Making decisions is, for many people, a cause of serious stress. If you want to make quick, clear and effective decisions, decisions you can stand fully behind, you must first determine where a decision will lead you and at which goal you want to direct your energy. You remove a serious stress-factor when you know exactly where your decisions will lead you. It will be easier to make a decision, if you ask yourself before you make a decision: 'Will this decision bring me closer or move me away from my goals? ' If you have set yourself a clear goal, it will be much easier to get back on track, when you have temporarily lost your way. A person, who has not set any goals at all, will, of course, end nowhere. Their life will be without successful experiences, and they will miss the security of developing and moving ahead. Whether you are old or young, socializing takes practice. Perhaps when you were younger you found it easier to get up and start a conversation with anyone, but now, between long hours of work and other adult responsibilities, it seems extra exhausting. Even the thought of striking up a conversation with someone is enough to make you want to sleep for days--but there's hope. Often, people are reluctant to engage in a conversation because they fear that they will have to say something meaningful. People become focused on what they are going to say instead of listening. The key trick here is to remember that most people like talking about themselves, and most people don't have good listeners around them. So, be that good listener. Given the multiple realities of midlife--career, kids, paying debt, intimate partners, caring for aging parents--there is little time to collect new friends and stay in contact with old friends. Even if you aren't in your midlife yet, the exercise below aims to help you identify just how well you are doing with staying connected to your old friends compared to your newer friends, and provides you with an opportunity to make some changes, if needed. Write down the names of the last five people with whom you made contact (communication can be via phone, text, IM, DM, Slack). Do you cling to the old or do you chase after the new? What transitions have you had to manage in your own life - eg changes in family life, moving home, moving jobs, starting a new relationship - and what helped you to manage them?

I've been through quite a number of transitions in my own life: since my early teens right up until the present moment, there have been several disruptions in my family unit, all steep learning curves for me. I'm not really sure I knew how to manage these transitions back then. But now, although I'm learning every single day, I've picked up along the way some wonderful methods of working with the energies of change and uncertainty. The key is remembering. Remembering inner beauty qualities can be a real challenge, especially when we find ourselves outside our comfort zone, and our tendency is to hide away in old habits. But, as Neale Donald Walsch says, Life begins at the end of your comfort zone - if you're feeling uncomfortable right now, know that the change is a beginning, not an ending. <a href=''>'</a> I hope that some of the practices I share in this article will help you in times when you find yourself feeling uncomfortable or outside of your comfort zone, to remember your inner beauty when life around you seems unsteady, so that you can be a windmill and not a wall. <a href=''>How</a> can we stay connected to our inner beauty when moving from one situation to another? <a href=''>The</a> lover transforms into a lover of life, savouring every bite, every kiss, every breeze and every song. <a href=''>In</a> a state of heartfulness, we are able to experience everyday ecstasy. <a href=''>The</a> dedicated practices of meditation and mindfulness prime our brains for heartfulness, which operates on gamma brainwaves. <a href=''>Gamma</a> waves are the highest, fastest frequency of all the brainwaves. <a href=''>In</a> a gamma state, our brains create patterns of conscious flow, harmony and coherence. <a href=''>This</a> was shown in a 2004 study of Tibetan monks. <a href=''>The</a> study involved eight long-term Tibetan Buddhist meditators, who underwent mental training in the same Tibetan Nyingmapa and Kagyupa traditions for 10,000 to 50,000 hours, over time periods ranging from fifteen to forty years. <a href=''>The</a> study used electrodes to monitor the activity produced by their brains as they meditated. <a href=''>The</a> researchers then compared the brain activity of the monks to a group of beginner meditators. <a href=''>This</a> group was made up of ten healthy student volunteers, all around 21 years of age. <a href=''>The</a> lack of vision seems to be a current human condition. <a href=''>According</a> to eastern religions, we live in the age of Kali Yuga, sometimes referred to as the 'iron age. <br /><br /><a href=''>'</a> This is a time of strife, discord, and contention. <a href=''>Change</a> is hard or sluggish. <a href=''>We</a> react to violence with violent solutions, creating more violence, to poverty with scarcity thinking and austerity measures causing more poverty. <a href=''>We</a> try to 'fix' problems with old tools, rather than envisioning a new model and tapping into our creativity. <a href=''>Thus,</a> we keep using the same solutions over and over. <a href=''>When</a> a leader has even a small vision many people immediately react with interest and support. <a href=''>We</a> are starving for vision as we beat against the wall of the status quo with the same old battering rams. <a href=''>It</a> is amazing how incomplete and shallow our vision for ourselves can become when we fail to ask or answer one very important question. <a href=''>That</a> is very often. <a href=''>'</a> <a href=''>It</a> is interesting that she has two types of dreams: disasters and stools. <a href=''>One</a> might be tempted to find a logical explanation for these two types of dreams or attempt to deduce something they have in common. <a href=''>Such</a> deductions will remain a theory and will be of little help. <a href=''>The</a> way that will lead us somewhere is to follow the energy, the experience in the dream to the deepest point possible. <a href=''>In</a> this case we took the dream of disasters to begin with and traced the feelings deeper. <a href=''>'I</a> have an insecurity problem in the first dream of accidents; <a href=''>I</a> feel that I am going to lose all my loved ones. <a href=''>That</a> my father, mother, my husband, and my sister all should be safe. <a href=''>Because</a> you will want to give your life a distinct direction in several areas as soon as possible, so that you will not waste time and energy by wandering around without a goal, I have prepared a workshop in goal-setting. <a href=''>Please</a> follow this workshop as exactly and scrupulously as possible, because this goal-setting workshop will become the map for your future, an outline of your territory. <br /><br /><a href=''>Without</a> a map you will flounder and lose your way. <a href=''>Because</a> you have this map for the future, you can look back and check why you made certain decisions and why you started a certain task and it will help you to return quickly to your chosen path. <a href=''>While</a> you write down your goals and plan your strategies, your subconscious will receive the messages and get the feeling of being in control. <a href=''>A</a> feeling of helplessness, which is a serious stress-factor, can be diminished and even completely removed. <a href=''>Our</a> work-shop will start with a systematic conditioning of the brain in the desired direction; <a href=''>therefore</a> I must ask you to follow my directions accurately, do not skip any part or change the progression. <a href=''>Approach</a> this exercise when you have time to be alone. <a href=''>Simply</a> go back to the time when you were still a child and you could enthusiastically write out a list of everything you wanted from Santa Claus. <a href=''>Are</a> there patterns in these communications? <a href=''>For</a> instance, were the last five contacts you had with another person the same person? <a href=''>Or,</a> was there diversity in whom you contacted? <a href=''>Maybe</a> the last few contacts include your partner, your parent, or your boss. <a href=''>Think</a> about who else you would want to be on that list--would it be a friend that you haven't seen or heard from in a while? <a href=''>Could</a> you imagine what it would be like to reach out to them right now and tell them that you have been thinking about them? <a href=''>What</a> about that prospective acquaintance you were recently introduced to--could you use this as an opportunity to connect with them? <a href=''>No</a> matter your age when reading this article, I think it's important to include a section on friendship in older adulthood. <a href=''>Maybe</a> you're an older adult reading this article at the recommendation of some younger adult, or maybe you're reading this article because you too are struggling with making friends. <a href=''>Regardless</a> of your reasoning, it's important to think about friendship throughout the many different stages of life so that when you arrive at each stage you are well-prepared and informed of the possible friendship challenges that lie ahead. <a href=''>I</a> have fond memories of staying with families whilst travelling around India and feeling super-inspired by the beautiful sacred spaces that these families paid such loving, daily attention to. <a href=''>So</a> I decided to start setting up my own sacred space on the go. <br /><br /><a href=''>I</a> found an antique piece of handmade Indian cloth which I'd lay out in a corner of our room, and mindfully arrange my incense, stones, singing bowl and some flowers. <a href=''>I'd</a> do this in every place we stayed, no matter whether it was a simple hostel or a fancier hotel. <a href=''>This</a> portable inner beauty temple was a precious reminder. <a href=''>Whenever</a> I laid my eyes on this sacred space, I really felt that both the room and myself were being blessed by that generous energy of beauty. <a href=''>There</a> were definitely more challenging times and places when this energy was really needed. <a href=''>I</a> remember arriving in the middle of the night in a very remote location after a scary tuk-tuk ride through deserted, pot-hole-lined alleys to find our room literally swarming with insects, and no one to speak to. <a href=''>After</a> a restless night's sleep where we had swaddled ourselves head-to-toe in blankets to try and stop the bugs from getting us, the next morning we realized that the bugs were attracted by a small fluorescent lamp. <a href=''>As</a> soon as it was turned off, they all disappeared! <a href=''>They</a> had no previous meditative experience, but had declared an interest in meditation. <a href=''>They</a> underwent meditative training for one week before the collection of the data. <a href=''>In</a> a normal meditative state, both groups had similar brain activity. <a href=''>This</a> is fantastic news for all beginner meditators! <a href=''>However,</a> something magical happened when the monks were directed to generate a feeling of unconditional loving kindness and pure compassion during their meditation. <a href=''>This</a> was described as anunrestricted readiness and availability to help living beings. ' The monks' brain activity was unexpected and brilliant. It began to fire in a rhythmic, harmonious way, at a frequency of 25-40 Hz (gamma waves). These gamma oscillations in the monks' brain signals were the largest ever recorded in healthy humans. The monks' training and experience with meditation allowed their brain to function at the highest level of pure coherence. 'What do I really want in this life? ' The truth is that many of us lack a clear vision for ourselves;