What is Equanimity? And Why Should I Care?

Posted Posted in Interesting

What is Equanimity?

Equanimity is a practice, most often discussed in Buddhist and Sufi traditions. Equanimity is the base for wisdom and freedom and for compassion and love. Few individuals are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions that differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most individuals are even incapable of forming such opinions.

Philosophy teaches us to bear with equanimity the bad luck of other people.

Merriam-Webster defines equanimity as an evenness of mind under stress – a habit of mind that’s rarely disturbed under great strain; a controlling of emotional or mental agitation through will and habit; a steadiness when facing strain.

What does equanimity look like?

Equanimity is the capacity to stay neutral, to observe from a distance, and be at peace without getting caught up in what we observe. It is the capacity to see the big picture with understanding and without reacting, for instance, to another’s words, ideology, perspective, position, premise, or philosophy. Essentially, we take nothing personally; refuse to be caught up in the drama our own or other peoples.

Equanimity allows us to “stand in the midst,” of conflict or crisis in a way where we are balanced, grounded and centered. Equanimity has the qualities of inner peace, well be-ing, vitality, strength, and steadfastness. Equanimity allows us to remain upright in the face of the strong winds of conflict and crisis, such as: blame, failure, pain, or disrepute – the winds that set us up for suffering when they begin to blow. Equanimity protects us from being “blown over” and helps us stay on an “even keel.”

How do we develop equanimity?

There are numerous mind/body qualities that support the development of equanimity. One is integrity. Do-ing and be-ing in integrity supports our feeling confident when we speak and act. Being in integrity fosters an equanimity that results in “blamelessness,” feeling comfortable in any setting or with any group without the need to find fault or blame. Another quality that supports equanimity is faith (not necessarily a religious or theological faith) – a faith based on wisdom, conviction or confidence. This type of faith allows us to meet challenge, crisis or conflict head on with confidence, with equanimity. A third quality is that of a well-developed mind a mind that reflects stability, balance and strength. We develop such a mind through a conscious and consistent practice of focus, concentration, attention and mindfulness. A well-developed, calm mind keeps us from being blown about by winds of conflict and crisis.

A quality that supports equanimity is seeing reality for what it is, for instance, that change and impermanence are an unpleasant fact. We become detached and less clingy to our attachments. This means letting go of negative judgments about our experience and replacing them with an attitude of loving kindness or acceptance and a compassionate matter-of-factness. The more we become detached, the deeper we experience equanimity.

The final quality is letting go of our need to be reactive so we can witness, watch and observe without needing to get caught up in the fray, the winds – maintaining a consistent relaxed state within our body as sensations move through.

Equanimity, thus, has two aspects: the power of reflection and an inner balance, both of which support one to be mindful, awake, aware and conscious. The greater the degree we are mindful, the greater our capacity for equanimity. The greater our equanimity, the greater our ability to remain steady and balanced as we navigate through the rough waters and gusty winds of change, challenge and conflict.

What happens when we are out of balance lacking equanimity?

In our everyday physical world, when we lose our balance, we fall. In our emotional world, we stuff our feelings and emotions, deny them or contract around them. Or we identify with a particular thought, feeling or emotion, hold on to it rather than allow it to flow through us or pass like a cloud in the sky. The middle ground is equanimity – the state of non-interference.

Equanimity allows for a deeper, more fulfilling experience.

As we develop our capacity for equanimity, we can begin to notice when we drop into a “state of equanimity.” Being aware of our experience, we can explore the state and this practice will lead to more frequent and deeper states of equanimity. What we find with such practice is that people, events, and circumstances that once caused us to be reactive no longer have any “charge” and we are more and more able to let go and feel less “bothered.” We suffer less.

You Need to Let Go of Yourself to Become the Best Version of Yourself

Posted Posted in You Can Fix That

Why You Need to Let Go of Yourself to Become the Best Version of Yourself

What is the thing that is most holding you back from being the best version of you?

You might be tempted to say something along the lines of ‘time’, ‘energy’, ‘money’ or ‘opportunity’. Perhaps you feel limited by other people?

I have a hunch, which is that a big part of what’s holding you back is your own sense of self. In other words: you might well be limited by your attachment to the ‘old you’ and by your eagerness to be seen as consistent and reliable.

Why Consistency is Over-Rated

We all have an attachment to who we think we are. We all have a notion of ourselves and of who others think we are as well. For example: you may see yourself as someone lighthearted who is never serious. Or perhaps you see yourself as being a local at heart, who supports the local sports team and who would never leave home.

We like the sense of continuity that this brings and other people like the fact that they know where they stand with us.

We don’t want to do something that is ‘out of character’ and we don’t want to go back on things we’ve said.

But is this really something you should cling to? Maybe your concept of ‘you’ is outdated?

Adaptability is Key

If the dinosaurs taught us one thing, it is that adaptability is the most important trait when it comes to surviving and thriving. If you can’t adapt, then the world will change around you and you will become an anachronism.

With that in mind, what benefit is there for you to actively refuse to adapt and grow?

Have you ever told someone the way you felt and then changed your mind… only to then feel that you can’t go back on what you said?

Have you ever wanted to dress differently, or take a sudden serious tone, but felt enormous pressure from people’s expectations of you?

This is a prison. And the irony is that it is a lie: the truest version of ‘you’ is simply the ‘you’ that you naturally want to be. The best way to be ‘you’ is to drop all expectations and simply act in the moment based on your emotions and your feelings.

And remember: biologically, there is no continuity. The person you are now is biologically completely different from the person you were even 10 years ago. Accept it and move on.

Want to become the most incredible, unstoppable version of yourself?

Posted Posted in You Can Fix That

Imagine becoming the most incredible, unstoppable version of yourself?

I’m not talking about the usual ‘self-help’ stuff. This goes beyond being a little better with the opposite sex or being a little more productive.

Want to take on all new challenges, explore new frontiers, grow and transform yourself?

Then the answer is to overcome your fear. Your fear is what is holding you back. Your fear is what is making you less capable and less formidable. And your fear is what is taking away from your happiness and your fulfillment.

It’s time we destroyed fear once and for all and unlocked our full potential.

THE SAMURAI CODE

If we want to learn how to really conquer fear, then we can turn to some examples from history. Some of the most fearless, formidable warriors of all were the samurai. So how did they achieve this complete lack of fear?

According to legend, there was a technique that the samurai would practice right before battle in order to eliminate their fear. To do this, they would vividly imagine every possible way that they could be killed. They would imagine being impaled, dismembered and decapitated.

Then they would focus on accepting these possibilities and coming to terms with them. They would become okay with a horrific and brutal death.

The samurai were actually a very morbid and fatalistic bunch. The bushido code explained that it was an honor to die in battle and that they should constantly keep their mind on death.

You’d think this would make them more fearful but paradoxically, it empowered them to be the completely ruthless, fearless warriors that they were. This makes sense: if you fear death, then you will fear life.

If the samurai have accepted the worst thing that could happen to them and if they have come to terms with it, then what reason have they to be afraid?

Now imagine fighting someone who has zero fear of death: who is willing to put themselves at risk, to launch 100% into a movement and not be concerned for the potential outcome. They would be devastating.

The good news is that we live in a much less dangerous time and you probably don’t need to come to terms with your death in quite the same way. But we can take this same notion and we can look at ways to apply it to our own lives.

Click this link to get a free checklist of ways you can start today!

 

What Sleep Experts Aren’t Telling You About How to Get a Great Night’s Sleep…

Posted Posted in You Can Fix That

Tossing and turning night after night, then waking up exhausted and feeling miserable is an all too common complaint that I hear from clients.    The sad reality is that sleep disturbance is one of the major problems facing people today.  According to government studies, “Sleep loss and sleep disorders are among the most common yet frequently overlooked and readily treatable health problems. It is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from a disorder of sleep and wakefulness, hindering daily functioning and adversely affecting health and longevity (NHLBI, 2003)”.   It impacts every aspect of our lives (health, relationships, and work) and creates a negative behavior loop that results in more anxiety, stress, sleeplessness and weight gain.  So, if you are one of those who suffers, YOU are not alone! And while misery loves company, you want answers and more importantly, you want to sleep now.

To better understand the contributing causes, it is helpful to understand  how our bodies function and how this impacts sleep.  The human body and our subconscious minds are wired to protect us.  One of the primary ways this happens is through the release of cortisol.  Cortisol is a powerful hormone that is triggered during the fight/flight/freeze reaction.  When faced with imminent danger the adrenaline rush that we experience is triggered by cortisol.  Our bodies are in a heightened state of readiness to respond. This state of excitement interferes with sleep.  Once we become aware of some of the causes, we can learn how to deal with those factors most likely to disturb your sleep.

There are many studies that show a clear link between foods high in sugars and carbohydrates and sleep disturbances.  The conclusions in these studies show that consumption of these foods negatively affect our sleep.  These studies go on to link sleep apnea and other sleep disorders to a rise in diabetes and obesity.  Here, we have a negative loop of sleep deprivation attributed to sleep apnea and sleep apnea being exacerbated by weight gain  The weight gain is attributable to increases in cortisol resulting from stress.  (Miller, et al., 2014) (Knutson, 2007) (New Study Links Blood Sugar Levels With Sleep Apnea, n.d.)

The most obvious food sourced chemical that impacts the quality of our sleep is caffeine.  This is not a newsflash. This psychoactive chemical is present in more foods and beverages than many people are aware of.  We are aware of the obvious sources like coffees, teas and chocolates.  Caffeine however, is also present in non-cola soft drinks like Mountain Dew® and Sunkist® Orange Soda.  Lesser known hidden sources of caffeine include protein and energy bars, ice creams and frozen yogurt, certain vitamin waters and over-the counter pain meds such as Excedrin® Migraine. (Lodato, et al., 2013). 

Another contributing factor to sleeplessness or sleep disturbance is our connection to our smart devices (phones, tablets, and computers).  They keep us connected and stimulated, and this is not necessarily a good thing.  The tendency among many of those who come to see me for sleep issues, is their constant contact to jobs and clients.  In a society where people demand immediate responses, we have no ability to decompress and step away from the stressors of work.  It is common to see couples out to dinner constantly checking their smart phones to insure they haven’t missed a text or email message.  Further, people attempt to multi-task, even while engaged in social events, in an effort to be “more efficient.”  Since the brain is not wired to multi-task, we create additional problems for ourselves including making more mistakes which increase anxiety levels, as well as interpersonal relationship problems by becoming more socially disengaged.

Our devices create issues that are even more problematic.  Smart devices keep us highly stimulated.   The brain cannot differentiate between threats and stimulating gaming.  Engaging in long periods of video gaming or viewing sports programming everywhere we go, also increases cortisol levels and keeps us in heightened states of physical and mental excitement.  Clients have reported that they are on their phones right up until they go to sleep.  This type of behavior is often a prime source of their sleeplessness.

Sleeplessness can also be caused by or compounded by medical treatments or conditions.  Among the most frequent of these are diabetes, heart disease, chemo and immuno-therapies, reflux disease and Parkinson’s.

Ignorance of the causes is costing us billions of dollars in medical costs and lost productivity.  But the impact is also much more serious.   Sleeplessness is responsible for more than 40,000 motor vehicle accidents and more than 1500 motor vehicle deaths annually.  One of the proximal causes of these accidents are the residual effects of sleep medications that people receive from their physicians.  Commonly prescribed drugs such as benzodiazepines and antidepressants or antipsychotics often come with serious side effects, including dependency and abuse.  The sad fact is that these should be the last resort of medical professionals and not the first.  Longer term results come with empowering people to learn healthy, drug-free ways of relieving stress and breaking the sleeplessness cycle.

One of the most effective, and the safest method of breaking the negative loop of sleeplessness and the anxiety of not being able to sleep is hypnosis and mindfulness meditation.  Hypnosis, unlike prescription medications, does not have any of the dangerous side-effects of addiction or abuse.   Even more important, is the ability of hypnosis and mindfulness to improve feelings of general well-being, peace and calm.    As with many other presenting complaints, clients seeking to deal with sleep deprivation or insomnia, find that hypnosis empowers them to take back control of their lives.  It is this empowerment, along with the immediately recognizable phenomena of relaxation and calm, that creates a new, positive resource state that the client can use in all aspects of their lives.

The use of hypnosis as a means of resolving a host of issues, including sleep disturbances, dates back more than 4000 years to the Egyptians.  There are many documented instances of the presence of sleep chambers or sleep temples that utilized trance states to heal and improve various conditions.

The process of guiding people into a hypnotic trance state is fast.  The hypnotist can generally accomplish this in a matter of a few minutes.  During the session, the hypnotist works with the client at the subconscious level to resolve behaviors that are causing stress or other behaviors that are interfering with the sleep process.  Additionally, the hypnotist can install tools or anchors that help the client to relax quickly and once again experience satisfying sleep.  Additionally, the hypnotist will teach the client how to achieve the same relaxful state through the process of self-hypnosis.  Success builds on success and once again the client can return to a more productive life being more restful and present.

As more people feel the impact of increased levels of stress resulting from demands at work, little or no intimacy in relationships, or a general sense of unease because of world political situations, it is reasonable to expect a further uptick in those seeking help getting to sleep.   Hypnosis and mindfulness meditation give people the tools to untether from their computers, tablets and smart-phones, leaving them with the ability to shutoff from the constant bombardment of information and stimulation.   They report improved intimacy with others and lower levels of stress and most importantly greater satisfaction in all aspects of their lives.  The process of hypnosis and mindfulness meditation teach the individual how to take back control of their lives and begin to enjoy life by being present, perhaps for the first time.

One of the most effective tools that I have developed to assist those with difficulty sleeping is a special audio program.  The program is specially designed to be highly effective in reducing the stressors and other distractions that cause sleeplessness and induce a refreshing sleep.  The audio program, “Sleep and Dream for a Happier You”  is available for immediate download at: https://goo.gl/o5nghd .

About the Author:

Marc is an award winning, certified stage and clinical hypnotist, author and motivational speaker with experience entertaining both large and small gatherings.

Marc uses his skills and talents in a variety of areas that include self-improvement or clinical hypnosis, motivational speaking, and comedy stage hypnosis.  He has worked with individuals and corporations throughout the United States to improve outcomes in personal lives and organizations.

As a clinical hypnotist, he has helped people resolve sleep issues, lose weight, stop smoking, deal with long held fears, deal with stress and anxiety, manage pain, improve sports performance, eliminate addictions, and improve sexual function.

His performance resume includes appearances on live shows for Refinery29 Live and Elite Daily’s TrashED.  He has performed at comedy clubs, the Monroe County Fair (MI), the Osceola County Fair (Kissimmee, FL), the Red River Valley Fair (Fargo, ND), and for schools, proms, graduations, conferences, conventions and corporations.  He was a featured performer for New Jersey’s premier First Night Celebration – First Night Morris for New Year’s Eve 2018.

Marc’s book, “Staying in the Moment – Helping Students Achieve More Through Mindfulness Meditation” helps educators, parents and students get better results in the classroom through the adoption of mindfulness exercises as part of the curriculum.

For more information about, or to book an appointment with Marc visit his website: www.hypnomarc.com or email info@hypnomarc.com.

References:

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.statisticbrain.com/sleeping-disorder-statistics/

(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20313656,00.html

Colten, H. R., & Altevogt, B. M. (2006). Extent and Health Consequences of Chronic Sleep Loss and Sleep Disorders. Retrieved 4 10, 2018, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/nbk19961

Durrant, K. L. (2002). Known and hidden sources of caffeine in drug, food, and natural products. Journal of The American Pharmaceutical Association, 42(4), 625-637. Retrieved 4 11, 2018, from https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/s1086580215302345

Knutson, K. L. (2007). Impact of sleep and sleep loss on glucose homeostasis and appetite regulation. Sleep Medicine Clinics, 2(2), 187-197. Retrieved 4 10, 2018, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc2084401

Lodato, F., Araújo, J., Barros, H., Lopes, C., Agodi, A., Barchitta, M., & Ramos, E. (2013). Caffeine intake reduces sleep duration in adolescents. Nutrition Research, 33(9), 726-732. Retrieved 4 11, 2018, from https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/s0271531713001528

Miller, B., O’Connor, H., Orr, R., Ruell, P., Cheng, H. L., & Chow, C. M. (2014). Combined caffeine and carbohydrate ingestion: effects on nocturnal sleep and exercise performance in athletes. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 114(12), 2529-2537. Retrieved 4 10, 2018, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-014-2973-z

New Study Links Blood Sugar Levels With Sleep Apnea. (n.d.). Retrieved 4 10, 2018, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/07/blood-sugar-sleep-apnea_n_5084131.html

(Colten & Altevogt, 2006)

 

Photo Credit – Photo credit: Schmirn on Best Running / CC BY

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