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Once in a while a moment occurs in your life that causes your jaw to drop open in awe. Recently, my wife, Stefanie Goldstein, PhD and I were at Denim N’ Dirt Ranch in Santa Clarita, California giving a workshop on mindfulness for equine-assisted psychotherapists. The premise of the workshop was to teach how mindfulness and self-compassion enhanced presence for the therapists and ultimately made them more effective at the work they did with their clients. But what happened was completely unexpected and I might even borrow a word from one of the participants, “magical.” We were all sitting in a circle in the horse ring, here’s a picture of me talking and my impromptu horse assistant “Jazz” encouraging me.
It’s been a week out since The New Year has set upon us. Whether you’re a resolution person or not, odds are there are some thoughts that you have about what you’d like to see unfold over this next year. In The Now Effect I call this "Paying Attention to Your Intention" and one of the best ways to do that is to intentionally carve some time out of your busy life and take a mindful look at how you’d like to be in this next year. Taking a retreat is a great way to create the space to do this. You can do a mini-retreat of blocking out an hour or more or go to an organized retreat for deeper connection. This weekend, I’ll be at Kripalu in the Berkshires this weekend teaching The Now Effect Retreat to get the year started right. I’d love to see you there. Whether your intentions for the year have to do with work, parenting, stress, relationships, procrastination, compassion or any other areas of your life, setting goals is an integral piece to making change. But often times when we do this we are rigid, it has to be a certain way or else we haven't achieved success. But this rigidity only backfires on us. The thought arises, “I’ve failed once again,” arises, leading to a sense of sluggishness and the next thought, “What’s the point?” There’s another way.
If you’re reading this you have access to technology and that means that you are likely going to engage in media multitasking at some point or another. In a previous post I looked at a study that says that media multitasking leads to poorer cognitive performance. That’s not so shocking since our attentional capacity is limited and when it’s splintered off we’re not going to be as sharp on any one thing. However, the reality is, we’re going to multitask, it’s not only rewarded in work environments, but it’s something that comes natural to our brains. So if we’re going to do it, what’s the best way? Research suggests you look into mindfulness training.
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.
Whether we’re struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, trauma or existential angst, most of us are looking for what really helps? To make any change we have to cultivate an awareness of what’s happening and in this awareness we access the possibility of choice to try something different. But while mindfulness is a simple practice, it’s not always so easy to practice it in our lives. Our mind pops up with reasons why we’re too busy, skeptical or just unmotivated. Today I want to share with you some evidence that I find highly motivating to get us going with mindfulness, a new resource and offering to help us truly understand how to make mindfulness work in our lives, and a practice to get started now.
If you’ve been following recent news in the mindfulness world, you may have heard about a recent study by David Creswell out of Carnegie Mellon University that showed the wonderful effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as a reduction on perceived loneliness in healthy older adults age 55-85. Loneliness is something that most of us experience from time to time, caused and exacerbated by stress, anxiety, depression, addiction and trauma, but you may not have known how staggering the statistics truly are. A recent survey taken from the AARP showed over 44 million people are lonely and longing to connect with another living, breathing human being. There’s a difference between being alone and lonely. The Buddhist Nun, teacher and author of "Taking the Leap," Pema Chodron writes:
The pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable industry in America, and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline, just settled a case with the federal government to pay $3 billion for health fraud. One billion will cover criminal fines and $2 billion will cover civil settlements. This isn’t the first landmark case. In 2009, Pfizer paid the government $2.3 billion for health care fraud. This raises important questions and concerns about how we individually and culturally have been influenced by these companies and how awareness can help us see healthier choices to some of life’s afflictions.
I often say that there are two things in life that we can count on besides death and taxes and that's stress and pain. With that said, it's my pleasure to bring to you Christy Matta, MA. Christy has over 15 years experience in the mental health field, is author of the recently released book The Stress Response: How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Free You from Needless Anxiety, Worry, Anger, and Other Symptoms of Stress, founder of the blog Dialectal Behavior Therapy Misunderstood and contributor for the Huffington Post and MentalHelp.Net. Today, Christy talks to us about what Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is, how it can help with your stress right now and some advice for those of us who are struggling. Elisha: Can you give us a brief synopsis of what Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT) is and how it relates to stress?
Prior to becoming a Psychologist, I was in the corporate world leading teams of people and becoming intimate, maybe too intimate, with being overwhelmed and feeling stress at work. The amount of workers today that say job stress is a major problem in their lives has doubled in the last decade. Recently, I wrote a popular post called Outsmart Your Stress: The 1-Minute "Be" Practice and now it's time to see how to make this now effect come alive at work. In today's accelerating business world people are constantly being told there's no time to "BE" and they don't manage their time well, so it's no wonder why more and more people every day are left feeling exhausted, unfocused, unproductive, unhealthy, and burnt out. "You need to manage your time better and learn to juggle more," is the conventional reply to getting more things done faster. The American Psychological Association put out a report saying, the inability to focus for even 10 minutes on any one thing at a time may be costing you 20% to 40% in terms of efficiency and productivity. What more and more business leaders are finding is instead of doing more things faster, you need to learn how to prioritize your attention and do the most important things really well.