Those difficult times and thereafterโ€ฆ..

Hello everyone! Greetings ๐Ÿ––  This is my first post after a year long breakโ€ฆ

True enough, life is indeed unpredictable. It gives you the most dreadful unexpectedness when you least expect it. Thatโ€™s what happened to me. Today, when I look back and remember, I still get the goosebumps, the tremble and chill. The misery I went through, will most likely follow me all throughout my life, or for a very long time. The past year was the most challenging and overwhelming for me. In those days, I used to put down my thoughts and feelings to my husband throughout his absence during the difficult times.

When we were about to go to bed, on the evening of 8th January 2021, around10.30 PM, after dinner and are routine talk, you complained of a headache. I advised you to take a pain reliever, and go to bed. But to my astonishment, you behaved a little different when you were lying on the bed. You asked me to get the tablet and water for you. When I was back from the kitchen with the glass of water, you couldnโ€™t get up from the bed to have the medicine.The water gushed out from your mouth because you were unable to swallow. Then, all of a sudden, I could understand that something was wrong with you. You began to slur your words. Being a doctor myself, I came to know that you were having a transient ischaemic attack or maybe a stroke. I, immediately called emergency service and requested for an ambulance. I fumbled while speaking as I was very nervous. In the interim, I also called our next-door neighbour Jan, a 72 year old retired dutchman who is quite friendly and is fluent in English. When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics examined you and noticed that your left side of the body was immobile. However you were still trying to communicate and was conscious. They hurried you to the emergency room of the nearest hospital in Eindhoven where we reside. Both, Jan and I accompanied you to the hospital. In the ER, I was not allowed inside. We were both waiting outside. At around 11 oโ€™clock, I asked Jan to go back home as he was quite tired and had recently recovered from cancer.

A little later, I was told that they gave you a Morphin injection for your headache and a CT scan was done. Although I was completely shaken, somehow I was calm, still holding on to my gut that things would be all okay. Once the CT scan report came, they confirmed to me that itโ€™s a right brain hemorrhage, which is quite huge and with some strange findings. I was told that they had planned to shift you to a hospital in Tilburg, which is a nearby city, about 45-minute drive from Eindhoven. On top of my shock and cold shivers, I was confused and petrified by this whole chain of events. I was informed that they donโ€™t have the expertise, so that is why you have to be referred to the Tilburg Hospital, which has a better neurological service. Moreover, I was told that your CT scan findings were quite confusing and the bleeding was huge.

Within minutes, the ambulance came and rushed us to Tilburg. Inside the ambulance, you were lying down, still in your senses, tired and awake, complaining of the headache and discomfort. I was sitting next to you and asking you to rest and reassuring you. By almost 12.30 am, we reached Elizabeth Hospital, Tilburg. They rushed you again to the ER. I was allowed to accompany you there. The neurosurgeon on duty examined you and did a scan again. She, too, told me about the right brain hemorrhage and some strange discovery that resulted in the massive bleeding. All the while, I was very worried and heartbroken from inside. I could not hold my tears, cried and felt so helpless. At that moment, I felt that I would lose you and that I had lost everything in life.

Still awake and tired, you were transferred to a medium-care unit to be kept under observation. You asked the nurse if I could stay with you in the room. I know I wonโ€™t be allowed in, so I assure you that I will keep waiting outside. During those painful hours, I called your father, back home in India, to inform him about the whole episode. He was totally shocked. I could not hold my tears and was crying on the phone. Then, I called and informed our son too. He was confused and could not believe his ears. He was terrified as well, as he knew that his dad was the fittest one in the family and had never had any kind of illness. I have no idea what went through him at that stage, as he was all alone at home. Due to COVID, he was in our apartment and not in his college hostel. I also informed my sister and my brother-in-law. By that time, it was almost 1.30 AM. I was told to go back home as you were kept under supervision and it was quite stable.

So, while boarding a taxi from Tilburg to Eindhoven, I realised that the coming days were going to be the toughest to handle.That whole night, after reaching home, I cried and cried, just loitering around the house in anguish and pain. I had the impression that I was in for a long, dark journey with no idea what lay ahead.

The following day ,on the 9th of January was even scarier. I was informed earlier that you would be taken to the Operation Theatre for brain angiography. I was in the hospital, waiting to hear about the outcome of your brain angiography. Till 6 oโ€™clock in the evening, there was no news concerning you. I kept enquiring the OT nurse about you. She informed me that you hadnโ€™t been taken out of the OT. My mind was beginning to crawl with fears and anxieties. I was distraught and in panic. The OT nurse then called me at around 6:30 pm and took me to a room. I could sense the worst as I was sitting alone in the room. At that moment, I was terrified and utterly shaken.

Two doctors entered the room and sat in front of the table where I was sitting. One doctor started talking to me about the procedure they had to perform on you. They said that you had an atrioventricular fistula in your right brain which had to be repaired, otherwise the bleeding was profuse. The procedure went well, but you have not yet regained your consciousness from the anesthesia. They were very uncertain about the outcome and that you might have slipped into a coma. They told me that they were expecting the worst scenario, maybe brain death. My whole world was shattered at that moment. I was almost lost and could not stop myself from crying. I was in a complete state of shock. The doctors and staff did try to console me. Jan, our elderly friend, explained to me to take things practically and control my emotions. I called our son, your brother, and my family and informed them regarding your state. I was told to return home and was assured to be informed of any further developments regarding your state. When I got home, it felt like the longest night, the darkest and scariest night of my life. That whole night, I grasped onto my mobile, waiting for any news about you.

On January 10th, I came to the hospital and was informed that you had been shifted to the ICU. The doctors told me that they had to drain a huge bulk of fluid from your brain and that your vitals were stable. I was informed that your MRI scan showed a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage, which got worse due to a congenital defect of the AV fistula. Such cases are rare.The condition was worse as you had hydrocephalus, so the fluid had to be drained to reduce the pressure.

The first time I saw you in the ICU with a ventilator and machines, drains, and drips all over, it was really hard for me. I went near you and called your name. You did respond with a little movement of your right hand. I was relieved and was happy as I could see little hope of light after these 2-3 hard days. That day was quite positive for me as the doctors were happy with you for being responsive to the treatment and procedure. But then, they still reminded me about the uncertainty of your condition. There was still a huge amount of fluid left in your brain which had to be drained continuously. You were still in a comatose state, with a low score on the neurological scale. I was told to call our immediate family members from India as your chances of survival were low. I called our son, back in India, and asked him to pack his bag to come to the Netherlands. I also informed your family and mine regarding your present state. I called your employer and informed them because they had been trying to reach you for the last 2-3 days due to your professional obligations. I also informed my project coordinator and let go of the project that I was doing.

After going through all the procedures of an emergency visa, our son arrived on January 14th. This was a life-changing event for him as well, as he had been very close to you, his father. He did go through an emotional roller coaster during those turbulent days. And, seeing you in that state, he had acted very mature and calm. He has been my biggest support through this storm. Our neighbors and friends have also been very supportive through the difficult time. Your employer has been a great support system for me and our son. We will always remain grateful to everyone who has been there for us through those difficult hours.

You stayed in the ICU for almost 2 months. Everyday, I visited twice, once in the morning and then in the evening. During my time spent with you in the ICU, your eyes remained close most of the time, but you do respond to my touch with right-hand finger movements. Some days were good and positive, while some days were scary. Our son, too, visited you in the ICU. But, he had to leave as his exams were approaching. Your neurological state improved slowly and your vitals were stable. You had gotten out of the ventilator. They decided to shift you to the rehabilitation centre after you regained consciousness.

I was initially quite optimistic and excited about your development and recuperation during your time in the rehab facility. However, because the prognosis was poor, we, also had to deal with a number of setbacks in that situation. Your severe cognitive impairment and short – term memory problems were not responding well to therapy. Your left side is completely paralysed, and there is no recovery. You still struggle with a few cognitive issues. However, you continue to make good progress in terms of your awareness, speech, memory, and physical development every day. Your speech is clear and concise at present.

After more than a year, you are still residing in the rehabilitation facility, and your therapies are still ongoing. I see you almost every day of the week. While we converse and laugh on certain days, other days are sad when therapy doesn’t work out. As I’ve come to terms with your situation, I’ve begun to feel content. My greatest satisfaction comes from watching you smile while I am with you.The hardest lesson life has taught us today is to be cheerful in the moment we share together right now because we don’t know what the future has in store for us. When I see you now, hope is the only thing in which I will still believe and live.

 

Self confidence โœŠ

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Self confidence…..

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Food and mood ๐Ÿ˜‡

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There is an old Spanish proverb “The belly rules the mind” which is indeed true. Food, not only has a significant impact on the physical body and overall health but also on our day to day thinking, decision making, and the entire mental health as well. This saying has been prevalent among various faiths and belief systems from the ancient time. Science has proved in recent times in various researched-based studies.

According to the widely practised Yogic and Ayurvedic literature, everything that is matter arises from a fundamental source called Prakriti (meaning Mother Nature). So, the three primary Gunas (qualities) arises from Mother Nature. The three primary Gunas which are present in all objects and beings surrounding us are – Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. We, human unlike other beings or objects can choose the level of the three qualities in our individual lives and minds depending upon our choices of food, lifestyle and the kind of thoughts we like to cultivate. Our wellbeing and health mainly depend on these preferences. The three states are relative, and keep changing during our day to day life depending on our food choices and lifestyle preferences. Therefore, the three states are:

Satva: It is a state of beingness, in balance, in harmony and a favourable condition. For these qualities to nurture, we need to adapt to the food, that comes directly from Mother Nature. The food that comes from the soil and not from factories. To maintain calmness of mind, we have to adopt and practise Yoga, meditation regularly, which keep the mind stable and peaceful. Such a state is an ideal state of health and wellbeing free from diseases.

Rajas: This is the state of mind related to desires, passion, longing and attachment to worldly pleasures, excessive material goods, excessive work, excessive exercising and even extreme thinking. When we have this state of mind, there is craving for fried, spicy food and stimulants like alcohol, smoking and all sorts of other stimulants.

Tamas: This state of mind is darkness, ignorance and passive.
It is the most unproductive state of mind. Such a state mainly attracts overeating, oversleeping, passive state, fearful state. This state of mind mostly attracts fatty meat, processed and refined food.

So, the kind of food, we have on our plate, that we consume every day, or with each meal determines the state of mind, thought process, our prospects of the world, people around us. Therefore, in yogic practises, the ultimate goal is to cultivate the practice of Satva, adopt Satvic food to be close to our Creator, our beingness, our most authentic self.

Not just mentioned in ancient literature, food impact on both physical and mental health have been studied in several research-based projects all over the world in recent times. For decades, we have been surrounded by sugary, refined, processed and fatty foods, which are like impossible to avoid. Because of their easy accessibility, binging on this kind of foods has made it difficult for the body to deal with them. Apart from causing multiple physical health issues, including lifestyle diseases and obesity, they are grievous for our mental health and brain too. Researches have found out; junk foods are not only killing our health but also causes the shrinking of our brain. The primary functions of the brain being the cognitive functions, the ability to think, perform challenging tasks have found to impact the wrong kind of nutrition. Such a diet is found to have a long term effect on normal brain activities and memory. Habitual intake of such foods changes and alter the programming of the brain.

An Australian study found that not just in the adults and adolescence. Still, pregnant women, too who fed on junk foods, gave birth to children who were more aggressive, fearful, throw tantrums and has less tolerable personality. Without Omega 3 fatty acids, and other nutrients dense food, the brain does not develop naturally.Some more information on Omega three fatty acids https://healthhappinesshealing.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=3844&action=edit

So to conclude, the impact of nutrition in the overall health is wholesome. Not just the diseases but also chronic health issues like autoimmune diseases, obesity, heart diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cancers, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, thyroid issues can be controlled and well managed by changing the diet and lifestyle. Even the impact of nutrition on mental health has been immense. So, with proper diet and lifestyle changes, depression, mood disorders and day to day cognitive functions thought process, task performance, agility, tolerance, decision-making skills could all be improved.

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Blessings and much love to all ๐Ÿ’

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Maturity ๐Ÿ™Œ

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Maturity is……

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Silent Saturday ๐Ÿ™Œ

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Some random clicks of mine…

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Change for the better ๐Ÿ™Œ

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” You can change your brain just by thinking differently ” Dr Joe Dispenza.

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We do the daily thinking and task performing by both parts of our mind: Conscious and subconscious mind.The conscious mind is the creative part of the brain, which thinks, absorb new knowledge, new ideas, analyse things and objects. The subconscious mind is a habitual mind which functions on programmes that we have downloaded in the course of our lifetime. The subconscious mind works about 95% of our day to day time doing all the activities based on its habitual nature.ย 

 

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How we think and behave depends on our past memories and experiences that we had till date in our life-term. That’s is how we generate our thinking pattern and everyday thoughts and feelings. So, we experience our daily reality, the so-called perceived truth through the filter of the past, which is the result of the memories, beliefs and experiences.

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That’s how, an ordinary person like us lead a routine life based on old habits, which is run by our subconscious mind programming. We get comfortable and become used to it, so any new change or trying to change a better or improved habit becomes a difficult and challenging task for us.

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So, how is an experience create a memory in the brain? When we have an experience, the sensory organs collect the different data of senses from the external environment and send them to the brain. In the brain, there is an influx of neuronal charges which create a specific pattern of the neuronal pathway. The brain produces a chemical or feeling which we called emotion associated with the neuronal pathway. So, the experience related to the emotion/feeling creates a memory in each of the body cell. That is how a particular event is recorded in our brain and body cells. Therefore, each thought is always associated with a feeling or emotion. Happy or good thoughts create delighted emotions and good memories, while unpleasant or sad thoughts have an anxious mood or emotions and an unpleasant memory attached. This series of thoughts and memories appear every day and become our thinking pattern and behaviour and develop into habits. Our state of being, our wellness also depends on this pattern of thoughts and behaviour.

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So, can we create a change at any age? Modern researches have shown that the human brain can change or build up new neurons and pathways at any age. This process is called Neuroplasticity. There is no age or gender limitation for this change to happen. A thought, belief or habit is difficult to change because it gets hardwired in the brain due to continuous repetition during our lifetime. So, a change is possible when we consciously shift our paradigm from these sets of limiting beliefs and behaviours. Most of the time, our thoughts and opinions get stuck in the limitations, and we fail to think beyond our conscious and analytical mind. Change is possible at every point in time. Enough researches have proved that transformation is possible in our thinking pattern, behaviour and habit at both physical and mental level in a measurable way. The person who is aware and becomes proactive to change or build a new empowering and better practice of thinking pattern and behaviour can easily taste success and happiness in this lifetime.

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Because of the habitual nature of our subconscious mind, the habit of new thinking and behaviour needs a particular method to be implemented to bring about a change. Mere affirmations and positive thinking cannot alone lead to a shift in thinking or behaviour. It is valid only on those moments when we think with our conscious mind. Once we forget with our affirmations, the old thinking pattern and subconscious behaviour take over. Some studies have shown that it takes around 21 days to develop a new habit or a thinking pattern. But, this depends more on the individual and his willingness to bring about a change.

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Certain methods:
1.Continuous repetition over a certain period until it gets reprogrammed in our subconscious mind. We can try this practice on our own.
2. Hypnosis: Practicing self-hypnosis of the affirmations or the change mostly during bedtime or early morning hours when the mind is less engaged is a useful tool. Practising it everyday, the subconscious mind can be reprogrammed to this new belief or thought. This method needs a therapist but can be practised on our own too.
3. Energy psychology: Different modalities exist which require the help of a trained and professional therapist like in methods such as Psych K, brain synch method, resonance repatterning.

More information: ย www.brucelipton.com

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Anxiety: Understanding the fact ๐Ÿ™Œ

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“The best use of imagination is creativity, the worst use of imagination is anxiety”. Deepak Chopra.

Humans are the only species since evolution, who have the most evolved mind. They can undoubtedly imagine both constructively and destructively. So, it’s our thoughts alone which can make or break us.
Being anxious is having an uninvited guest into your house, which you are trying to avoid, but still, he refuses to leave.

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Anxiety is a state of mind, not a disease. Every day, we generate about 70,000 thoughts, out of which majority of them are negative and repetitive thoughts which do not serve any purpose. Thoughts are the main stimulator of our state of wellbeing. Whether you are physically healthy or not, thoughts are only instrumental which determines our state of wellbeing. It’s the day to day thoughts that creates our perceptual reality which we believe our real world. Hence, this is the hard truth that needs to be acknowledged by us.
It’s essential to educate ourselves that thoughts typically creates our reality. So, if we modify our thinking pattern or start creating empowering thoughts and beliefs, we can easily change the world around us.
Therefore, thoughts are so powerful that they can push you to the peak of physical and mental wellbeing or dumped you in the pit of depression and anxiety.

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So, how does anxiety builds up?
Out of 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts generated, every day, about 90% of them are just repetitive and negative thoughts. There is overthinking and rumination of the same type of thoughts. As the cycle continues, there is an alteration in the chemical makeup of the brain. Dopamine and serotonin, the mood regulators get depleted in the brain. The production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) gets consumed, and slowly there is shrinkage in the size of the brain. When the cycle becomes vicious, and anxiety state becomes chronic. It started to interfere with daily activities. Such a state is regarded as an Anxiety disorder. As chronic stress get elevated and reaches the threshold, there are significant changes taking place in the brain.

Dr Joseph LeDoux New York University neuroscience.16ef.indd
Some noticeable changes are :
1. The more the brain is engaged in anxious thoughts, the more the ‘anxious neural pathways’ are strengthened.
2. The brain is stuck in the state of ‘high alert’, becomes more reactive to the stress receptors for possible threats which are mostly imaginary.
3. The fear centre in the brain becomes more prominent and more significant.
4.Not just the chemistry, but changes start appearing up to the DNA level in the brain.
5. Brain ageing process also fastens.
6. The circadian rhythm is disturbed, and the sleep cycle gets disrupted.

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Simple ways to get rid of the anxiety state :
1. Firstly, it is better to face the anxiety. More avoidance will lead to more exaggeration. So, visit your fears, and start being an observer. Being an observer of your mental state, create a sense of indifference, feels like you are different from your state of mind. You understand that the mind and body have created a false association to any external object or stimulant as the triggering factor.

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2. Diaphragmatic breathing: Long bouts of inhalations followed by long rounds of exhalation. The deep breathing technique: Like taking a prolonged deep breath of inhalation by counting 1-4, then, a pause of 1-4, followed by an exhalation of 1-4, then another break of 1-4, and the sequence continues. That is why this technique is known as four-square breathing. This slow and deep breathing causes the oxygen to reach your brain, and the parasympathetic nervous system gets activated. It can be an instant stress reliever.
3. Naming your anxiety is as expressing your state of mind to another person. Putting words, and explanation of your anxious thoughts will stimulate the frontal cortex. Your brain will be more attentive in the frontal cortex and deviated from the fear centre, which is responsible for the anxious state.

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4. Mindful and relaxation techniques like mindfulness, meditation, yoga, which all goes to help stimulate the parasympathetic system, which is for relaxation.

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5. Plant-based food is known to have a calming effect on the human mind.

Thanks for reading.

Blessings and much love to all ๐Ÿ’

Post : Mind control : How do I get that ?๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿค”

Hello everyone ! Have a great day ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿป

Our mind is illusional. Whatever, we think and perceive is our own derived illusion. It’s our biggest friend and at the same time can be our biggest enemy. Therefore, a common quote says ” You may die a hundred deaths without a break in the mental turmoil “ Our mind makes up everything that happens in our life – good or bad, big or small, ugly or beauty, sad or happy, success or failure, it ‘s all within this thing, called mind. So, how do I control this thing ‘mind’ and remain focus on my goal and life purpose?

Understanding the mind, and its content is very important and fundamental. What makes our thought world? How do thoughts are generated? We build up mental impressions through the different inlets of this outer world. The inlets can be :
*Five senses: sight, hear, smell, touch, taste
*Memory: That has been built up over the years of this outside world experience, right from the day we were born.
*Activity: That we perform , habituated and do throughout the day.

We create thought by an idea backed with emotion. Through different inlets, we build up thoughts as our mental contentย every day. We generate, perceive, analyse, process and ruminate our entire thought world. So, we keep doing the same mental activity of thinking, analysing, ruminating every day. The thinking pattern doesn’t change. So, does our behaviour and habits. It is uninterrupted, a never-ending process which we may not be even aware.
According to Yoga Psychology ( Yoga Sutras), our thought world mainly depends on mental fluctuation (Vritti) and thoughts (prataya). The mental impulses (vritti) are created through the different inlets like the senses, memory, activity which inturn create mental impressions generating thoughts (prataya). This is the reason, when we are in a positive , vibrant environment, surrounded by positive people, we generate positive, beautiful, creative thoughts. But, when we surround ourselves with negativity, we generate negative thoughts of guilt, anger, pain, hurt, jealousy and so on.

Normally, what happens, when we centred our mind for a particular activity, at the office or home. There are endless distractions. Okay, we try to control the distraction or cut down to some extent, but still mental fluctuations and wondering thoughts continue to distract us. This is because the memory continues to generate unstable thoughts in an unstable mind.
Therefore to manage our mind, we need to control our mental fluctuation and thoughts. The only way to control them is through a concentrated mind. A concentrated mind can be achieved through the power of attention. The power of attention is our very own property (which arises from self) which we can achieve by practising and training our mind. It is a steady power of awareness which is created at our own will. It is the only capability that we can learn to develop for mind control. Whereas, the mental fluctuations (impression) and thoughts are greatly influenced by our outer world, the external distractions. They are not completely within our control.

The different states of mind depending on the power of attention can be defined as
*Ordinary mind: When both the mental fluctuations (vritti) and thoughts (prataya) are unstable. The mind is rather restless distracted, jumping from one thought to another.

*Focused mind: When there is less mental fluctuation (stable vritti) but thoughts are still wobbly (unstable prataya). This is the learning mind.

*Concentrated mind: When both the mental fluctuation (vritti) and thoughts (prataya) are on the same line, stable enough. This is the highest level of attentive mind.

*Meditative mind: When the vritti and prataya are concentrated at the same point, on a similar goal. That is the mind is concentrated at one point say, your attention is entirely on your breath or a point of focus. That is when both mental fluctuation and thought are at the same point. This is the highest level of concentration.

The power of attention is similar to a focused beam of light where all your energies are focused. With this power of attention, you can learn, achieve, complete tasks and attain success in whichever areas of life you want to. That is the reason, we should always learn to perform an activity or task one at a time. So, we give our full power of attention. Handling multiple tasks all at a time can be like a scattered beam where all your energies are distributed. You can be able to do some while some are left undone. Your mind will keep fluctuating and your attention span will be variable and unstable.

So, how do I learn to achieve a concentrated mind with the ultimate power of attention? How do I control my mind, my inner thought world, daily? How do I focus my mind on one activity at a time? How do I take charge of myself? This is a self-learning task, an ongoing process. Two comprehensive ways:

1. To achieve the power of attention, two important things matter the most :
Awareness: Being consciously aware all the time. Feeding our thought world and thought process with positive, constructive and creative thoughts.
Will: Self-training and developing a restrained impulse towards worthy goals, purposeful life.

2.Control of thoughts:
*Exposure to right kind of thoughts: Feeding the mind everyday with right kind of thoughts. Reading good books, being in a positive, good company, surrounded by positive vibrations.
*Right behaviour: Good conduct, right behaviour pattern influence thoughts and emotions. That means reframing our cognitive abilities. Correcting our behaviour patterns as on when required.
*Right lifestyle and habits: Maintaining a regulated lifestyle and habits will greatly influence our mind. You cannot have a stable mind with an unstable lifestyle.
*Purposeful life: Working towards a specific goal, understanding and working towards a meaningful life. Developing a stable mind through meditation and prayers. This cannot be achieved overnight. It is an ongoing, self-learning process. You and I have to keep working on it daily.

Thanks for reading.

Blessings and much love to all ๐Ÿ’

References: Science of Focus by Pravrajika Divyanandaprana (Vivekavani)

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Post: Do Love your genes โค๏ธ Make better choices!

Hello everyone! Have a great Wednesday ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿป

We have 50 to 75 trillion cells in our body. Believe it or not, each of them has a nucleus which has a DNA strand of about 6 feet. Now, how such long length of DNA strand fit inside the small nucleus of a tiny cell. The DNA strand is wrapped around a cluster of proteins called the histones. Histones are like molecular spools. These molecular spools form the chromatin, where there are the sequencing of proteins. These chromatins form the complex structure of DNA, that is the chromosomes. There are about 30 million spools in each of the cells. So just imagine, how much of genetic material, we carry in each of our cells. The functional unit of DNA are the genes encoded in it. It is this genetic codes which tell the cell how to function and who to become. That is how a muscle cell differs from a neuron or a skin cell.

A magnifying glass focussing on a section of a DNA strand.

Epigenetics meaning above the genes. So, epigenetics are chemical tags that sit on the chromatin. Some epigenetic marks can condense the chromatic making the cell unable to read the genes underlying, in other words, they turn the genes off. Again, some epigenetic marks can decondense the chromatic making the cell accessible to read the underlying genes. So, then the genes are turned on. Therefore, these epigenetic marks are responsible for influencing our cell biology. So, in our body, though each cell has the same DNA, it is these epigenetic marks which instruct the cell to turn on or off the particular genes. This is how a muscle cell or a neuron function differently from a skin cell. Now, the question is when do the epigenetic marks laid down the information or instructions to the cells. Most of it occurs during the embryonic development inside the womb. Initially, when the embryo is only a few cells big, there are very less epigenetic marks on the cells, As the days pass by, the influence of environment slowly increases the epigenetic marks on the cells.

In a pregnant lady, the growing embryo inside her womb has been influenced by the food she eats, behaviour, her stress level, habits (like smoking alcohol). That’s how the epigenetic marks are laid on the chromatin of each cell. That is how the foetus genes are affected and also the long term health effect of the child. Even as the child grows into an adult, the habits, behaviour, disease pattern does not entirely depend on the hereditary genes. Researches have shown that the environment continues influencing the epigenetic marks of the chromatins. Throughout life, the genes keep turning on and off depending on the environmental choices, pattern or the kind of environmental responses, the person perceives.

We keep making choices on the perception of this world, thoughts, emotions, lifestyle habits, eating habits, stress responses and other environmental influences. Depending on all these choices, our body’s nervous system influences the chemical pathways (neurohormonal pathways) instructing the genes through receptor responses (some genes get turn on while some get to turn off) in different cells of our body leading to different changes that occur regarding health, ageing, longevity, diseases, stress levels and wellness. Improving our choices ( being in a positive environment), positivity, reducing stress levels, healthy eating, active physical life all can affect our genes greatly. Have an impact on our overall wellbeing ,can reduce disease prospects, or can make healing faster.

So, the concept of “we” being the victims of hereditary genes doesn’t completely hold the truth. We still hold our magic stick depending upon the choices we make. We are still the “masters” of the body in terms of our health and wellness.
If you wish to know more about this topic, I recommend the book “Change your Genes, Change your life” Creating optimal health by the New Science of epigenetics. by Kenneth R. Pelletier

Thanks for reading.

Blessings and much love to all ๐Ÿ’