Archives for November, 2012
There’s a wisdom that comes from nature. When we really look at it we see that nothing lasts. That’s not meant to be a dreary proclamation, it’s meant as a truth so we can begin to see things just as they are. When it comes to our anger, we can learn a thing or two from nature. One of my favorite teachers is Thich Nhat Hanh and he says:
At some point in life we fall into a trance of seeing the differences in people and missing how alike we truly are. Even our enemies in life are more like us than different. At the core we all want to feel understood and cared about no matter who we are. What happens when we start seeing a connection between people? It breeds the compassion which study after study is now showing leads to feeling happier. Whether it's disconnection with a stranger, an acquaintance, an old friend, a family member, or even our kids, give yourself the gift of this short 2-minute practice to break this trance and prime your mind to seeing the connection that can lead to healing and well-being.
Whether this is your first time you're coming here or you’ve been around for the almost four years I’ve been writing The Mindfulness and Psychotherapy column, I want to share a personal moment of gratitude and say “Thank You” for being a part of this community. This was a big year for this column, it will become 4 years old and is also the year that The Now Effect and Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler hit bookshelves. Now it’s my turn to give you some gifts of my favorite Top 10 posts of the year. In these posts you'll read about the power of mindfulness, the importance of self-compassion in healing, the upside to embracing dark emotions, how to be alone, why multitasking is ineffective, many short practices and much more. May they bring you a sense of insight, ease, peace and freedom. Enjoy!
Recently I wrote a blog titled Need to De-stress? Build Your Wall of Gratitude and people started posting all kinds of things they’re grateful for. Another wonderful 30 second practice in the day is to look at a wall of gratitude, so I’ve compiled a number of the responses and you’ll find them below. Consider how the responses below come from people who are just like you, wanting the same fundamentals of belonging, feeling understood and cared about. Take a few deep breaths and notice what it’s like to witness the gratitude of the human spirit.
Unfortunately, our brains don’t seem to be built to pay attention to what’s good in life, but more to what seems urgent or threatening. That makes sense as fundamentally safety and security trump happiness and well-being. However, having our minds roll around in past hurts and regrets of the past or potential catastrophes in the future isn’t really keeping us safe nor is it making us happy. It's more likely stressing us out. It’s a lose, lose. At times it’s skillful to grab hold of our minds and incline them in ways that create a reinforcing spiral up to feeling good. One of those ways is to build a wall of gratitude and here’s how.
The holidays are already upon us and for many people that means trains, planes and automobiles, as a means of traveling to see friends, family or just getting out of dodge. One of the companions that often travels with us that we’d rather not be there is stress and anxiety. The holidays are stressful enough for many of us, but tack on travel and it amps it up that much more. One of the things that can help us shift out of our stress and anxiety is to become present, get outside of our heads and widen our perspective. I’m fortunate enough to have worked with a number of people who struggle with stress and anxiety around travelling and in the work some true wisdom comes from them that I now get to share with you. Here’s a one-minute tip that comes from a new release called Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind. You can use this anywhere and anytime while traveling to begin neutralizing the stress and stepping into what really matters.
The World Health Organization estimates that by 2020, depression will be the second largest issue in ill health worldwide. Clinical depression is defined as a persistent depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure for at least two weeks along with a number of other physical and psychological symptoms. These could include poor sleep, loss of appetite, a sense of hopelessness and others. Studies have now found that the more often a person experiences depression, the more likely they will be to experience it again (70-80% chance of relapse for people who have suffered two or more episodes). But depression doesn't usually occur alone and is often mixed with other issues such as anxiety and panic. So what do we do, medicate, meditate, both?
Most of us spend the majority of our day at work. It follows that an essential place to bring mindfulness to is at work. Mirabai Bush is the author of Working with Mindfulness (MP3), a key contributor to Google’s Search Inside Yourself Program, Cofounder of The Center for Contemplative Mind and Society and so much more. Today is a joy to bring her to you to explore how bringing mindfulness to work can help us reduce stress, increase productivity, use more creative problem solving techniques, and improve relationships. Today, Mirabai talks to us about what it means to bring mindfulness into the workplace, how it can bring deeper meaning, the benefits of mindful listening, the why and how of informal walking practice, and a simple practice to enhance relationships at work.