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How to Gain Freedom from Your Thoughts

Laughter and humor

When we have a sense of humor about who we are, it opens awareness and connection with others.

Jokes are funny because they move in an unexpected direction - not where our filters expected it to go. At that moment, we deal with something our filters never saw coming. It opens us up to new learning and more openness.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Gain Freedom from Your Thoughts

How to Gain Freedom from Your Thoughts

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_gain_freedom_from_your_thoughts

greatergood.berkeley.edu

5

Key Ideas

Open awareness

One of the valuable skills in meditation is called open awareness, where you rest in the awareness of awareness. You can then approach situations with fresh eyes, and let go of your habitual reactions and expectations for the future.

The power of open awareness

Some find that being aware of awareness is confusing or even bizarre.

However, upon further reflection, they consider it very peaceful.

Social neuroscientists found when practicing open awareness meditation, Gamma waves that usually occur briefly and in one spot of the brain are elevated all across the brain. It makes you feel a sense of vastness and spaciousness.

Our brain is an anticipation machine

We typically see the world through a set of filters that can limit our experience and keep us stuck in painful patterns of emotion.

Filters help us anticipate what is going to happen next and influence the information our brains receive. When we begin to filter too much, we lose touch with the beginner's mind that is open and without preconceptions.

Relax the filters you have

Major growth can occur when we give up some of the filters that arise in our lives - whether those filters are our expectations of the future, our biases about other people, or the limitations we place on ourselves.

One way to relax our filters is to cultivate access to our inner selves. The other is to have a sense of humor about who we are.

Laughter and humor

When we have a sense of humor about who we are, it opens awareness and connection with others.

Jokes are funny because they move in an unexpected direction - not where our filters expected it to go. At that moment, we deal with something our filters never saw coming. It opens us up to new learning and more openness.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Mindfulness meditation

It is based on Buddhist traditions and it's described as "the non-judgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment."

Sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed, focusing on yo...

How meditation works
It  works through a combination of several distinct mechanisms:
  • Attention regulation. Focused attention for an extended period of time.
  • Body awareness. Paying attention to surroundings, thoughts and bodily sensations.
  • Emotion regulation. Learning to observe your thoughts and accept them without reactive judgment while refraining from the habitual response.
  • Change in perspective on the self. 
Reducing Stress

Many styles of meditation can help reduce stress.

  • In an eight-week study, a meditation style called "mindfulness meditation" reduced the inflammation response caused by stres...
Controlling Anxiety

Less stress leads to less anxiety.

Regular meditation helps reduce anxiety and anxiety-related mental health issues like social anxiety, phobias and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

Promoting Emotional Health

Some types of meditation can improve depression and help you maintain these benefits.

  • Two studies of mindfulness meditation found decreased depression in over 4,600 adults.
  • One study found that participants experienced a long-term decrease in depression.

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A Zen Parable
There was a man riding on a horse. When a man walking on the road asks him where he is going, the rider replies, “Why are you asking me? You should ask the horse.”

The ho...

Emotional Intelligence

The ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions. -Salovey and Mayer (1990)

Emotional Mastery

It manifests itself in the kind of statements we make about ourselves, in relation to our emotional skills and success.

Qualities such as confidence, awareness and optimism, come under the umbrella of emotional intelligence. 

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Meditation
Meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body.
Concentration meditation

Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point. 

In this form of meditation, you simply refocus your awareness on the chosen object of attention each time you notice your mind wandering. Through this process, your ability to concentrate improves.

Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. 

Through mindfulness meditation, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns.

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William James

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

William James
Choosing your thoughts

Pragmatism believes that the mind is a tool. You have the ability to decide what you think. Or, you can choose NOT to think. And that is one of the most important and most practical things you can learn in life.  

Useful Thoughts:
  1. Thinking about how you can solve problems. A problem is just an unanswered question. Put your brain to use and think about how you can solve problems. 
  2. Understanding knowledge. Try to internalize knowledge and think about how you can use that knowledge to improve your life, career, work, relationships, etc.
Mindfulness Meditation

It is the process of being fully present with your thoughts, being aware of your surroundings and not reactive to what is going on around you.

Although some prefer to sit in a quiet place...

Transcendental Meditation

The goal of this technique is to achieve inner peace without concentration or effort. 

A person is assigned a mantra to repeat in a specific way. It is practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with eyes closed.

Guided Meditation

It is also called visualization or guided imagery, where you form mental pictures or situations that you find relaxing.

It is commonly led by a guide, and practitioners are encouraged to use as many senses as possible to evoke calmness.

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Learning To Be Charismatic

Charisma is about what you say and do as opposed to who you really are as a person. Your subconscious, social cues, physical expression, and the way you treat others all play a part in developin...

Presence As A Charisma Tool

Presence is necessary for charisma and it’s all about being truly engaged with others and showing them that they have your complete attention. Without presence, you can come across as just wanting to show off.

Shut down your ego, and pay attention to and focus on every word that others say. 

Develop A Sense Of Confidence

People like confident individuals, even if their other qualities are less attractive. Developing confidence is a balancing act as you don't want to be arrogant, but you also don't want to come across as timid or scared.

Exercising regularly, dressing in clothes that make you feel good, and talking about the things you understand well can help you build and maintain confidence.

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Make small talk

You communicate a genuine interest when you inquire or listen to the small details that make up your partner’s day. It’s those insignificant moments that make up the reality of our lives.

Shared experiences
We feel closer to others when we can talk about the experiences we have in common. 

Words are not necessary for shared feelings to improve a relationship. Just doing something at the same time—riding bikes, watching a movie, or eating dessert, intensifies both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.

Listen carefully
Knowing that you are being heard is one of the experiences most likely to cement a feeling of connection to another. 

Use a technique called “active listening” - a form of listening in which you acknowledge that you understand what is being said. 

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Meditation

It is a practice to control the power of thought and to cultivate more peace, clarity and happiness.

Meditation enables us to move from higher frequency brain waves to lower frequency waves, ...

5 Categories of Brain Waves
  1. Gamma State: (30 - 100Hz) The state of hyperactivity and active learning. 
  2. Beta State: (13 - 30Hz) It is associated with the alert mind state where we function for most of the day.
  3. Alpha State: (9 - 13Hz) Brain waves start to slow down out of thinking mind. We feel more calm and peaceful.
  4. Theta State: (4 - 8Hz) The verbal/thinking mind transitions to the meditative/visual mind.
  5. Delta State: (1-3 Hz) Most of us reach this final state during deep, dreamless sleep.
Breath meditation
  • Sit comfortably in your chair with your shoulders relaxed and spine tall.
  • Place your hands mindfully on your lap.
  • Try to eliminate any stimulus that may distract you.
  • Focus on your breath to slow the brain waves down from Beta or Alpha to the Theta State.
Stop And Breathe

Anxiety is typically experienced as worrying about a future or past event. But anxiety loses its grip when you clear your mind of worry and bring your awareness back to the present.

When a...

A Simple Breathing Technique
  • Sit in a comfortable position.
  • Close your eyes and inhale slowly through your nose.
  • Exhale deeply.
  • Continue to breathe deeply and fully. Allow your breath to be a guide to the present.
  • With each breath in, think to yourself “be” and with each breath out, focus on the word “present. ”
Figure Out What's Bothering You

The physical symptoms of panic and anxiety, such as trembling, chest pain, and rapid heartbeat, are more obvious than the reason you are anxious. But, to get to the root of your anxiety, you need to stop and think about your thoughts and feelings.

Writing all that bothers you or talking with a friend can help you understand your anxious feelings.

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