Dr. Maria Smith


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Life is a game of ups and downs — a constant interchanging of events, experiences, situations, and circumstances.  Even for nurses, who witness a spectrum of human experiences on a daily basis, the dynamics of how things change is what makes each day exciting and full of possibility.

As human beings, we have an amazing ability to adapt. But one other thing we have become good at is labeling things as good or bad. I'm sure you have noticed that when it comes to the two sides of the fence, the mind is more easily drawn to what’s wrong as opposed to what’s good in life.

The force of negative thinking can feel like the most powerful magnet pulling at us from all sides — but there is a reason for this…

We are so quick to point out the negative aspects of our experiences because, biologically, it is in our best interests to notice danger quicker than we notice peace, pleasure, and sources of joy. The mind is conditioned to pick up on anything that might cause us harm, and at one point in our evolutionary past this was very beneficial to our survival and remains so today.

While our busy mind is trying it’s best to put everything in order and keep us safe from the competitive environment of the modern day, it can become very easy to lose track of the natural beauty and appreciation of what it truly means to be alive.

Focusing on Positive as a Way to Heal the Mind

In meditation, we are giving the mind permission to release and take a break from negative energy. This is where we find motivation, joy, wonder, and inspiration to help clear our souls of the daily obligations that are usually responsible for crippling our ability to generate lasting optimism.

By directing your attention towards things that arouse positive feelings, you can condition your mind to process challenging or unpleasant situations in ways that benefit you rather than resist and react in your habitual ways.

Silent meditation is based on concentrating on your breathing process and visualizing the air as it fills your diaphragm and then your lungs, before passing out through the full process like a wave.

Be grateful for each breath.

  • Start the silent meditation by taking a deep breath through your nose deep into the belly, and feeling the warm sensation of the air as it enters and leaves your body up through your lungs and out of your mouth.
  • To keep your mind focused on your breathing, count each oscillation of your chest rising and falling.
  • If you sense that your mind is wandering elsewhere – bring your focus back to the sensations associated with your breathing.


Mindfulness is a state of mind that is achieved by concentrating on the present moment. This is a result of taking the time to accept things for how they are without judgment. This requires some time to allow the dust of the mind to settle in order to calibrate with the moment.

Being mindful means dropping all pre-existing notions about how things should be and truly living in the here and now. This requires practice and discipline to give the mind an opportunity to find balance.

By remaining grateful for each passing moment and bringing positive intentions towards your meditation session, you are much more likely to find the peace and flow that you desire.

There are three simple parts to consider when practicing mindfulness meditation. These are body, breath and thoughts.

  • Start with your body. You'll want to set up in a place where you are comfortable and surrounded by objects that trigger happy feelings. This could be your bedroom, backyard or even your kitchen.
  • Choose a spot and make it comfortable with a cushion or a chair. Place objects that make you happy such as pictures of your loved ones or a scented candle with the focal point being one particular object that brings you the most joy right in front of you and at eye level.

    This can be a most inspiring book or even a simple plant if that's what sparks your happiness.

  • Now that you are set up, focus on your breath. Breathe naturally and take your attention inside of your body, feeling your chest rise and fall as the air enters and leaves your body.
  • Try not to control your breath and just let it happen the way it always does. It does not matter if it is labored or shallow as the key here is to accept your breathing how it is.
  • The final part of mindfulness meditation is about your thoughts. The mind can never truly be silenced and thoughts will go through your head, some of them good and some of them not so comfortable.

    Do your best not to identify with any of these thoughts. Just let them pass through, taking note of them but not dwelling on any particular one.

  • Remember that mindfulness is about being aware of these thoughts rather than redirecting them in any one particular direction. When practiced often, this process will induce positive energy.

When it comes to learning how to meditate on something specific, Tratak is a great practice to help improve concentration.

This is done by curbing the brain's tendencies to wander by introducing an object of focus. In this case we are referring to an object that signifies positivity in your life.

A tratak practitioner gazes steadily at a fixed point. By concentrating on one and only one thing a person's awareness is restricted to a single sensory input. This reduction in sensory input frees the brain from mental processes leading to the emergence of enhanced consciousness and with it a deep feeling of calm.

The two forms of tratak meditation are biharanga (internal) and antaranga (external).

Yogis generally find biharanga easier because all that is involved is staring at a certain object. This object being stared at is usually a candle flame or an object that stimulates feelings of happiness or motivates you towards your goals or dreams. Something positive.

  • To engage in tratak meditation, set yourself up in a dark room with no drafts and place a candle at arm's length raised to your sitting eye-level.
  • Gaze at the candle flame for as long as possible until your eyes begin to tire, all the while being mindful of the thoughts that go through your mind.
  • The more often that you practice tratak, the longer you will be able to keep your eyes open. When they do tire, close your eyes and keep them fixed on the after-image until the image disappears. 

For antaranga, repeat the process but set up with your eyes closed and concentrate on a symbol, memory or event that brings you joy.

Learning how to meditate on something positive will help you engage a proper relationship with life’s passing moments. Although things are not always bright and shiney, meditation provides an ideal way to nourish the mind, body and soul.

Go into each of these meditation techniques with an open mind. They may not solve all of the problems in your life but they will make them easier to handle.

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