Breathe and Focus

Meditation has many health benefits and is a highly effective way to relieve stress and maintain a healthier lifestyle. With practice, meditation becomes more of an easy habit to maintain and more of an effective one as well, given that it builds resilience to stress over time.

Here is a basic process to get you started from the verywellmind website:

Step 1: Get Into a Comfortable Position.

Choose where and how you’ll sit. Many people like to sit in a comfortable chair while others prefer to sit cross-legged on the ground. You want to be able to completely relax while still staying awake, which is easier to do if your back is straight. A straight back will also prevent soreness during longer meditations.

Step 2: Gently close your eyes.

Become aware of your breath, attuning to the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe. Feel your belly rise and fall as air enters your nostrils and leaves your mouth. Pay attention to the way each breath changes and is different.

Step 3: Put your thoughts aside.

While you can’t control your thoughts, you can control how much power they have over you. This doesn’t mean you should ignore or suppress them, but simply remain calm, note them, and then use your breathing to bring you back to the moment. Learning to do this during your meditation practice can help you to let things go in the rest of your life as well.

Step 4: Keep going.

That’s it, really! Keep putting aside any thoughts that may pop into your mind. The quiet spaces between thoughts will become longer and more frequent the longer you practice.

A Few Tips to Help You Get Started:

• Set goals for personal growth and give yourself time to learn.
• Begin with five minutes and use a timer to avoid watching the clock.
• Try different techniques until you find yours.

Runaway Moon

Titan, the largest moon of the ringed planet Saturn, is moving out. Not just that, but the large moon is escaping at a faster speed than anyone previously realized. CNN reports that Titan is moving away from Saturn at a rate of four inches per year—100 times faster than previously thought. Other moons in the solar system also migrate, but at a slower rate. Earth’s moon, for example, is pulling away some 1.5 inches per year.

Titan, larger than the planet Mercury, orbits Saturn at a distance of 759,000 miles. Titan is the only moon known to have a considerable atmosphere and, aside from Earth, is the only planetary body in the solar system with liquid rivers and lakes on the surface.

Titan will be visited by a NASA probe, Dragonfly, in 2034. The drone will fly through the moon’s thick atmosphere and visit an impact crater formed tens of thousands of years ago, where scientists believe they might find ingredients for life.

Beat By A Bird

Parrots can do more than mimic words. At least one of them can beat humans in a classic memory game. The LiveScience website reports that an African gray parrot named Griffin defeated 21 Harvard students in the so-called ‘shell game’. The game involves placing an object underneath one of three plastic cups, which are then moved quickly around. The goal is to keep track of which cup the object is under.

In the experiment, Griffin beat the 21 undergraduates in 12 of 14 games. Researchers note that he may not be average for a parrot, though. He’s 22 years old, and has been the subject of numerous cognitive and communication studies since the age of seven and a half weeks. His owner, a Harvard psychologist, has also taught him how to pronounce about 30 words and understand at least 40, including the names of colors.

A Reminder

A group of students who had recently graduated were invited to afternoon tea by their college department head, a favorite professor who most students enjoyed in their final year. Not everyone invited could make it and some chose to stay home, but there were still about ten graduates gathered in the comfortable living room.

Within minutes, conversation turned to the stress everyone was feeling about work and life since graduation, with everyone talking about what, if anything, they were doing these days.

The professor rang a small bell to gather everyone’s attention, then directed them through to his large dining room. The main table held several small trays of desserts and delicate snacks alongside a massive buffet with hot tea, cream and sugar, and an assortment of cups and mugs that the professor had collected over the years— some delicate porcelain with a saucer, some vintage glass, and some plain pottery mugs.

When everyone was finally seated at the table, the professor observed: “I see you have all chosen the nicer looking cups.

He smiled and looked around the table and switched to his beloved classroom voice.

“While it’s normal for you to want only the best, that’s also the source of your stress. What you really wanted was tea, not the cup, but you still went for the best cups, and some of you are even eyeing each other’s cup!

If life is the tea, then jobs, money and status in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life.

Don’t let the cups drive you. Enjoy the tea.”

Starting Fresh

Switching to a new career in the midst of recovering from a crisis like the coronavirus outbreak can seem like a daunting task. However, many organizations that were forced to downsize early in the crisis will be looking for skilled professionals as the situation improves. Here’s some advice from the Inverse website on establishing a fresh new career:

Audit yourself: Conduct a SWOT analysis on yourself. Identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Look at your core competencies and zero in on skills that you can transfer to a new role. Consider going back to school to fill in the gaps.

Look for meaningful work. Identify the kind of work you find fulfilling and satisfying. Look for work that will provide opportunities you don’t have in your current role. Figure out what you enjoy doing so you can seek work that fits both your personal and professional needs.

Become an expert. Pick a subject that matches your skills and educate yourself. Read up on the industry, its leaders, its opportunities, and its challenges. Because you’re starting out fresh, this is your chance to define yourself and show your passion for change.