Psych Central

Mindfulness Articles

Healthy Holidays: A Conscious Relationship With Your Mind and Body

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013
When it comes to mealtime gathering traditions around the world, most every one toasts health! Your health is no small matter; all your other life goals depend on it.
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Are you in a consciously healthy relationship with your mind and body? In other words, are you listening, feeling and making conscious choices to enjoy the holidays but also make healthy choices when it comes to food and drinks?
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Here are a few tips for setting a conscious intention to realize your goals for sticking with a healthy lifestyle – even as you party and celebrate holiday gatherings.
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Set aside a few moments the day before an event to rehearse in your mind what you will and will not do. R

Securing a Love Relationship: Understanding the Core Issue In Couple Relationships, 2 of 3

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

images-871How is it we can feel so connected one moment under the influence of certain substances — to include love  — and wonder the next what were we thinking?

In Part 1, we considered three areas of the brain that work together to produce feel-good chemicals, and that, depending on the circumstances, can literally alter our emotional states of body and mind to the point of putting our ability to make choices (personal power) out of reach. The automatic release of this chemical mix can lead us to making poor and potentially dangerous decisions, and even worse, form an addictive habit or pattern.

To retain our choice making capacity, it helps to understand that a key underlying issue in relationships, based on decades of research on attachment and intimacy, is the connection.


Securing Real Love: Three Chemicals That Make Us Feel We’re In Love, 1 of 3

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

The science of couples love is a fascinating study of human nature  – perhaps at its best and worst.

Human beings get unhinged about a lot of things, yet nothing seems to compare to the actions of desperation, and the emotional roller coasters in the dance of romance.

Where in life are we suddenly in the most intimate of circumstances, contemplating dramatic shifts to our lives and future plans, with someone who was a total stranger a relatively short time ago?


Five Nurturing “Be’s” for Parents to Add to Their To-Do List, 1 of 2

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

images-461It’s been said before. Relationships are like a baby mobile in that a slight touch on one side causes ripple effects felt throughout the system.

Our early relationships are particularly formative. It is in early years that our brains form structures that, absent a change causing event, subconsciously, serve as reference points for relating to self and others throughout life.

Parents are often provided what-to-do-or-not-do lists to promote healthy child development, less often is the focus on the quality of emotional presence parents can bring, at any given time, to interactions with their children. In this post, we discuss two of five states of being, or “BE’S,” that parents can use as guidelines to nurture healthy relating capacity in children.

Because our mind-body refers to these early structures automatically, how we parent makes a difference. When we were children, for example, our parents’ brains subconsciously set parameters in what emotions we “should’ or “shouldn’t” feel or express, according to their own taboos and belief systems.


Freeing Up Emotions and the “Permission to Feel” Exercise, 2 of 2

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

133981943-Man-smilingMany of us feel locked inside closets of fear, perhaps unrecognized. We learned to enter these places to protect ourselves whenever we felt fearful or scared as small children. As our brain strengthens behaviors we repeat, and imprints them as easily accessible strategies, the part of our mind that operates all the systems of our body, the subconscious, can activate these automatically. Our  protective habits are also given priority status as they associated with ensuring our survival.

Protection from what?

Feeling our fears. We avoid what is our destiny, an essential aspect of become whole and happy human beings.

Our two greatest fears are intimacy fears.

Our deepest fears, fear of inadequacy, rejection, abandonment, and the like, have to do with our yearnings to matter as unique beings for the contributions we make to life around us and meaningfully connect in key relationships. They are core intimacy fears.

  • On the one hand there is the fear that we cannot be ourselves in relation to another (or others); and on the other hand is the fear of a distance growing between us, that we are not meaningfully connected, thus separated, alone, detached (emotionally abandoned).

Reasons Not to Give Up On Someone You Love (Who’s Acting In Hurtful Ways)

Saturday, August 31st, 2013
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Never give up hope or think it is too late for someone you love and care about to change in healing directions.

Let go of trying to change them, for certain, and you may need to make the tough choice to let go of the relationship rather than watch someone you love engage in harming behaviors — but always keep your hope alive.

To never give up means to remain consciously active in hoping:

  • To see the best outcomes in another person’s life.
  • To keep believing in their capacity to awaken to their own inner resources of wisdom, inspiration, and positive action.
  • To remain committed to treating them (in your mind and outward actions) with unconditional regard and dignity regardless how much you may disagree with what they are doing (separating the value of person from their wrongful actions is key to your healing as well as theirs).
  • Last but not least it also means: to let go of thinking that, without you to micromanage the loved ones’ feeling states or choices, etc., they’re hopelessly lost.

The Impact of Childhood “Attachment Styles” On Couple Relationships? 2 of 2

Friday, August 16th, 2013
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Emotions are central to attachment, and based on their effects on our autonomic nervous system, they fall primarily in one of two categories, love or fear in varying intensity. In other words, they are either overall stabilizing or destabilizing.

Perhaps no relationship is more intense, complex and challenging in its ability to discombobulate our otherwise healthy ability to think clearly and intelligently, make sound choices and engage common sense.

When our bids for connection with our partner fail to elicit the caring response we yearn for inside, our body’s autonomic nervous system activates distress signals, whether we’re aware of them or not.

Attachment is about the actual and perceived outcomes of our attempts to get closer or connect with a loved one. It can be as simple as asking for time together, seeking some level of understanding, or saying “Hi,” these bids for connection, and our responses to them, shape and are shaped by our perceived sense of the quality of connection we realize.


10 Excuses for Not Saying “I’m Sorry” or Making Amends

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

images-308Among the most powerful words to say in healing our relationships are, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me. How can I make it up to you?

And yet, even when we know we’ve acted wrongly, something inside blocks us from saying so or taking action to make amends. More often, that something is a set of beliefs we hold that act as excuses.

Excuses are often assumptions that, whether conscious or subconscious, block us from taking action. Here are ten most frequent ones.

1.  I’ll be seen as a bad person and not appreciated for the good things I’ve done.

This excuse also distracts us from directly resolving an issue. It focuses our attention on our fears, in particular the fear of not fulfilling our yearnings to matter and to feel we contribute value in our relationships.  


5 Distinct (and Surprising) Habits of Happy People

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

images-775The pursuit of happiness can be described as both a deep concern and obsession of human beings throughout time. This quest to discover how to live our best, most fulfilling lives is a phenomenon that cuts across cultures. The fever has intensified in the last decade thanks in part to a growing body of research that links happiness to benefits ranging from greater health, happier relationships, boosts to creativity, and even higher earnings.

Physiologically, happiness is an emotional state, a mix of feelings produced by some combination of feel-good hormones. It’s much more than an occasional emotional burst of dopamine, however.

It’s a process, it’s work and it’s a balancing act.

Recent research reveals that happiness has a paradoxical nature. A recent publication, What Happy People Do Differently by Drs. Todd B. Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener summarized some surprising findings emerging from studies of happiness. It appears the habits of those who are happiest include regular doses of activities that produce feelings of discomfort, doubt, uncertainty.


10 Key Factors Proven to Make Your Love Last

Sunday, July 21st, 2013
Elderly-couple-sitting-on-002Can romance and passion last a lifetime? Based on a recent study by researchers at Stony Brook University, yes.
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The findings, published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, surveyed couples married 10 years or longer, and found a significant number of couples, 40 percent, reported intense feelings of love and high levels of passion, decade after decade, even couples married 30 years or more.
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The published work of psychologist K. Daniel O’Leary and colleagues, titled Is Long-Term Love More Than A Rare Phenomenon? If So, What are Its Correlates, also identified factors that, when present, predicted strong, enduring relationships and intense feelings of love between partners.

 
 

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Recent Comments
  • Mark1: This sounds like NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). If this is the new way I would like to try it. I thought...
  • Athena Staik, Ph.D.: Thanks for the comment Jess in LA. Yes, I agree there are contradictions, and believe...
  • jess in la: So, forgiveness requires the other party to take responsibility and rectify the harm they created. How...
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  • Miranda Salley, HHP, HHC,AADP,: A culminating piece. Well done Dr. Staik! Brilliant contribution. Thank you!
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