Mindfulness Articles

How to Be Real Without Being Mean

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

What is Anger?The mantra to “get real” has become popular nowadays — and for good reason. We live in a society where images rule and authenticity is reserved for blue jeans and ethnic recipes. We’re trained to polish and parade a false self that we think will garner acceptance and accolades.

The isolation and disconnection that’s rampant in our society is based on a disconnection from our own genuine feelings and longings. We’re afraid to show what’s real, including our fears, insecurities, and yearning for love and intimacy. Instead, we may try to project a confident, self-assured, unruffled self that we think will win us friends and gain success. For example, we might conceal our hurt or sadness when our partner is late. Our built-up disappointment or resentment might leak out later over something trivial, which leaves our partner confused.

Outer-Directed Distractors and How They Benefit the Mind

Friday, September 12th, 2014

relationship-game-couple-playing

During a recent interview about my new book Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself, the interviewer asked me to suggest a practical anti-self-loathing strategy.

“Engage in activities that occupy your mind,” I ventured.

“I get it!” the interviewer interjected. “You mean helping others! Volunteering at a food bank or animal shelter! Cooking for sick friends!”

“Sure,” I said, swamped by her conviction and enthusiasm, eager — as my own self-loathing taught me — to agree.

How You Can Find Gratitude When You’re Overwhelmed with Grief

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

gratitude

It’s pretty easy to feel grateful when good things happen. Win the lottery or fall in love? Easy. But what if you lose your spouse, or child, or even your job, how do we find gratitude then?

Scientifically, we know gratitude is strongly linked to well being. People just feel better when gratitude is part of the mix. It’s the feel-good fuel that urges us on to higher and higher ground when life is going well. But does it have even more benefit when used when healing from grief, or anytime life knocks you on your bum and you are having trouble getting back up?

3 Thorny Obstacles to Being Authentic

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

More Questions to Help You Deepen Your Connection with Your PartnerWe long for intimate connections, which are essential for our emotional and physical health. But oftentimes we don’t know how to create the connections we desire. Summoning the courage to reveal what we’re experiencing inside allows people to see us and know us. Showing our authentic heart rather than blaming, attacking, or shaming people allows them to feel safer coming toward us.

Yet, we often have blocks to moving toward the authenticity that would create a fertile climate for warm connections with people. Here are some obstacles I’ve observed in my work as a marriage and family therapist for over 30 years:

4 Tips for Becoming Emotionally Resilient

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

4 Tips for Becoming Emotionally Resilient  “Emotional resilience is the ability to manage and cope with stressors …

How to Program Your Day with Positive Affirmations

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

power-positive-feedback

Your words can have a powerful effect on your life. Here’s why you should choose them carefully.

Do you wake up in the morning and think right away, “I need a coffee to start my day. I’m not going to be able to start my day until I have that coffee. I need coffee right now or I can’t do a thing?” The real question is, do you really need coffee or have you programmed your mind to believe that over the years because of your language?

Psychology Around the Net: September 6, 2014

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

jennifer-lawrence-speaks-up-mental-health

From nude celebrity photos to learning how to up your happiness on the job, we have all the latest psychology-related news around the ‘net today.

Psychology Behind Hacking and Sharing Nude Celebrity Photos: Why the reasons might seem obvious, the appeal actually has a psychological basis.

Reframing Your Way to Happiness at Work: Could a few subtle shifts in your mindset change your happiness and productivity levels at work?

Poor Sleep Linked to Suicide: Stanford researchers have found that poor sleep might be an independent suicide risk factor in adults over 65 years old.

The Value of Stillness

Friday, September 5th, 2014

The Value of StillnessWhat is the value of stillness? We are indoctrinated with media in a traditional format, television and newspapers, and more informally with social media, Facebook. But what does it really mean to experience stillness and how does taking the time to implement stillness into our lives benefit us?

After thinking about the potential value of stillness for a while, I set up an experiment for myself by making a conscious decision to avoid television, my smart phone and computer for 24 hours. I did not go on a vacation or getaway and simply remained at home, telling my family and friends I would be avoiding electronics for a 24 hour period to avoid worry.

It’s the Little Things That Lead to Happiness

Friday, September 5th, 2014

let it go butterfly freeWhat’s the best part of your day?

For me, it’s waking up early and having coffee on my porch as I watch the sun rise. There’s just something calming about this little morning ritual. I never miss it, it’s truly one of the highlights of my day.

Of course there are other things that can brighten your mood during the course of your day that you might not think so much about.

Breath Practice Made Simple

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Flickr/Mae ChevretteBreath is your most accessible and portable tool to calm and center yourself. Breath techniques are ancient and are practiced world-wide in different religious and spiritual practices, as part of various healing modalities, and in yoga, martial arts, and other physical activities.

The breath is always with us, but we generally take it for granted.

Reactivity and Its Impact

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Reactivity and Its ImpactI recently presented to a large group of Direct Support Professionals, people who support individuals with behavioral challenges. I have conducted similar workshops for family members of those with serious mental illness.

We talk about stress management, self-protection, and the limits of compassion. We meditate together. But the topic that always garners the most interest is how the supporters’ own reactivity, or fight or flight response, can precipitate negative behaviors in the individuals they support.

3 Big Reasons to Try Mindfulness

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

mindfulness

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”

- Thích Nhất Hạnh, Buddhist monk, author and peace activist

What does it feel like when you are talking to someone and they check their text messages? Or you try to tell your husband about something the children did today and he starts opening the mail?

Mindfulness helps us focus our attention on one thing or one person without feeling compelled to follow distractions where our wandering mind wants to take us. That is truly being present.

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