Archives for July, 2010
Today it’s my pleasure to bring to you Gina Biegel, LMFT and author of The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens: Mindfulness Skills to Help You Deal With Stress and her audio CD Mindfulness for Teens. Gina is a psychotherapist who works in private practice and for a large health management organization. Her passion and focus is teaching mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) with adolescents, children, adults, teachers, and health and business professionals. Gina has adapted MBSR to MBSR-T for the adolescent population and conducted a randomized control trial assessing the efficacy of this program with significant results. She has published an article about her findings in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (JCCP). Gina is also currently conducting a formal research study to assess the efficacy of the Mindful Schools program. Today, Gina talks to us about how to teach mindfulness to teens to help them focus and be happy.
There are moments of truth in life when we just can’t help but be moved by a moment. I experienced one of those moments recently. Last weekend I was at a wedding and the couple had to scramble last minute as the rain outside made it impossible for them to get married in the breathtaking outdoor setting that they had set their hearts on. After a last-minute plan B was concocted and set in place an indoor ceremony was created and we all took our seats. First came the groom with his parents and when he was in place with all the parents, groomsmen and bridesmaids, the bride appeared and there was the moment. As the gaze of the groom and bride met I couldn’t help but notice a welling up of emotion in my heart and felt the tears come to my eyes filled with joy and hope. There was something just so beautiful about that moment and the moments that unfolded. I could sense by their smiles and the look in their eyes that the bride and groom were enshrouded in the present moment, deeply in touch with the meaning that was there (especially with the contrast of all that had just gone through).
In an earlier post I published Jeffrey Schwartz, M.D's article focusing on why empathy can be a two edged sword which became very popular, and I later interviewed him about why recent research in the field of neuroscience has been largely a waste of money. Jeff is a psychiatrist, researcher in neuroplasticity and internationally recognized expert in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He is also author of the popular books Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior and The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force. Today I bring Jeff back to tell us about how mindfulness and his 4 step process can not only help us break free from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) but be a path toward greater stress management and well-being.
Here is an adapted version of a post I wrote over a year ago and it is an oldie but a goodie so I thought I'd bring it back into awareness. Enjoy! There's a funny print cartoon that has a man and woman sitting on the couch staring at a TV screen and the caption below reads, "It's 12 O'clock, do you know where your mind is?" As time goes on and we grow up from children to adolescents to adults, for many of us, somewhere along the way life begins to become routine. Day in and day out whether we're walking, driving, talking, eating, going to the grocery store, or being with our families our minds get kicked onto auto-pilot and continue to develop their habitual ways of thinking, interpreting, expecting, and relating to other people. These habits of the mind can keep us stuck in stress, anxiety, depression, or even addictive behaviors.
Here is Mondays Mindful Quote with Thich Nhat Hanh: “When we settle into the present moment, we can see beauties and wonders right before our eyes—a newborn baby, the sun rising in the sky.” This quote directly speaks to the fact that coming down from our busy minds allows us to break out of our habitual tunnel vision of seeing and experiencing life and retrain our neural networks to open up to perhaps the pleasant things that are also occurring in our daily lives. It’s good to be mindful of the lenses we’re using to interpret the world we live in. These lenses are often mindlessly crafted over time through the experiences we have in the world.
In an earlier post I published Jeffrey Schwartz, M.D.'s article focusing on why empathy can be a two edged sword, which stirred a lot of discussion. Jeff is a psychiatrist, researcher in neuroplasticity at the UCLA School of Medicine and internationally recognized expert in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He is also author of the popular books Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior and The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force. Today it is my pleasure to bring to you a wonderful interview with Jeff where he gives us some more insight into neuroplasticity and why the vast amount of research in neuroscience has been a "gargantuan waste of money."
A funny thing happened to me on the way to writing this blog. I found myself getting a late start in my day and rushing to my local writing spot in order to get going on my work. My writing spot is walking distance so I was on foot. As I hit a light at a crosswalk I found myself texting a friend of mine who is also an exercise buddy. He was telling me about the challenge of doing exercise this morning which reminded me that I skipped over this morning and my mind started planning for a time later in the day to get it in. Part of my exercise routine is doing just 20 pushups. In that moment I realized I was waiting at a crosswalk and thought why couldn’t I just do 20 push-ups right then and there. All kinds of reasons came up in my mind, “oh, I’ll just get to it later, the sidewalk is dirty, and even maybe I’ll just skip the push-ups today.” My mind was in auto-pilot, and as I began to realize that I was reminded that this was an “in-between moment.”
As we grow up in this world there is a tremendous emphasis on the importance of being up in our heads to fix, do and achieve. We witness it in the increasingly competitive environments in pre-school and kindergarten. Last I checked I believe pre-schools are asking for the kids’ resumes (only halfway joking). However, there is an entire body here that is teeming with intelligence that we are often disconnected from. Did you know you have over 100 billion neurons on in your stomach and over 40,000 neurons on your heart? The body speaks to our brain to inform us when we’re imbalanced, what emotions are actually here, and most importantly, what’s happening in our bodies is often a fact, unlike most of our thoughts. The following is a poem that Bob Stahl (co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook) and I thought was written by Martha Elliot. Upon further research we could not confirm this and also could not find a single author connected to this poem, so we could not include it in our book. But, I will sneak it in here.
Jeffrey Schwartz, M.D. is a psychiatrist, researcher in neuroplasticity and author of the popular books Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior and The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force. He recently sent me a write up he did on empathy titled Homo Empathicus: a creature with a two-edged sword that I found interesting and worthy to share. Without further ado: "Empathy is an aspect of the human mind that gets really good press, but as so with many of the qualities esteemed in our celebrity culture it’s a trait that starts to send up warning signals when looked at more than superficially.