Archives for June, 2012
This is a time for you to make a very important choice in your life. This is a choice that won’t only affect you, but will affect your children, your friends and the world we live in. Make no mistake, I’m a big technology advocate, but we’re living in an age where our brains are becoming addicted to screens. Phones and tablets at the moment are the biggest culprits. Let me explain what you may not know about how these affect your brain and why you’re going to want to start taking control back.
Recently I finished a movie whose theme and moral I found right on the money. Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” is a movie about the romantic idealization of times past and in its own way speaks to our brain’s default to escape perceived discomfort of the present moment. Here’s a quote from the movie that sums it up: “Nostalgia is denial — denial of the painful present,” says a philosopher (Michael Sheen). “The name for this denial is Golden Age thinking: the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one [that] one’s living in. It’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.”
Eating is something that is a part of all of our lives, and for some of us, it's a source of please and pain. Try as we might to avoid it, we get caught in unhealthy styles of eating in attempts to soothe discomfort. Unfortunately, this is followed by self-judgment, which takes all the joy out of eating. This is why I am thrilled to bring to you a true expert on the topic, Susan Albers, Psy.D., who has authored the latest book "But I Deserve This Chocolate!: The Fifty Most Common Diet-Derailing Excuses and How to Outwit Them," along with "50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food," and the classic, now in its second edition, "Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating and Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food." Today, Susan will talk to us about why we sabotage healthy eating, the mind traps involved and give us some tips to get started on a healthier mindful eating. Elisha: What’s behind our subtle drive to sabotage healthy eating?
Here's is a quote from the blog post 10 Quotes for a Mindful Day by the influential author and mindfulness teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh: "There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way." It can sometimes seem like we are on a lifetime quest to achieve happiness. "Once I find my soul mate, then I'll be happy," or "if I get that promotion, then I'll be happy," or "once I'm making this or that income, then I'll be happy." Woven within the mere thought itself is a sense of being "less than" you want to be, which therefore makes you less happy than you were before that thought even arrived. Some might argue that it's not the conditions of our lives that make us happy (although some can certainly help at times), it's the way we relate to ourselves and our lives that provide the happiness. It's the way we walk through life.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the importance of balancing the mind toward more of the good in life. This isn't meant to be a Pollyanna approach, just balancing the negativity bias that our brains inherently have. Here is a short practice you can come back to again and again at work or at home as a way to prime your mind for good - experiencing more of The Now Effect in daily life.
Here is a post I wrote a couple years ago that I wanted to revive as it's increasingly important in the context of the fervor that is surrounding mindfulness as a wonderful antidote to stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, trauma chronic illness or as the seed of empathy, compassion, happiness and just a better life. The following story shows us how even with the best intentions, it's easy to fall into a trap of using meditation in a way that keeps us stuck in the perpetual cycles we're wanting to heal.
Every time I feel a buzz or a jingle from my smartphon,e a voice comes up inside of me: "oh, there is something for me that needs attention." If I were to look in my brain, I'm sure I'd see a surge of dopamine, the pleasure seeking chemical that drives us toward addictive substances. Now, I'm a promoter of technology, but the following story can show you exactly where it gets in the way and how we can turn it around and use it for good.
I love to quote Abraham Joshua Heschel who said, "Life is routine, and routine is resistance to wonder." When we're babies and kids, everything is like new and captures our attention, but over time we become habituated to life and lose out on the wonder if it all. The Now Effect says, “The way you wake up in the morning, do your work, eat your food, interact with your digital devices and engage with friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances and strangers over time all become routine. Our brains ability to make things automatic enables us to function, but when life itself becomes routine, we miss out on the choices, possibilities and wonders all around us.” How about the fact that we can see color and not just black and white? Or what about the multitude of different sounds, tastes and aromas that are out there? When we really take a moment to ponder and pay attention to all of these senses, it's not only amazing, but quite a miracle. Now, that may sound impressive, but how do we really get down to more practical matters?