Breaking Bad Habits – Mindfulness Changes Your Brain

Breaking Bad Habits – Mindfulness Changes Your Brain

Habits

One of the greatest developments in contemporary psychiatry and behavioural psychology is the knowledge that the mind and the brain are in fact two separate things and that with the power of your awareness you can change the structure and the chemistry of your own brain.

With the knowledge that you can use mindfulness to rewire your brain, the treatment of behavioural disorders and mental illnesses like obsessive-compulsive disorder, (a debilitating mental illness that is a result of faulty brain circuitry) can now be undone and managed in a way that may no longer require the use of pharmaceuticals.

There is still so much to be learned on the illnesses of the mind, so much so, that contemporary psychiatry is at least 100 years behind general medicine. Research into mental illness has shown that in 30 years there has been no improvement in the use of pharmacology for the treatment of anxiety and depression, mood disorders or addiction and human happiness has not improved either.

 

Breaking Bad Habits

The more often you repeat a behaviour the stronger the urge to do it again becomes, this is because you are strengthening the neurological pathways that connect the impulse to the action in the brain.  If you stop feeding the impulse the urge will eventually die.

The compulsion to repeat negative behaviours usually proceeds an uncomfortable sensation in the body. Uncomfortable feelings are the result of your body releasing chemicals and hormones that make you feel intense sensations of uneasiness, stress, fear, panic or anxiety. Our natural response to these sensations is to make them go away as soon as possible.

Becoming aware of your feelings and understanding that the physical discomfort you are experiencing is short-lived will help you to overcome the need to feed your beast. Uncomfortable sensations and emotions are a part of being a human and knowing that they come and go will help you to reduce their impact on your life.

Once you are aware of the sensations and emotions that drive your behaviour you can begin inserting a positive action, consciously and lovingly when they occur, actively reframing your focus and rewiring your brain.
Suggested interventions that are simple and effective at the time the negative or intense feelings arise could be; having a glass of water, taking a walk, jumping up and down or practising a breathing exercise.

Giving yourself this little bit of space between the impulse and the action will draw light on your ability to navigate the mind away from your brain. The space created helps you to unlock the brain from the mind and dissolve the patterns that are embedded into your psyche.

Top Tips For Making Changes

  • Recognise the sensation the impulse creates in your body – normally negative impulses make your body feel tight and constricted and good ones make you feel open and relaxed.
  • Make the choice to sit through uncomfortable sensations for 90 seconds
  • Make a plan – have a strategy in place for when urges arise for example – when you want to eat chocolate consciously have a glass of water instead so that over time when you have the impulse to eat chocolate your action will be to drink a glass of water.
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness – becoming attuned to your inner self, thoughts, feelings and emotions will help you tackle pre-programmed habits that no longer serve your greater purpose in life.
  • Positivity practices like mantra and mindfulness help to repattern the brain as you manually and thoughtful train yourself to be kind, compassionate, self-loving and aware.
  • Mediation and yoga help you to relax and refocus the mind away from the negative and reframe it to the positive, this repeated practice helps to strengthen the positive pathways in your brain and weaken the negative ones.
  • Deep breathing exercises help you to rebalance and refocus the mind and body and reduce the stress hormones that generate uncomfortable feelings.

Dr Joan Rosenberg | TEDxSantaBarbara

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKy19WzkPxE&t=690s

Uncomfortable Feelings Are Short-lived

The urge to repeat a behaviour – or the compulsion only lasts approximately 90 seconds according to Dr Joan Rosenberg a clinical psychologist and motivational speaker.

Dr Rosenberg has the formula to help people with deal with uncomfortable sensations and feelings which she calls the “Rosenberg Reset” – it is 3 steps to approaching uncomfortable feelings:

Step 1. Making a choice

Step 2. Dealing with the 8 uncomfortable feelings

Step 3. 90 Seconds of separation – meaning waiting out the feelings for a minute and a half.

She says the key to happiness and success is our ability to manage uncomfortable feelings and also make accurate and meaningful decisions moment to moment.

Dr Jeffrey M Schwartz ‘You are not your brain’ at Mind & Its Potential 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcrGlUHlu4M&t=1480s&list=PL9uvtvecXuuD8zWM_rpxIccJRmzYfjJa1&index=3

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. is an American psychiatrist and researcher in the field of neuroplasticity and its application to obsessive-compulsive disorder. His research has significantly impacted the treatment of serious compulsive disorders like OCD and confirms that contemplative practices like yoga and meditation change the brain.

In his 20 years of research into the compulsive disorders of the mind, DR. Schwartz confirmed that the mind – the immaterial can change the material meaning that the adage ‘Mind over Matter’ is on point. It confirms that our self actually exists beyond the physical body and is an intelligence that is unseen and immaterial, yet very real.

You are not your body but a spiritual being inhabiting the body just got very real.

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

Tears of Shiva – The Beads to Enlightenment

Tears of Shiva – The Beads to Enlightenment

The Tears of Shiva

Yoga is a philosophy and science of the mind, and it’s teaching are tens of thousands of years old. The Vedas are said to be the earliest written spiritual text known to a man still controversy overshadows the authorship and origin. No one source can clarify how old the Vedas are or even who wrote them, thought to have always existed, the speculated age is 12,000 years old.

Woven to the fabric of the worlds oldest living philosophy are stories, allegories, and metaphors in creation of the universe, the values and ethics of humanity and the theory of our origin and our journey to guided emancipation.

Rudraksha – Tears of Shiva

Rudraksha – Tears of Shiva
The name Rudrā is one of 1008 names of the Hindu deity Shiva and the word Akśa means tears in Sanskrit. After 1000 years of meditation, tears began to fall from the eyes of Shiva in compassion for humanity, and the tears became the Rudraksha Tree.

It is said in the Rudraksha Upanishad (an ancient Hindu text that is included in the Vedas, humanities oldest spiritual and philosophical book), that those who wear the Rudraksha close to the skin will absolve their sins.

The Rudrakśha Upaniśhat is one of the 108 scriptures of the Upanishad, (which are the final scriptures of the Vedas), and it says that even uttering the name itself – “Rudraksha” holds pranic and Karmic merit and wearing the beads is akin to wearing the sacred ash, Bhasma.

 

The name Rudrā is one of 1008 names of the Hindu deity Shiva and the word Akśa means tears in Sanskrit. After 1000 years of meditation tears began to fall from the eyes of Shiva in compassion for mankind, the tears became the Rudraksha Tree.

Rudraksha Mala

Rudraksha is the small earth coloured seeds that sometimes resemble an apricot kernel worn on the necks and wrists of practising yogis, spiritualist and fashionistas alike. Wearing a wreath or mala (garland) of beads is popular among western spiritualists. The mala is meant to protect you from bad vibes, balance your karmic debts and enhance your psychic powers.

The beads are strung together into a mala, (wreath) of 108 beads + 1, or 111 +1 depending on your sources. There are some texts that state in the time of Kaliyuga – which is now – 111 beads are worn. (The plus 1 accounts for the guru bead and is not included in the mantra or prayer count). Japamala is the practice of using beads in mantra, meditation and prayer. The user sits quietly and work thumb and middle finger across each bead in a clockwise direction, one mantra for each bead.

Mala can be made of other organic materials that include lava, mineral rocks and semi-precious stones, precious metals, bone, shells, pearl and wood. Different organic compounds compose different resonant frequencies – just like a medical prescription, different compounds suit different needs. But it is the Rudraksha, and Tulsi beads that remain the favourite amongst Sadhus, Yogis, devotees of Shiva and aesthetics.

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Not All Beads Created Equal

The Rudraksha plant itself is a very potent healing plant, (Ayurvedic Medicine), the seeds, berries, bark, leaves, and even ash are used to treat inflammatory diseases, measles, dermal problems and skin rashes, mumps, measles, schizophrenia and cancer. There are 360 species of Rudraksha found across Australasia, and 25 are unique to India alone. The different strains appear to have various medicinal properties, as well as a different energetic and spiritual value.

The value of the beads is given based on their Mukhi – the number of individual segments counted inside the seeds. The number influences how the beads work and their spiritual value. The number of Mukhi range from 1 up to 27, 1 being the rarest. Single Mukhi Rudraksha is of the highest importance and is meant to enhance your spiritual development. The warning to someone who wears the single Mukhi is they are likely to renounce all worldly possessions and leave his family within seven days.

Rudraksha beads also have the ability to determine the difference between negative and positive energy and can tell if water has been contaminated and is undrinkable. Sadguru demonstrates this in the online video posted here. There are other mystical qualities that set the Rudraksha beads apart from other types of Mala Beads including the electromagnetic properties of the seeds and the the ayurvedic quality they poses.

For the beads to work, they need to be activated, which means you somehow switch them from inert compounds to active and receptive to the wearer and the mantra they have chosen. It might be the same as when you buy activated grains or Vitamin B12, I think!?.

You can buy activated  Rudraksha mala online or buy them directly from stores, suppliers and even gurus in India (if you go there). I am not too sure how one would know what qualifies for fraudulent or counterfeit beads, I guess only a true Yogi can understand that.

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

The views and opinions in the supplied source material, including videos are independent of Horatio’s Jar and platforms content is provided on.

We do not hold responsibility for their accuracy.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

The Yogic Breath

The Yogic Breath

The Yogic Breath

The yogic breath is a breathing activity that extends upon the diaphragmatic breath.
Learning deep breathing which incorporates visualisation and rhythm helps to focus the mind, increase concentration and develop the ability to extend the length of the breath. 

In this pranayama activity, we move the breath from the lowest point of the spine to the highest point in six counts. The yogic breath is a deeply relaxing activity that helps to strengthen mind-body connection and trains you to stay focused and present.

To learn how to perform the Diaphragmatic Breath click here.

Tips and Tricks

  • After establishing a smooth and rhythmic diaphragm breath practice, begin to extend the length of your breath to a 3 part yogic breath. Once you are able to complete a 3 part breath then graduate to the 6 part breath.
  • Aim to keep the breath smooth and relaxed as you work your way up and down the spine.
  • This breath is best performed sitting or standing in a straight position with the shoulders relaxed and the spine straight.
  • Try this activity for at least 10 minutes for the best results.

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

The views and opinions in the supplied source material, including videos are independent of Horatio’s Jar or the platform that this content is provided on.

We provide resources that are selected on their relevance and authenticity.

We, however, do not necessarily hold responsibility for their accuracy.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

I’m Dying For A Hug

I’m Dying For A Hug

I’m Dying For A Hug

We live a time that has been defined by its scholars as the loneliest civilisation in human history.
With the advances in communication and the standard of living it’s highest in all recorded history, you would think this could not possibly be true, but it is.

A Breed of Selfishness

Intimacy is so crucial to the development and the survival of the human species, it sets up the framework to the health and development of our entire neurobiological system. Intimacy, physical contact, facial mimicry and emotional validation impact the structure of your brain and how well your cells will function.

The more reciprocal physical connections you have the lower your risk is of developing a stress-related illness. You will live longer, get sick less often and feel as though your life has more meaning. 

It is not new news that the smartphone has decimated our social structures and chemical bonds – since 2012 the rate of youth suicide has risen exponentially; along with heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and of course the basket of mental illnesses associated to loneliness and stress.

As we look at the hiking statistics of human unhappiness and mental illness it can’t be overlooked that one of the major contributors is the lack of social interactions. Social and emotional isolation and the poor quality of our already established relationships has crippled our health and wellbeing.

 So why is it we can’t stop taking selfies and talk to our friends in person?

Some of the answers can be found in the research and analytics surrounding the study of narcissism and self-entitlement over the last 20 years. It appears we may be losing the skills to interact empathetically and compassionately.

The narcissism epidemic – ABC Radio National

Lynn Malcolm – 21 December 2014

Are we in the midst of a narcissism epidemic?  Attention seeking behaviour, the need to stand out, an increased focus on image, fame and money seem to be on the rise. Researchers from the U.S. have found that young people’s average scores against the Narcissistic Personality Inventory are significantly higher than in previous generations. We explore the causes, symptoms and possible solutions to this growing trend of self-obsession.

https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/the-narcissism-epidemic/5867720#transcript

Are smartphones causing more teen suicides?

Increases in depression and suicide appeared among teens in 2012 – the same time smartphone ownership became the norm

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/24/smartphone-teen-suicide-mental-health-depression

EVEN JUST THE PRESENCE OF A SMARTPHONE LOWERS THE QUALITY OF IN-PERSON CONVERSATIONS

New research finds having a mobile device within easy reach divides your attention, even if you’re not actively looking at it.

https://psmag.com/social-justice/presence-smart-phone-lowers-quality-person-conversations-85805

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

Mantra Part 1 – The Philosophy of Mind

Mantra Part 1 – The Philosophy of Mind

MANTRA – Part 1

The great minds of philosophy, science, mysticism and inquiry of past and present have acknowledged that the world you exist in and the experiences you have are of your own creation. The people in your life, your job, your mind, body and the places you live in are all designed by you. Your thoughts, actions, beliefs and behaviours are what shapes your reality and with the right insight and skills, you can develop your potential to design your own life.

By Emily Rack –
Realising you have the potential to reshape your existence is one thing, knowing how to do it is another, with so much work to be done where would you even begin?…

According to one of the great minds of modern psychology Carl Jung, the experiences, relationships, successes and failures that you encounter are deliberately created out of your own subconscious mind. The people in your life and the experiences you have are all a result of patterns of thinking and behaviour that impact the environment around you and what you see and experience is an extension of your unconscious self.

Another great philosophical mind of the 21st Century, Eckhart Tolle said his spiritual awakening arose out of the self-made statement – “I can not live with myself anymore”. He said this to himself in a depressive episode, and as he said it he then reflected on the statement and realised that ‘I’ and ‘Self’ were two separate things, and from there he was able to untangle his mind-made self, (the depressive suicidal version with the polarised negative outlook) from his true identity – which he calls the watcher or the awareness.

Eckhart realised that his whole reality was being shaped by unconscious beliefs and self-made dialogue and was all in fact fictitious. This meant every experience he was having was being generated out of his thoughts, including his identity and with that he transformed into the spiritual master we know today.

Mantra Part 2 …

Coming to realise that the thoughts in your head are not really your own and that they exist as a never-ending stream of consciousness means you have the potential to tune out of them at will. According to many great minds of science and philosophy, you attract the thoughts that you have based on the frequency or the energy you emit.

So from here, it would be clear that your very first step would be to discover what is in your mind, how to change the channel and discover where your energy goes. As
they say where your awareness goes your energy flows.

Until next time …

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

Habits – How Changing Your Habits Can Rewire Your Brain

Habits – How Changing Your Habits Can Rewire Your Brain

Habits

One of the greatest developments in contemporary psychiatry and behavioural psychology is the knowledge that the mind and the brain are in fact two separate things and that with the power of your awareness you can change the structure and the chemistry of your own brain.

With the knowledge that you can use mindfulness to rewire your brain, the treatment of behavioural disorders and mental illnesses like obsessive-compulsive disorder, (a debilitating mental illness that is a result of faulty brain circuitry) can now be undone and managed in a way that may no longer require the use of pharmaceuticals.

There is still so much to be learned on the illnesses of the mind, so much so, that contemporary psychiatry is at least 100 years behind general medicine. Research into mental illness has shown that in 30 years there has been no improvement in the use of pharmacology for the treatment of anxiety and depression, mood disorders or addiction and human happiness has not improved either.

 

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Compulsive disorders like Terrets, OCD, ADD, ADHD and hoarding are really no different to gambling addictions, alcoholism, drug addiction, overspending and overeating: in the sense that they all promote the chemical release of Dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter that is responsible for creating the sensation of pleasure in the body. 

The dopamine centre in the brain is embedded with the habit centre that is why actions that trigger the reward centre (where dopamine is made) in the brain are more likely to be repeated. Behaviours that trigger a larger release of dopamine in the brain are easy to make and very difficult to break.

Habits are formed when you repeat a behaviour over and over until it eventually becomes wired in. Once programmed into your brain the behaviour becomes automatic and you become unaware of it. Learning your timetables, a song, or how to walk home from school are all consciously programmed habits that eventually become automatic.

Other habits can be formed involuntarily or compulsively as a result of unconscious behavioural problems, emotional and chemical imbalances in the brain or the impulse to avoid uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Compulsive overeating, overspending, drug use, gambling and other self-sabotaging behaviours are related to avoiding uncomfortable sensations in the body.

Unwanted thoughts and the compulsive need to perform a ritual behaviour like handwashing, counting, checking and ticking (repetitive movements) are all part of the need to alleviate the uncomfortable feelings that can arise from the faulty circuitry and leaky chemistry inside your head. People with OCD that have intrusive thoughts will continue to repeat the thought with the idea that thinking it and checking on it will make it go away, but instead of it dissipating, it just strengthens the desire to repeat it.

These behavioural loops are absolutely debilitating and can keep people from becoming who they want to be. Some loops are so extreme that people with these illnesses cannot live normal lives, form proper relationships or even leave their house. The inability to break the loop is described as a ‘Brain Lock’ by Dr Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. an American psychiatrist that has spent over 20 years of research in the fields of neuropsychology and neuroplasticity. Through his research into compulsive illnesses, he has discovered that these ‘Brains Locks’ can be undone with mindfulness and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).

Stop Feeding The Beast – Breaking Bad Habits

The more often you repeat a behaviour the stronger the urge to do it again becomes, this is because you are strengthening the neurological pathways that connect the impulse to the action in the brain.  If you stop feeding the impulse the urge will eventually die.

The compulsion to repeat negative behaviours usually proceeds an uncomfortable sensation in the body. Uncomfortable feelings are the result of your body releasing chemicals and hormones that make you feel intense sensations of uneasiness, stress, fear, panic or anxiety. Our natural response to these sensations is to make them go away as soon as possible.

Becoming aware of your feelings and understanding that the physical discomfort you are experiencing is short-lived will help you to overcome the need to feed your beast. Uncomfortable sensations and emotions are a part of being a human and knowing that they come and go will help you to reduce their impact on your life.

Once you are aware of the sensations and emotions that drive your behaviour you can begin inserting a positive action, consciously and lovingly when they occur, actively reframing your focus and rewiring your brain.
Suggested interventions that are simple and effective at the time the negative or intense feelings arise could be; having a glass of water, taking a walk, jumping up and down or practising a breathing exercise.

Giving yourself this little bit of space between the impulse and the action will draw light on your ability to navigate the mind away from your brain. The space created helps you to unlock the brain from the mind and dissolve the patterns that are embedded into your psyche.

Top Tips For Killing the Beast

  • Recognise the sensation the impulse creates in your body – normally negative impulses make your body feel tight and constricted and good ones make you feel open and relaxed.
  • Make the choice to sit through uncomfortable sensations for 90 seconds
  • Make a plan – have a strategy in place for when urges arise for example – when you want to eat chocolate consciously have a glass of water instead so that over time when you have the impulse to eat chocolate your action will be to drink a glass of water.
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness – becoming attuned to your inner self, thoughts, feelings and emotions will help you tackle pre-programmed habits that no longer serve your greater purpose in life.
  • Positivity practices like mantra and mindfulness help to repattern the brain as you manually and thoughtful train yourself to be kind, compassionate, self-loving and aware.
  • Mediation and yoga help you to relax and refocus the mind away from the negative and reframe it to the positive, this repeated practice helps to strengthen the positive pathways in your brain and weaken the negative ones.
  • Deep breathing exercises help you to rebalance and refocus the mind and body and reduce the stress hormones that generate uncomfortable feelings.

Dr Joan Rosenberg | TEDxSantaBarbara

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKy19WzkPxE&t=690s

Uncomfortable Feelings Are Short-lived

The urge to repeat a behaviour – or the compulsion only lasts approximately 90 seconds according to Dr Joan Rosenberg a clinical psychologist and motivational speaker.

Dr Rosenberg has the formula to help people with deal with uncomfortable sensations and feelings which she calls the “Rosenberg Reset” – it is 3 steps to approaching uncomfortable feelings:

Step 1. Making a choice

Step 2. Dealing with the 8 uncomfortable feelings

Step 3. 90 Seconds of separation – meaning waiting out the feelings for a minute and a half.

She says the key to happiness and success is our ability to manage uncomfortable feelings and also make accurate and meaningful decisions moment to moment.

Dr Jeffrey M Schwartz ‘You are not your brain’ at Mind & Its Potential 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcrGlUHlu4M&t=1480s&list=PL9uvtvecXuuD8zWM_rpxIccJRmzYfjJa1&index=3

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. is an American psychiatrist and researcher in the field of neuroplasticity and its application to obsessive-compulsive disorder. His research has significantly impacted the treatment of serious compulsive disorders like OCD and confirms that contemplative practices like yoga and meditation change the brain.

In his 20 years of research into the compulsive disorders of the mind, DR. Schwartz confirmed that the mind – the immaterial can change the material meaning that the adage ‘Mind over Matter’ is on point. It confirms that our self actually exists beyond the physical body and is an intelligence that is unseen and immaterial, yet very real.

You are not your body but a spiritual being inhabiting the body just got very real.

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved