These Are the Things That Define You – Part One – Journey of Self-discovery

The term “Journey of Self-discovery” refers to a series of events whereby a person attempts to determine how they feel about spiritual issues or priorities, rather than following the opinions of family, friends or peer pressure.

Self-discovery is the capacity of humans to exercise introspection,
The willingness to learn more about their fundamental
nature and purpose.

If the only emotion concepts you recognize are “I feel good” and “I feel bad” you’re not going to be very emotionally healthy. But, if you’re able to distinguish the more specific “I feel alone” from merely “I feel bad” you’re able to deal with the problem.

Examining your life under a microscope can be uncomfortable and gruesome.

You will be grateful for starting the process of self discovery, because rewards unfold when you know more about yourself. Understand how you make improvements to your behavior, thoughts and emotions. Uncovering answers will help peel off layer-by-layer the negative thoughts that have imprinted in your mind. These negative thoughts and beliefs are your obstacles to inner growth.

You’ve probably never thought about learning words as a path to greater emotional health.

Words Seed Your Concepts
Concepts Drive Your Predictions
Predictions Regulate Your Body
Your Body Determines How You Feel.

The greater your vocabulary
the more precisely your brain can calibrate your body’s needs.

People who exhibit higher emotional expression

  • Go to the doctor less frequently
  • Use medication less frequently
  • Spend fewer days hospitalized for illness

[Tweet “The greater your vocabulary, the more precisely your brain can calibrate your body’s needs”]

This insight is directly connected to your relationship with others. Most importantly it’s also connected to our relationship with the Universe (God). What we believe about the Universe (God) and it’s expectations for us is vital to what we believe about ourselves.

Self discovery is not an a one day or a one week affair.

It can take a lifetime of building a relationship with yourself. Note that your inner self is not going to stay constant either. You are evolving all the time. Based on your self discovery at any point in time, you make conscious decisions for changes. Additionally, as you mature, you gain insights that make up the new you.

Self-discovery is about being mindful of who you really are, instead of what culture says you should be.

It is important to ask yourself what you want out of life and work towards it. Aligning with your soul’s’ purpose brings about fulfilment. Without a purpose and direction, you are going to feel like a ship which is going nowhere. I can assure you that if you don’t go through this process of evaluation on what your purpose is, you are going to experience regret while on your deathbed.

You need to confront your emotional issues and weaknesses
because they reveal the separation from the real you.

The real you is authentic, loving and nurturing. The process of self discovery is not just about unearthing nasty stuff about yourself. It is about honoring your strengths and abilities. As you become more aware of what you are good at, you lessen the list on weaknesses.

Learn to forgive yourself.

Negative beliefs tend to invade every aspect of your life. If you have feelings of low self worth, then you are likely to carry them in the relationships you have at home, in the office, with your friends, relatives and loved ones.

You, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. When your outer self is aligned with your inner being, you will feel happy and free!

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Being Brave

5 Ways How To Develop Courage

  • The guy who jumps onto subway tracks to save a stranger with a train approach
  • The clerk who chases down a robber,
  • A passerby stops at an accident site to save victims:

When you hear stories of incredible acts of courage,

Do you wonder, would I do the same?

Some scientists say those risk takers are wired differently, Studies show genetics play a significant role in the willingness to take risks. Recent research finds environmental factors and emotions greatly influence risk-taking behavior too. Other scientists look to brain mechanisms for answers:

“The best things in life are on the other side of fear!”  – Will Smith

Being Brave
Free-Photos / Pixabay

A great example of this situation is explained by Will Smith when he went skydiving. He explained this “The concept of fear” is only present up until the point where he took action. Immediately afterward he was in the moment – after he left the airplane it was pure bliss.

Courage and muscle have a lot in common.

The more they are used them the stronger they become. Neglected they slowly become frail, weak, and atrophied.

 Make a list, a long list of everything thing that scares you and slowly tackle each one by one. Start small and build up. Just like exercising a muscle – exercise your courage. The more often you do so the stronger it will get and the more confidence you will build to tackle bigger and bigger challenges.

Let’s look at some easy ones you can try.

  • The Coffee Shop Challenge – Go to your area coffee shop, place your coffee order, and when you’re ready to pay – Ask them for a 10% discount.
  • The Eye Contact Challenge – While walking in public, make eye contact with the people you pass. Keep eye contact until one of you break it. It’s important that you keep an open/warm/positive expression on your face (you don’t want to look scary or crazy).
  • The Laying Down Challenge – Walk into a crowded place and lay down for 15 – 20 seconds. Do not select a place where you will be a nuisance. If someone asks what you’re doing, just tell them you’re taking a break and collecting your thoughts.
  • The Cold Shower Challenge This is one of my best discoveries:  The last 2 minutes of my shower I turn off all the hot water and blast the cold. It’s something that I do because I feel great afterward. I do it instinctively now, without hesitation or thinking of it, but when I got started I would get really nervous before doing it. On a lesser scale, it’s like that skydiving example – it’s scary before you do it, it’s intense while the cold water is flowing, it’s amazing afterward.

    “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity to act despite our fears.”  –  John McCain

  • Public Speaking Challenge – There the old saying that people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of dying. There are many sources of information across the internet. Why? Because almost everyone has a fear of public speaking. Toast Masters is a great way to practice! 

 

You should definitely find things that make you so nervous that you feel it in the pit of your stomach. The more you practice, the stronger you will become!

Remember:

Being Afraid fear alone
Gallila-Photo / Pixabay

There are many different kinds of courage required in life, and you will hardly find one person who has them all.

Some people are fearless when approaching girls/guys or standing up to bullies. Going to the gym as an overweight person, the safety of a steady salary to become an entrepreneur, quitting an addiction, ending toxic relationships, chasing your dreams etc.l

 Courage isn’t a habit you can form, but a choice you must make that doesn’t get easier each time.               

Now that your path becomes more organized and clear

You will begin to like you.When you begin to like you, you will do what you like.

[Tweet “When you begin to like you, you will do what you like.”]

If you believe in being brave, you will be brave. Just believe and become. But first have a clear mind to focus, remove the things pulling you back.

Scientists don’t know for sure if being courageous is something you’re born with; they also don’t know whether we can target the parts of the brain active in overcoming certain fears. What experts do know is that many different behaviors and traits define a courageous act, some of which can be learned.

[Tweet “Big challenges produce big courage!”]

Practice courage often. Display it by doing and trying different things.  Things Like being unique, or facing a fear. Big challenges produce big courage but small ones every so often maintain its strength.

Do what scares you. Quieting your fear of is putting yourself in the thick of it. Plus, by choosing to face your fear, it gives you a feeling of control.  Believe in your own ability to achieve a goal and a component of courageous acts.

Plan to be brave. Being prepared may help you draw on that reservoir of courage; the moment of indecisiveness is when your emotions come in.”

Remember the why. Courage is more than just facing fear; it involves taking risks for a noble or good cause. Focus on the reason you wanted to take an action to help boost confidence. When that reason is important or morally right, it may be the most encouraging of all.

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Turn Self-Criticism into Self-Confidence

If you value your own progress, you need to learn how to criticize yourself. We are often eager to criticize others, but when it comes to criticizing ourselves we are strangely reluctant.

The art of self criticism is essential to learning from mistakes and gaining an improved perspective on life.

Consider Your Motives

We maybe able to fool other people, but we should never try to fool ourselves. It is important to be aware of our motivation for doing something. For example, are we being kind to someone with selfless motives, or is it being undertaken with an ulterior motive? At times we like to fool ourselves into thinking we are being altruistic, when actually we are acting from the basis of our ego. This is when we need to be self critical because otherwise our mind can trick us into feeling we are a very good person, when actually we are just being selfish. By being aware of this, we can try to reduce the power of the ego in our lives.

Be Honest with Yourself

Self criticism means we have to be honest with our-self. There is no benefit from trying to justify our bad actions. If we can learn to be honest with ourselves our conscience will prevent us from undertaking regrettable actions. Many bad people, will try and find a way of justifying their actions to themselves; this is the danger of not being honest with yourself.

Avoid Excessive Guilt

Self criticism is not easy, but it is a valuable aspect of our self improvement. However, when we criticise our bad actions, it is unhelpful to retain a powerful sense of guilt. Guilt does not help us to improve, it can just make us feel miserable. When we have become aware of wrong thoughts, make a resolution to avoid doing it and then focus on doing the right thing. This is much better than becoming debilitated from guilt.

Don’t Judge Other People by the Same Standards

Often we see a defect in our own behaviour, and we quite rightly want to improve upon it. However, the problem is that, in our eagerness, we can gain an evangelical fervour and seek to proselytise to other people. We want to improve ourself, but, also start to feel others should be making the same change. Stick to self criticism; other people will go at a different pace, and we are not responsible for what others do.

Self Improvement not Self Contempt.

Self criticism does not mean self contempt. We have to draw a careful balance between working at our self improvement and feeling useless and worthless. Remember we are only criticising a certain action and not our self. If we make mistakes no harm; mistakes are an essential part of learning and developing. The important thing is that we are able to learn from our actions. Self criticism should be looked upon as a positive thing, and not a tool for beating ourselves up.

Don’t Let Pride Get in the Way

It is our pride that dislikes being criticised. Our ego likes to believe we are always right and therefore it becomes difficult to examine our inner motives. However, to continue doing the wrong thing from a sense of pride only serves to magnify the existing mistake. If we are reluctant to make some changes because of a false faith in our ego, we will feel a permanent tension. If we can learn to let go of pride, we will gain joy from our own self-improvement.

Know Your Values

It is important to criticise ourselves for the right things. Work out what matters in life. For example, if you fail to meet the expectations of your boss in working overtime, this is not necessarily a thing to be self-critical about. However, if you are letting down your friends by being thoughtless and unkind, this is far more significant; be self-critical about the things that matter.

Invite Suggestions From Others

Quite often we cannot see our faults, even though they maybe glaring to others. In these circumstances, it can be very beneficial to invite criticism from a close friend. This can help us to see faults, that we are just unable or unwilling to be aware of. If you do invite criticism from others, don’t respond by being defensive and aggrieved. Be calm and detached; and see it as an opportunity to learn from the mistakes.

Self Criticism is a Path to Happiness

I feel self criticism is synonymous with self improvement. Self improvement doesn’t mean we just maintain a cheerful disposition; we also have to be able to be reflective and honest about ourselves. It is only when we can impartially judge our motives and actions that we can overcome obstacles and weaknesses. It is in overcoming these weaknesses that we pave the way for long term happiness.

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77 Health Benefits Of Yoga

Over the past several years, yoga has experienced an upsurge in popularity in the western world among medical professionals and celebrities alike. While many associate yoga with new age mysticism or the latest fad at the gym, yoga is actually an ancient practice that connects the mind, body, and spirit through body poses, controlled breathing, and meditation. The practice of yoga has many health benefits associated with it, so read below to discover 77 benefits of incorporating yoga in to your or your patient’s fitness program.

Health Benefits Within

From lowering blood pressure to increasing pain tolerance, the following health benefits can all be discovered within the body.

  1. Blood pressure. A consistent yoga practice decreases blood pressure through better circulation and oxygenation of the body.
  2. Pulse rate. A slower pulse rate indicates that your heart is strong enough to pump more blood with fewer beats. Regularly practicing yoga provides a lower pulse rate.
  3. Circulation. Yoga improves blood circulation. By transporting nutrients and oxygen throughout your body, yoga practice provides healthier organs, skin, and brain.
  4. Respiratory. Like the circulatory system, a lower respiratory rate indicates that the lungs are working more efficiently. Yoga decreases the respiratory rate through a combination of controlled breathing exercises and better fitness.
  5. Cardiovascular endurance. A combination of lower heart rate and improved oxygenation to the body (both benefits of yoga) results in higher cardiovascular endurance.
  6. Organs. Yoga practice massages internal organs, thus improving the ability of the body to prevent disease. Additionally, an experienced yoga practitioner becomes better attuned to her body to know at first sign if something isn’t functioning properly, thereby allowing for quicker response to head off disease.
  7. Gastrointestinal. Gastrointestinal functions have been shown to improve in both men and women who practice yoga.
  8. Immunity. Yoga practice has frequently been correlated with a stronger immune system.
  9. Pain. Pain tolerance is much higher among those who practice yoga regularly. In addition to pain tolerance, some instances of chronic pain, such as back pain, are lessened or eliminated through yoga (see below for more on back pain).
  10. Metabolism. Having a balanced metabolism results in maintaining a healthy weight and controlling hunger. Consistent yoga practice helps find the balance and creates a more efficient metabolism.

Health Benefits Without

Just as many health benefits occur within the body, there are many benefits that can actually be experienced from without the body. From better sleep to more energy and strength, this list provides several benefits found on the outside of the body.

  1. Aging. Yoga stimulates the detoxification process within the body. Detoxification has been shown to delay aging, among many other health benefits.
  2. Posture. The very nature of yoga teaches the practitioner how to hold and control one’s body in a more healthful position. Through consistent practice, your posture will improve so that you look more confident and healthy.
  3. Strength. One of the premises of yoga is that you are using the weight of your own body for overall strength. Find out more about how yoga works as an excellent method of strength training in this article.
  4. Energy. Regular yoga practice provides consistent energy. In fact, most yogis state that when you perform your yoga correctly, you will feel energized after your yoga session rather than tired.
  5. Weight. The benefits of a better metabolism along with the exercise of yoga work to keep your weight in check. Additionally, the stretching of muscles longwise helps to reduce the amount of cellulite that can build around muscles.
  6. Sleep. Because of the many benefits to both body and mind that a yoga routine can provide, many find that their sleep is much better. Read here for more on sleep and yoga, as well as some positions for helping induce sleep.
  7. Balance. An integral part of the yoga practice is balance and control over your body. With a consistent practice, you will find that your overall balance will improve outside the yoga class.
  8. Integrated function of the body. Yoga is derived from Sanskrit and means “to join together and direct one’s attention.” This is exactly what happens to your body after you start practicing yoga. Yogis find that their body works together much better, resulting in more graceful and efficient body movements.
  9. Body Awareness: Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. You are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body. This can lead to improved posture and greater self-confidence.
  10. Core strength. With a strong body core, you receive better posture and overall body strength. A strong core helps heal and reduce injuries. This is why a lot of athletes do yoga as cross training (boxersMMA fighters, etc). Read how this swimmer uses yoga to strengthen her core and improve her swimming.
  11. Sexuality. Yoga can improve your sexuality through better control, more relaxation, and more self-confidence. Read more about the yoga and sexuality connection here.

Emotional Health Benefits

Due to the strong mind-body connection of yoga, there are many emotional benefits to be gained from a consistent yoga practice. Find out how yoga can help improve emotional health with this list.

  1. Mood. Overall well-being improves with yoga practice. The combination of creating a strong mind-body connection, creating a healthy body, and focusing inward can all lead to improvement in your mood.
  2. Stress Reduction. The concentration required during yoga practice tends to focus your attention on the matter at hand, thereby reducing the emphasis you may have been putting on the stress in your life.
  3. Anxiety. One benefit to the controlled breathing used in yoga is a reduction in anxiety. Learn more about how you can use yoga breathing to reduce your anxiety.
  4. DepressionSome believe the negative feelings that you may be repressing are brought to the surface during some types of yoga exercise. When this happens, the negative energy is no longer stuck within you, but released through exercise. Regularly releasing this negativity leads to a reduction of depression in many people.
  5. Self-acceptance. Focusing inward and realizing through your yoga practice that perfection is not the goal, self-acceptance begins to take over.
  6. Self-control. The controlled movements of yoga teach you how to translate that self-control to all aspects of your life.
  7. Mind-body connection. Few other exercises offer the same mind-body connection that yoga does. As you match your controlled breathing with the movements of your body, you retrain your mind to find that place of calm and peace that long-time yogis know.
  8. Positive outlook on life. Continued practice of yoga results in a balance of many hormones and nervous system, which brings about a more stable, positive approach to life.
  9. Hostility. Most yogis report a huge reduction in the amount of hostility they feel as well as a sense of control when anger flares. This calm effect is likely from the relaxation and meditation that is incorporated in their yoga practice that leads to an overall calming of the nervous system. Less hostility means lower blood pressure and stress and a healthier approach to life.
  10. Concentration. Researchers have shown that as little as eight weeks of yoga practice can result in better concentration and more motivation.
  11. Memory. Improved blood circulation to the brain as well as the reduction in stress and improved focus results in a better memory.
  12. Attention. The attention required in yoga to maintain the structured breathing in conjunction with yoga poses sharpens the ability to keep a sharp focus on tasks.
  13. Social skills. In yoga, you learn the interconnectedness of all of life. Your yoga practice soon evolves from a personal journey to one connecting to to the community at large where your social skills improve along with your yoga practice.
  14. Calmness. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing calmness. Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as watching how you breathe and disengagement from your thoughts, which help calm the mind.

Body Chemistry

Several aspects of body chemistry such as glucose levels and red blood cells are affected by yoga. Learn how you can improve your body chemistry through yoga.

  1. Cholesterol. Yoga practice lowers cholesterol through increased blood circulation and burning fat. Yoga practice is a great tool to fight against harmful cholesterol levels.
  2. Lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system boosts your immunity and reduces toxins in your body. The only way to get your lymphatic system flowing well is by movement. The specific movements involved in yoga are particularly well-suited for promoting a strong lymphatic system.
  3. Glucose. There is evidence to suggest that yoga may lower blood glucose levels.
  4. Sodium. As does any good exercise program, yoga reduces the sodium levels in your body. In today’s world of processed and fast foods that are full of sodium, lessening these levels is a great idea.
  5. Endocrine functions. Practicing yoga helps to regulate and control hormone secretion. An improved endocrine system keeps hormones in balance and promotes better overall physical and emotional health.
  6. Triglycerides. Triglycerides are the chemical form of fat in the blood, and elevated levels can indicate a risk for heart disease and high blood pressure. A recent study shows that yoga can lead to “significantly lower” levels of triglycerides. Read more about the results of that study here.
  7. Red blood cells. Yoga has been shown to increase the level of red blood cells in the body. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen through the blood, and too few can result in anemia and low energy.
  8. Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps boost immunity, helps produce collagen, and is a powerful antioxidant; and a yoga regimen can increase the vitamin C in your body.

Exercise Health Benefits

As a form of exercise, yoga offers benefits that are sometimes not easily found among other exercise regimens. Check out these reasons to include yoga in your or your patient’s health program.

  1. Low risk of injury. Due to the low impact of yoga and the controlled aspect of the motions, there is a very low risk of injury during yoga practice compared to other forms of exercise.
  2. Parasympathetic Nervous System. In many forms of exercise, the sympathetic nervous system kicks in, providing you with that fight-or-flight sensation. Yoga does the opposite and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic system lowers blood pressure and slows the pace of your breathing, which allows relaxation and healing.
  3. Muscle tone. Consistently practicing yoga leads to better muscle tone.
  4. Subcortex. Subcortical regions of brain are associated with well-being, and yoga is thought to dominate the subcortex rather than the cortex (where most exercise dominates).
  5. Reduced oxygen consumption. Yoga consumes less oxygen than traditional exercise routines, thereby allowing the body to work more efficiently.
  6. Breathing. With yoga, breathing is more natural and controlled during exercise. This type of breathing provides more oxygen-rich air for your body and also provides more energy with less fatigue.
  7. Balanced workout of opposing muscle groups. As with all of yoga, balance is key. If a muscle group is worked in one direction, it will also be worked in the opposite direction to maintain balance. This balance results in a better overall workout for the body.
  8. Non-competitive. The introspective and self-building nature of yoga removes any need of competition in the exercise regimen. With the lack of competition, the yogi is free to work slowly to avoid any undue injury as well as promote a more balanced and stress-free workout.
  9. Joint range of motion. A study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine indicated that joint range of motion was improved by participants who practiced yoga.
  10. Eye-hand coordination. Without practice, eye-hand coordination diminishes. Yoga maintains and improves eye-hand coordination.
  11. Dexterity. The strong mind-body connection and flexibility gained from yoga leads to grace and skill.
  12. Reaction timeResearch done in India shows that reaction time can be improved with specific yoga breathing exercises in conjunction with an already established yoga practice. The improvement was attributed to the faster rate of processing and improved concentration gained from yoga.
  13. Endurance. Working the entire body, yoga improves endurance and is frequently used by endurance athletes as a supplement to their sport-specific training.
  14. Depth perception. Becoming aware of your body and how it moves, as one does in yoga practice, leads to increased depth perception.

Disease Prevention

Doctors and nurses love yoga because studies indicate that it can help prevent the following diseases.

  1. Heart disease. Yoga reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, keeps off weight, and improves cardiovascular health, all of which lead to reducing your risk of heart disease.
  2. Osteoporosis. It is well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps prevent osteoporosis. Additionally, yoga’s ability to lower levels of cortisol may help keep calcium in the bones.
  3. Alzheimer’s. A new study indicates that yoga can help elevate brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels. Low GABA levels are associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s. Meditation like that practiced in yoga has also been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
  4. Type II diabetes. In addition to the glucose reducing capabilities of yoga, it is also an excellent source of physical exercise and stress reduction that, along with the potential for yoga to encourage insulin productionin the pancreas, can serve as an excellent preventative for type II diabetes.

Symptom Reduction or Alleviation

Medical professionals have learned that the following diseases or disorders can all be helped by maintaining a yoga practice.

  1. Carpal tunnel syndrome. Individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome who practiced yoga showed greater improvement than those who wore a splint or received no treatment at all. Researchers saw improved grip strength and reduction of pain in the study participants.
  2. Asthma. There is some evidence to show that reducing symptoms of asthma and even reduction in asthma medication are the result of regular yoga.
  3. Arthritis. The slow, deliberate movement of yoga poses coupled with the gentle pressure exerted on the joints provides an excellent exercise to relieve arthritis symptoms. Also, the stress relief associated with yoga loosens muscles that tighten joints.
  4. Multiple sclerosis. According to this article, “yoga is now recognized as an excellent means of MS management.” Additionally, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is funding a clinical trial of yoga for treating multiple sclerosis.
  5. Cancer. Those fighting or recovering from cancer frequently take advantage of the benefits that yoga provides. Cancer patients who practice yoga gain strength, raise red blood cells, experience less nausea during chemotherapy, and have a better overall well-being.
  6. Muscular dystrophy. Using yoga in the early stages of muscular dystrophy can help return some physical functions. The practice of Pranayam yoga helped one teen regain many of his abilities lost to muscular dystrophy. Learn more in this article.
  7. Migraines. Regular yoga practice has been shown to reduce the number of migraines in chronic migraine sufferers. This post describes how yoga can reduce migraines.
  8. Scoliosis. Yoga can straighten the curvature of the spine associated with scoliosis. Find out how this yogi cured her scoliosis and continues to help others as well.
  9. Chronic bronchitis. Exercise that does not elevate respiration, yet increase oxygen levels in the body is ideal for treating chronic bronchitis. Luckily, yoga can do this, as well as aerate the lungs and provide energy.
  10. Epilepsy. Focusing on stress reduction, breathing, and restoring overall balance in the body are the focus of how yoga can help prevent epileptic seizures.
  11. Sciatica. The intense pain associated with sciatica can be alleviated with specific yoga poses. Here are 10 great ones to help relieve pain.
  12. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Studies of people with OCD have shown that practicing yoga has lead to a reduction in symptoms–resulting in less medication or medication no longer needed.
  13. Constipation. Due to the practice of yoga and overall better posture, the digestive and elimination systems work more efficiently. If the practitioner also has a healthy diet, any constipation will be eliminated through yoga.
  14. Allergies. Using a neti pot to clear the sinuses is an ancient form of yoga to help reduce or eliminate allergy symptoms. Certain types of breathing can also help clear the nasal passages.
  15. Menopause. Yoga practice can help control some of the side effects of menopause.
  16. Back pain. Yoga reduces spinal compression and helps overall body alignment to reduce back pain. Find a yoga pose to help lessen back pain here.

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