Archive for December, 2009

Turning Stress into Calm: 3 Ways Mindfulness Can Help You Through the Holidays

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Whether you are preparing to celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus the holidays can bring stress and there are a few things we can do to not only manage the stress, but to really bring meaning back to the holidays.

Build in Stress Stoppers

Author and blog writer of the column Beyond Blue, Therese Borchard, cites Vitality magazines “7 Ways to Let Stress Out”:

1. Get regular exercise.

2. Be mindful of the present.

3. Take a deep breath.

4. Pray.

5. Live a healthy lifestyle.

6. Practice hatha yoga.

7. Go to your happy place.

Pay Attention to Your Intention

One of the key ways to bring mindfulness back to the holidays is to pay attention to our intention. One question I repeatedly ask the people I work with is “Picture preparing for the holidays, how would you like to be during this process?” In other words, if you know it’s going to busy and hectic, how do you want to relate to this? Or, if you know there are not many people around and there are feelings of loneliness looming, how do you want to relate to the loneliness and what action might you take to support you during this time? Make sure not to fall into the trap of changing this to “how would you like other people to be?” We cannot change other people, but we can choose to be intentional with our own actions.

We might also have many automatic negative thoughts (ANTS) during the holidays (e.g., this is going to be a disaster, it’s hopeless, I’m a loser), and maybe one intention might be to not entertain those thoughts this holiday.

Then there’s the piece about the holiday being here. So we can ask ourselves, “How would you like to be during the holiday?” Do the holidays have religious or spiritual significance to you? If so, how might you remind yourself of that so you can really experience it throughout the holiday?  If you know there are going to be difficult family dynamics that will bring up stress or difficult emotions, you might want to think about what are some ways you can take care of yourself. Maybe building in some mindfulness practices o help come down from the anxious mind and come back to your intention.

Be in Community

One thing we know is that having a sense of community can really help stave off feelings of loneliness and bring feelings of well-being. If you don’t have a community to be with during the holidays, in what way can you build in community-related activities? Are there groups of people who get together that you can join? There’s no pressure here to have to interact, but just being around people is the idea.

Taking time to be intentional about preparing for and experiencing the holidays is a great way to support you in having a much better experience.

Note: Even though you may have an intention and write it down, doesn’t mean you’ll remember it, especially during difficult moments. So, build in some ways to become present and remind yourself of your intention. You may want to put a post-it in your car or a reminder in your phone, or tell other people you trust of your intention so they can help be reminders for you.

Most importantly, be gentle and kind to yourself during this process.

What helps you during the holidays? Please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on Psychcentral.com

An Introduction to MBSR Meditation – Part 3 of 3

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

In this three-part video, Bob Stahl answers some basic questions about Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Meditation and offers a short mindfulness meditation.

An Introduction to MBSR Meditation – Part 2 of 3

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

In this three-part video, Bob Stahl answers some basic questions about Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Meditation and offers a short mindfulness meditation.

An Introduction to MBSR Meditation – Part 1 of 3

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

In this three-part video, Bob Stahl answers some basic questions about Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Meditation and offers a short mindfulness meditation.

STOP: A Short Mindfulness Practice

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

This is a practice out of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and co-authored by Bob Stahl Ph.D. and Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. (New Harbinger, 2010). This short mindfulness practice is meant to be sprinkled throughout the day to support you in becoming more present, reducing stress, and being more effective in every day life.

Welcome to the MBSR Workbook Website

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Welcome to the MBSR Workbook Website

A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has changed the way thousands of people live their lives and has empowered them to take an active role in the management of their health and wellness.

In A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, you will learn how to change your relationship to stress, pain, and illness and move in the direction of greater calm, balance, and peace.

As you make your way through the MBSR Workbook, it is our intention that this website will serve you as a place for people to connect with us and share your experiences, struggles, and discoveries with other MBSR Workbook participants.

To get started, take a moment right now to join our interactive community on Facebook and sign up for the RSS feed of our blogs and vblogs (video blogs) below.  Please note that you can read past blog entries by searching the archives to the right or by clicking on “older entries” at the bottom of the page.

Please allow this workbook and website to be a place to learn how you can start taking an active role in your own health and wellness and begin to experience more moments of peace and sanity even in the midst of an hectic fast-paced modern life.

Pre-order on Amazon
In peace,

– Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein