't pity or kindness, and it certainly isn't treating someone as you would like to be treated. "Do not do unto others as you would have them do unto you -- they might have different tastes," says George Bernard Shaw. Figuring out what those tastes are is empathy.”

- - Talk to people... - Listen... - Sharpen your communication skills... - Share experiences... - Make people #1... - Cater to your customer... - Develop an ambitious imagination...

Molly Reynolds


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5 Harmful, Puritanical Myths That Keep Us Mired in Self-Loathing

5 Harmful, Puritanical Myths That Keep Us Mired in Self-Loathing | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
“Why “self-compassion” is good for you— and the world.Source: www.alternet.orgThe post 5 Harmful, Puritanical Myths That Keep Us Mired in Self-Loathing appeared first on HeartWorks.”
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Society Gone Mad: We Need Empathy Now More Than Ever

Society Gone Mad: We Need Empathy Now More Than Ever | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it

While we are busy showing empathy to the victims’ families and friends, perhaps we should also wonder what kind of horrible experience these shooters have encountered in modern society that could evoke such rage in a young man for him to give up his entire future just to kill...

If we were capable of showing more empathy to the ones that were isolated, depressed, awkward or maybe just too shy, wouldn’t this society become a more caring place for all of us?

By Marrian Zhou


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Self-Awareness Is Paramount for Leaders | Doubledare

Self-Awareness Is Paramount for Leaders | Doubledare | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
Self-awareness is paramount for leaders today: http://t.co/qyjyDl1VBr
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A Simple Way to Be Present and Live Life to the Fullest

A Simple Way to Be Present and Live Life to the Fullest | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
It can be a struggle to stay present, especially when life seems better in the past. Here's how I've learned to stay in the now & live life to the fullest.
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How to practice empathy in relationships and at work: 6 ways

How to practice empathy in relationships and at work: 6 ways | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
More generally, in situations with our families, romantic partners, or even work colleagues, how can we practice empathy?One approach, based on John and Julie Gottman’s long-term research with married couples, involves 4 steps that anyone can take to understand another’s perspective. Yes, you can use this even when your romantic partner or in-law or business colleague seems to be weaving webs of insult, devising deceptions, or making outrageous observations. Indeed, what they mean is not likely what it seems at first. Our job – as people who aspire to communicate skillfully – is to work compassionately to understand them. Here’s how: by J. Andrew McKee, MD
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Have Compassion for Yourself

Have Compassion for Yourself | Metta Practice: Compassion & the Art of Living | Scoop.it
How one author breaks the cycles of self-loathing


As journalist Anneli Rufus sees it, the self-hating person inhabits a world of muted despair that prevents him or her from ever feeling at ease in the world. InUnworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself, Rufus mines the intractable, negative perceptions that she and others have held about themselves, and analyzes the emergence of self-esteem as a goal that feels unattainable for many people. I spoke with Rufus about what it's like to live with low self-esteem in an esteem-driven world, and how people who experience self-loathing can establish healthier relationships with themselves and others in their lives.


===========================

If we can have compassion for ourselves,

then we are inviting ourselves to have

compassion for others, which makes

relationships fairer and more equal.

=====


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