Monthly Archives: November 2015

How To Use Video In Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Video is one of the most powerful marketing tools right now, allowing your brand to create a distinct personality to connect with your target audience on an emotional level and in a manner that suits their fast-paced lifestyle.

The incorporation of video in email marketing has increased in popularity over the past few years, as emails containing video prove to have higher click-through (CTR) and engagement rates. Using video in email marketing is a terrific way to promote your brand, improve conversions and educate your audience.

Increase Your CTR Through Video Email Marketing

According to estimates, over 100 million online users consider watching videos a part of their everyday routines. Interestingly, 75% of executives watch videos related to their work from business websites at least once every week. What’s more, 9 out 10 online shoppers find videos helpful when they are trying to make a purchasing decision.

If you are planning to use videos to drive up your click-through rates, conversions, and leads, then it is a must that you take a strategic approach when it comes to setting up your video email marketing campaign, which is why we have laid out some useful tips below to help you get started.

4 Ways To Achieve Success In Video Email Marketing

1. Personalise your content to increase relevancy

It is crucial to ensure that all the subject lines and content of every single one of your email messages conveys useful and valuable information that is relevant to your business, allowing your emails to pass through spam filters.

Try personalising your email by using content and video that instantly connects with the viewers the moment they open your message. For instance, you can mention the industry or service sector they belong to, or a brand that will trigger a positive reaction. By personalising your email messages and videos, you can have a bigger impact to your target market, increase relevance, and ultimately improve click-through rates.

2. Identify and satisfy the needs of your audience.

It’s safe to say that almost all of us receive countless emails every single day, and we are all guilty of tossing emails to the trash folder without even bothering to read them, primarily because the subject line doesn’t catch our attention or isn’t relevant to what we’re looking for at that time. It is important to make your email stand out from the pack by making your subject lines clear and concise, yet evoking emotions that will make viewers interested to read more.

If you’re successful at triggering an emotional response and enticing recipients to open your email, you now have to ensure that you follow through with high quality content and video that will identify their needs and give them the solutions they’re search for.

The tone you use for the email text and video content plays a crucial role in determining how successful your campaign is; by pitching correctly, you can significantly increase click-through rates. Make clear and precise sentences, and keep in mind that your objective is to make the recipients view the video, so encourage them to watch it by giving hints or using effective calls-to-action. Try to use simple yet professional language, don’t confuse readers with technical terms, and keep the tone friendly. Short paragraphs, subheadings and bullet points also make your emails read easier, which helps increase engagement rates.

3. Add Images

Make the body text of your email more interesting by adding images and also create an enticing video thumbnail image to make the video more appealing to viewers. You can also incentivise this image, which makes it even more compelling for people to click and watch your video.

4. Call To Action (CTA) buttons improve CTR

The recipients of your email must readily understand what they need to do in order to receive the information they’re looking for. Using clear CTAs will point users to the right direction with a simple click of a button. Common examples include: “View Video”, “Visit Our Website”, “Buy Now”, “Download Mobile App”. All these buttons are useful in increasing your click-through rates.

The content of your video, be it an explainer video or other types, must be tailored to the needs of your target audience. You can use a video showing your CEO talking about the latest product or employees sharing why they love working for your company.

Investing in the UK Student Property Market

The Student Property Market in the UK has received high acclaim both at home in the UK and across the globe. Student Accommodations has become one of the most exciting assets, according to Knight Frank. The increasing population of international students flocking to universities has put a high demand on suitable accommodations, which makes the yields from this asset far higher than the the ordinary renting options. Over £6 billion has been invested in student properties in the past 3 years.

Nevertheless, you would be wrong in assuming that by purchasing a random student property online you will begin to see a sudden influx of cool cash. As with any asset you hope to capitalize on you must invest wisely to expect a profit. So what would be the best way of going about making a smart investment in this lucrative asset class?

Adapt an HMO or Invest in a Purpose-Built?

There are some advantages of adapting an HMO – a family sized home- into a housing unit that can be rented on a room to student basis. By renting a single property to a number of students, property owners can economically invest in the accommodation of several students in one house.

On the other hand, there are several advantages to owning purpose-built accommodations. First and foremost are the more desirable and convenient locations and living standards that these purpose-built dorms offer. Which will translate in attracting higher quality tenants, in this case a more discerning type of student.

It is a simple fact that most students are showing a general preference to purpose-built accommodations. These purpose-built accommodations are also a preferred entry point for the novice investor. This is because individual pods can be purchased and managed as opposed to an entire home unit which can be an added fuss to fuss over.

Finally, purpose-built accommodations are, ironically, a higher-yield asset than HMOs despite their being a much more affordable option. Making them the more intelligent choice in the market.

University Rankings

One of the best ways to measure the quality of the student property you are considering is to verify the rankings of the universities in the vicinity. If there is a higher ranking university in the town or city in question, especially a university that is part of the Russell Group, then you can expect a much higher demand. After this, in order to ensure the top value of a property it is important that it is easily accessible to university campuses and be well located.

You can also enjoy much higher demand for your property investment by investing in properties located in towns and cities with more than one university.

Providers

Because of the growing numbers of students who are filling UK universities this student property market is in high demand and it is only expected continue booming as the universities lift their caps on intakes next year. Nevertheless, the student tenants are far more discerning now than they have ever been before and many investments will flop although they have all the components of a successful venture.

When investing in a purpose-built student accommodation it is important to consider the provider. If the development you invest in was produced by an experienced developer and operated by trustworthy company that has a good reputation and history of success with the student body, then you can certainly hope to enjoy some of what makes this asset field so highly celebrated.

Are You A Maverick When It Comes To Empowered Decision Making?

In the classic 80’s movie Top Gun, Maverick almost loses his career as a US fighter pilot because he operates on instinct rather than the rules. In one of the great scenes of the movie, Maverick is severely disciplined by his superiors because he made a great decision that just happened to go against protocol. Whether you think he made the wrong decision or his decision was the right one, depends on how you feel about risk and following the rules. Do you always need to do things by the book, or do you feel that trusting your gut can lead you in the right direction? History shows us that many of the best decisions were made when people trusted their gut instinct.

Here is a real life example of this valuable and important idea. Imagine your child is getting ready for a game of soccer. The temperature is soaring and all the children look tomato red and are sweating like pigs. Though each child is dying for a drink of water, rules dictate that children can’t drink out of the taps. Soon one of the children faints with heat stroke. The parents are furious and mayhem ensues. The right thing would have been for the coach to allow the children to drink water even though it was against the rules. It is just common sense.

Now take this concept to a business level. Senior management is recruited because they have experience, credibility and confidence that their decisions are right, even if they seem to go against the grain. They are acting in the best benefit of the company as a whole. Effective senior leaders look at the big picture and they don’t always follow the rules. This is how things get done.

No matter where you fall on the rungs of your company, from the purchasing department to the HR department, you can always use your instinct to make the right decision. Maybe your team members are going through a serious personal issue that affects them at work such as a death in the family. While the company rule book may dictate one thing, a good team leader will use their gut instinct to decide whether the rules are appropriate or not.

This isn’t to say that guidelines aren’t important. Guidelines, rules and policies are crucial, but they can always be flexible. Depending on the situation, the rules can be bent for the good of the company. The former CEO of Apple Steve Jobs said this “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”. This is what has made Apple an innovative company and leader in the industry. Apple didn’t get to where it is now by hanging back and following the rules. Their rule breaking lead to enormous success.

While Maverick in Top Gun made a reckless decision that would make any rule follower cringe, his instinct and passion saved the day. It is important for any organization to know when empowered decision making is appropriate and when it is better to follow the rules.

F1 Changes That Will Affect Composites Manufacturers In 2014

All companies involved in composite manufacturing were taken by surprise when F1 announced the new safety and environmental impact rules for 2014. The changes in the bodywork design imply alterations to the composite tools, as we are going to see from this article.

Lower Nose

One of the most important changes and challenges for the composite manufacturers is the lowering of the nose from 415mm to 135mm above the floor. The reason of this change is the increase in safety for the drivers in case of accidents. Although good for the pilots, this change brought disapproval among F1 fans who were used to the previous look of the cars, more aggressive and more thrilling.

A lower nose called for a new design of the vanity panels, so that they make the cars look good, but without slowing them down. Such panels need to be as smooth and light as possible, therefore better composite tools are needed for complying with these new standards in car design.

The new tools will be useful even for cars that don’t use vanity panels, because they still need all the precision they can get in order to be perfectly formed and ready to race at those crazy speeds.

Lower Chassis

The lowering of the nose triggered a lowering of the entire car chassis, the new height being of 525mm at the front and 625mm just in front of the driver’s seat. This is a challenge, as the newly designed body needs to maintain its elegance and aerodynamic profile, for not interfering with the performance of the car.

Some of the major F1 players opted for a vertical increase in height just behind the bulkhead. Nonetheless, this solution doesn’t look very good, therefore vanity panels are still considered by those teams that care about the looks of their cars. The main fact is that all these changes will require much better composite tools, hence launching a challenge for all composite manufacturers who want to remain in the game.

The Wings Got Clipped

Front wings became narrower, thus launching yet another challenge for engineers. This change has direct implications on the aerodynamics of the vehicle as a whole, because of a difficulty in directing the air flow around the front tires. Each F1 team developed its own approach on this issue, but regardless the solution, they all need to face important challenges in the design and manufacturing process.

Such strict design rules triggered an increased need for greater accuracy and precision of the tools employed in the manufacturing process. Better tools allow teams to obtain better cars, thus increasing their chances to a top position on the podium.

“The technological progress allows F1 teams to compensate the changes in design by using the new hybrid technologies in the engines” explains Roger Fedorer from Powerstax DC DC Supply specialists. While this could buy them a boost in performance, they would still need to pay attention to the body of the car itself, to its total weight and to the smoothness of the parts, in order to obtain an aerodynamic profile built for speed and not for slowing down the vehicle.

Living Up To The Challenge

The more restrictive the rules and regulations for F1 cars built and design, the more precision in the manufacturing process will be required. Manufacturers or composite tools and components have an opportunity and a challenge at the same time. The ones who will know how to adapt to the new requirements will stand a good chance to thrive in front of those who will remain stuck in the old ways of doing things. This is progress and only those who are able to understand it and to adapt to it fast will survive in this highly competitive world and in such industries like composite tools manufacturing.

How To Keep Kids Calm In The Kitchen

April is fast approaching and along with that, school holidays. Small hands will soon be reaching for snacks from the kitchen and you’ll soon hear the clatter of not so little and muddy feet around your gleaming kitchen floors. Now is the time to teach little ones how to clean up in the kitchen and this includes those muddy floors. You’re going to be challenged in the weeks to come.

What better method to keep those precious little ones under your scrutinizing eye than the kitchen? Here you can encourage them to assist you. The idea of inviting them into your domain may sound a bit intrusive at first, but consider the many benefits you’ll be reaping. Nutritionists and child behaviorists encourage such methods of keeping children busy. Why you may ask, well, there are many valid reasons.

Not only does it keep little ones busy, it also helps you to know where they are and what they are doing so you know they’re not getting into mischief.

You can teach them nutrition and what is healthy and what is not.

Helping them learn to prepare food will be a life long skill that will encourage them more than any video game ever could.

What Children Can Learn In The Kitchen

This is an ideal time to prepare children for learning. They can acquire math skills by measuring ingredients. Older children can learn to double measurements as well.

Give children their own personalized belongings such as aprons, chef’s hats or even their own dishtowel. Don’t forget a personalized recipe box or book that they can add to.

Children will also enjoy having their own rolling pins, measure cups, spoons and mixing bowls. They can learn to wash, dry and put their belongings away a swell.

Allow them to assist in menu planning (another life long skill that is ideal to have).

They can learn to lay out the table including where to put the food in the center.

As long as there is supervision they can use a blender or food processor as well.

Clearing the table is also a part of learning what goes on in the kitchen. They can learn how to load or unload a dishwasher or hand wash all but sharp knives.

You’ll find plenty that will keep little hands busy in the upcoming holidays.

Naturally, you’ve already taught this to their older siblings and those siblings are also helping and willing to pair up with a younger sibling to make things go smoothly.

Math skills: two and three year old can learn to count out silverware, count teaspoons of ingredients and so on. Four and five year olds can learn how to round out measurements and measure liquids.

Young children will also enjoy learning how to stir and mix ingredients. Older ones can whisk and pour and create a beautiful salad as well. Younger ones can rinse soft fruits and older ones can learn to safely peel fruits and vegetables. Now is also the time to help them learn how to crack an egg without it winding up on the floor.

The best news of all is that once the kids learn that this is fun, you’ll have plenty of help in the kitchen and they will learn the lifelong skill of cooking and preparing meals. They’ll understand the difference between liquid and dry ingredients and they will find a great enjoyment in spending time with mommy. Cooking is the best way to keep little ones busy during school holiday’s and you’ll always know where they are and what they’re doing. How many moms can say that?

How to Work with Children in the Kitchen

When children go on holiday from school, even the best parents often run out of activities to keep their little ones entertained. Children often make their way into the kitchen, looking for snacks or company to keep them from getting bored. Unfortunately, this often leads to a big mess in a space that needs to be kept clean.

How, then, can you avoid the mess? The best way is to get your children involved in whatever you are doing in the kitchen. It may be difficult at first to think of ways to incorporate them into the cooking and cleaning, but it can be done in a fun way. Not only will the two of you be able to spend quality time together, but you will also encourage a love of cooking in your child. What are the other benefits?

First, you can keep an eye on your child while you work, which means they are safe. Also, there are a lot of teachable moments in the kitchen, including providing your child with information on nutrition, cooking and measurements. Kids can exercise their creativity while working on a dish, and it is nice for them to see (and eat!) the fruits of their labor.

So, what activities should your little one get involved with in the kitchen? There’s actually a lot for them to do, and it does not involve a lot of extra work on your part. First, set up your little one with their own kitchen items. Make sure they have an apron, and give them a box filled with measuring cups, spoons, and other (safe) kitchen items. Let them know that these are their tools and they must look after them during the cooking process.

Measuring and counting are two of the simplest kitchen activities, but they are great fun for little ones. As your child gets older, let them have a little more independence with this activity. Once the food is prepared, let your child determine how to arrange the food on the plates. Encourage them to be as creative as possible, making designs on the dishes!

Whenever possible, ask them what they would like to prepare or give them choices for the day’s menu. Finally, vegetable preparation is always a great way to get kids involved. If they are old enough, show them how to cut the vegetables or add them to the blender. And, do not forget about cleanup at the end of the day. Children are great helpers, particularly when it comes to bringing plates over to the sink or unloading the dishwasher!

If you have a very young child, like a toddler, there are still ways to get them involved in the kitchen, too. For example, little children love to add ingredients to the bowl or stir up your recipe for you. You can even incorporate learning activities; for example, you can count the number of tablespoons you add to a bowl or the number of cups of water you put into the pot. You can even show your little one how many teaspoons make a tablespoon and so on. Finally, salads, fruits and vegetables are very easy for the youngest children to work with. They can wash off produce or peel oranges. And, they may even want to snack a little along the way, which is great for their daily nutrition!

Most children love spending time in the kitchen. It is incredible to see your hard work turn into something delicious that you can eat; serving their meal instills a sense of pride in young children. And, it is a win-win situation because you get to have fun with your child and supervise them all while doing a daily chore that you need to get finished.

How to Get Ready For the Ski Slopes

Work out your Biomechanics

Get yourself acquainted with your own body by training to move it perfectly well. Begin by standing before your mirror in shorts with feet parallel, in a skiing position and check out what is put down below:

Knees: check how your knees line up. Draw an imaginary line on the focal point of your knee cap and make a line down to the floor. This line ought to land in a position between your second and third toe. In the majority of the people, the line will drop closer to the big toe or even onto the floor between the feet.

Distribution of Weight

“Your weight ought to be balanced over the center point of your skis” explains John Taylor from French ski chalet Chalet Merlo. The majority of people sit down excessively, putting too much strain on the quads muscles and knees and taking the weight into the ski’ back, bringing about loss of control.

Get your knees bent into a skiing position, keeping your pelvis normal and check where your hips move to. Stand up again and this time as you curve your knees verify the weight is coming in the forward direction, as though you are going to tip over. You ought not to have any weight in front of your ski boots but by adjusting the weight in the forward direction from your center you are guaranteeing your weight is adjusted over the centre point of your skis, giving you control and capacity to turn the skis easily.

Strength and Power

The quadriceps (the front part of your thigh) and the gluteal muscles (back of your thigh) are the fundamental muscles utilized when skiing. These can be prepared with activities, for example, jumps split squats cycling, Deep squats and step ups. Do whatever it takes not to utilize wall squats, which can mean skiing with your mass on the heels.

Quads are preparing is a usually an ignored component of strength. The quads work in two methods on the slopes. They do not only help fix the knee but also put the control on it from a straight to a bent position. This slow method is known as eccentric strengthening and is a crucial part of training for skiing. (The quads are not unusually worked during cycling – it is just the hamstrings which bend the knee when cycling.) Doing step downs off a stage is an impeccable method for working your quads impulsively. Verify your arrangement is accurate just as expressed prior. Begin with 30 reps and add weight when it starts to feel easy.

Next, work the lateral hip muscles, for example, the gluteus medius. Every game depends on outer hip rotation just as much as skiing does, therefore the significance of preparing these muscles can’t be thought of as nothing of importance. The “claim” activity is a fantastic one: it is done by lying on the side of your hips and knees in a skiing position. Keep your lower legs together and your hips stiff as you lift your top knee, similar to a clam opening and closing. You ought to feel the muscle working in the outer part of your buttock. Do this 30 times and afterward rehearse the same in a standing position so you can figure out how to use those muscles when skiing.

When you have developed your strength, move onto propulsive developments. The best place to start is bouncing sideways on and off a step, beginning with a low step and slowly making it higher – this will especially help on steep and narrow steps where quick maneuvers are critical. Just verify that your arrangement is perfect.

Cardiovascular Wellness

As long as your alignment is precise, your body meets the expectations, so proficiently you can escape with a just some level of cardiovascular fitness. On the other hand, for those of us still on the way to flawlessness, interim preparation is the most effective type of cardiovascular preparation. Attempt cycling or a step machine to work most of the muscles you use in skiing. Keep in mind to develop gradually and consistently.

Adaptability

Skiing does not require that you are very flexible – you just should be flexible when you fall over. Some individuals may have specific muscle masses that are tight, usually the calfs and hips. It’s valuable when stretching these areas yet recall never to do static activity the exercise– dynamic stretching is immeasurably superior

Get Ready And Fit For The Ski Season

Align Yourself Properly

If you want to be fit for the ski slopes, you have to work out your biomechanics. You can check out your position by standing up in front of a mirror. Put your feet in parallel, spread apart as much as to be right beneath your shoulders and try to take your natural skiing position. Check out the following alignments of the various segments of your body:

Knees:

If you look down at your knees, you should see your knee cap positioned on an imaginary perpendicular line that falls between the second and the third toe. Anything closer to the big toe isn’t right, so you should make note that you have a problem here.

Weight Distribution:

Your weight should be centered over the center area of your skis. If you sit down too much, this position results in an excessive strain in your quads and knees, thus making you to lose control and shift your weight towards the back of your skis. Most probably, you are going to fall if this happens.

Check your body weight as you bend your knees in your favorite skiing position, trying to maintain the neutrality of your pelvis. Observe your hips and see where they tend to move to. Stand up and then bend your knees again, trying to have the wight of your body falling towards the front, but without allowing it go to the front of your skis. You have to balance your body weight from your core, as this is how you can gain a maximum of control. This position allows you to turn extremely easily during your flight down the slopes.

Muscle Strength:

Your quadriceps and gluteal muscles are the ones you are going to use intensively during skiing. This means the stronger they are, the easier is going to be for you to enjoy this winter sport. You can strengthen them by doing various exercise routines such as deep squats, split squats, step ups and lunges. If you want, you can do cycling, as it is also quite helpful. Wall squats aren’t as good, as they might get you to form a habit of skiing with the weight on your heels, which is not good for you.

“Quads training is neglected by too many people, too often” explains Margaret Turner from French ski chalet specialist Chalet Merlo. It is very important because it can help you on the slopes in more than one way. Fist of all, strong quads help you straighten your knees. Secondly, they allow you control the movement of your knees while bending. This kind of quads training is called eccentric strengthening and it is recommended by all good ski trainers all over the world.

Cycling doesn’t help you strengthen your quads, because cycling uses the power of your hamstrings to bend the knees in the process. Step downs off a step are very good for working your quads the right way, so you should include it in your ski training. The only thing to keep in mind is that you need to have the proper alignment in order to reap the benefits of this kind of training. You can do this workout in batches of 30 reps to start with and increase as you feel stronger.

Gluteus medius, which is the lateral hip muscle needs to be trained as well, if you want to enjoy a good performance on the ski slopes. Skiing relies a lot on the rotation of the hip, so it’s important to strengthen your gluteus medius in order to avoid injuries. The “clam” workout is extremely effective. You need to lie down on one side and bring your hips and knees in skiing position. Stick your ankles together and lift your top knee, replicating the movement of a clam opening and closing. Watch out for your hips to remain in the same position during the exercise. If you do the exercise right, you should feel your buttock working. Repeat for 30 times to start with, and then switch sides and do 30 more “clam” openings. As you get stronger, you can increase the number of times you repeat this routine. Additionally, you can do sideways jumps on and off a step, increasing the height as you become more comfortable with the exercise.

Cardiovascular Training:

After you make sure you have a proper alignment, you have to include some cardio routines in your daily training. Cycling or a step machine can be effective, so choose the one you like most.

Flexibility:

Skiing needs you to be as flexible as possible mainly when you fall over. Consider doing dynamic stretching before and after your exercise routines. It helps improving your flexibility and protects your muscles against injuries.

Options For Having A More Active Lifestyle If You Are 65+

It is very well recognized that no matter how old you are that exercise is very beneficial.  What if you happen to be 65 years old or older?  That is no reason for you to sop being active.  An active lifestyle, in fact, has shown to improve both mental and physical health.  So what are the options that are available to you?  Going to the gym for getting fit is not your only option.  There are many other alternatives available to you that are either free or very inexpensive.

Exercising on a regular basis will help you to reduce the risk of getting chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.  If you are over the age of 65, we recommend you do about 2 1/2 hours worth of exercising a week.  If it’s been awhile since you’ve exercised, don’t worry.  We have several gentle options for you to try to help you get started with your exercise program.

1. Swimming

“No matter what your fitness level or age is, swimming is a great choice” explains Mark Mathews, an osteopath from Reve Pavilion in Surrey. Find yourself a local swimming pool to use.  Whether you prefer a faster pace or leisurely swim, it is the perfect exercise no matter what condition you are in.  This is also a very beneficial exercise for anyone with weight-bearing or back issues.

2. Walking

Walking is an outstanding form or exercise, no matter where you happen to live, to enjoy being out in the fresh air and to stay healthy.  Ditch the car and take a walk down to your local stores.  If you want to have some company with your when you walk, try finding a walking group to join.  You might even discover new areas you weren’t familiar with.  Walking groups offer a great opportunity for you to meet people and exercise at the very same time.  Another form of walk that can be very beneficial if you want to increase your fitness level is power walking.

3. Dancing

Maybe you used to go dancing a very long time ago?  It’s time to break out those dancing shoes of yours, dust them off, and have fun again.  There are so many different styles of dancing to choose from.  There are modern styles like Ceroc or Salsa or something more traditional like the waltz.  Check out the local community center in your area to see of they classes.  It isn’t always necessary to have a partner, and dancing is quite social.

4. Exercise Classes

Just because you are over the age of sixty, doesn’t mean any form of class is off limits to you.  From Zumba to toning to relaxation, there will be some kind of class that will interest you and suit your fitness level.  If you want a gentler form of exercise, you can build up your core strength by taking a Pilates or yoga class.  Contact your local gym or community center to see what classes are available to you that suit your individual interests.

5. Cycling

Maybe mountain biking is not your cup of tea.  Then again, it might be!  Look for a bicycle that you will enjoy riding.  Make sure the bike has a comfortable seat and that you sit in an upright position.  This is a nice change from driving your car everywhere.  It is environmentally friend and you’ll have wind in your hair.  If you do decide to buy a bike, be sure it is comfortable.

6. More Gentle Exercise

If you happen to have any physical limitations, there are still options available to you to help keep you moving.  We already mentioned swimming, which is a gentle kind of exercise.  Chair exercises are another good option.  They really help with improving your coordination, balance, strength and mobility.  Before starting on any new exercise regimen, be sure to check with your doctor first.  If you are experiencing any discomfort or pain stop immediately.

Meditation As A Natural Part Of Being Human

When human beings began to become aware of their unique ability to think and to reflect, they naturally became curious about the nature of the human mind. Humans are, as far as we know, the only beings that are able to reflect upon past, present and future or who have an awareness of the vastness of the universe. As humans began to see and understand that apparent difference between us and other creatures, we began to seek ways of exploring the human mind.

Many people believe that meditation began with early eastern religions and philosophies, such as Hinduism and Buddhism and this may very well be where formal meditation began.

Human civilization developed gradually, and people have always be intensely interested in understanding the meaning of life. This is, indeed, how many eastern religions and philosophies got their start. Many included meditation as a means of self exploration. We find very early records of meditation among the ancient Hindu scriptures. These were written about five thousand years ago. Other religions such as Taoism, Judaism and Christianity mention meditation as a way of attaining spiritual completeness. Within these texts are the very first mentions of meditation as a defined method of attaining specific spiritual objectives.

This is not to say that people did not meditate before the inception of formal religion. It is quite likely that many people meditated in an informal manner to attain peace, insight and spiritual growth long before it became an instituted practice.

Surely the gentle act of meditation must pre-date written records. It would simply not be possible for tangible records to give us a complete history of meditation. There are many cultures that followed an oral tradition of history keeping. For example, aboriginal cultures such as those in Australia and in North America did not keep written records. Nonetheless, it is generally accepted that these cultures and many more regularly practiced meditation in some form many, many thousands of years before written records came into use. Most, if not all, indigenous peoples worldwide have always practiced ceremonies and rituals that involve entering states of trance. These types of practices still occur in many areas of the world.

“Surely, humans have practised some sort of meditation since very distant prehistory” asks Mark Mathews, an osteopath based in Guildford, Surrey.

Meditation could simply be defined as silent awareness and/or focused introspection. Stargazing or any form of marveling in awe could be construed as meditation. When you broaden the interpretation of the word “meditation” to include these natural actions, it is easy to see that people have surely be meditating since time began.

Meditation and self awareness go hand in hand. Being self aware has always given humans the need and the motivation to look within, examine the mind and find a state of peace between thoughts.