Author Archives: Devansh Mittal

Benefits of Fasting:A Miracle Healer

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Fasting-Infographic-Hi-Res

Fasting is the willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. Following are some amazing benefits of fasting. Before dwelling into this article, you may like to read my previous article on “Science of Fasting: Autophagy”.

1. Fasting is an excellent tool for weight loss.

There have been studies that support fasting as an excellent tool for weight loss. One 2015 study found that alternate day fasting trimmed body weight by up to 7 percent and slashed body fat by up to 12 pounds. (1)

Another study, this one out of the University of Southern California, discovered that when 71 adults were placed on a five-day fast (eating between 750 and 1,100 calories a day) once every three months, they lost an average of 6 pounds, reduced inflammation levels and their waistlines and lost total body fat without sacrificing muscle mass. (2) If you want to lose weight and lose belly fat, fasting even irregularly could be the key.

2. Fasting promotes the secretion of human growth hormone and hence slows down the aging process.

Human growth hormone, or HGH, is naturally produced by the body, but remains active in the bloodstream for just a few minutes. It’s been effectively used to treat obesity and help build muscle mass, important for burning fat. HGH also helps increase muscle strength, which can help improve your workouts, too. Combine these together and you have an effective fat-burning machine on your hands.

A common way biochemists define aging is as “the slow accumulation of dysfunctional proteins and organelles in our cells” – which leads eventually to cell dysfunction and/or death.

Owing largely to the stimulation of autophagy, fasting can reverse this process, stimulating cells to “clean house”, preventing the dysfunction that can lead to disease (including cancer).

While not yet proven in humans, early studies in rats seem to link intermittent fasting with increased longevity. One study found that intermittent fasting decreased body weight and increased the life span in rats (6). Another found that a group of mice who fasted intermittently actually lived longer than the control group, although they were heavier than the non-fasting mice. (7) Of course, it’s not clear that the same results would happen in humans, but the signs are encouraging.

3. Fasting is great for Improving Blood Sugar and for normalizing insulin sensitivity.

When you eat, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream. A hormone called insulin is responsible for transporting the glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells where it can be used up as energy.

When your body gets too many carbs and sugar, it can become insulin resistant, which often paves the way for a host of chronic diseases, including type-2 diabetes. If you don’t want to go down this route, it’s critical to keep your body sensitive to insulin. Fasting is an effective way to do this.

A study published in the World Journal of Diabetes found that intermittent fasting in adults with type-2 diabetes improved key markers for those individuals, including their body weight and glucose levels. (3) And another study found that intermittent fasting was as effective as caloric restrictions in reducing visceral fat mass, fasting insulin and insulin resistance. (4) If you’re struggling with pre-diabetes or insulin sensitivity, intermittent fasting can help normalize things.

Insulin doesn’t always work effectively when you have diabetes, which can result in high blood sugar levels coupled with symptoms like fatigue, thirst and frequent urination.

Some studies have found that intermittent fasting benefits your blood sugar levels by keeping them well-regulated and preventing spikes and crashes.

In one study, participants with diabetes fasted an average of 16 hours daily for two weeks. Not only did intermittent fasting cause weight loss and a decrease in caloric intake, but it also helped significantly reduce blood sugar levels. (6)

Another study showed that fasting decreased blood sugar by 12 percent and also lowered insulin levels by nearly 53 percent. Preventing a build-up of insulin allows it to work more efficiently and keeps your body sensitive to its effects. (7)

You may like to read following two articles in this regard:
8 People Reversed Their Type 2 Diabetes Doing This One Thing.
Successful reversal of type 2 diabetes inspired by Dr. Jason Fung

4. Fasting can Keeps Your Heart Healthy and lower Triglyceride levels.

When you consume too much bad cholesterol, your triglyceride levels may shoot up, increasing your risk of heart disease. Intermittent fasting actually lowers those bad cholesterol levels, decreasing triglycerides in the process. (5) Another interesting thing to note is that fasting doesn’t affect the levels of good cholesterol in the body.

One of the most impressive intermittent fasting benefits is its favorable effect on heart health. Studies show that intermittent fasting improves your heart health by lowering certain heart disease risk factors.

In one study, fasting was shown to influence several components of heart health. It increased good HDL cholesterol and decreased both bad LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. (8)

One animal study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry showed that intermittent fasting caused an increase in levels of adiponectin. (9) Adiponectin is a protein involved in the metabolism of fat and sugar that may be protective against heart disease and heart attacks. (10)

In fact, in one study, rats who fasted every other day were nearly 66 percent more likely to survive a heart attack than those on a normal diet. (11)

5. Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation is a normal immune response to injury. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can lead to chronic disease. Some research has even linked inflammation to conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. (12)

A study published in Nutrition Research followed 50 individuals observing Ramadan and showed that they had decreased levels of some inflammatory markers during Ramadan fasting. (13) Another study in 2015 found that a longer duration of nighttime fasting was associated with a decrease in markers of inflammation. (14) In the journal Rejuvenation Research, alternate-day fasting helped reduce markers of oxidative stress. (15)

While more research is needed, these studies provide promising evidence showing that fasting may help reduce inflammation and fight off chronic disease.

6. Protects Your Brain

In addition to keeping your heart healthy and warding off disease, some studies have indicated that intermittent fasting protects the health of your brain.

One animal study showed that intermittent fasting helps enhance cognitive function and protect against changes in memory and learning function compared to a control group. (16) Another animal study found that intermittent fasting protects the brains of mice by influencing certain proteins involved in brain aging. (17)

Additionally, the anti-inflammatory effects of intermittent fasting may also help slow the progression of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. (18)

Some also say that fasting promotes autophagy, or “self-eating,” which is our normal bodily process of cellular renewal — a process that is supposedly aided by fasting, though more scientific evidence is needed until this is certain.

7. Cancer Prevention/Treatment

Talk to most anyone involved in research around calorie restriction or fasting and they’ll tell you these are tragically underused tools in the cancer cell treatment toolkit.

Fasting has been shown to comparable in efficacy to chemotherapy in delaying the growth of certain types of tumors. Think about that: fasting is comparable in efficacy to the unbelievably toxic chemical soup that works by (hopefully) killing cancerous cells ever-so-slightly faster than it kills the recipient. Why is this not more used in oncology?

At minimum, a fasting protocol should be used in addition to chemotherapy, as it has been shown to preferentially protect non-cancerous cells from chemo drugs.

8. Decreases Hunger

Leptin, also known as the satiety hormone, is a hormone produced by the fat cells that helps signal when it’s time to stop eating. Your leptin levels drop when you’re hungry and increase when you’re feeling full.

Because leptin is produced in the fat cells, those who are overweight or obese tend to have higher amounts of leptin circulating in the body. However, too much leptin floating around can cause leptin resistance, which makes it harder for it to effectively turn off hunger cues.

One study with 80 participants measured leptin levels during intermittent fasting and found that levels were lower at night during the fasting period.

Lower levels of leptin could translate to less leptin resistance, less hunger and potentially even more weight loss.

9. Fasting can normalize ghrelin levels.

What is ghrelin? It is actually also known as the hunger hormone, because it is responsible for telling your body that it is hungry. Dieting and really restrictive eating can actually increase ghrelin production, which will leave you feeling hungrier. But when you fast, though you might struggle in the first few days, you’re actually normalizing ghrelin levels.

Eventually, you won’t feel hungry just because it’s your usual meal time. Instead, your body will become more adept in discerning when it actually needs food.

10. Fasting may be good for athletes.

Fasting has been found to have positive effects on body mass as well as other health markers in professional athletes. This is because, as previously mentioned, fasting can effectively shed excess fat, while optimizing muscle growth, because of HGH production. Traditionally, athletes are advised to consume high-quality protein half hour after finishing their workouts (post-workout nutrition) to simultaneously build muscle and reduce fat. Fasting is advised for training days, while eating is encouraged on game days.

References

  1. The Profound Benefits of Fasting (and Autophagy)
  2. 7 Benefits of Fasting + the Best Types of Fasting

 

 

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The Science of Fasting: Autophagy

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Autophagy-benefits

On October 3rd 2016, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries of mechanisms for Autophagy.

But what is Autophagy? The word derives from the Greek auto (self) and phagein (to eat). So the word literally means to eat oneself. Essentially, this is the body’s mechanism of getting rid of all the broken down, old cell machinery (organelles, proteins and cell membranes) when there’s no longer enough energy to sustain it. It is a regulated, orderly process to degrade and recycle cellular components.

There is a similar, better known process called apoptosis also known as programmed cell death. Cells, after a certain number of division, are programmed to die. While this may sound kind of macabre at first, realize that this process is essential in maintaining good health. For example, suppose you own a car. You love this car. You have great memories in it. You love to ride it.

But after a few years, it starts to look kind of beat up. After a few more, it’s not looking so great. The car is costing you thousands of dollars every year to maintain. It’s breaking down all the time. Is it better to keep it around when it’s nothing but a hunk of junk? Obviously not. So you get rid of it and buy a snazzy new car.

The same thing happens in the body. Cells become old and junky. It is better that they be programmed to die when their useful life is done. It sounds really cruel, but that’s life. That’s the process of apoptosis, where cells are pre-destined to die after a certain amount of time. It’s like leasing a car. After a certain amount of time, you get rid of the car, whether it’s still working or not. Then you get a new car. You don’t have to worry about it breaking down at the worst possible time.

Autophagy – replacing old parts of the cell

The same process also happens at a sub-cellular level. You don’t necessarily need to replace the entire car. Sometimes, you just need to replace the battery, throw out the old one and get a new one. This also happens in the cells. Instead of killing off the entire cell (apoptosis), you only want to replace some cell parts. That is the process of autophagy.

What activates autophagy?

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Nutrient deprivation is the key activator of autophagy. Remember that glucagon is kind of the opposite hormone to insulin. It’s like the game we played as kids – ‘opposite day’. If insulin goes up, glucagon goes down. If insulin goes down, glucagon goes up. As we eat, insulin goes up and glucagon goes down. When we don’t eat (fast) insulin goes down and glucagon goes up. This increase in glucagon stimulates the process of autophagy. In fact, fasting (raises glucagon) provides the greatest known boost to autophagy.

This is in essence a form of cellular cleansing. The body identifies old and substandard cellular equipment and marks it for destruction. It is the accumulation of all this junk that may be responsible for many of the effects of aging.

Fasting is actually far more beneficial than just stimulating autophagy. It does two good things. By stimulating autophagy, we are clearing out all our old, junky proteins and cellular parts. At the same time, fasting also stimulates growth hormone, which tells our body to start producing some new snazzy parts for the body. We are really giving our bodies the complete renovation.

You need to get rid of the old stuff before you can put in new stuff. Think about renovating your kitchen. If you have old, crappy 1970s style lime green cabinets sitting around, you need to junk them before putting in some new ones. So the process of destruction (removal) is just as important as the process of creation. If you simply tried to put in new cabinets without taking out the old ones, it would be pretty fugly. So fasting may in some ways reverse the aging process, by getting rid of old cellular junk and replacing it with new parts.

What turns off autophagy? Eating. Glucose, insulin (or decreased glucagon) and proteins all turn off this self-cleaning process. And it doesn’t take much. Even a small amount of amino acid (leucine) could stop autophagy cold. So this process of autophagy is unique to fasting – something not found in simple caloric restriction or dieting.

Autophagy Benefits

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Research suggests that some of the most important autophagy benefits include:

  • Providing cells with molecular building blocks and energy
  • Recycling damaged proteins, organelles and aggregates
  • Regulating functions of cells’ mitochondria, which help produce energy but can be damaged by oxidative stress
  • Clearing damaged endoplasmic reticulum and peroxisomes
  • Protecting the nervous system and encouraging growth of brain and nerve cells. Autophagy seems to improve cognitive function, brain structure and neuroplasticity.
  • Supporting growth of heart cells and protecting against heart disease
  • Enhancing the immune system by eliminating intracellular pathogens
  • Defending against misfolded, toxic proteins that contribute to a number of amyloid diseases
  • Protecting stability of DNA
  • Preventing damage to healthy tissues and organs (known as necrosis)
  • Potentially fighting cancer, neurodegenerative disease and other illnesses

How to Induce Autophagy

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When does autophagy occur? Autophagy is active in all cells but is increased in response to stress or nutrient deprivation (fasting or starvation). This means you can utilize “good stressors” like exercise and temporary calorie-restriction (fasting) to boost autophagic processes. Both of these strategies have been linked with benefits like weight control, longevity and inhibition of many age-associated diseases.

1. Practice Fasting

When it comes to diet and lifestyle habits that are in your control, the thing that triggers autophagy most is fasting, including the dietary strategy known as intermittent fasting (or IMF). Fasting is a pretty simple concept: You abstain from eating for a certain period of time (you can still drink water and liquids like coffee or tea).

If you’re not yet familiar with intermittent fasting, this is a type of cyclic fasting that involves time-restricted eating. There are many different forms of IMF that you can practice to promote autophagy, such as Alternate Day Fasting or limiting your daily “eating window” to somewhere between just 4 to 8 days per day.

How long do you have to fast for autophagy? Studies suggest that fasts between 24–48 hours probably have the strongest effects, but this isn’t always doable for many people. (4) Try to at least fast for 12 to 36 hours at a time.

An easy way to accomplish this is to eat just 1 or 2 meals per day, rather than grazing on many small meals and snacks. If you usually finish dinner at 6 or 7 p.m, then try to fast until at least 7 a.m the next morning— or even better, don’t eat until 11 a.m. or 12 p.m.

You might choose to occasionally do a 2–3 day fast, or even longer once you’re more experienced with fasting. If you prefer alternate day fasting, then you will severely restrict the amount of calories you eat during fasting days (eating only 1 or 2 meals of about 500 calories), then eating to your stomach’s content on non-fasting days.

2. Consider the Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic (“keto”) diet is a very high-fat, very low-carb diet that works in similar ways to fasting. The keto diet (KD) involves getting about 75 percent or more of your daily calories from fat, and no more than 5–10 percent of calories from carbs. This forces your body to go through some major changes, as metabolic pathways are shifted so that you start using fat for fuel instead of glucose from carbs.

What types of foods are most beneficial if you plan to follow the KD? High-fat, whole foods like coconut oil, olive oil, eggs, grass-fed butter, ghee, grass-fed meat, fermented cheeses, avocado, seeds and nuts. Vegetables are also included for fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.

In response to such severe carb restriction, you’ll begin to start producing ketone bodies that have many protective effects. Studies suggest that ketosis can also cause starvation-induced autophagy, which has neuroprotective functions. For example, in animal studies when rats are put on the ketogenic diet, the keto diet has been shown to start autophagic pathways that reduces brain injury during and after seizures. (5)

3. Exercise

Another “good stress” that can induce autophagy is exercising. Recent research has shown that “Exercise induces autophagy in multiple organs involved in metabolic regulation, such as muscle, liver, pancreas and adipose tissue.” (6)

While exercise has many benefits, it’s actually a form of stress because it breaks down tissues, causing them to be repaired and grow back stronger. It’s not exactly clear yet how much exercise is needed to boost autophagy, but research does suggest that intense exercise is probably most beneficial.

In skeletal and cardiac muscle tissue, as little as 30 minutes of exercise can be sufficient to induce autophagy. Can you exercise while fasting? Most people can. You might even find that you feel energetic once you get the hang of fasting, giving you more motivation for exercise.

Precautions Regarding Autophagy & Fasting

There’s still a lot we have to learn about autophagy and how to best induce it. Beginning to induce autophagy by incorporating fasting and regular exercise into your routine is a great place to start.

However, if you are taking certain medications to control any health conditions, it’s best to consult your doctor about introducing fasting.

Final Thoughts on Autophagy Benefits & Mechanisms

  • Autophagy translates to “self-eating.” It’s a beneficial process that describes consumption and recycling of the body’s own tissue as a metabolic process.
  • Researchers believe that autophagy is a survival mechanism that has anti-aging benefits. It helps cleanse waste from the body, provides energy, and potentially fights cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and other chronic illnesses.
  • Autophagy is induced through starvation, fasting and other “stressors.” You can increase autophagic processes by doing some type intermittent or alternate day fasting, exercising, and/or following the ketogenic diet.

References

  1. How to renew your body: Fasting and autophagy.
  2. Benefits of Autophagy, Plus How to Induce It
  3. 5 Day Water Fast: What to Expect on the Healing Journey

 

 

Apple Cider Vinegar: The Miracle Drink

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ACV

Following are some amazing health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).

  1. Controls Blood Sugar
    Apple cider vinegar can help you make glucose more sensitive so you’ll have less insulin resistance. Less insulin being produced can help you with your weight loss efforts.

  2. Improves Immune System
    It can help boost your immune system with its antibacterial properties. It can stimulate white blood cells to speed up function and fight infection.

  3. Decreases Acid Reflux / Acidity
    Normally, your stomach needs to be very acidic to be able to close the valve at the top of your stomach. This valve prevents your stomach acid from coming up your esophagus. When your stomach acid levels are low, the valve doesn’t close and the acid can reflux up your esophagus. The term for this condition is GERD, which stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. To feel better, you take in any antiacid. Yet the next time you eat, it becomes worse. Why? Because you’re making that acid less acidic. So over time, that valve just stays open and you’ll have constant reflux, making you dependent on medication. If you consume apple cider vinegar, it helps the valve close fully, improving the symptoms of acid reflux and GERD.

  4. Breaks Down Protein
    Protein breaks down into amino acids when metabolized. You need acids, like apple cider vinegar, to activate the enzymes to do this.

  5. Helps Release Bile
    Your liver needs a specific amount of acid to produce bile, which then gets released to the gallbladder. Apple cider vinegar can help serve as a trigger and release the bile that’s congested in the liver. You, then, feel less bloated. Acid also helps release enzymes from the pancreas for a more complete digestion.

  6. Can Decrease Gas and Bloating
    The last thing you want is undigested food in your digestive tract. Apple cider vinegar speeds up the breakdown of food to aid in complete protein digestion.

  7. Helps Absorb Minerals
    Calcium, magnesium, and iron all need a certain pH to be absorbed. If your stomach is too alkaline, you won’t be able to absorb as many minerals. Vitamins K, C, and even B12 need acid to be absorbed.

  8. Controls Pathogens
    If you think about it, you have pickles and other fermented vegetables that are acidic. The acid they are kept in preserves the food and prevents bacterial growth. When you consume apple cider vinegar, it helps prevent the overgrowth of microbes, especially if you have a condition called SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. SIBO or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth Definition: This is a condition where you have bacteria growing in the wrong place, e.g. in the small intestine instead of the large intestine.

  9. Aids Digestion
    Apple cider vinegar speeds up digestion and activates gastrointestinal enzymes. There are a lot of enzymes in the stomach, in the pancreas, and other places in the body that are dormant. These enzymes can only be activated by certain things. Acid is one of the activators for the enzymes in the stomach to help you break down protein. This is the process that helps the stomach digest food faster.

  10. Maintains Healthy Cholesterol
    Apple cider vinegar can increase the good cholesterol so you maintain a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.

Basically, ACV does amazing things in the body. Start having it today!!

Following are Dr. Mercola’s views on ACV.

No doubt, you’ve seen them — lists touting the amazing curative power of apple cider vinegar for an amazing number of ills. “ACV” (as it’s sometimes referred to in studies) has been praised for its ability to balance your pH, increase good gut bacteria and help control your weight, as well as many other beneficial things.

Here’s the kicker: All those are true, and more besides. One of the most sensational is its ability to balance your blood sugar. A study1 at Arizona State University tested 11 volunteers with type 2 diabetes (diagnosed by a doctor) who weren’t taking insulin but continued taking their prescription medications.

Each participant took 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a snack — an ounce of cheese — before bedtime. The researchers demonstrated that in the morning, the study subjects had lower blood sugar readings than when they had the same snack with 2 tablespoons of water.

This is important and potentially life-changing news for half of the American population, as NBC News reports that half the country suffers from either high blood sugar or full-blown diabetes.

What is the best time to take ACV

Well best time is depend on what is the basic purpose of drinking Apple cider vinegar. Best time of drinking Apple cider vinegar is in the morning with empty stomach it will helps you many ways like detox your body from harmful chemicals, maintain pH level of your body and all. For weight lose purpose you may take it two times a day. Firstly in the morning empty stomach and another one after lunch, but make sure half an hour gap you maintain.

A Tasty Apple Cider Vinegar Delight

  1. One glass of Cold Water.
  2. Cinnamon Powder 1/2 teaspoon.
  3. 10 ml Apple Cider Vinegar.
  4. Stevia Drops – 4 Drops.

That is all. Mix it and have it.

If you are practicing Intermittent Fasting or any kind of Fasting, then do NOT add Stevia, Artificial Sweetners, Cinnamon. You can simply have Apple Cider Vinegar with Himalayan Pink Salt, in cold water. Trust me, it is also very satiating and tasty.

Following are some YouTube videos on the topic, you may like to watch.

References:

  1. Why You Should Take Your Apple Cider Vinegar at Night

The Delusion of Spirituality!

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Are You Spiritual? Here Are 8 Ways You May Be Fooling Yourself!!

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Who is more aligned with their path of spiritual evolution?

  • A person sitting in a lotus position, taking deep breaths and in perfect composure?
  • Or a person curled up in a ball, crying hysterically?

If we base our answer on everything we have learned from “new age” philosophies and most spiritual teachings out there, I think it’s fair to say that the person meditating wins. He/she appears peaceful, at ease, and detached. Now I’m not about to “shock” you and say that the opposite is true. But I would argue that this image is just that: an image.

This is why:

Even the most peaceful, composed, and “spiritually correct” person in the world can be completely out of alignment with themselves, even more than someone who isn’t into spirituality at all. How come? Well… because of our tendency to be dishonest with ourselves. I say this from experience: no amount of sophisticated spiritual jargon has been able to aid my evolution more than an honest look at my raw, vulnerable self.

P.S. I don’t mean to say that all spiritual people fool themselves. These are simply traps that I have noticed are common in the spiritual community, and which I myself have fallen for on occasion.


HERE ARE 8 WAYS SPIRITUAL PEOPLE CAN FOOL THEMSELVES:


 1. I Have To Feel Good And Stay Positive All The Time

Translation: I’m terrified of feeling pain.

This belief is quite common among the “positive thinking” community. Now there is nothing wrong with thinking positively, but using the power of thought to gloss over any surfacing negative emotions is one of the biggest blocks to our spiritual growth. Why? Because what our souls actually desire is to become whole again. And this means reconnecting with all the fragmented aspects of ourselves (fears, negative beliefs, past emotional traumas) we have dissociated from so that we may acknowledge and transform them.

Newsflash: That’s NOT going to happen if we continually avoid and suppress them. It’s not going to happen if we perceive them as enemies and invaders. The truth is, each and every painful emotion that is surfacing in our lives is like a child in distress. When we repress them, it is as if we purposely lock this child self into a room, forcing it to relive a trauma alone and behind closed doors while we look the other way. In other words, it is self-abuse.

“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.”

– John Green

Being completely emotionally honest with ourselves takes bravery. It means putting ourselves right into the very emotions we have spent our lives shielding ourselves from feeling again. But once you allow yourself to feel and release what is stored inside of you, you are basically letting your brain and body know that it is now safe to feel, that you are no longer in the scary situation that created the trauma in the first place, and that you are now ready to learn from it and and move on to better things.

It can help to have a friend or an animal holding space for you while you release emotion, because it is important to feel safe. You will find that when you make it a habit to feel and release the emotional charges that are stuck in your body, the lightness you will feel will be more worth it than all the effort put into avoiding and suppressing!

P.S. If there were really something wrong about feeling all ranges of emotions… your soul wouldn’t have chosen to incarnate in a body capable of feeling them all!


2. I Behave Spiritually, Therefore I Am Growing Spiritually!

Translation: I’m really just scared and confused. So I’ll keep repeating “love n’ light!”

Many spiritual people believe that a “spiritual” behavior is all that is required to be on the “spiritual” path; that if you say loving words, follow spiritual principles, and act like Jesus, you’re pretty much enlightened. Well… let me just say that the most emotionally wounded and ‘in-denial-about-it’ people I have ever met had a very strong spiritual ethic and personality. I know because I have been one of them.

Spiritual people often fall into the trap of using their understanding of spiritual concepts to feel like they are above emotions and duality. This defeats the whole purpose of our soul, which is to learn from emotions and duality through our own felt experience — not just through theory!

“Spiritual Bypassing: A term first coined by author John Welwood. The spiritual bypass is the tendency to jump to spirit prematurely, usually in an effort to avoid various aspects of earthly reality (practical challenges, unresolved emotions and memories). The bypass has many symptoms – the starry-eyed bliss trip, radical detachment from one’s self-identifications, premature forgiveness, ungrounded behaviors, wish-full thinking etc.”

– Jeff Brown

There is a purpose and lesson behind every emotion and feeling, and simply adjusting and focusing on our behavior prematurely is pulling us away from where our greatest learning is.


3. I Use Self-Conviction To Make Me Feel Like I’m On The Right Path

Translation: I’d rather live through the safe stories I tell myself than trust my intuition.

Have you ever noticed yourself going overkill with grand speeches and declarations of why something is right (or wrong) for you, whether it be a “twin flame,” a job, or a new year’s resolution? Now that doesn’t mean it must necessarily be wrong for you, just like it doesn’t mean it must be right. It just means that using self-conviction is a process of mental rationalization, not of intuition.

When we do this, we are much more likely to fool ourselves into something that doesn’t align with our true self. No big deal though, because following through on a choice that is out of alignment will eventually teach us that we are better off trusting and being honest with our intuition and feelings — a lesson that usually gets learned once our illusion crashes.

Many times, I have convinced myself of things to make me feel “good” about a decision or situation despite a nagging suspicion that something isn’t right. And many times, I have screwed myself! So now, I do my best to follow my intuition instead of getting lost in my mind. The best part is, when we stop fooling ourselves, we automatically become more honest with others. This guarantees more fulfilling relationships and the dissolution of fake ones!

“Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.”

– Walter Anderson

The tricky part is that sometimes, our intuition leads us directly toward a choice that would make us face a fear or difficult emotion, which is precisely why we often rationalize ourselves out of taking the leap of faith. That’s why following our intuition often requires courage. Although I promise you… the maturity, wisdom, alignment, and freedom gained from following it is always worth it in the end!

“You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind.”

– Anne Lamott


4. I Preach When I Feel On Top Of My Game, But Blame When Triggered

Translation: I’ve got Issues.

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We reaaaaaally need to get off our high horses, or perhaps I should say, our “spiritual unicorns.” Sure, preaching may make us look wise and majestic for a while, but at what cost? At the cost of not ACTUALLY evolving. It prevents us from truly growing and maturing from the inside out. Now it doesn’t mean we can’t offer valuable wisdom even if we still deal with personal issues. But we shouldn’t wear our wise insights like a badge, only to resist growth when it’s our turn to feel vulnerable. 

We should actually embrace it when our foundation gets shaken. Many of us think we must fight to stay on our comfortable throne, yet little expansion and joy exists there. True expansion and joy happens when we embrace the fact that our vulnerability connects us all.

We’re all human, and we’re all vulnerable. Imagine how warm, compassionate, and friendly this world would be if we weren’t so busy hiding, suppressing, and feeling shame for the things we all learn and experience! In such a reality, anyone acting preachy and denying their own vulnerability would actually be the odd ones.

Being transparent is scary, I know. But the RIGHT people will LOVE you for being real, for being you. It’s always the wrong people that love you for your image.


5. I Use Spiritual Perspectives To Bypass Human Emotions (THIS ONE IS KEY!)

Translation: I want to get to my destination quickly and bruise free. I resist and devalue the journey towards it.

This is something I’ve done quite a bit, and with the best intention. Of course I want to remind myself that everything happens for a reason when I feel hurt and heartbroken after a difficult breakup. Of course I want to remind myself that every soul is made of love when I believe that I shouldn’t feel anger or rage toward someone who has betrayed me. But this is a HUGE problem among the spiritual community: the belief in shoulds and shouldnt’s when it comes to emotions. The belief that anger, fear, and grief aren’t as much a part of our spiritual progress as feelings of love and transcendence.

The thing is, we actually ARE headed toward a state of consciousness where we can feel the beauty and value of every challenge and every soul. But every single one of the emotions that come up along the way should be valued as stepping stones, each containing a valuable lesson designed to bring us closer to that state.

“Anger is a river. It wants to be released into the vaster ocean. It wants to move naturally. When we repress it with premature forgiveness, block it with false positivity, repress it in the name of pseudo-peace, we just dam(n) our natural flow. The river then turns inward, against the self, or explodes outwardly, against innocents. Better we express it when it is in our awareness – not in a way that is destructive to humanity – but in a way that is authentic and that restores the integrity of our being. Anger isn’t the enemy. Misplaced anger is. Let the river flow…”

– Jeff Brown

The truth is, anger, fear, and grief can be amazing catalysts for change and transformation when embraced. For example, anger is a very potent energy to get you moving and clear up the clutter in your life, whether it be toxic people, situations, or limiting beliefs. It doesn’t need to be destructive or vengeful; it is a fire that should be used to fuel positive action. Once you have made the appropriate changes, you no longer need it and can move to a higher vibration.

Fear is also a valuable emotion. It points you to another layer of your being that needs peeling so that you may experience greater freedom past it. It shows you where your growth is. Grief thrusts us into our deepest wounds of separation so that we may find ourselves again. It has the power to shatter our illusions and reconnect us with what truly matters.

So go ahead and feel it all! You are not alone in this.

“Real shadow work does not leave us intact; it is not some neat and tidy process, but rather an inherently messy one, as vital and unpredictably alive as birth. The ass it kicks is the one upon which we are sitting; the pain it brings up is the pain we’ve been fleeing most of our life; the psychoemotional breakdowns it catalyzes are the precursors to hugely relevant breakthroughs; the doors it opens are doors that have shown up year after year in our dreams, awaiting our entry. Real shadow work not only breaks us down, but breaks us open.”

– Sera Beak, Red Hot and Holy


6. I Can Talk/Read About Spiritual Growth All Day, Yet Avoid Using My Own Life As My Teacher

That’s kind of like reading a bunch of video game strategy guides, but never actually playing. The actual fun, the “levelling up” and the progression, happen as you play it! 

Many spiritual people understand the mechanics of personal and spiritual growth like the backs of their hands. I’m pretty knowledgable about it myself. I know that we create our own reality, that life is literally a reflection of the thoughts, emotions, and energy we put out, and I even know the science behind it. So it’s sort of ironic that I still sometimes manage to remove myself from this equation. I sometimes believe myself to be a victim of circumstances and slip into a passive attitude toward my life, ignoring my own guidance and cues to move forward. This usually happens when I forget that my life itself IS my purpose and mirrors what is necessary for me to evolve.

Our lives are meant to be lived, our feelings are meant to be felt, and our challenges are meant to be learned from. All of our experiences — internal and external — are like quests in a video game, designed to bring us to the next level. So let’s play!

“If we can live life consciously and authentically—understanding that things do not happen to us, but rather for us—we can use everything that comes into our lives to our benefit. We can locate all the barriers that keep us from beauty, love, abundance, intimacy, joy and good health.”

– Erin Lanahan


7. I Have Found The Truth! Let Me Anchor That In Forever And Shut Down Any New Perspectives

Translation: I am forgetting that I am a unique, fluid, and ever-changing being on a unique, fluid, and ever-changing path that adapts to what I need to learn in any given moment.

What we need in one stage of our lives may be completely different from what we need in another. What feels right one day may not feel right the next. And there’s a reason for this. We are unique and multi-layered beings. Sometimes, we hit layers that require us to learn commitment and goal-setting. Other times, we hit layers that require us to learn flexibility and “going with the flow.” We may at one time need to learn compassion and softness, while at another time need to learn firmness and resolve.

The problem is when we become set on ideals rather than staying tuned to our intuition (similar to what we talked about in #3). Our paths and lessons adapt to what is best and most important for our evolution. When we get stuck in our minds and adopt a fixed spiritual ideal, we miss out on the actual cues that our feelings, intuition, and life experiences whisper to us.

As much as the truth may very well be that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively and that we are a way for the universe to know itself… well, it seems the universe wants to know itself through very UNIQUE perspectives and paths. We are not meant to live in a synchronized fashion and all move the same, think the same, and feel the same. We are here to be complimentary to one another, much like a puzzle requires unique pieces to create a beautiful image.

8. I Am “So Spiritual,” But Forget To Treat Others Like I’d Want To Be Treated

Translation: I skipped the most basic yet important step to my own spiritual growth, which is to be an expression of love.

It might sound cliché, but Jesus had it right. It doesn’t matter if you have read all the books or mastered all of your spiritual abilities; if you keep all of that magnificent love, generosity, care, and compassion locked in a little cellar within your heart… you have missed the entire point of your spiritual growth. You are still operating out of fear and need to clear out whatever barrier is preventing you from accessing the loving being that you are. The world needs you!

I once met someone who disregarded the importance of love because he believed it was too much of a cliché and cookie-cutter approach to spirituality. What I would say to that person today is that, regardless of how different and unique every flower within a garden may be, you wouldn’t want to water any of them with poison. You would ideally use the purest water to see them thrive and beautify the environment in their own unique way. The same goes with human beings. If there is one universal law that applies to us all, I believe it is that we thrive best in the vibration of love. If we can all strive to grow into more loving, compassionate, and authentic versions of ourselves, what a wonderful world this would be!

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

― Albert Einstein

Source:
http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/06/19/are-you-spiritual-here-are-8-ways-you-may-be-fooling-yourself/

Eckhart Tolle: His Story Of Enlightenment

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Following is the Introduction of the book – “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. I found it so amazing that I felt compelled to share it with everyone. It is the story of enlightenment of Eckhart Tolle, in his own words.

I have little use for the past and rarely think about it; however, I would briefly like to tell you how I came to be a spiritual teacher and how this book came into existence. Until my thirtieth year, I lived in a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression. It feels now as if I am talking about some past lifetime or somebody else’s life.

One night not long after my twenty-ninth birthday, I woke up in the early hours with a feeling of absolute dread. I had woken up with such a feeling many times before, but this time it was more intense than it had ever been. The silence of the night, the vague outlines of the furniture in the dark room, the distant noise of a passing train – everything felt so alien, so hostile, and so utterly meaningless that it created in me a deep loathing of the world. The most loathsome thing of all, however, was my own existence. What was the point in continuing to live with this burden of misery? Why carry on with this continuous struggle? I could feel that a deep longing for annihilation, for nonexistence, was now becoming much stronger than the instinctive desire to continue to live.

“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. `Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the `I’ and the `self’ that `I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”

I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words “resist nothing,” as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that.

I was awakened by the chirping of a bird outside the window. I had never heard such a sound before. My eyes were still closed, and I saw the image of a precious diamond. Yes, if a diamond could make a sound, this is what it would be like. I opened my eyes. The first light of dawn was filtering through the curtains. Without any thought, I felt, I knew, that there is infinitely more to light than we realize. That soft luminosity filtering through the curtains was love itself. Tears came into my eyes. I got up and walked around the room. I recognized the room, and yet I knew that I had never truly seen it before. Everything was fresh and pristine, as if it had just come into existence. I picked up things, a pencil, an empty bottle, marveling at the beauty and aliveness of it all.

That day I walked around the city in utter amazement at the miracle of life on earth, as if I had just been born into this world.

For the next five months, I lived in a state of uninterrupted deep peace and bliss. After that, it diminished somewhat in intensity, or perhaps it just seemed to because it became my natural state. I could still function in the world, although I realized that nothing I ever did could possibly add anything to what I already had.

I knew, of course, that something profoundly significant had happened to me, but I didn’t understand it at all. It wasn’t until several years later, after I had read spiritual texts and spent time with spiritual teachers, that I realized that what everybody was looking for had already happened to me. I understood that the intense pressure of suffering that night must have forced my consciousness to withdraw from its identification with the unhappy and deeply fearful self, which is ultimately a fiction of the mind. This withdrawal must have been so complete that this false, suffering self immediately collapsed, just as if a plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy. What was left then was my true nature as the ever-present I am: consciousness in its pure state prior to identification with form. Later I also learned to go into that inner timeless and deathless realm that I had originally perceived as a void and remain fully conscious. I dwelt in states of such indescribable bliss and sacredness that even the original experience I just described pales in comparison. A time came when, for a while, I was left with nothing on the physical plane. I had no relationships, no job, no home, no socially defined identity. I spent almost two years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy.

But even the most beautiful experiences come and go. More fundamental, perhaps, than any experience is the undercurrent of peace that has never left me since then. Sometimes it is very strong, almost palpable, and others can feel it too. At other times, it is somewhere in the background, like a distant melody.

Later, people would occasionally come up to me and say: “I want what you have. Can you give it to me, or show me how to get it?” And I would say: “You have it already. You just can’t feel it because your mind is malting too much noise.” That answer later grew into the book that you are holding in your hands.

Before I knew it, I had an external identity again. I had become a spiritual teacher.

Relationships, Mind Games, Mindfulness and Honesty!

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In the modern world of spirituality and conscious relationships, detachment is considered to be one of the fundamental pillars of conscious living and loving.

The concept of detachment comes from Hindu and Buddhist spirituality. Detachment, or non-attachment, is the result of repeated spiritual perceptions that cause us to be strongly rooted in our sense of Self. This higher Self remains unaffected by the fluctuations of daily life.

It is that witnessing part in ourselves that always feels at peace and simply observes what comes and goes. It is that part that knows that “time heals all wounds.” In reality though, on top of this higher Self, we all have developed a personality that is shaped by our past experiences. This personality carries hopes, dreams, and emotional pain. These aspects of our personality, when not made peace with, keep us identified with our personality and therefore weaken our roots in the Self.

Unfortunately, many spiritual practitioners subscribe to the idealistic worldview that is presented in spiritual lore and artificially apply it because it somehow “makes sense.” While non-attachment is a beautiful and elevated quality that can bring a lot of peace and love into your life, its misapplication can be dangerous for your well-being and of those around you.

Non-attachment is a spontaneous quality of someone who has ceased to identify with the personality parts of himself. When non-attachment does not come naturally or when it is something we are striving for or a technique we are applying, it can result in emotional suppression.

Let me illustrate this with an example from one of my open-relationships. The partner I loved had laid his eyes on another woman and decided that he wanted to date her. While I kept telling myself that I love him and therefore I was happy he was having a great time, my heart suffered. I felt as if he didn’t love me enough by putting me through such hardship. Intellectually, I believed in unconditional love but emotionally I wasn’t ready for it.

Non-attachment is not about not caring but rather requires a deep and intimate experience of life. Unfortunately, my partner was the type who tried to apply “spiritual concepts” to control me. Instead of acknowledging my pain and asking how he could help me, he simply gave me a lecture on non-attachment, on the very things I already knew.

I felt as if I was failing because I was unable to be detached. I suffered because I felt as if my partner was punishing me for feeling hurt. This self-judgment is how we create a vicious cycle of emotional suppression. It’s that simple. Unfortunately, people who tend to suppress their emotions are usually unaware of it and are often those with tender hearts who genuinely love unconditionally, but who suffer as a result.

Emotional suppression is one of the main causes for disease. In the long run, suppressing our emotions leads to a suppression of the immune system. It is one of the factors thought to play an important role in a variety of diseases and syndromes such as anxiety, depression, cancer, fibromyalgia, auto-immune diseases and heart problems.

Spiritual practice requires a high level of awareness and radical honesty with ourselves. If non-attachment is not our natural response, we have to make sure we recognize it. Our ego wants us to believe we already are a fully evolved person. Rather than “practicing detachment” in such occasions, we can practicing mindfulness instead.

Mindfulness is the non-judgmental observation of sensations, feelings, and thoughts as they happen in the here and now. If we feel pain, we recognize and acknowledge it without attaching any meaning to it or creating a story out of it.

Mindfulness, rather than imposing non-attachment, requires us to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge the truth of our emotions and thoughts, without suppressing them. As a result, we have to make peace with ourselves and brutally accept where we’re at including what our wounds and challenges are.

The desire to be detached, preach detachment, and wish it for others is an idealistic drive that belongs to the realm of the ego. It is often a form of escapism resulting from the personality that suffers from the lack of acceptance of the present moment. Acknowledging our pain, and practicing equanimity towards it, involves a surrendering of the ego that wants to be and feel a certain way. This doesn’t mean we should give up on the idea of non-attachment. On the contrary, it’s an invitation to bring more awareness and honesty into the practice.

As conscious people, we need to befriend our own ego if we desire to bring consciousness into our relationships. We need to recognize its good and dark parts, and simply witness the different aspects of the ego as just another aspect of yourself. By establishing ourselves in that part of us that is able to see the play of reality, we witness the reactions of our personality and its wishes and dreams. We need to observe with radical honesty and transparency the challenges our personality needs to experience. Knowing our deepest desire, most heartfelt pain, and deepest longing can reveal to us the purpose of our life. Next time you experience pain, rather than running away from it, let it guide you to discover your deepest truths and the meaning of your life.

Rather than suppressing our emotions, we need to find harmonious ways of expressing them to our partners. As partners, we need to provide the support to our loved ones so they feel safe to express their true feelings and emotions without feeling judged.

Conscious loving takes hard work, and the danger of escaping into spiritual ideals and dreams when things get rough lies just around the corner. Conscious relationships are those in which we explore and work through our vulnerabilities and heal our deepest wounds with a partner who is committed to doing the same inner work. Relationships can be a great tool for transformation and personal development when they are done consciously, with mutual respect and love, and a deep caring for one another. The person who develops the emotional maturity necessary to support another human being will discover the gift of having been helped in return through the very same process.

Source:
The Health Dangers of Practicing Detachment in Relationships.

10 Thinking Errors That Will Crush Your Mental Strength

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Mental strength requires a three-pronged approach—managing our thoughts, regulating our emotions, and behaving productively despite our circumstances.

While all three areas can be a struggle, it’s often our thoughts that make it most difficult to be mentally strong.

As we go about our daily routines, our internal monologue narrates our experience. Our self-talk guides our behavior and influences the way we interact with others. It also plays a major role in how you feel about yourself, other people, and the world in general.

Quite often, however, our conscious thoughts aren’t realistic; they’re irrational and inaccurate. Believing our irrational thoughts can lead to problems including communication issues, relationship problems, and unhealthy decisions.

Whether you’re striving to reach personal or professional goals, the key to success often starts with recognizing and replacing inaccurate thoughts. The most common thinking errors can be divided into these 10 categories, which are adapted from David Burns’s book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy (link is external).

1. All-or-Nothing Thinking
Sometimes we see things as being black or white: Perhaps you have two categories of coworkers in your mind—the good ones and the bad ones. Or maybe you look at each project as either a success or a failure. Recognize the shades of gray, rather than putting things in terms of all good or all bad.

2. Overgeneralizing
It’s easy to take one particular event and generalize it to the rest of our life. If you failed to close one deal, you may decide, “I’m bad at closing deals.” Or if you are treated poorly by one family member, you might think, “Everyone in my family is rude.” Take notice of times when an incident may apply to only one specific situation, instead of all other areas of life.

3. Filtering Out the Positive
If nine good things happen, and one bad thing, sometimes we filter out the good and hone in on the bad. Maybe we declare we had a bad day, despite the positive events that occurred. Or maybe we look back at our performance and declare it was terrible because we made a single mistake. Filtering out the positive can prevent you from establishing a realistic outlook on a situation. Develop a balanced outlook by noticing both the positive and the negative.

4. Mind-Reading
We can never be sure what someone else is thinking. Yet, everyone occasionally assumes they know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. Thinking things like, “He must have thought I was stupid at the meeting,” makes inferences that aren’t necessarily based on reality. Remind yourself that you may not be making accurate guesses about other people’s perceptions.

5. Catastrophizing
Sometimes we think things are much worse than they actually are. If you fall short on meeting your financial goals one month you may think, “I’m going to end up bankrupt,” or “I’ll never have enough money to retire,” even though there’s no evidence that the situation is nearly that dire. It can be easy to get swept up into catastrophizing a situation once your thoughts become negative. When you begin predicting doom and gloom, remind yourself that there are many other potential outcomes.

6. Emotional Reasoning
Our emotions aren’t always based on reality but we often assume those feelings are rational. If you’re worried about making a career change, you might assume, “If I’m this scared about it, I just shouldn’t change jobs.” Or, you may be tempted to assume, “If I feel like a loser, I must be a loser.” It’s essential to recognize that emotions, just like our thoughts, aren’t always based on the facts.

7. Labeling
Labeling involves putting a name to something. Instead of thinking, “He made a mistake,” you might label your neighbor as “an idiot.” Labeling people and experiences places them into categories that are often based on isolated incidents. Notice when you try to categorize things and work to avoid placing mental labels on everything.

8. Fortune-telling
Although none of us knows what will happen in the future, we sometimes like to try our hand at fortune-telling. We think things like, “I’m going to embarrass myself tomorrow,” or “If I go on a diet, I’ll probably just gain weight.” These types of thoughts can become self-fulfilling prophecies if you’re not careful. When you’re predicting doom and gloom, remind yourself of all the other possible outcomes.

9. Personalization
As much as we’d like to say we don’t think the world revolves around us, it’s easy to personalize everything. If a friend doesn’t call back, you may assume, “She must be mad at me,” or if a co-worker is grumpy, you might conclude, “He doesn’t like me.” When you catch yourself personalizing situations, take time to point out other possible factors that may be influencing the circumstances.

10. Unreal Ideal
Making unfair comparisons about ourselves and other people can ruin our motivation. Looking at someone who has achieved much success and thinking, “I should have been able to do that,” isn’t helpful, especially if that person had some lucky breaks or competitive advantages along the way. Rather than measuring your life against someone else’s, commit to focusing on your own path to success.

Fixing Thinking Errors
Once you recognize your thinking errors, you can begin trying to challenge those thoughts. Look for exceptions to the rule and gather evidence that your thoughts aren’t 100% true. Then, you can begin replacing them with more realistic thoughts.

The goal doesn’t need to be to replace negative thoughts with overly idealistic or positive ones. Instead, replace them with realistic thoughts. Changing the way you think takes a lot of effort initially, but with practice, you’ll notice big changes—not just in the way you think, but also in the way you feel and behave. You can make peace with the past, look at the present differently, and think about the future in a way that will support your chances of reaching your goals.

Amy Morin is a licensed clinical social worker and an internationally recognized expert on mental strength. Her new book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success (link is external), is filled with strategies and exercises to help you avoid those common pitfalls that can prevent you from reaching your full potential. Watch the video trailer below to learn about her personal story behind the book.

Source:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201501/10-thinking-errors-will-crush-your-mental-strength