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How To Read Someone’s Body Language Without Breaking a Conversation

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I would like to present you a very practical skill which can make your work and private life a bit more exciting. It should be primarily useful for people who deal with others during face to face meetings, presentations, conferences, etc. It is fairly easy to learn and it is based on flexible attention.

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Flexible attention is the ability to alternate between narrow attention style (focused) and diffused attention style (broad) or to apply both at the same time. Narrowing makes us specific but requires dividing reality into smaller pieces (objects). Diffusing allows us to see the big picture and connect (immerse) with its elements.

For example, you can read and understand this text (narrow attention style) while staying aware of something more (diffused attention style) at the same time. Read the following text to experience what flexible attention feels like.

Can you become aware of space which is between you and the screen you are reading from now? Do not stop reading and become aware of space in front and around the screen at the same time. Keep reading, and notice sounds around you (maybe hum of the fridge, or birds singing outside the window). There is always something happening around us but when we narrow our attention we tend to cut it off form our awareness. Keep reading, stay aware of space and sounds and become aware of what your right hand is touching now. You can see now that you can understand what you are reading staying aware of a lot more than lines of text. You have just made your attention more flexible between narrow and diffused styles.

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My attention is flexible when I consult my patients as a family doctor

One of the basic ‘tools’ in my profession is knowing how to communicate with people. The better you are at putting them at ease, letting them talk, and listening to their story, the more information you can collect and the better help you can offer. Most information comes with words and I used to rely on this, but since I learned that I can make my attention flexible I started reading body language as well.

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Male Patient Having Consultation With Doctor In OfficeI can talk to someone, focusing on words and what s/he says (narrow attention style), and I can stay  aware of their whole bodies at the same time (diffuse attention style). I see eyes, hands, legs, face, and the whole body movements being fully engaged in a dynamic conversation. I am aware of changes in the tone of voice, I notice how they express themselves and how important is the problem. I am able to notice where they store feelings in their body and many other little things like the height of her dog, where the clock is in his kitchen, or whether she likes her neighbor.

When my attention is well diffused I can stay aware of his/her body and my body at the same time. For example, when I notice shaky hands I feel a tiny tension growing around my eyes. When someone is angry I feel my body tensing as a reaction to that. I am observing his/her body talking to my body and then my body reacting to this talk.

I can subsequently relax the tension in my body and I often see that their body follows. They calm down without any verbal encouragement from me.

The fact is that this ‘body to body’ conversation happens every time we talk to someone. However, we are not aware of it when we narrow our attention on a conversation only. It just happens to us. I found there is a lot space for improvement here and the only condition is – an ability to make my attention flexible.

After some time I started calling it an advanced body language, since I do not have to remember what crossed arms or frequent blinking means. I can fully control the whole situation and I can influence my patients – in a good way – using a lot more than only calming words.

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You can try it anytime you are around other people

Two couples eating pizzaIt also works when I observe other people. I become aware of space around these people and space between them and myself. It broadens my vision field and I clearly see their whole bodies and I feel what they really think. It gives me powerful insight and allows me to see a lot more about what is really happening.

You can try it today. Look at people around you and become aware of space around them and between them and yourself. Do it gently, softly, and do not rush yourself. You will notice your internal chatter quieting down and you will become aware of the whole scene at the same time. Then let it happen. You can practice my attention exercises if you want to make your attention more flexible first.

It is good to know that practicing flexible attention helps to develop skills like controlling physical pain, stopping panic attacks, reducing anxiety and enhancing a performance. You can have a good, long sleep every night, instant sense of calm whenever you want, and become a lot more creative.

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Consciousness

Loneliness: A Health Problem That Could Be Deadlier Than Obesity, Study Says

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Loneliness can reliably be linked to a significant increase in the risk of early mortality, according to a study at Brigham Young University. Head author, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, notes that “substantial evidence now indicates that individuals lacking social connections (both objective and subjective social isolation) are at risk for premature mortality.”

Holt-Lunstad believes the risks associated with loneliness are already greater than such established dangers as obesity:

Several decades ago scientists who observed widespread dietary and behavior changes raised warnings about obesity and related health problems. The present obesity epidemic had been predicted. Obesity now receives constant coverage in the media and in public health policy. The current status of research on the risks of loneliness and social isolation is similar to that of research on obesity 3 decades ago… Current evidence indicates that heightened risk for mortality from a lack of social relationships is greater than that from obesity.

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Furthermore, she warns that “researchers have predicted that loneliness will reach epidemic proportions by 2030 unless action is taken.”

Why Are We So Isolated From Each Other?

From the long view, it can be said that Western civilization as a whole has fostered a gradual disintegration of our physical and social ties. With an emphasis on individual goals and an almost fanatical regard for personal achievement, the traditional institutions of family and community and their capacity to provide their members with a sense of belonging and shared purpose have become significantly fragmented.

The family unit has gone from large generations-linked mutual support systems to small and immediate units, sometimes involving single parents whose necessities make it very difficult to create a stable home environment for their children. Add to that the fact that more and more people are not even building families, and our society has more people living alone than at any other time in history. This includes the elderly, who are less likely to find a ‘fit’ living within their children’s families than ever before.

The decline of the ‘community’ is perhaps as significant as the disintegration of the family unit. In Western-style communities, people work as a collection of individual units interacting by specific functions rather than as an interrelated whole with a significant shared identity. Naturally, attempts are made today to join or build ‘communities’ all the time, but like the Meetup model, they are founded on the gathering of select people with similar interests and purposes, rather than a shared embrace of all people within a certain geographical area.

The Rise of Social Media

I believe the rise in prominence of social media has in part been fuelled by the sense of alienation we have long felt within our modern society. I don’t believe social media is the root cause of our loneliness, as some speculate, but rather a symptom of this much longer-standing social problem. Connecting via chats and web pages is just something that we have gotten into the habit of reaching for since it is so immediately accessible. But like any quick fix, it does not end up fulfilling our deeper needs, either individually or as a society.

If we see that our society has been slowly disintegrating over hundreds of years, then it becomes incumbent upon us as a society (if we can still even identify ourselves with our ‘society’) to take measures to remedy this situation. What those measures might be, though, given how things seem to be trending, is a matter of great conjecture.

On Being Alone  

One approach is to first acknowledge that Western society’s emphasis on the individual is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I believe that the development of personal integrity, creativity, and autonomy is a critical step in the evolution of human consciousness. Learning how to be alone with oneself is a part of that process. In his work entitled Pensées, French philosopher Blaise Pascal observed that “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

As evidenced by Eastern gurus and mystics, one can be perfectly content in isolation. This can be greatly facilitated by the practice of meditation and other such methods that give us a direct perception of our energetic connectedness not only with other people, but with all things. In this higher state, the damaging emotional impact of loneliness and social isolation are not experienced.

Our Next Step

Still, the life of the yogi remains for the few. The rest of us, it seems, have come to this planet to interact, share, and love. And we have not incarnated into this dense physical world to get better at virtual relationships. At this stage, we have perhaps gotten a bit too accustomed to social isolation for our own good.

Holt-Lunstad notes that “although living alone can offer conveniences and advantages for an individual, this meta-analysis indicates that physical health is not among them.” She also cites another study that “has demonstrated higher survival rates for those who are more socially connected.” And then there is the seminal 75-Year Harvard University study, where “it was universally clear that without loving and supportive relationships, men in the study were not happy.” The message is becoming clear: we need to come together.

We are perhaps at a larger turning point in our development than most of us realize. It seems that we have reached the extreme edge of the exploration of individualism, and we are readying to move into greater balance with a collective identity. This is not a return to traditional ways, but rather a synthesis of our growth as individuals with the shared experience we are now hungering for. This synthesis signifies the next stage of our evolution.

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Consciousness

Your Life Is Not Limited To One Path

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In life, we often get stuck telling ourselves stories about what the 'best' path in life to take is. It's often based on chasing others' or societies dreams and aspirations, without looking at our own.

  • Reflect On:

    Do we tell ourselves what the 'right choice' or 'wrong choice' is on our own path? What is it based on? Where does our programming come from? Can we not let go of limiting programming? Is our programming our TRUE path?

It is no secret that life can sometimes feel like a limited paved road laid out before us that we feel the need to stick to. Look at how we are brought up. Most of the time we come into the world and begin gaining our perceptions from those closest to us –our parents. As time goes on we find ourselves in school. Throughout that time we also begin watching what others do around us, what we see on TV and in movies.

What is happening is we are observing and creating an idea of how life should be; the best way to play the game. But what is ‘best?’

How many times have we heard “That’s not the best decision” or “That’s not the best decision for the whole family.” When you look at either statement you realize that “best” is subjective. What the “best” is to one person may not be the “best” to another. Even further, both of the perceptions of “best” are created from whatever belief systems each have created in their own lives. This is the key factor to realize.

We Get Trapped in Belief Systems

In either case, both scenarios have one thing in common, a belief system of what the “best” choice or decision is. When we create a belief system like this, we limit how we view things. We no longer feel what is “best,” but instead we analyze and define “best” based on a story; often a story from the past, based on entirely different times than the present moment.

Let’s take the example of a child coming out of high school today.  9 times out of 10, that child will be told, and may even believe, that the “best” decision they can make for their life is to continue their education at university or college. It does not matter that they do not know what they want to study, or that the education system will potentially cost them $100,000+, many will state that is best -and even have pride about it.

Next, they would be told to get a job so they can buy a house, as owning and buying a house is a smart decision. Should this child begin their life based on these belief systems, more often than not they will take this idea of what is “BEST” throughout the rest of their life. They will judge their decisions by this, express emotions based on this, develop self-esteem based on this and so forth. From then on, every decision they make will be based on this belief system handed down and taught to them.

Even getting specific, what to study in school, what type of job to get, what type of car to buy, how to spend and save money, what type of house to buy and so on. What is really happening with all of this? We are defining the ideal life or what’s “best” and then we limit our life to a small scope of how things should be.

The Deep Truth

Here is the absolute truth, ready? None of it has any real truth to it. It’s just all a belief system. Perception, ideas! But we often live by this and it becomes so real in our minds that we become stuck thinking this is the way to do it. Then when depression and anxiety follow, as we may believe we are stuck, we forget to look back on the belief system that is often caging us and our reality into a small tight space we often don’t deeply resonate with.

Look at our world. We often all chase the same thing, the same stuff because that is what we have been sold as the ideal life. Each area of the world has its own version of this. Who’s life are you really living? Whose dreams are you chasing and carrying out? We take on these beliefs and we begin to sacrifice ourselves, our health, and our soul desires so we can carry out someone else’s idea of “best” that we grabbed onto.

Back to the child from the example above. Now they have grown into a young man or woman and are in a job they don’t truly like. But it pays the bills and lives up to the idea of “best” that has been given to them. Most of the time, people around them will all reinforce that their decisions are the “best” because they have all been sold on the same belief system. “You have to make sacrifices, you have to work really hard to have a good life!” is what we are told. But who says what is “good?” Even when that grown up child is expressing their sadness or frustration for the reality they are in, we continue to reinforce it to protect the idea of ‘the best.’

We take this entirely expansive creative individual playing in an expansive playground called Earth and we confine them to this tiny little narrow path of what the “best” is. Instead of spending their life being able to make any choice they choose, they stay limited to what they have been sold as the “best” even if they don’t truly love it.

Even Deeper

Then you have the even deeper part, we then look upon and judge others when they make “the wrong decisions.” Look at how we view those who change their minds about what they want to play with all the time. What do we say about those people? “They need to make up their mind and get their life on track.” What track? There is a track? Says who? “They didn’t make a smart decision with their money or their house so they are going to pay for it later.” Who says some decisions are better than others? Is it not an experience either way?

You are the creator of your life and reality. You can choose to play and create whatever type of life you choose. And guess what? If you make a decision and start creating a particular life then you realize you want to create something new, you are free to do this!

No matter what story we tell ourselves like: “it’s too late, I can’t change this now, it’s too costly” etc. know that these are all egoic illusions. You are never limited to whatever life you have created even if you have been doing it for 30 years. Remember to ask yourself: the life you are chasing, the goals you have set, who’s goals are they really? Where did you first hear of them? Are they from your heart? Or are they what you have been sold?

Look inside yourself at what YOU TRULY want and how you wish to express yourself and create. Start there, and create from that space. You will see very quickly that you can create anything you choose.

Remember, there is no right or wrong path here. It’s about looking back on what we choose, where we are at and saying “Is this where I want to be? Am I feeling peace? Expressing my deepest self? Am I inspired about where I am at?” and if you aren’t, you create a new path and see how that feels. Follow how you FEEL, not what you seek as right or wrong. Our life reflects our state of consciousness.

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Consciousness

10 Habits of People Who Live Their Truth

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To live in your truth is a truly beautiful thing. Living your life from an authentic place (what is authentic for you in this moment) means that you are actively creating a life that you desire. It means you are most likely feeling more joy than pain, and more expansion than contraction.

An Authentic Life = A Purposeful Life

Living authentically also means that you are living a life on purpose. Which is why I think living authentically is so important. You came here with a role to play, and the closer you are to living what is truest for you, the closer you will be to fulfilling that purpose.

It is in this walking out of your purpose that you will feel the greatest sense of satisfaction within your life. Which is really the whole point! The more on purpose you are, the better you will feel.

Here are ten habits of people who are living on purpose to help inspire you to step more into your truth and live a life closer to the one that you desire.

1. The Opinions of Others Don’t Not Throw Them Off Of Their Course:

There will always be people who think what you are doing is wrong. We all have conditioned ideas about how we ‘should’ behave, what kinds of things we should and should not do, what kind of jobs we should have, and so on. Those who are living their truths will be able to listen to people around them without being thrown off course by criticism or questioning. They are tuned into their own center and that is what leads and directs them.

2. They Can Compassionately See Others Points Of View:

Those who are living in their truth can openly and honestly listen to others, and fully hear what they have to say. They tend to be more interested in getting to know the person that they are speaking with as a unique individual, rather than needing to justify their own opinions and thoughts based on what the person they are speaking with is saying.

3. They Do Not Need Others To Agree With Them To Feel Secure:

They are happy to agree to disagree. Again they are living their lives from their internal compass, which means not everyone who they talk to has too agree with what they are doing or what they feel is the truth. They realize that truth can be very individual and subjective, and they are OK with that.

4. They Make Their Own Choices:

Those who are living authentically will totally ask for help when needed, and will take the opinions of those they respect into consideration, but at the end of the day they make their own choices. They take what they have heard, and then tune into themselves and choose from within.

5. They Take Responsibility For Themselves:

When you are living your most high truth, you are no longer sitting in the seat of blame. Those walking this walk will understand that they ALWAYS have a choice, and that anything that happens to them in their lives was based on the choices that they made. They also understand that they have the choice of how they react to what others in their lives do. They never play the victim card, because they understand that at the end of the day they are sovereign, and it is no one else’s job to do anything for them. They steer their own ships and make no excuses for what happens.

6. They Don’t Compromise On What They Need:

Authentic people understand that getting their needs met is not something to apologize for. These people understand that when living in a world with others one needs to approach life with compassion and ease for all, and they understand how to create an environment around themselves where they can get their needs met in a way that is most harmonious for everyone. There is always a way to get things done peacefully, and that is how an authentic person meets their needs. They also do not play the martyr, sacrificing themselves for other people, because they understand that in the long run doing so doesn’t really help anyone.

7. They Understand That Being “Selfish” Isn’t “Selfish” At All:

Those who are walking in their truth fully understand that one cannot give from an empty cup. These people take time every day to get their cups filled by doing the things they know nurture and replenish them. They never feel guilty for taking care of themselves, because they understand that they are as valuable and worthy of love and attention as anyone else, and that they are then more effective givers when they have what they need.

8. They Take Time Every Day To Tune Into Themselves:

This is one of the biggest things that sets those who are living in their truths apart from those who are not. When you are walking in your truth, you are taking time every single day to pause and check in with yourself. You can’t walk in your truth if you don’t know what your truth is! Spending time in quiet contemplation of some sort every day sets these people up for a truth based life.

9. They Nourish And Care For Their Bodies:

They understand that their bodies are not only their vehicles here on earth, but are fine tuned machines that can help them to navigate pretty much all situations. These people know that their bodies are a tool they can use in the quest to live their most authentic lives, and they are aware of how beneficial it is to truly take care of their bodies. Nourishing their physical selves is an act of self-love that pours over into the rest of their lives.

10. They Don’t Judge Others:

Finally, Those who are living in their truths are gracious and compassionate towards everyone else – whether the person they are interacting with is also living their truth or not. These people understand that everyone is on their unique journey, and that judgment and condemnation of others really doesn’t help anyone. Because authentic people are so secure in what they are doing, they tend to be naturally less judgmental of what others are doing. You will feel a sense of welcoming and acceptance when you are around an authentic person.

What do you think? Do you identify with any of the items on this list? Do you know anyone who you feel is living their most authentic life?

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