Mindfulness Articles

Being Able to Hear Yourself Think

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

head_workingHow many thoughts do we have in a day? There seem to be several conflicting numbers in the current literature, ranging from 12,000 to 80,000 per day.

With this high volume of mental activity, not all of our thoughts can be true, useful, or noteworthy. We often act like our thoughts are gospel truth and allow them to dictate our moods and reactions. We are human, and that’s what we do, until we have a method, rationale, or motivation to do otherwise.

How Gratitude and Kindness Go Together for Brain-Changing Happiness

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

How Gratitude and Kindness Go Together for Brain-Changing HappinessYou are probably not interested in my personal opinions about gratitude. If you read something about gratitude, you want to know that it’s not just relevant to me but to you as well. Well, at least I hope that’s what you want. That way you might try something that will make a big difference to your day, maybe even transform your life. That sounds like a big claim. But recent neuroscience and psychological research back me up here, and so do my personal experiments.

How to Be Happy

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

How to be HappyHappiness is a tough one.

We spend a lot of our time and billions of dollars trying to obtain happiness. Inevitably, though, we find ourselves back in the grind: dreading going to work, dreading doing the myriad errands and responsibilities it takes to live as a human being in this multifaceted world.

The thing about happiness, though, is it’s not supposed to be constant.

How to Sit with Painful Emotions

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

upset-young-male

Feeling painful emotions, not surprisingly, can be painful. This is why so many of us don’t do it. Instead, we ignore our emotions, or dismiss them. We try to numb the pain with a glass of wine or three. We isolate ourselves. We cut or burn ourselves, or engage in other kinds of self-harm.

Basically, we turn to anything that’ll help us get rid of our feelings.

Have You Tried Meditation to Help With Migraines?

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Migraine

A new study shows that mindfulness meditation may help lessen the duration and severity of a migraine — one of the most painful and debilitating types of headaches. This is a significant finding as many sufferers have found little to no relief with conventional treatments.

Most migraine sufferers share similar symptoms — throbbing headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound — but there is no single specific cause. Therefore, conventional medicine can only treat the symptoms, never truly getting to the source of the problem. For some individuals, migraines are so severe and persistent that the only option is to lie down in a dark, soundless room until the pain finally subsides.

5 Mindful Treatments for Rumination

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

5 Mindful Treatments for RuminationRumination is a mental habit which leads to fixation on flaws and problems, thus extending a negative mood.

With continued attention to our problems, we become obsessed with our pain and can retreat from life. We stop eating (or eating more), sex drive disappears, sleep is disrupted, we are tired all the time, life is dull, and we do less and less.

Rumination starts off as a dim light that we stop putting energy into, allowing it to get darker and darker until we can’t see anymore.

Why the Issues that We Ignore Often Come Back to Plague Us

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

austerpaulIn his memoir Hand to Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure novelist Paul Auster wrote:

“By the end of 1977, I was feeling trapped, desperate to find a solution. I had spent my whole life avoiding the subject of money, and now, suddenly, I could think of nothing else.”

This reminded me of a thought-provoking interview I did with personal finance expert Zac Bissonnette a few years ago.

Rejecting or Embracing the Sacred in Meditation

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Rejecting or Embracing the Sacred in MeditationI recently taught a class in creative contemplation that was based on Lectio Divina, or divine reading. It is a practice undertaken by contemplative Christians and monks in which one completely surrenders to the voice of God as inspired by a line of scripture.

I have no real allegiance to Christianity, other than my upbringing, and presented the practice in a completely secular course. Much modern meditative and contemplative forms are presented this way. Centuries-old sacred traditions are stripped of theology and much underlying philosophy as a means of adapting each to a stressful, material world. It is sort of like insisting that prayer without an object or spirit to pray to will bring about a miracle. The act, not the deity, holds the influence.

You Don’t Have to Do Everything Perfectly

Friday, September 26th, 2014

self-image-meme

One of my biggest struggles is the fact that I feel like I have to do everything just right. There’s some small part of me that kind of panics if I don’t do things correctly, or the way I imagine they should be done.

Using Your Senses to Gain a Richer Life

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Using Your Senses to Gain a Richer LifeBeing present is the essence of a mindfulness meditation practice. When we think of meditation, we often think of sitting on the floor, eyes closed, legs crossed, chanting “om,” but you don’t have to begin here — nor do you have to chant om.

Actual “sitting” practice is what we call formal practice. Informal practice is bringing presence into our daily lives, when our eyes are wide open. We can enter our lives with more presence through our five senses.

Our senses are the way we interpret and experience the world. We gather information about our experiences through our senses. For many of us, these senses have become dull and numb, and we wonder why we aren’t experiencing a life of more quality and richer experience.

Managing Anger

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Managing AngerRegulating emotions is one of the best things that you can do for yourself and others in your environment.

Emotional regulation is really about the ability to bring yourself back on even keel, to calm yourself down when you are distressed, to lift yourself up when you are feeling dejected, and to help yourself feel better. It is about being able to restrain yourself from destructive actions and point yourself in the direction of constructing, value-creating actions.

Emotions provide us with information, and by acknowledging them and redirecting them as needed, we become less a victim of our thoughts and feelings and more of a responsible steward of them.

Quieting the Voice of the Devil on Your Shoulder

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Quieting the Voice of the Devil on Your ShoulderI often equate having schizophrenia to having a little devil on my shoulder that likes to whisper nasty stuff in my ear.

He’s a cunning little jerk, too. If he senses a vulnerability or the potential for anxiety he’ll start screaming.

In the eight years I’ve lived with the illness I’ve come to recognize these triggers and do a pretty good job of avoiding them. You can’t do it forever, though, and eventually the devil is gonna start screaming again.

Recent Comments
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