Ideas for Turning Inward

Ideas for Turning Inward | happyliving.com - image via Death to the Stock Photo

Trying to find the answers from outside yourself is nonsense.
You need to look inward.
(Dalai Lama)

Most of us are leading high-velocity, super-connected, fast-paced lives. Our daily routines include to-do lists a million miles long with aspirations and goals to match. We are looking at screens more than ever, encountering information and advertisements at every turn.

Some people say that all this technology is making us more disconnected, which could be true. Or maybe we benefit from keeping up with old high school friends and long lost cousins. It most likely depends on how each individual incorporates these “hits” of technology with the rest of their lives.

One thing I know for sure – my happiness depends on the time I spend turning inward, connecting with my higher self, spiritual beliefs, and the universe. Admittedly, this is something I need to dedicate more time and intentional effort towards. That type of inner work ends up on the back burner all too often.

No matter the time or era, our minds tend to become cluttered with wishes, fears, concerns, and chatter. Yet, we all have the power to cultivate purposeful patterns of the mind. We can use these ideas for turning inward to become happier, kinder, and more confident.

Turning Inward with Meditation

The Chopra Center’s blog summarizes the essence of meditation perfectly:

“For thousands of years people have used meditation to move beyond the mind’s stress-inducing thoughts and emotional upsets into the peace and clarity of present moment awareness.”

We shared our fondness for meditation in this post. While I am nowhere near a pro at daily meditation, I always feel better when I sit quietly and observe my thoughts.

If you find that sitting still is difficult, try meditating after exercise. Practicing yoga, going on a hike, or something else physical can help prepare your body for the stillness.

Turning Inward with Visualization

I came across this post the other day and it reminded me that visualization used to be a daily practice for me. The post is a bit extreme and hard to believe, but it made me think. Why aren’t I visualizing any more? When I was a competitive swimmer, I would spend time every night envisioning my ideal race before going to bed.

If you are new to visualization, or revisiting it after a long break, know that it is not a new-age self-help strategy. People have been using visualization techniques for thousands of years.

This article from The Huffington Post shares how Aristotle described the process:

“First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends: wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.”

The article also addresses criticism of the technique, “visualization does not guarantee success. It also does not replace hard work and practice. But when combined with diligent effort (and, I would add, a strong support network), it is a powerful way to achieve positive, behavioral change and create the life you desire.”

Some research shows that visualization might not increase your success, and it could even lead you in the other direction. Instead of strictly positive visualization, the researchers suggest, “try critical visualization, in which realistic obstacles, setbacks, and other decidedly not-so-positive factors are considered.” And this makes sense to me – because we all know there will challenges on our path. Why not visualize overcoming them?

Turning Inward with Affirmations

Maybe Stuart Smalley was onto something? This post from Tiny Buddha helps explain how affirmations can change your life. A simple way to start is by noticing, “negative self-talk and then transform it into positive statements.”

The way I look at affirmations, they are a good way to balance out the negativity that sometimes bubbles up and into my mind. Having a few affirmations in my back pocket is like having a good friend around at all times – there to remind me that everything is ok.

But what if I were to take it a step farther and push for more positive affirmations? What if I started every day like this little girl? That could be fun!

I have been thinking about buying this little box of affirmations from Louise Hay after seeing them in a few of my social media feeds. They could be a cheerful resource for turning inward and reframing my thoughts the next time I’m stuck in a negativity sinkhole.

Image via Death to the Stock Photo

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