Just a little longer: How to deal with impatience while meditating

Reading Time: 3 minutes Sometimes you decide to meditate, but it feels like your mind didn’t get the memo. Our expert shares a simple strategy to help quiet down the voice that asks: “how much longer?”

Expert Q&A: Mindfulness and meditation explained

Reading Time: 7 minutes What is mindfulness? And does it really work, or is it just a New-Agey trend? Our expert is here to fill you in on the basics with a down-to-earth approach to mindfulness.

Mindfulness for beginners: A simple game to get started with meditation

Reading Time: 4 minutes If you’ve heard a ton about mindfulness but have no clue where to begin, this video is for you.

Get more done: How to create a productive study space

Reading Time: 13 minutes The modern world is so full of shiny things that distraction can be a major, ongoing impediment to productive work. Learn how to organize your study space to create the perfect environment for staying focused.

Press pause: How to mindfully reduce screen time

Reading Time: 2 minutes Learning to use our phones and other digital devices in moderation takes a little (or a lot of) effort, but it’s worth it. Here are a few tips on how to mindfully reduce screen time.

Count your way to calm: A simple breathing technique to help you stay present

Reading Time: < 1 minute Meditation is proven to reduce racing thoughts, stress, and unhappiness. Best of all, meditation can be done anywhere, anytime! Don’t know where to begin? This basic breathing technique can help get you started.

Float on: Learn how this meditation technique can help your stress level

Reading Time: 2 minutes Stressed out? No worries! This meditation technique–called “floating noting”–will teach you how to accept your current situation and prevent your mind from spinning out of control.

How to react less and enjoy more this holiday season

Reading Time: < 1 minute

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The holidays are coming up, and I know two things for certain: (1) My aunt will re-gift me an old book and pretend she bought it for me, and (2) someone will start an argument at the big family dinner. It’s usually good-natured bickering, but now and then, it gets heated—and sometimes I get pulled in. Even though we love each other, we can end up saying angry or hurtful things, and it takes time for everyone to calm down. Maybe you’ve been in a situation like that before.

When we find ourselves getting upset with someone, we have two choices. We could cut loose and vent our emotions, which is tempting and might feel satisfying at the time. But those feelings of relief won’t last long. In the end, you might hurt people’s feelings and deepen the conflict.

OK, so maybe we really have only one choice, or at least one good one—we can apply strategies to calm down, see our emotions clearly, and respond rather than react. As the great psychiatrist Victor Frankl wrote, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is the power to choose our response.”

In the video below, I share one method for calming down in the midst of a conflict. Give it a watch, then give it a try. Happy holidays.

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Article sources

Hamilton, D. M. (2015, December 22). Calming your brain during conflict. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2015/12/calming-your-brain-during-conflict

Ask the professor: How can I get myself to focus when studying?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

—Jordan V.*, University of North Dakota

(*Name changed)

As I write this response, I’m listening to a radio station, checking Facebook (for the news, really), and monitoring my email for…well, in case I can find something urgent that needs a response. (By the way, there were no urgent emails when I just checked. I guess I need to finish this response.)

This is all to tell you that I, probably like you, am a distracted person. It has gotten worse as I have found more entertaining things to do to keep my mind off my work. I mean, cute cat videos are fun, and they make me feel better when I’m procrastinating. However, we all have deadlines and work to do, which is why I have created a list of tips to help you stay focused.

1. Acknowledge you have a problem

This is the first step to making a change. If you know you get easily distracted, you will more likely change your behaviors. How do you know you have a problem? One sign: Completing tasks takes you much longer than you think it should. Another: You find yourself completing assignments with barely any time to spare (or late), when you’ve actually had plenty of notice.

2. Set a time and place for distractions

Yes, you need to treat distractions as you would your work, instead of letting them “show up” whenever they want. Just as you schedule time for studying or writing a paper, you should also schedule time for checking your Twitter feed or Snapchat. For example, set a timer for 45–50 minutes to work on a task or study for a test. Then take a timed break for 5–10 minutes.

3. Fake it till you make it

Sometimes distractions lure us away from our work because we aren’t that enthusiastic about what we must do. A 20-page paper on the economy of an ancient civilization? Hmm…that may not shout “exciting activity,” which is why, by contrast, our diversions are welcome. If you find yourself faced with a task that is important—such as studying for a final exam—tell yourself, whether you believe it or not, “This task will be interesting,” or “I can improve my skills by completing this assignment and that will help me in the future.” Repeating these claims can motivate you to keep going when you want to find something else to do.