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3 Meditations To Nourish Your Heart

by Kathy Smith

In the simplest sense, meditation can help banish negative thoughts by clearing your mind entirely. One popular meditation technique is to focus on a positive idea or happy moment. As soon as a negative thought bubbles to the happy, calm surface you created, think of it as a duck that is paddling away from you and return your focus to happier thoughts. It’s not always easy to erase negative thought patterns, but meditation can at least help you become more conscious of them, and that’s the first step.

As if happier thoughts aren’t enough of a benefit, research is showing that meditation can help restructure the brain in ways that lead to more enhanced concentration, boosted immunity, and increased compassion. Even the most basic attempts at meditation have been shown to have immediate positive results.

If you haven’t begun a meditation practice, or are looking to take your practice to the next level, then stay tuned. Today, I’ll guide you through three meditation styles to enhance your life and recharge your batteries.

1. Nature Meditation

One of my favorite ways to change my mental state is to meditate deeply on a part of nature. Take five minutes to look closely at a flower. Study the details of its texture and the structure. By observing the smallest features of a flower or any object, you develop a sense of reverence. The flower becomes a little miracle. You begin to see how complete and fully alive the natural world is at all levels. Meditating on nature can be calming, fascinating, and inspiring all at once.

2. Gratitude Meditation

I love what Oprah said about gratitude, “I know for sure that appreciating whatever shows up for you in life changes your personal vibration. You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots.”

Every morning, I start my day by making a gratitude list. It gets me moving on a positive track!

So take a few minutes today meditating on all the things in your life that you’re thankful for. You might even think about taking out your phone, opening the notes, and writing your daily list.

3. Breathing Meditation

Slow, deep breathing is one of the best stress busters there is. Focus your attention on the breath entering your body, your breath flowing out, and the spaces in between the breath. Several minutes of this can lower your pulse, reduce your blood pressure, and relax much of the muscular tension in your body.

This popular breathing method is one of the easiest and most effective forms for the uninitiated to attempt. Try it during stressful situations throughout your day. Within minutes, you’ll see how it helps you stay present in the moment, and yet separated from the situation that created stress in the first place.

Remember, as you work through these three meditations negative messages may surface. It’s o.k. (and very common) if they do. Your meditation practice will become more profound as you turn your focus back to nature, what you’re grateful for, or your breath. Like anything new, the more you practice, the easier it becomes to switch your mindset.

Here’s to your health and happiness!

Kathy Smith, New York Times bestselling author, has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for over 30 years. The numbers speak for themselves: Kathy has sold more than 20 million exercise DVDs - landing her in the Video Hall of Fame - and $500 million in Kathy Smith products. With her revolutionary approach to fitness, Smith has touched millions of people, inspiring them to move, live, and love.

Epigenetics Proves It: Negative Thoughts and Emotions Harm Your Health

by Kathy Smith

For decades we’ve heard talk of the mind-body connection, but what does it really mean?

Traditionally, the mind-body connection related to the notion that emotions, thoughts, social activities, spiritual practices, and behavior can affect our health. Today, thanks to some intrepid geneticists, we not only know this is true, but also the reason it occurs.

Ever since the discovery of genes, scientists have followed the path of genetic disposition and have strived to fight or prevent disease based on an individual’s genetic code. But, the new science of epigenetics has scientists looking at a much bigger picture.

Let’s take a look at what epigenetics means. Genetics is the study of heredity, or how the characteristics of living things are transmitted from one generation to the next. Every living thing contains the genetic material that makes up DNA molecules. This material is passed on when organisms reproduce. The prefix epi is derived from a Greek word that means “on, upon, at, by, near, over, on top of, toward, against, among.” Now, when we combine the prefix epi with the word genetics, we are referring to what occurs uponover or on top of the expression of genes.

Biologists studying epigenetics understand that environmental factors, such as stress and nutrition, to name a few, affect your genetic expression. And, what these biologists know with certainty is that the expression of your genes, not the genes themselves, dictates whether you develop certain diseases or age prematurely. In other words, one may have the “obesity gene,” but if nothing in the environment triggers that gene, it will never express as obesity.

This means that how you respond to what’s happening in your environment—whether it’s stress at work, final exams, or emotional or physical abuse—has a far greater effect than the event itself. In other words, when it comes to your body, perception is reality.

If you are chronically forlorn, for example, this negative emotion will influence the expression of your genes and thus impact your risk of developing disease. Conversely, there are many obese people, and even heavy smokers, who lead optimistic, balanced lives who are in much better health than their lean or non-smoking, but pessimistic, counterparts.

Dawson Church, in his book, The Genie in Your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention, reports that heart surgery patients who have a strong social support network and spiritual practice have one-seventh the mortality rate of those who don’t.

So, how do you start feeling optimistic when you’re feeling everything but? Well, you can start by recognizing that pessimism is nothing more than a habit—a learned response. And, the good news in that is that habits can be changed.

Habits are formed by the brain when we do something consistently over time. The brain recognizes the pattern and builds a neuropathway. Then, whenever the situation presents itself again, your brain takes that same neuropathway, which is now the path of least resistance. Neuropathways that are used regularly get stronger, and those that aren’t used at all disconnect.

So, the trick to changing habits is consistently doing the positive, new behavior you want until it forms a new neuropathway. Sound like a lot of time and effort? It doesn’t have to be. Since the brain doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined, and because time doesn’t exist at the other-than-conscious level of the mind, visualization can help you form new habits quickly and comfortably. This is where braintapping comes in. With proven technology-enhanced meditation that uses brain wave algorithms and visualization, you can quickly form the positive new habits that will give you a happier life and help safeguard your health.

And, if that’s not enough to convince you, a May 2014 study by the Institute of Science in Society showed that the relaxation response, as achieved through meditative practices, has been shown to positively affect at least 2,209 genes.

Kathy Smith, New York Times bestselling author, has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for over 30 years. The numbers speak for themselves: Kathy has sold more than 20 million exercise DVDs - landing her in the Video Hall of Fame - and $500 million in Kathy Smith products. With her revolutionary approach to fitness, Smith has touched millions of people, inspiring them to move, live, and love.

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