An Intentional Life

How often to we let the day slip by? At the end of it, we think, what did I accomplish!?

What is at stake?
If we let these days happen, without intention, our last breath may not be as peaceful as we like it.

When you set an intention, you are creating a mindful map for your body to follow. What exactly is intention?

As Deepak Chopra says: “Intention is the starting point of every dream. It is the creative power that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening or love. Everything that happens in the universe begins with intention. When I decide to buy a birthday present, wiggle my toes or call a friend, it all starts with intention.”

How do you start?
Today, pick an intention that will help you stay motivated as you start your fourth week of exercise. “My intention is to approach each exercise with strength and power.” “My intention is to smile through one task today, perhaps my workout, and have fun.” “My intention is to think about a loved one during each exercise.”

Why am I doing this?
While there is still much we need to know about how to strengthen the way we use our minds to positively affect our well-being and health, so far the data are promising. A number of studies suggest that being intentional can have distinct and positive changes in the brain. It can activate parts of the brain associated with empathy and compassion. It can influence blood pressure, heart rate and even our cognitive abilities. Practicing mindfulness has been associated with better well-being and greater life satisfaction. Today’s challenge – setting an exercise intention – is all about training your brain to stay in the present and stay focused.

A Harvard study found that study subjects spent 47 percent of their day thinking about something other than what they were actually doing. And the researchers find that all this mind-wandering made people unhappy. The study showed that our mental lives “are pervaded, to a remarkable degree, by the nonpresent,” said one of the study authors.

So today and every day, practice setting an intention, whether it’s about exercise or reading a book, and use that intention to help you stay in the present moment.

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