Friday, March 22, 2013

5 Ways To Increase Your Happiness

I’m not sure why, but most people are reluctant to admit they would like to increase their overall happiness. Maybe it’s because in doing so, one also has to confront the fact that they aren’t as happy as they would like to be – a vulnerable admission. It could also be that they don’t know how. An unfortunate truth, today’s society is less than equipped at helping people to cultivate this much sought after human emotion. Let’s face it, who wants to sit in meditation for 30 minutes a day when you can just as easily go out and buy a new wardrobe and get a haircut to feel better about yourself…at least in the short term.

Erica Sofrina recently published this Care 2 post on happiness, highlighting just how “in control” we are when it comes to increasing our own. Most powerful about Sofrina’s article is that her happiness-building suggestions are focused on harnessing that internal relationship with self, rather than acquiring the latest trend in sunglass fashion. Her 5 tips on cultivating happiness are below:

Five things you can do that will increase your Happiness:

1- Keep a gratitude journal – Each night, write down three things you’re grateful for from that day. They can be simple gifts and appreciations of the day or big meaningful events that occurred. As you go to sleep, go over the three gratitudes in your mind, taking in the good feelings associated with those you expressed.

2 - Do something that stirs your creative juices, without letting the inner critic stop you from enjoying the process. Read or write a poem. Sing, draw or paint. Dance to your favorite music or new music. Try something you haven’t done before. Be wild and spontaneous!

3 – Write down 10 things that bring you joy. Commit to experiencing more of them every week. Make a “joy” date with yourself or someone else, doing one or more of the things on your list. Do this without judging yourself.

4 - Spend time in nature every week. Be present with the beauty of what you see, hear, smell and sense. Breathe it in. Later bring in the memory and experience of this place. Savor it. Use it as a resource for renewal anytime you need it. 

5 – Practice Self-Compassion


How meditation can change your life

Here is why meditating may just change your life around completely

In the fast-paced lives that we lead, stress and fatigue are the most common problems that scores of people suffer from. Meditating for a few minutes daily is known to work wonders in bringing a calming and balancing effect in your life.

 -Meditation will help you change your attitude towards life, and provide peace of mind and happiness. It helps you achieve a better understanding of yourself as well as others.

-It is known to increase energy, strength and lower oxygen consumption. Since you're in a calm state of mind, it increases blood flow and slows your heart rate.

-If you suffer from high blood pressure, give meditating a shot — it reduces anxiety and panic attacks and also enhances immune system.

-For people suffering from depression, insomnia or even obesity, it increases serotonin production, which is known to regulate your mood.

-Have a hard time with PMS every month? Start meditating for a few minutes daily and see the difference during those painful days of the month.

-Meditation will develop your intuition, make you more alert, increase will power and make you less aggressive.

-Since it helps you clear your head, meditation improves your concentration levels, memory, creativity and also makes you feel rejuvenated.

-Do you suffer from insomnia? Meditation will be the perfect solution for you. A few minutes of meditating daily will reduce your dependency on pills to fall asleep and you will also require lesser sleep to recover from sleep deprivation.

-Meditation calms down the nervous system and gives you relief from those awful migraine and headaches.

-Not only will it boost your self-confidence, it will also make you a more stable person, which in turn will manifest in improved relationships.

-Meditation gives you a greater tolerance when it comes to reacting in situations, increases your sense of responsibility and helps you in attaining better judgments.

Read more:

Golf Flexibility

A Step-By-Step Guide

In this golf flexibility guide we’ll look at a step-by-step approach for creating a performance-boosting golf stretching program…

We’ll outline important topics like:

    Why flexibility makes you a better golfer.

    How often you need to stretch.

    What stretches you should select for your routine.

    How long your should hold each stretch.

    How quickly you can expect to see results.

We’ll put it all together with a sample golf flexibility routine that you can begin using today.

An important point about these guidelines…

I’m a great believer in exercise routines that give you the most rewards for the minimum amount of your time and effort. Like most amateur golfers, you probably don’t have the luxury of spending 2 hours a day working on your fitness. The guidelines below (and sample golf stretching routine) are based on that philosophy.

Does Improved Flexibility Really Make You A Better Golfer?

It seems like common sense that the more supple you are, the better you’ll be at swinging a golf club. And it appears that sports science would agree…

Golfers with a good level of flexibility tend to hit longer drives and shoot lower scores [1] and a program of golf flexibility and strength exercises can improve swing mechanics, increase swing speeds and even help with shot accuracy [2-4].

If you currently have poor mobility in a number of key areas (we’ll come on those in a moment), a golf flexibility program will benefit you in a number of ways:

    It will improve the efficiency and mechanics of your golf swing because you’ll have greater range of movement to put yourself in key positions.

    It will increase your swing speed (and therefore your carry distance with each club in the bag) because you’ll be able to make a fuller backswing. You may also be able to make a more rapid, more powerful downswing with improved flexibility.

    It will help to redress any imbalances in your body – that are the result of golf or day-to-day life – reducing your chances of chronic injuries [5,6].

    It will leave you feeling healthier and younger – one of the characteristics of youth is unrestricted movement.

Whatever your age, a golf flexibility program is well worth the relatively small amount of time and effort it requires.

Golf Flexibility Training Helps To Prevent Golf-Related Injuries

There’s a simple logic behind this..The more flexible you are, the less prone you may be to injuries such as strains and muscle tears [5,6].

The golf swing, is quite an explosive movement that can stretch muscles and joints beyond their normal range of movement – so the greater your flexibility, the further your body can stretch before it gets injured.

Over time, golf can have quite an unbalancing effect on the body…

Certain muscle groups, joints and connective tissues are used more often than others. They become overly strong placing weaker, neglected areas under inordinate strain. Or they become tight – and have a knock-on effect on surrounding muscles and joints.

Golf isn’t the only culprit of course…

Sitting for long hours behind a desk for example, can have the same negative effect on our posture and musculoskeletal system.

Stretching helps to place our body back into alignment. Alongside a good strength training program, it helps to redress imbalances and improve posture. The net result?

A flexibility program can reduce our risk of back problems and chronic, overuse injury [7,8].

Different Types Of Stretching

There are a various types of flexibility and different types of stretching:

DYNAMIC Stretching

This involves using speed of movement and momentum to stretch a muscle group. Unlike static stretching below, a dynamic stretch isn’t held for any length of time. Instead, repeated movements are made that temporarily stretch a muscle group through its full range of motion.

A good example of a dynamic stretch is kicking an imaginary soccer ball with a straight leg. At the end of the movement, you’ll feel a stretch in the hamstrings.

Dynamic stretches are not the best way to increase your range of motion (which is what we want to play better golf). But they are very good for releasing muscle tightness [9] and preparing the body for explosive exercise. For that reason, we use dynamic stretches as part of a golf warm up.

STATIC Stretching

This involves stretching part of the body until a slight tightness is felt in target muscle group and then holding that position for a period of time.

A classic example of a static stretch is sitting with legs outstretched, feet together and bending forward to touch your toes. This statically stretches the hamstring muscles.

Static stretching is a very effective way to increase your overall flexibility long-term [10]. As a golfer, it will help you achieve all of the benefits we discussed above.

Incidentally, static stretching is not suitable immediately prior to a round of golf – even though you’ll see a lot of golfers stretching on the first tee.

There’s quite a lot of evidence to show that static stretching before sport (including golf) has no effect on preventing injury and can actually reduce swing speed [11,12].

PNF Stretching

This is an advanced form of stretching that is very effective at increasing range of motion. However, it’s not necessary or suitable for most club-level golfers.

I’ll be putting together a PNF stretching article and routine for more serious golfers later on.

How Much Time Does A Golf Flexibility Program Require?

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 3 stretching sessions per week to improve flexibility, with each session requiring no more than 10-15 minutes.According to Tiger’s official website, he spends over 2 hours every day on his fitness and 40 minutes a day stretching. Most of us have neither the time nor the inclination to make that level of commitment. Fortunately, we don’t have to…

While some Fitness Experts insist you have to stretch everyday, research has backed up the ACSM’s guidelines of 3 sessions a week [13,14].

That’s something we can all find the time for. Why not stretch in the evening whilst watching TV – muscles and tendons are often more supple late in the day anyway [15,16], so it may boost your results.

How Long Should A Stretch Be Held For? 

The Advantages of a Meditative Space in the Workplace

If you're a business owner looking for ways to offer nonmonetary benefits to your employees, providing a meditation space may be an appropriate option. A meditation space is a dedicated area, typically an enclosed room, where employees can temporarily escape from work pressures during breaks or before starting their work shift. Although meditative space in the workplace isn't a common employee benefit in Western countries, it may offer a number of advantages.

Reduced Employee Stress

    Meditation may help reduce your employees' stress. Offering a dedicated meditation space may encourage employees to proactively manage stress caused by tight deadlines, interactions with co-workers and customers, and long work hours. This may help employees improve focus and productivity and can aid in minimizing tension in your workplace.

Low-Cost Benefit

    Employers in competitive markets commonly struggle to find benefits to offer employees without dramatically increasing business costs. Traditional benefits, such as matching retirement-plan contributions and health insurance, may attract talented employees but substantially increase expenses. Providing a meditative space serves as an attractive addition to your company's benefits package but costs your company little aside from the initial cost of decorations, meditation mats and pillows.

Decreased Absenteeism

    The potential for decreased stress offered by frequent meditation may help improve the body's ability to resist illness and disease, which may translate to decreased absenteeism in your workplace. It may also reduce missed work days triggered by tension and a negative work environment. A reduction in absenteeism may help your team maintain productivity, meet production deadlines and improve overall morale.

Reduced Turnover 


The Brain’s Ability to Look Within: A Secret to Well-Being

Tapping into our ability to turn attention inward empowers and heals.

The Two Paths of Attention: Outward & Inward

What's the difference between noticing the rapid beat of a popular song on the radio and noticing the rapid rate of your heart when you see your crush? Between noticing the smell of fresh baked bread and noticing that you're out of breath? Both require attention. However, the direction of that attention differs: it is either turned outward, as in the case of noticing a stop sign or a tap on your shoulder, or turned inward, as in the case of feeling full or feeling love.

Scientists have long held that attention – regardless to what – involves mostly the prefrontal cortex, that frontal region of the brain responsible for complex thought and unique to humans and advanced mammals. A study by Norman Farb from the University of Toronto published in Cerebral Cortex, however, suggests a radically new view: there are different ways of paying attention. While the prefrontal cortex may indeed be specialized for attending to external information, older and more buried parts of the brain including the “insula” and “posterior cingulate cortex” appear to be specialized in observing our internal landscape.

Most of us prioritize externally oriented attention. When we think of attention, we often think of focusing on something outside of ourselves. We "pay attention" to work, the TV, our partner, traffic, or anything that engages our senses. However, a whole other world exists that most of us are far less aware of: an internal world, with its varied landscape of emotions, feelings, and sensations. Yet it is often the internal world that determines whether we are having a good day or not, whether we are happy or unhappy. That’s why we can feel angry despite beautiful surroundings or feel perfectly happy despite being stuck in traffics. For this reason perhaps, this newly discovered pathway of attention may hold the key to greater well-being.

Although this internal world of feelings and sensations dominates perception in babies, it becomes increasingly foreign and distant as we learn to prioritize the outside world.  Because we don’t pay as much attention to our internal world, it often takes us by surprise. We often only tune into our body when it rings an alarm bell –– that we’re extremely thirsty, hungry, exhausted or in pain. A flush of anger, a choked up feeling of sadness, or the warmth of love in our chest often appear to come out of the blue.

Attention Turned Inward Can Help Soothe Anxiety and Increase Well-Being

In a collaboration with professors Zindel Segal and Adam Anderson at the University of Toronto, the study compared exteroceptive (externally focused) attention to interoceptive (internally focused) attention in the brain. Participants were instructed to either focus on the sensation of their breath (interoceptive attention) or to focus their attention on words on a screen (exteroceptive attention).  Contrary to the conventional assumption that all attention relies upon the frontal lobe of the brain, the researchers found that this was true of only exteroceptive attention; interoceptive attention used evolutionarily older parts of the brain more associated with sensation and integration of physical experience.

Exteroceptive attention relies on the frontal lobes of the neocortex (literally, “new” cortex), the evolutionarily newest outer layer of our brains that most distinguishes humans from other species. Interoceptive attention, however, relies upon brain regions that link the cortex to the limbic system, an evolutionarily older brain system that we share in common with many other animals. These limbic connections may support more direct access to emotions and physical sensations while the neocortex is more responsible for a conceptual sense of self. By recruiting “limbic-bridge” areas like the insula and posterior cingulate, a person using interoceptive attention may bypass the pre-frontal neocortex, directly tapping into bodily awareness that is free from social judgment or conceptual self-evaluation.

These findings have important implications for emotional well-being. States of mind such as anxiety, depression, and anger often engage the prefrontal cortex. “I can’t shut my mind off” -- a statement most of us can relate to in times of stress. Have you ever tried to talk yourself out of such a state of high stress and failed? Trying to talk ourselves out of being less anxious or angry is often a futile exercise. The mind quite simply has a hard time telling itself what to do.

Dan Wagner of Harvard University describes this as an "ironic process" When we attempt to resist a certain thought or action (e.g. trying not to eat junk food when you're on a diet, or trying not to think of someone you just broke up with) the effort can easily backfire under stress. In the realm of the mind, what we resist persists. Sadly, some people end up turning to alcohol and drugs as a last resort to quiet their mind.

Farb’s findings, however, suggest that the neural networks of interoceptive attention may provide an inbuilt system separate from the thinking mind to help ourselves find calm. We can’t control our mind with our mind (or our pre-frontal cortex with the pre-frontal cortex), but with interoceptive awareness, we may be able to escape our racing thoughts. The expression “take a deep breath” in a moment of anger or fear is a common saying that directly taps into our ability to use our interoceptive awareness. Many clinicians include some kind of breathing instructions into a therapy setting for anxiety.

Training our Interoceptive Awareness

Zen figure offers advice for success

How are you going to live your life?

August Turak, a forceful speaker and the founder of the Self Knowledge Symposium, answered this and other questions before a sell-out crowd Wednesday evening in Griffith Film Theater.

Turak's annual speech, titled "Five Years with a Zen Master," does not gently persuade the audience to reshape their lives but rather "gives you a kick in the pants," said SKS member and Trinity freshman Ann Bonner.

"Zen is about confrontation, hammering egos," Turak said.

Judging by his speech, he practices this method in his life. Turak encouraged his listeners throughout to "live life most effectively." To accomplish any feat, he said, one must first understand oneself. According to Zen philosophy, he explained, the search for self should begin with the fewest axioms and preconceived ideas.

Turak, or "Augie" as SKS members fondly refer to him, presented his lecture in the form of a story-recounting his experiences with Zen Master Richard Rose. Quoting everyone from Plato to Dustin Hoffman to Jim Morrison, Turak attempted to convey the concepts behind Zen and explain his relationship to his mentor Rose.

Turak's journey toward enlightenment began when he was a confused college student at the University of Pittsburgh. It soon escalated into an all-out adventure-an adventure he stumbled through with Rose's guidance. The image Turak constructed of his teacher was that of a short, bald, heavily-built man with a penetrating gaze and a powerful speaking presence.

"What I want you to understand about Rose," Turak said, "is that he was not an amateur or part-time.... He was a man that knew something." This knowledge, Turak explained, emanated from the Zen master.

Some experiences that most affected Turak included the tremendous feelings of energy he felt in Rose's presence, often characterized, he said, by "ringing in my ears, anxiety and tension inside." After an out-of-body experience in a Seattle motel room, he continued, "I found everythingness and nothingness."

Turak urges you "to do each thing as if there's nothing else," Trinity senior Doug Friedlander said, "to make your life into the most exciting adventure rather than living vicariously through a $7-dollar movie or a book."

Read more:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Zen Meditation

Zen Meditation or Zazen is a part of Zen Buddhism. A part of Mahayana Buddhism, Zen places an importance on experiencing life as it is, without any structure or belief system. 

Zazen is an important part of the process of experiencing this kind of 'bliss'. Zazen means 'sitting meditation' and is usually done in a variety of sitting postures.

This form of meditation is quite akin to yoga. One can meditate either by oneself at one's home, or one can participate in long sessions of Zen meditation held at various meditation halls. This type of meditation practice is a group activity and lasts for anywhere between a week to ten days.

The Zen masters suggest that lone practitioners need to practice this meditation for at least 5 minutes or more on a daily basis. They say that regularity is an important part of the process of coming closer to awareness via Zazen. Practicing Zen monks practice this meditation technique for at least 30 to 40 minutes for at least 4 to 6 times a day. This meditation is followed by a brief period of walking, known as 'kinhin', which helps relax the legs between two periods of meditation.

Zen also puts a focus on tasks from daily life. Zen masters say that such a focus is an opportunity to encounter reality. 

Another most interesting aspect of Zen Practice is the focus of the practitioner on 'Koans' which are questions which have 'no answer'. Often, several practitioners focus on these Koans during the meditation to find new breakthroughs in their mental pathways and thought processes.

One such example that combines to serve as an example of both these aspects is a Koan that is my particular favorite. It states, simply:

Before Enlightenment,
You Chop the Wood, You Draw the Water.
After Enlightenment,
You Chop the Wood, You Draw the Water.

The Meditation Process

Mental Game Tips

It’s important to have the right attitude and mindset when playing any kind of sport, but it’s even more vital in the game of golf.  In no other sport do you have as much time to think, whether it’s the slow pace in-between shots or how the ball just sits there while you make a swing.

That means in order to play your best you are going to have to have your thoughts under control.  The precision golf requires means that any kind of negative thought running in your head can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  How well you play the mental game is going to have a significant effect on how well you score on a given day.

The mind is the key to learning how to play the game and repeating the correct mechanics.  The more your allow your mind to feel proper technique and in-grain those moves the easier they will be to become automated for you, even when you are thinking about them.

Your brain is also the place of origin for fear or anxiety that will cause tension in your swing.  Learning to relax even under pressure will enable you to repeat a smooth, flowing swing.  By focusing on what you want to happen, instead of what you are afraid might happen enables you to hit better shots.  Of course, if there is water running down the fairway to the left that doesn’t mean ignore it and the hazard will go away.  I just mean that if all you are thinking about is the water, your mind will start to think you want to send your ball swimming instead of hitting it down the fairway.

Our mental game tips will cover a lot of areas: learning, focus and concentration, reducing anxiety, setting goals, anger management, visualizing shots, course management, and blocking out distractions.  We will help you to eliminate the mental obstacles preventing you from reaching your potential.

Common Mistakes

Hit successful chip shots!

Hitting successful chip shots from around the green requires a few basic fundamentals to understand. I think chipping is a little like putting, in that there's more than one right way to succeed. Some players like less hand and wrist movements, while other players like to feel some flex or play in the hands and wrists. Some like to open their stance, while others prefer a square stance. And on and on go the different ways to hit a chip, as it seems the ways to get the job done are endless.

  • Let the upper body rotate and the right knee move back on the backswing. 

  • At impact, the body is square to slightly open. But what you can't see here is I'm continually rotating.

  • It's obvious my upper body is turned, but check out my right knee. Its forward position indicates some lower body movement and the proper weight shift.

That said, there happen to be two keys that I think are required to execute successful chips. The first is to understand where the majority of your weight should be during the stroke, and where the ball should be.

The Power of Meditation for Positive Thinking

We all handle stress in different ways, but have you tapped into the power of meditation? We hear so much about yoga, meditation and stress relief, we wanted to know what it was really all about. Can everyone do it? Should we?

We turned to Yogmata Keiko Aikawa,  a highly regarded and well-respected Siddha Master (having achieved the ultimate stage of meditation and yoga.)

GalTime: In this busy world, could all of us benefit from meditation? Why?

Yogmata Keiko Aikawa: The civilized world that we live in is conveniently filled with things that we perceive as necessary for us. But in actuality, we are thrown into disarray by our want of it. Thus, it constantly keeps our body and mind busy by reacting to it - which causes a state of tension. Even when you trying to get refreshed, you are using some type of object and there exists a subject matter that you are always dependent upon.

For instance, when you play games for pleasure, you are actually at the mercy of those games themselves. You might think that you are making your body and mind relaxed by playing games but this activity does not actually make you return to a true balanced state of oneself. By utilizing your body and mind as a tool, meditation is a practice that will assist you in achieving a deep, relaxed state of your mind.

When you meditate, you are not dependent on any material tools. Therefore, anybody can meditate anywhere and receive its blessing. Even children and the elderly can practice meditation as well.

What’s more, anybody can practice meditation anytime and anywhere. However, in order to practice it in a proper fashion, it is necessary to receive proper supervision from a master.  Finally, by practicing meditation, it will assist you to bring more harmony to your mind and body, where a deep calm can be regained, your energy be charged and rejuvenated - which will ultimately serve you to restore your livelihood.

GalTime: Let's start with the basics. What do people need to know about meditation if they've never done it before but they want to learn?

Yogmata Keiko Aikawa: According to Himalayan teachings, first one meets with a master. Then, you receive an initiation and a blessing called Diksha from the master.  The Diksha will purify the accumulated stress that is in one’s body and mind - dating from their past lives - which will help regain balance in your life. Additionally, the master will grant a mantra - a sound vibration which is part of the initiation of a secret meditation technique.

By chanting the mantra in your mind while meditating, it will detach you from your mind and make you become one with the divine vibrations. This vibration will purify your mind so you are lead to tranquility and a quiet, energetic state that resembles the bottom of the sea. People without masters are able to meditate by channeling to the noble existence in their mind.

GalTime: What should they know about the physical and  mental commitment...and should there be goals and intentions set?

Yogmata Keiko Aikawa:

Top 5 Health Benefits Of Playing Golf You Might Not Know About

Many people who have never played the golf perceive it as an elite game that does not involve much body movement other than the occasional swing. This could not be further from the truth. After a good game of golf, the player will usually testify of feeling refreshingly tired, as though coming from an intensive workout. Playing golf is good for your health, and in the following 5 ways particularly.


It is absolutely essential to take care of the mind if you want to live a healthy life. The only problem is, in the current world we are living in, with everything becoming increasingly expensive, employers becoming increasingly demanding and people in general becoming less friendly, it might be really difficult to maintain your mind at peace.

This is where a good round of golf every weekend comes into play. Just taking that stroll out into the open green field, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying a bit of sun can go a long way in encouraging your body to produce endorphins, the feel good hormones that will boost your mood natural in a way no anti-depressant ever could.


Anyone who has ever played golf can tell you one thing, there is quite a bit of walking involved. A round of golf can have the player walking up to eight miles (if they opt out of using a golf cart). This, if it were to be done on a regular basis would do a world of good for your body.
Walking is well known to be one of the best exercises for the heart. Combine this with playing a game that you love and you just might have hit the jackpot.

Not only do you exercise while playing, if you want to be any good in your swings and generally have a better score in your golf game, then you will probably be highly motivated to take part in the various exercises prescribed to better your swing and increase your flexibility.

3.Strengthening your bones

Ten Reasons To Play Golf

One of the most popular sports, golf provides both a physical and mental challenge. Golf tests you on solving the problem of getting the ball from the tee to the green with the smallest number of strokes. Physically, golf requires coordination, skill and stamina. If you ride in a cart, you still have to get in and out, walk to where the ball landed and swing the club.


Golf requires a variety of movement. At the tee, you'll swing the golf club, which stretches your entire body. When you walk the course, you'll benefit from the aerobic activity. Even if you use a cart, you'll still have to do some walking.

Fresh Air

A full 18 holes of golf requires hours of being outdoors. Fresh air is invigorating, healthy and relaxing. When you play golf, you'll be surrounded by plants that take in carbon dioxide and emit plenty of oxygen. which benefits your body.


Playing golf requires you to be out in the sun. The sunshine helps your body to make vitamin D that will boost your mood and help your bones absorb calcium. But remember your sunscreen.


The golf course is an extension of the office for many business people. Between shots you'll have time to discuss deals, without the stress of sitting in a stuffy office, wearing starched shirts. Between the course and the clubhouse, you can also network and meet other business people.

All Skill Levels Can Play

Regardless of your skill level, you can play golf with anyone at any skill level. Unlike tennis, a sport that requires hitting the ball back and forth, golf matches are often played with a handicapped score based on your ability.

Challenge for Everyone

Creating a Stress Free Workplace

Stress in the workplace is one of the top reasons for employee dissatisfaction and subsequent drop in productivity. If you are an employer managing a team of workers, it is absolutely vital that you take steps to ensure that your workers are in a supportive and harmonious environment with as few stressors as possible. This article takes a look at some of the steps you can implement for the purpose of a stress-free workplace.

Assigning an employee a task for which he or she does not feel qualified and which lies outside the requirements of his or her job description is an easy way to create a very unhappy worker. Keep in mind that employees will often assent to tasks for which they do not feel qualified, purely as a matter of the subordinate role in which they find themselves. Thus, you cannot take their positive assurances as a sign that they are happy about what you have assigned them. If possible, announce the task in some kind of group-directed way, asking for interested persons to respond to you as soon as possible. This way, you can be sure that you are getting a genuine interest in your proposal.

The same can be said for weekend work. It can be quite obnoxious for an employer to speak directly to an employee, asking whether he or she is interested in working on the coming weekend. Many employees lack the assertiveness to turn your offer down. You may feel that bonus pay rates are the perfect incentive for an employee to do grunt work on a weekend, but the truth is that many employees would rather stay at home with family and rejuvenate, double pay be damned. You are violating sacred territory when you impose yourself on the weekends of your employees. Instead, send out a group announcement asking for interested persons to respond to you as soon as possible. This way, you can be sure that you are not putting your boot in the behind of employee morale, which would only cost you in terms of lost productivity in the end.

Employee stress can be caused not only by assigning tasks for which an employee feels unqualified but also by assigning tasks for which an employee feels overqualified.

Read More

How to meditate: 10 important tips

Why meditate?
On one level, meditation is a tool. It can help combat stress, fosters physical health, helps with chronic pain, can make you sleep better, feel happier, be more peaceful, as well as be present.
But on a deeper level, meditation is a doorway into the unknown. It can help us get a sense of the mystery of who we are.
When you start meditating, you will notice how unruly the mind is. I remember being quite shocked by this! I noticed that my mind was all over the place. Profound thoughts about my past or future jostled with mundane thought clips about what groceries I needed to buy. Some time afterwards I would come too and notice that I had spend 15 minutes running a painful memory over and over. It was like sitting in a crazy cinema!
So, if you’re starting out with meditation, please don’t beat yourself up about your wild mind. It is a natural condition. In time you will learn to work kindly with the barrage of thoughts and you will find some clarity and peacefulness.
Here are some simple tips on how to start meditating. Maybe those of you who already practise meditation could please add your comments of what has worked for you.

1. posture

Whether you sit on a chair or cross-legged on the floor, make sure that your spine is upright with head up. If you are slumped your mind will drift. Mind and body are intertwined. If your body is well-balanced, your mind will also be in balance. To straighten up, imagine that your head is touching the sky.

2. eyes

Try and keep you eyes open. Open eyes allow you to be more present. Just lower your eyes and let your gaze be soft. If you close your eyes you will be more likely to drift away on thoughts and stories. However, it’s important to do what is comfortable for you. Some people find closing their eyes much more effective. It’s good to experiment and see what feels best for you.

2. focus

In ordinary consciousness we are hardly ever present. For example, sometimes we drive the car on autopilot while being preoccupied with thoughts. Suddenly we arrive at our destination and don’t remember anything about the drive!
So, meditation is a wonderful way of waking up to our life. Otherwise we miss most of our experiences because we are somewhere else in our mind! Let’s take a look at what focus is. In ordinary life, we tend to equate focus with concentration. That’s like using the mind like a concentrated beam of light. But in meditation, that kind of mind isn’t helpful. It’s too sharp and edgy. To focus in meditation means to pay soft attention to whatever you place in the centre of awareness. I suggest using the breath as a focus. It’s like a natural door that connects ‘inside’ and ‘outside’. Zen Master Toni Packer says:
Attention comes from nowhere. It has no cause. It belongs to no one

3. the breath

Learn to work the ball to maximize your potential

Tiger Woods has long been known for his incredible short game and putting. That was definitely on display this week in his four-shot victory at Torrey Pines in the Farmers Insurance Open.

Along with his short game, Tiger was also able to control his ball flight from the tee for the most part.

It’s clear that from the tee Tiger prefers to work the ball from left to right, a fade for the right-handed golfer, but occasionally we would see that get away from him and he would end up way left or right of the fairway.

Many golfers may observe Tiger’s attempts to work the ball and wonder why he simply doesn’t try to hit it straight.

I’ve answered that question below and also explained some basics you can follow to try working the ball yourself:

• The hardest thing to do in golf is to hit it straight, so don’t try. The problem with trying to hit the ball straight is that if you miss you likely don’t know if it’s going right or left. It’s better to practice making your ball curve (slightly) in one direction or the other so that you can utilize the entire fairway off the tee. For example, if you prefer a right-to-left ball flight, you can aim right of center and curve it back to the center.

• You become a much better ball-striker by learning to work the ball in both directions. Every golfer must know how to hook the ball. If you can’t hook the ball, chances are you won't be able to play at a very high level. Try curving the ball by controlling the amount of forearm rotation through impact. The more your trailing arm rotates over the lead arm, the more the ball will have hook tendencies.

Working the ball requires good, consistent fundamentals.