Mindfulness Articles

How to Manage Anxiety When Mindfulness Fails You

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Anxiety

It’s 4 a.m. I’m spiraling deep into what I call the “nightmare fantasy”: imagining the absolute worst possible scenario, how I would react, what would happen next, and spiraling on and on into the hell of my imagination.

I have an anxiety disorder that is mostly managed in large part thanks to yoga and meditation. Every now and then, however, something tips a few pebbles off my anxiety cliff and suddenly I’m in a 4 a.m avalanche.

Dealing with Betrayal without Betraying Ourselves

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

kenshin__trust_and_betrayal_by_imnoweebo-d7daqulBetrayal is one of the most painful human experiences. We suddenly discover that what we thought was true is not true. When a person we’ve trusted suddenly undermines trust, our world is turned upside down.

Trusting a person means feeling safe with them. We trust that they respect us, care about us, and wouldn’t hurt us, especially intentionally. We feel betrayed as our eyes are suddenly opened to a new reality: what we thought was safe and reliable turns out not to be.

The Power of Befriending Our Feelings

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

feelings____by_LestaAs a psychotherapist, I often invite my clients to notice and welcome their genuine feelings. Many clients feel relieved that it’s okay to feel whatever they happen to experiencing. And they feel reassured that someone (namely, me!) is interested in hearing their authentic feelings without judging them.

But some people are troubled by the prospect of opening to their feelings. They ask some version of the following: “Why would I want to feel those feelings? Why would I want to experience pain, hurt, or sorrow?”

5 Tips for Changing Negative Self Beliefs

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Saving Yourself First

“Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.”

- Robert Gary Lee

A year ago, I began to accept that I was depressed, and had been for a long time. It was scary. I broke up with my live-in boyfriend of almost three years, quit my job, and though I didn’t want to, I moved halfway across the country to move back in with my parents.

I was a wreck; all of the feelings that I had been suppressing for years, some literally since childhood, came flooding back. My only defense in the past had been to ignore these feelings, though I did so quite poorly and ended up being an emotional basket case most of the time anyway.

Mindful Self-Compassion and Parenting

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

right-way-feed-babySelf-compassion has three components:

1. The kindness we would show a friend is directed toward ourselves.

2. A recognition that pain and suffering is part of life — it’s something every human being goes through.

3. Mindfulness.

Here are the benefits I have gained from self-compassion:

The Secret to Living with Treatment-Resistant Depression

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

sad_woman09dYou’d never suspect this by listening to pharmaceutical ads, but only one-third of people with major depression get better after trying an antidepressant. The others go on to try different drugs, or combinations of medicine and psychotherapy, and usually seven in 10 achieve remission.

The other third?

They are labeled with the three most dreaded words in the mental health profession: treatment-resistant depression.

It Helps to Focus on the Positive Stuff

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

It Helps to Focus on the Positive StuffThings are OK as they are. That’s the one fact I’ve been struggling with recently.

I have this image in my mind as to how I want things to be. I want to make lots of money, I want a house in the mountains, I want to get married. All of this I worry about on a near-daily basis. These are also the things that drive me to work, to be better, and to achieve more things.

Reflect & Reframe

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Reflect and ReframeWe all know people who are well-educated but somehow aren’t very smart. We also know people without much formal education who are quite wise. So, it’s obvious that it’s not just what we learn in school that makes us smart. It’s more about how we use our mind and live our life.

To live life with a high degree of competence, it’s essential to frequently reflect and reframe.

Falling into Autumn: How to Keep Moving With Your Endings and Beginnings

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Fall

During the time of the Fall Equinox, which fell this year on the same week as a new moon, the energy shift feels palpable. Many people can feel the change in light and weather, and treat September as its own sort of New Year.

The new moon represents new beginnings, a moment to plant seeds for what you would like to grow as the light of the moon waxes. It’s also important to acknowledge that often a new beginning implies an ending of some sort. In just the same way, endings always imply a new beginning.

Don’t Get Stressed Out Trying to Chill Out!

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

stress

Yoga and meditation will never help you de-stress until you understand this first.

Are you tired and fed up of being told that you need to de-stress your life? Are you confused over what you “should” do (versus what you “want” to do) because there are so many methods and “musts” about how de-stressing should be handled?

Try meditation. Now do yoga. Make time for that time management courses. And don’t forget tai-chi, regular massage, and regular running or swimming. Feeling stressed? Just hold your nose and let it go slowly to breath. Then, take a long walk while taping on your acupuncture points, uttering mantras … just don’t trip and fall while also doing your positive visualizations?

I could go on and on but you I’ll bet you get the picture.

You Can’t Force Things

Monday, October 13th, 2014

You Can't Force ThingsIt’s been tough getting to sleep the last few nights.

I’ll go to bed and turn off the light and then the thoughts start pouring in. I’ll worry that I didn’t do the right thing in any number of situations during the day. I’ll worry about the work I have to do the next day. I’ll worry that no matter what I do, I’ll never be closer to my dream of buying a house in the mountains.

It occurred to me last night while I was lying there, though, that you can’t force sleep. If you try to fall asleep and see that you’re not, that’s just one more thing to worry about. The sleep will come; it always does. There’s no point in trying to force it to happen.

How Self-Loathing and Self-Worshipping Lead to Lies

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Learn to Tell the Truth

I once asked a friend whether she knew anything about Russian literature.

“No,” she intoned, shaking her head with a studiedly blank look in her eyes. “Not a thing.”

Later I learned that she’d written her Master’s thesis on Anna Karenina. She had lied in order to avoid the fate — dire, she thought — of looking like a know-it-all.

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