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Increasing your activity level for one day is a great start, but the most powerful benefits will come from consistency. Once you get moving, how do you keep moving, day after day, week after week? Here are five ways to reap the long-term benefits of a more active lifestyle: Keep a journal. Write down what your thoughts and feelings were like before, during, and after exercising. Write about any improvements you feel in your body, attitude, or emotions. You can also journal about any new thoughts you had during or after exercising--after all, we know that exercise is linked with creativity and problem solving, so you never know what hopeful, helpful ideas you might discover. Be consistent. Especially as you get started, remember that consistency is more important than intensity. As you gain strength in your body and mind, you may naturally want to increase the intensity of your workouts. In the beginning, however, make consistency your number one goal, and the rest will follow. Eye contact immediately tells someone a lot about who you are, what you expect out of a conversation and much more. Think about it. When you look at someone and they immediately turn their eyes away, you know instantly that they are shy or trying to hide something. How you interpret that depends on a lot of other circumstances, but you know a lot about their internal state by the flicker of their eyes. It works in both directions. If you want to be read in a certain way, you need to use eye contact to your benefit. Look people in the eye when you want to get their attention, smile - David Duncan (www.hodu.com) when you want to show them you're interested in talking and look away when you'd rather not discuss something. The human smile is a singularly expressive gesture matched by only a handful of other members of the animal kingdom. With the flex and twinge of our facial muscles we can display hundreds of emotions instantly to anyone we meet. I generally recommend that you smile at everyone you meet as much as possible.

Don't smile constantly, but rather when it is called for in a conversation or after an interesting or funny comment, but also avoid sombre, frowning looks. Stand straight up and hold your body in a position that will convey strength and power to the people you meet. Hold your shoulders back, your neck up, your back straight and keep your gestures open and inviting. Not only is there a subconscious link to the idea of "power" that we translate as confidence, but you'll look more interesting and engaging than if you were curled up in a ball. People who hunch over with shoulders down and head pointed at the ground look sicklier than they do friendly - it doesn't work to engage people in conversation. Open body language is one of the most powerful tools for conveying your intentions to a room packed with strangers. And your arms and legs are the fulcrums of this conversation. If you hold your arms crossed over you abdomen, the message is that of discomfort. You're trying to close up and hold back. Instead, keep your body language open and most of all relaxed to convey that you're interested in what's being said at all times. In the 1980s and 1990s, a number of therapists were proclaiming that victims often repress childhood sexual abuse, and that these memories could be recalled by hypnosis and other suggestive techniques. These therapists believed that if a memory could not be recalled, the person must have repressed it to protect herself from an emotionally overwhelming event. They also thought that when an unpleasant memory is buried from a person's consciousness, the emotions attached to the memory can bubble up and cause havoc in her day-to-day life. To deal with these problems, the therapists thought the memories must be recovered. A variety of methods have been used to recover these so-called lost memories. Therapists put people under hypnosis, asked them to visually imagine the event, and asked a number of suggestive and leading questions. They also had their clients read books on recovered memories, watch videotapes of talk shows on recovered memories, and participate in group counseling with others who supposedly had recovered memories. Clients usually had no memories of sexual abuse at the outset, but developed them after weeks and months of this therapy.8 These suggestive techniques have led many people to believe they were sexually abused in childhood. In fact, in 1988 Ellen Bass and Laura Davis published The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, which sold 750,000 copies and started a recovered memory movement that involved dozens of books, talk show programs, and magazine articles. The problem seemed so pervasive that Bass and Davis estimated that as many as one third of all women were sexually abused as children.9 Surely some were abused, but do these estimates make sense?

Are these recovered memories accurate? Many people think so and, in fact, a number of people are in jail because they were convicted on nothing more than a recovered memory. But can false memories be created? A considerable amount of research indicates that memories can be created by the suggestions of others, especially when hypnosis and other suggestive techniques are used. For example, Martin Orne, one of the world's leading experts on hypnosis, put subjects in a hypnotic state after they were asleep for the entire previous night. While under hypnosis, he asked the subjects if they heard two loud noises during the night (the noises didn't actually occur). The subjects typically said that they heard the noise, awoke, and went to investigate what happened. If Orne asked when the noise occurred, they gave a specific time. Thus, Orne obtained very specific responses to events that didn't happen just by asking leading questions during hypnosis. And, when the subjects came out of their hypnotic state, they actually believed the events occurred. In essence, Orne's leading questions produced erroneous memories.10 Mindfulness is mirror-thought. It reflects only what is presently happening and in exactly the way it is happening. There are no biases. Mindfulness is nonjudgmental observation. It is that ability of the mind to observe without criticism. With this ability, one sees things without condemnation or judgment. One is surprised by nothing. One simply takes a balanced interest in things exactly as they are in their natural states. One does not decide and does not judge. One just observes.

Please note that when we say, "One does not decide and does not judge," what we mean is that the meditator observes experiences very much like a scientist observing an object under a microscope without any preconceived notions, only to see the object exactly as it is. In the same way the meditator notices impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and selflessness. It is psychologically impossible for us to objectively observe what is going on within us if we do not at the same time accept the occurrence of our various states of mind. This is especially true with unpleasant states of mind. In order to observe our own fear, we must accept the fact that we are afraid. We can't examine our own depression without accepting it fully. The same is true for irritation and agitation, frustration, and all those other uncomfortable emotional states. You can't examine something fully if you are busy rejecting its existence. Whatever experience we may be having, mindfulness just accepts it. It is simply another of life's occurrences, just another thing to be aware of. No pride, no shame, nothing personal at stake--what is there is there. Mindfulness is an impartial watchfulness. It does not take sides. It does not get hung up in what is perceived. It just perceives. Mindfulness does not get infatuated with the good mental states. It does not try to sidestep the bad mental states. There is no clinging to the pleasant, no fleeing from the unpleasant. Mindfulness treats all experiences equally, all thoughts equally, all feelings equally. Nothing is suppressed.

Nothing is repressed. Mindfulness does not play favorites. Mindfulness is nonconceptual awareness. Another English term for sati is "bare attention." It is not thinking. It does not get involved with thought or concepts. It does not get hung up on ideas or opinions or memories. It just looks. Mindfulness registers experiences, but it does not compare them. It does not label them or categorize them. It just observes everything as if it was occurring for the first time. It is not analysis that is based on reflection and memory. It is, rather, the direct and immediate experiencing of whatever is happening, without the medium of thought. It comes before thought in the perceptual process. Ban all-or-nothing thoughts. Consistency and commitment are indeed essential for an effective activity regimen, but don't be hard on yourself if you slack off a bit. Perfectionism is the enemy of progress . If you miss a day, or a few, don't think too much about it. Just start moving again. Just as consistency is more important than intensity, it's also more important than maintaining a perfect record. Don't let setbacks derail your strategic, health-enhancing goals.