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We uncovered mind-body practices, such as yoga and qigong, for creating more flexibility, strength, relaxation, and well-being. These practices deepen your mind-body awareness and intuitive capacities to hear your authentic voice more clearly. We wrapped up this article by showing you how cardio exercise, especially in nature, and an organic whole-food diet help you stay healthy, strong, and perform at your best. The fourth key, Master the Monkey Mind , is the cornerstone for unlocking your greatest potential. We examined how to shift negative mindsets that lead to stress, burnout, and undesirable outcomes to positive mindsets that leads to balance, happiness and desirable outcomes. We explored how fears of self-doubt, failure, and not being enough will naturally arise when you move outside your comfort zones and elevate to the next level. Cultivating a quiet mind and growth mindset will help you face your fears and inner critic with compassion and transform your resistance into courage and wisdom. The mindfulness strategies, such as meditation, taking energy breaks, harvesting the good experiences, and unplugging from digital devices will help you stay focused, calm, positive, and present in this fast-paced VUCA world. I've cut back to 12 a day; I only smoke at parties or when I'm stressed. A third way to reduce dissonance is to trivialize one of the inconsistent cognitions (Simon et al. Let's illustrate this with an example. Suppose you buy a traditional gas-powered car knowing that a hybrid car would use less fuel and so be better for sustainability. If you were to reduce dissonance by trivializing one of the cognitions, you could think to yourself, With all the fuel consumption in the United States, the extra fuel my new car will use is a tiny drop in the bucket. To understand more about the conditions that arouse dissonance and the ways people reduce it, researchers have come up with a number of laboratory situations, or dissonance paradigms. Two such situations are the free choice paradigm and the induced compliance paradigm. The Free Choice Paradigm The free choice paradigm (Brehm, 1956) is based on the idea that any time people make a choice between two alternatives, there is likely to be some dissonance. This limb of yoga involves drawing in one's awareness. It is the process of sensory withdrawal from external stimuli or that which brings nourishment to the senses.

It does not imply closing your eyes to the world, but the mental fortitude to retract from it taking back control, so you are not pulled back and forth like a puppet on a string. Swami Sivananda believes that pratyahara is yoga itself and is the most crucial limb in sadhana. Pratyahara is synonymous with the first stage of sadangayoga taught by Buddhist Kalacakra tantra, which also teaches the withdrawal of the senses and their replacement with mental senses from an enlightened deity. According to Patanjali's teaching, pratyahara is the link between the external aspects of yoga (bahiranga) consisting of the yamas, niyamas, asanas, and pranayama as well we parts of yoga antaranga or internal yoga. After pratyahara has been internalized, the yogi can consciously sever the link between the mind and the senses. This ensures that the sensations from sense organs do not alert their respective centers in the brain. This action will lead to a seamless entry into Dhyana(meditation), Dharana (meditation), and samadhi (mystical absorption), marking the movement of the devotee's inner state from the outside to the inner sphere of the spirit, the end product of which is the aim of yoga. Pratyahara is closely associated with dharana. The fifth key, Grow a Resilient and Courageous Heart , explores how to build emotional resilience by increasing self-awareness, regulating your emotional reactions, having courageous conversations, and building more trusting relationships. We uncovered the importance of cultivating the inner strengths of gratitude, loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity to navigate stressful situations, setbacks, and uncertainty with a brave heart. The sixth key, Be Your Authentic Self , reveals the importance of aligning to our authentic nature by bravely being ourselves at work. We explored the importance of anchoring to our True North; When we ground in our true nature, we are more confident in sharing our unique strengths and talents with our teams, families, and the broader world. We can embrace our innate gifts and shortcomings, and celebrate the fullness of who we are. We begin speaking the hard truth and not withholding our voice in the midst of challenge or conflict. We begin listening to our intuitive guidance rather than our impulsive desires for short-term gratification. We rise above the unproductive politics and lead with empathy and integrity--doing what's right for the benefit of others. As we embody our authentic presence, we navigate our journey with more clarity and conviction-- taking a stand for what matters most. This is because all of the bad aspects of the alternative people chose, and all of the good aspects of the alternative they rejected, are inconsistent with their choice. Hard choices are ones for which there are more of these inconsistent cognitions.

So, the harder it is to make a choice, the more dissonance there will be after the choice is made. Free choice paradigm A laboratory situation in which people make a choice between two alternatives, and after they do, attraction to the alternatives is assessed. How do people cope with this dissonance? They do so by spreading the alternatives: After the choice is made, people generally place more emphasis on the positive characteristics of the chosen alternative and the negative aspects of the rejected alternative. For example, if you chose a fuel-efficient small car over a gas-guzzling luxury car, you could spread the alternatives by focusing on the value of being green as well as the extravagance and repair costs of the luxury car. But if you had instead chosen the luxury car, you might spread the alternatives by focusing on its comfort and the small car's lousy sound system. To test this idea, Brehm (1956) asked one group of participants to choose between two consumer items (eg, a stop watch, a portable radio) that they liked a lot (FIGURE 6. When performing pratyahara, the devotee withdraws the senses and mental faculties from external distractions. In dharana, our attention is focused on a singular object such as a figurine of a deity or mantra. Thus, it can be said that pratyahara is the positive side, dharana, the negative of the same spiritual focus. Pratyahara is vital to yoga as it is the practice that allows one to gather their thoughts to wade through the narrow channel that leads to enlightenment. When absorbed in the act of pranayama, pratyahara happens automatically. But even with sensory detachment, the mind is not asleep. It can respond. It chooses not to do so. We can know the circumstances and events, but we can concentrate without being swayed. Like the tortoise that withdraws into its shell, we can be in the world yet not of it. The seventh key, Create Your Roadmap to Success and Happiness, integrates the previous six keys into a practical plan to keep your dreams alive and attainable. We've explored a mindful approach for crafting clear goals, actions, and positive habits to realize your life vision.

When we have a plan on what we want in life, we are more intentional with our choices and actions. Whatever we focus our attention on, naturally grows. We plant the seeds to harvest our dreams while staying grounded in the present moment. This roadmap is not set in stone, it changes as your life evolves. It allows you to pivot and navigate potential obstacles along your journey and stay in your growth zone to create sustainable, positive change. Surrounding yourself with supporters--a coach, mentors, or peers--is essential. They can celebrate, champion, and have your back, especially when you want to give up on your dreams and regress to old ways. My sincere wish for you is to create a life that ignites your deepest heart desire--inspired by a meaningful purpose in this changing world. This was a difficult decision. The other group was asked to choose between an item they liked a lot and one that they didn't like, which is an easy decision. After participants chose the item they wanted, they were again asked to rate how much they liked them. Brehm reasoned that when the choice was easy, participants would not feel much dissonance, and so they would rate the items pretty much as they had before their decision. But the participants who made a difficult decision would feel dissonance because their cognition I made the right choice is inconsistent with their cognition The item I chose has some negative aspects, and the one I didn't choose has some attractive aspects. Brehm expected these participants to spread the alternatives on their second rating, exaggerating their chosen item's attractiveness and downplaying the other item's value. This is exactly what he found. Related research shows that people also spread the alternatives following a difficult choice by searching for information that supports their choice and avoiding information that calls their choice into question (eg, Frey, 1982). Brehm's Free Choice Paradigm In the free choice paradigm (Brehm, 1956), participants in the high dissonance condition are asked to make a difficult choice between two similarly attractive options. In today's world, our senses have become our masters rather than our servants, and as a result, most of the emotional imbalance we undergo is of our own making. This chatter prevents us from achieving inner peace since we burn so much mental and physical energy trying to suppress unpleasant sensations.

For this reason, pratyahara is regarded as sensory transcendence. It offers us an opportunity for introspection and sensory cultivation to determine what habits are detrimental to our spiritual progress objectively. In yoga, there are three levels of ahara or nourishment. First is physical food, which brings in the material elements necessary to nourish the body (water, earth, fire, ether, and air). The second ahara comprises the subtle substances or impressions that feed the mind, such as sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound. The third ahara nourishes the soul. These come in the form of our associations, which affect us with the gunas of sattva -- rajas (hyperactivity or distraction), sattva (peace and harmony), and tamas (lethargy or inertia). Freeing our mind from ahara grants our minds a spiritual immunity level that helps resist negative sensory influences. May you have the courage and resilience to move through your fears and setbacks and live the life you were born to live with no regrets. May you look back at your life and find gratitude that you invested the energy and effort to live your unique purpose. May you explore your greatest potential and be resilient in starting over again and again, even after difficult failures. And have the humility to ask for help along the way. May you be courageous enough to be vulnerable, share your authentic feelings and surround yourself with people who truly have your back and will champion your dreams. May you create a life that makes you happy and allows you to feel the drumbeat of your soul and the ecstatic joy of being authentically you. The world awaits your magnificence as you play your best game and make your unique contribution. Together, we will recreate a new future for our careers, lives, children, and world.In today's world, it is so easy to get carried away by all the activities that fill our days. Life moves so fast, sometimes at a pace too quick for us to notice. Amid all this hustle and bustle, Jon Vroman found he did not want life to pass him by, but wanted to make every moment count. Participants in the low dissonance condition make an easy choice between one attractive and one unattractive option. After making their choices, participants in the high dissonance condition increase their liking for what they chose and decrease their liking for what they didn't choose, a spreading of alternatives.