9 Houseplants Clean The Air And Are Almost Impossible To Kill

Pop quiz: which is more polluted, indoor air or outdoor air? 10 times out of 10, indoor air in your house, office or apartment is going to be worse than the air outside. Indoor air pollution has been ranked among the top 5 greatest risks to public health by the EPA, and stagnant indoor air allows pollutants to build up and stick to the things inside of your home.

The things in our homes emit some nasty toxic chemicals, like formaldehyde for example. You can also be impacted by pollutants like pollen, bacteria, mold, dust and various outdoor contaminants that find their way inside.

Fortunately, houseplants can help us solve some of these air quality issues. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, these houseplants are basically impossible to kill. Let’s check them out!

1) Garden Mum

This plant was found by NASA to be a real air-purifying beast. It removes ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from your home’s air. It’s popular and inexpensive, plus they can be planted outside too.

2) Spider Plant

Spider plants are incredibly easy to grow, so if you’re a beginner, this is a great one to start with. It lights bright, indirect light and sends out shoots with flowers on them that will eventually grow into baby spider plants that you can propagate yourself. Before too long, you’ll have more spider plants than you’ll know what to do with.

3) Dracaena

There are over 40 kinds of dracaena plants, which makes it easy to find the right one for you. They remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene from the air. They are toxic to cats and dogs though, so if you have pets, you might want to think twice about this one.

4) Ficus

Ficus trees are a favorite of mine as they are able to grow quite large depending on the type of pot you have them in. They typically stand between 2 and 10 feet tall and have some serious air cleaning abilities. You can also keep it outside in the spring and summer. The ficus removes benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from indoor air.

5) Peace Lily

Not only does the peace lily send up beautiful flowers, but they’re impossible to kill and have great air cleaning abilities. They flower through most of the summer and prefer shady spots with moist but not soggy soil. It removes ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.

6) Boston Fern

This plant likes cool locations with high humidity and indirect light. Bathrooms are a perfect spot for these little friends. They remove pollutants like xylene and formaldehyde from indoor air.

7) Snake Plant

I see this one all over the place in offices and restaurants – and for good reason. They’re pretty much impossible to kill. They need water only occasionally (about once per month) and prefer drier conditions. They don’t need much direct sunlight either. They remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and xylene from indoor air.

8) Bamboo Palm

Bamboo palms are most effective at filtering formaldehyde. They thrive in full sun and bright light. They grow as high as 12 foot too, making them an incredible presence indoors. They remove benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.

9) Aloe Vera

Aloe is a multi-use plant for sure. It has health benefits when consumed in smaller amounts, helps relieve burns, and cleans your indoor air as well. It removes formaldehyde effectively from indoor air.

Having these plants inside your house will dramatically improve air quality, and will also provide you with an increases sense of being connected to nature.  You’ll be surprised how much life a single plant can add to a room!

Source: This article was written by Jesse Herman of Powerful Primates, and was used with permission from the author from powerfulprimates.com

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How To Stop Overthinking

What is overthinking? Is it thinking too much? Is it worrying too much? It seems to be a cycle of thoughts that leads to worrying when it won’t break.

We read into every little thing – from when we don’t get a text back to when someone glances at us and we interpret it as a threat; it’s by design. We can control our thoughts and the extent they exist with a purposeful focus that stops any worry and anxiety before it even starts.

1. See the bigger picture.

Fractal everything out. In any situation, you can take yourself and view it from a higher or objective perspective. gaiaWhen you feel overwhelmed from all your responsibilities, take your view point out of the equation. Clear your mind, merge with the void for a moment. See what you are working toward, see the bigger picture of what you want in your life.

Is what you’re doing right now working toward your passion?  If not, shift onto the path that will bring you the most joy!

2. Stay present.

img-10This is so important in all aspects of life. Being fully aware, engaged and present takes interaction and connection to a whole new level. By focusing on each point in an interaction and not going off in thought is crucial to not overthinking.

When we are already lost in a train of thought while a conversation is still going, we don’t fully experience it and it’s not fair to those engaging with us.

We don’t give the energy back when we aren’t fully engaged with others. Stay present, take a breath and straighten your back every time you feel yourself slip into disengagement.

3. Be a person of action.

Do what you’ll say you’ll do because actions speak SO much louder than words. If you have a plan or something Growing-Handsyou’ve been talking about doing; do it. Bring your idea’s to fruition because we are creators and that’s what we came here to do.

When we are in a zone of creation, that pure focused energy is immensely powerful and is the push that brought us everything we use today.

All the inventions, everything we can physically use were once ethereal thoughts that we brought forth from the higher realms onto the 3D!

4. Let go; find peace in the unknown.

We can’t know everything (yet), so find peace in not knowing. We aren’t meant to experience this life having all the answers. We came here to ask the questions and create the answers ourselves.

Break the cycle of overthinking the same thing. It brings nothing but anxiety and creates preconceived expectations that aren’t fair to anyone.

When you find yourself caught in a thought cycle, take a breath, look around and focus on your environment to get yourself back in the moment. It’s all about where your focus is and how long you can keep it there. Practice expanding your attention span and putting your energy into what brings you joy.


8 Traits of An Awakening Soul

What does it mean to be awakened?

This is a term that we’ve collectively created, and holds a different meaning to each of us. As we travel our paths of life, our consciousness forever evolves, expands and absorbs information. It is the way in which we use this knowledge that determines how awakened we are.  

1. You see the big picture. The more we can fit the puzzle pieces together, the more of the picture we can see. To awaken is to expand your awareness and understand that EVERYTHING exists. There is infinite room within source for it to express itself in every possible form.

 Every possibility, every parallel reality, impossible idea and contradicting thought exists because why not

The spark of creation exists beyond logic; it is limitless until it creates limit. It is empty until it creates whole. It is stagnant until it creates infinite motion.


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2.  You want to connect with people.The sensation of releasing your feelings through speaking about them literally makes you feel lighter. Energy pulses out of your heart and floods your body with an uplifting, relaxing wave that pushes you to keep connecting. It’s natural to exchange energy through conversation; that’s one way of connection.

There is a global plague of disconnection amongst us.

The design of society combined with technology creates a recipe for the most convenient disconnection. We can use technology in the most amazing, in-tune way with the Earth when we understand that it’s even a possibility!


3.  Mainstream, pop culture and anything that’s mentally programming is distasteful. Watching reality shows and indulging into the lives of celebrities is actually quite interesting when you see it for what it is; a tool for distraction. With the help of the internet, traditional television has started to dissipate.

You can find humor in the lyrics of phonewrinklesmainstream songs and the scripts of Hollywood movies; just see what the objective is. Media is mentally programming us to see things like only white women being the definition of beautiful and men only being toned, strong and never vulnerable.

It is all extremely purposeful; see exactly what you are watching for what it is.



4.  You are creative. We are all on different levels of production of our passions. Some have beautiful, intricate thoughts that stay in that form; as an ethereal idea. Others create with their hands, build houses, blow glass, garden or sew.

Some write, draw, play music and dance. These are all methods of creation that are crucial to you finding and following that spark of passion within you.

Ask yourself: what do you enjoy doing most with your time? 


5.  You want fundamental change in this world! The state of our environment, economy, food production system, higher-selfeducational system and governmental system is all backwards! This is indeed a hot topic for many.

There is still a large sum people who don’t see the grand picture and will argue that everything isn’t that bad.

We are stuck in the mindset that since we’ve been stuck in the cycle of traditionally passed down oppression for so long, that it either shouldn’t be changed or that it’s not possible.

We’re working towards a world where everyone get’s what they want and by that point our consciousness will be at a level where everyone wants the same thing: to live freely, fully and understand what life truly is.



6.  You are sensitive. Ultimately, every human is extremely sensitive mentally, emotionally, psychically and physically.

It is the way in which we express our sensitivities, feelings and thoughts that allows that openness to grow. Some children are born into environments that are abusive and that seed of connection isn’t able to be planted.

Grow with your awareness, express how you feel to your friends and family and that sensitive feeling of vulnerability becomes an exploration of who you really are.



7.  You eat (as) healthy (as you can). Sometimes it’s hard to keep up a strictly healthy diet; but when you can maintain a constant flow of eating well, snacking on some junk food isn’t the worst. Our bodies are resilient and self healing.

If you were to eat raw, organic vegetables grown from your own backyard with a balance of protein for a year straight, your body would adjust to such a higher vibration.

Eating at McDonalds after that would be a lot more difficult and taxing on your body. Listen to your body and eat what feels right, it varies for everyone.


8. You want to show people the truth. This gets confused a lot within the new age community when the act of vuln7teaching people a truth becomes more important than the truth itself.

Everyone wants share their perception of their reality which in itself is a truth. When we want credit or acknowledgement for sharing, more than we want to share; that’s when our priorities need to be checked.

Spread your knowledge, share what you’ve learned and what you have to bring to this world boldly and proudly but remember to celebrate your ideas, not yourself.

3 Ways Modern Technology Can Help You Achieve A Zen Mind

You would naturally think that Western technology and Eastern Zen meditation practice are as incompatible as they can get. In some ways this is correct but modern scientific research is finding points of convergence, most interestingly in using applied technology to hack into brain performance and optimal brain states that would otherwise be only achievable through years of dedicated practice.

The onset of these mind technologies was spurred by improved scientific instruments and tools such as fMRI, EEG devices and other latest brain scan technology that have uncovered a lot of data and information about the neurology behind ancient practices such as meditation.

Through these devices scientists were able to, for instance, examine brain scans of experienced meditators such as Zen Buddhist monks while meditating and literally see how and which part of the brain is being affected. Through this data and technologies, they can now understand which brain states can be stimulated to achieve focused and mindful states or ones in which the left and right brain hemispheres are in sync as experienced by seasoned meditators.

This is not Sci-fi technology but one that is available to the masses for under $300. Here is the what and how:

1) Bio-feedback Devices and Apps

Bio-feedback devices have been around for quite some time, but latest technology has brought this to a whole new level. In essence, bio-feedback devices are devices which give you real-time feedback of your state of mind so you can train yourself to enter into optimal states in relatively short learning cycles. Older bio-feedback technology relied on physiological cues such as heartbeat and skin conductivity.

With the latest EEG technology, bio-feedback devices are now wearable EEG headbands which detect your brain wave signals and hence your levels of brain activity (thus perhaps neuro-feedback devices would be more apt as a term). A predominance of Alpha brain waves, for instance would show that you are in a calm mindful state whereas higher frequency Beta waves would show you are somehow feeling stressed or anxious. This of course is an over-simplification. The technology makes use of various measures to accurately determine your overall mental state.

A trending EEG neuro-feedback device on the market is Muse. The product, a headband wirelessly connected to a mobile app, is a state of the art brain fitness tool. The headband measures your brain activity and the app monitors and gives you visual feedback in realtime. The app provides mental exercises which can be used to train yourself gain more focus, mindfulness, enter calmer states of mind and form positive habits with just a few minutes practice a day.

A great and sophisticated meditation tool. The enormous advantage of such feedback devices is obviously the possibility of reaching such mind states at an incredibly fast pace as against doing it by trial and error over a long period of time. And for those yoga/meditation purists – one word of advice: Do not downplay it or judge before you try it because you will be in for a surprise (it happened to me!).

2) Brainwave Entrainment Technology:

This is one of the simplest and most effective brain technologies and one which I have a great affinity to. I use brainwave entrainment on a daily basis. Once again the technology comes from scientific research in neuroscience. When clusters of neuron cells in the brain are activated and communicate with each other they give off an electric signal within a certain frequency range. Such frequencies are called brain waves. Different states of mind, such as when in deep meditation, or conversely when anxious and stressed, give off different brain waves.

The idea behind brain wave entrainment is to have audio tracks called ‘binaural beats’ that are in the frequency of a desired brain wave, say for example Theta waves (deep meditation, borderline wakefulness). Listening to such a frequency ‘entrains’ the brain to enter into that state – the Theta state in this case – over a short period of time (in my case deeper states are entered between 10 to 20 minutes approximately).

My favourite brainwave entrainment tool is OmHarmonics – one of the best on the market so far. I like the sound engineering and quality put behind this product. Other very good brainwave entrainment products I like are holo-sync  The advantage of the latter is the greater variety of specific programs they have.

3) Brain-Enhancing Nootropics

Nootropics are the hottest trend of the moment in both the personal development and health and fitness world. Nootropics are essentially a group of smart drugs that target cognitive and neurological enhancement most popularly memory, motivation, focus & attention and mood.

There is a lot of growing interest in these smart drugs from people who require top mental performance such as CEOs of multibillion organisations to every man and woman on the street who need to balance and sharpen their mental abilities within a demanding lifestyle.

Nootropics are approved and regulated smart drugs that can be bought over the counter or internet for under $50. They can come in normal capsule form or as a Nootropic drink as this innovative company does with Think drink. The latter product is basically a powerful attention and focus enhancer in a drink.

The main active ingredients are Piracetam and Oxiracetam ( a class of cognitive-enhancing Nootropics called Racetams), DHA and CDP Choline together with other amino acids and nutrients well know to aid in mental performance and overall health.

Another very popular and noteworthy Nootropic is Alpha Brain  which claims significant improvement in verbal memory, focus and mental clarity.

Once again as with the other technologies above, such Nootropics were made possible by research on the underlying neurology of optimal brain states such as those studied on Zen meditation practitioners. OK popping a Nootropic pill might not give you enlightenment but it certainly does help you achieve greater focus and attention which is a great aid alongside traditional mind practices such as meditation or Yoga.

So what is the bottom line? Can technology help you achieve a Zen mind? I think the verdict is a definite yes, controversial as it may sound for some. The way I see it is that these new technologies are power tools of the mind that have been arrived at by the combination of thorough scientific research and ancient practices refined over centuries and millennia. The result is certainly a sophisticated distillation of human knowledge put into practical use for the masses and this for me is a big achievement in itself.

Source: This article was written by Gilbert Ross. You can find him on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and his blog Soulhiker. You can also take his course at Udemy.

This article was originally featured on SoulHiker, where it was used with permission from the author.

Qi: The Vital Force That Holds The Balance Of Life

The concept of Qi has a long theoretical and practical history in traditional Chinese culture. Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) is considered to be the vital energy that circulates around the body (and throughout nature). The concept is a key principle in Chinese traditional medicine where the cultivation and circulation of Qi through appropriate exercise is responsible for maintaining and improving the health of the mind and body.

Conversely, deficiencies or blockages in Qi flow result in imbalances that are the root causes of all sorts of disease and ailments. For many centuries, Chinese medicine has been mainly directed towards the ultimate goal of maintaining Qi balance in the body through certain exercises known as Qigong, acupuncture & acupressure massage and medicine concoctions from natural herbs and roots.

Outside Chinese culture, other traditions have recognised and integrated the idea of vital force – such as ‘Prana’ in Hindu traditions, ‘Lung’ in Tibetan Buddhism and ‘Mana’ in Hawaiian culture amongst others.  The flow of Qi in the body has been extensively mapped  through various channels and meridians along the body. These points and meridians are also the basis of acupuncture and acupressure massage therapy.

Ancient Medicine & The Limits of Western Science

Although alternative medicine has been slowly integrated in the West (even in national health structures), the concept of Qi remains somehow alien and difficult to be integrated with the current models of medical Science. This does not mean that our two hundred year old modern Science has debunked the millennia old notion of Qi, but rather that it cannot be easily accommodated within its structures and logic.

Science is top-down analytic, that is, it explains phenomena according to their underlying measurable and observable chain of cause and effect. Chinese medicine, on the other hand is bottom-up and holistic, meaning that it explains observable phenomena according to imperceptible higher-order principles governing nature such as Qi.  Despite the differences between modern Science and ancient medicine,  I am a strong believer that Scientific knowledge is still young, provisional and always expanding its horizons. It is quite possible for western medicine to also integrate the idea of Qi in its theory.

For instance studies have very clearly shown the indisputable benefits of Qigong and Tai Qi exercises, acupuncture and acupressure yet Scientific methodology cannot translate the idea of Qi because it is immeasurable (for now perhaps).

The Healing Power of Qi

So what does Qi do? or else, what are the benefits of maintaining good Qi in the body?

The main practice of maintaining and cultivating Qi is the ancient practice of Qigong and/or Tai Qi. Wake up early in any city in China and have a stroll in the parks. You will see large groups of people from young to ninety year old practicing Qigong or Tai Qi in unison or individually.

According to millions of practitioners of Qigong or Tai Qi, the benefits are all encompassing – from a relaxed and focused mind to organ health, immunity to diseases, good blood circulation, healthy digestion and joint strength amongst others.

For example a large-scale study carried out by the University of North Carolina found that Qigong practice is highly effective in easing pain and reducing stiffness in Arthritis patients.  Another study published in the journal of American Geriatrics Society (April 2007), shows how regular Qigong practice enhances white blood cell production, revitalizes the bone marrow and increases the number of T-cells in the Thymus gland thus boosting the immune system.  There is a large number of other studies which continue to corroborate the benefits of Qigong in relation to health.

The practice of Qigong has been developed and refined over centuries by physicians who discovered that certain movements or exercises increase Qi circulation around the body and the internal organs.  Some of these movements have been mirrored on movements in nature, primarily certain animals.  This is very much in line with the Daoist philosophy which holds following nature’s cycles and rhythms as one of its core principles.

Start Moving with the Energy

I also practice Qigong exercises for 10 minutes everyday as part of my morning rituals.  I feel it invigorates me, uplifts my mood and gives me the right balance of mind to start the day.  Some people are put off from trying because they think that Qigong is something esoteric and complicated but in reality Qigong exercises are quite simple movements that can be immediately picked up from day one and practiced for a few minutes every day.

There are many resources available for learning Qi Gong online.  I found the exercises by Qi Gong Master Lee Holden particularly helpful and simple to integrate in my morning routine.  I have been practicing these simple exercises every morning and throughout the day for some time now and I feel it has greatly improved my overall health and well-being (Incidentally I never got sick since I started practicing).  Holden’s training program is extremely accessible to everyone.  It doesn’t require time or effort to learn – you just learn the first easy movements and you’re off.

You can of course also attend some local classes if these are available in your area or if Qi Gong is not available perhaps even learn some forms of Tai Qi (Tai Chi) which is also another Chinese practice aimed at improving the Qi flow in the body…but whatever your disposition is, it is highly recommended to spend some time trying it out.  If you are a Qi Gong or Tai Qi teacher or student, your experiences are very welcome in the comments below!

Source: This article was written by Gilbert Ross. You can find him on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and his blog Soulhiker. You can also take his course at Udemy.

This article was originally featured on Soul Hiker, and was used with permission from the author.


10 Steps For A Successful Lucid Dream

Lucid dreaming is one of the most extraordinary experiences you could have as a human being.  Being awake within a dream, you are able to consciously interact with it just as you interact in the real world. Everything is saturated with colour and vibrantly alive, and it feels far more real than waking life does.

There are many practical benefits to lucid dreaming.  For me personally, it reminded be of how much life is like a dream and helped me appreciate the impermanence of reality.  It helped me cultivate more consciousness and awareness in waking life by reminding me that I don’t have to be a victim to my surroundings, and can instead become lucid and take control.  It also led to both of my out-of-body experiences.

Lucid dreaming can propel you into a higher understanding of yourself and the reality you live in during your waking life.  On top of being exhilarating and fun, it’s also a very useful catalyst for spiritual expansion.

Here are 10 steps for having a successful lucid dream:

1) Dream Diaries

Spending at least 10 minutes in putting down and recording your dreams in the morning. Even if you wake up in the middle of the night, try to remember and write down what happened. This trains your brain to become used to retaining memories while you are dreaming and to bring awareness into the dream state.

2)  Reality Checks

Performing as many as 10 or more reality checks during the day, and these should be spaced out during the day. Does your reflection look normal in the mirror? Do the palms of your hands look normal close-up? How long do you stay in the air when you jump? Perhaps even make a marking on your hand and look at it throughout the day, and in your dream you will notice it missing.  When you notice it is no longer there, you will realize you are dreaming.

3) Manifest

Spending up to 20 minutes in the afternoon to incubate a lucid dream. The techniques to use here include meditation, self hypnosis, and visualization of what you wish to experience in your dream.  This is also helpful to do right before bed.  KNOW that you will lucid dream, and be thankful that you have already manifest a lucid dream.

4) Affirmation

Before you go to bed at night, repeat this to yourself: “I will remember to recognize that I’m dreaming”. Fall asleep repeating this in your head, and this awareness will subconsciously carry into your dreams. Know that in your dream, you will remember that you are dreaming.  Remove all doubt.  Affirmation is important.

5) Identifying Your Dream Signs

You may also have that nasty experience of always running out of fuel whenever you are on your way to write a final exam. Again, it may be that you always have that horrible experience of your teeth falling off from your mouth. The best and most reliable way of determining your personal dream signs is by keeping a dream journal. Whenever you check it, you can easily identify those dream signs that are regularly occurring.  When your future dreams contain them, you will realize it’s just a dream sign.

6) Imagination Of Desired Dream

Imagine yourself being back to a previous dream. But this time, you have to re-live the ending differently. Visualize the scene in the dream in such a way that the details are clearer than what is obtainable in the previous dream. Next, search for the dream signs. Of course, this should be some unusual characters,  locations and objects which should reveal the dream to be mere fantasy; something you wouldn’t see in real life.

Next, start telling yourself that you are dreaming. Although you are just day dreaming (and this is by no means a lucid dream) continue to experience an imagined lucid dream fantasy. Do whatever you would do if this were a real lucid dream.

7) Wake Up At Night

Research has shown that waking up during sleep can increase one’s chance of being lucid. So, in order to have more lucid dreams, you may want to wake yourself up in the night and bring yourself to full consciousness for a few minutes. You can spend those few minutes in reading about lucid dreams, meditating, visualizing, etc.  Maybe even set an alarm for 3 or 4 am.

8) Direct Your Half-Asleep State

At times, you may wake up in the middle of the night and found yourself in this dreamy state. If this occurs, there is no need for you panic for your body and mind are already relaxed. Just drift into the dream world and of course, this can easily be accomplished without the least effort.

9) Snap Out Of The Dream.  Fully Step Into Lucidity.

his step involves stepping into the lucid world and this means submerging your awareness fully into the lucid dream as well as stabilizing the dream to eradicate any chance of waking up.  Stay calm, don’t get over excited and wake yourself up.  Realize that you are dreaming, and keep your attention concentrated in the present moment within your lucid dream.

10) Have fun

It’s a wonderful experience to have, and there is nothing anyone or anything can do in a lucid dream to harm you.  If you find yourself scared when you become lucid, know that you are always being guided and protected, and that you can wake yourself up at any time you wish.  Talk with people, manipulate your surroundings, try to leave your body, appreciate the vividness of the world around you.

It’s important to remember that there is nothing to fear in a lucid dream.  Some figures you encounter may scare you, but remember that everything you encounter is a reflection of some aspect of yourself.  Love them and forgive them, and know that when you do so you are loving and forgiving a shadow aspect of you.

Lucid dreaming is not just for fun however.  It can also be used as a spiritual practice for self-healing and personal growth.  Here is an awesome TED talk video about nightmares and lucid dreaming as a medium for spiritual development:

Happy dreaming!

Steven Bancarz

Team Spirit


Seeking Higher Consciousness