Archive for March, 2010

Mindfulness Throughout the Day

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

In this Vblog from A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. shows you some quick tips on how to weave mindfulness throughout your daily life. Tune in…

Love, Sex, and the Male Brain: A Controversy

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

A recent opinion piece on CNN came out about a book by Dr. Louann Brizendine, clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSF, that caught my attention and so I had to read further (a sign of good marketing). The book is The Male Brain a follow up to her past book The Female Brain and it basically states that the classic stereotypical male attributes (e.g., automatically looking at women’s breasts, lacking empathy, oversexed) can now be explained from a neuroscientific perspective. In other words, neuroscience can now explain John Gray’s famous book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.

I thought, “Wow, this is astounding,” but something didn’t feel 100% kosher here. I dug deeper. In a New York Times book review, Emily Bazelon more or less says that Brizendine’s book is a highly lopsided account of the facts for the purpose of high power marketing. She says:

“Brizendine nods to the fact that the brains of men and women are mostly alike. But her emphasis is entirely on the “profound differences” between them. This is clearly the best-seller strategy, neatly bisected into two books.”

It’s important to keep in mind that the world of literature is still a business wanting to appeal to what is going to affect their bottom line for the good. Right now, the brain and neuroscience are very popular. I’ve certainly been writing more about them as I come to learn more. For example:

Neuroplasticity, Gratitude, and Your Mental Health: Food for Thought

Neuroplasticity: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Neuroscience of Happiness: An Interview with Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

The Power of Mindsight: An Interview with Dr. Daniel Siegel

It’s exciting to know more about this awe-inspiring mysterious organ that may hold the seat to our consciousness as human beings.

It’s also exciting to come to understand that we are active participants in our health and well-being and actually have the ability to change the neural connections in our brains through intentionally paying attention to what is healthy in life.

However, we have to be careful as more and more information comes out to really vet the intentions of the source.  

Bazelon says:

“Many scientists are cautious to a fault when it comes to telling us what they’re unsure of, playing down any novel finding that hasn’t been verified by another scientist. Not so Louann Brizendine.”

I did a bit more research with some neuroscientists in the field and found that when I read her book, I’ll need to truly take her claims with a grain of salt as, while it’s very interesting, there is little research behind this and when there is any it is highly overstated and overemphasized. What we might begin to become aware of is that hearing or reading someone who has a “Dr.” prefix before their name can make their claims seem very convincing.

The bottom line is that it’s good to question books, television and Blogs out there, not believing everything. We might want to ask, what is the intention behind putting out this information? Is it to improve our understanding and help people, is it to satisfy certain corporate entities or is it to make money? The answer may not be so black and white, but it’s important to keep these questiosn in mind.

What are your thoughts on this? Please share what pops up in your mind, any questions or stories. Your interaction here provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

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

On Perseverance: Monday’s Mindful Quote

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Here we are again with Monday’s Mindful Quote. I was just reading through Therese Borchard’s book Beyond Bluewhen I came across quote that struck me and I thought may do the same for you. Here are a couple quotes on perseverance.

From a Buddhist Saying:

“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.”

And

From Anonymous:

“The great oak was once a little nut who held its own ground.”

Life throws us struggles, sometimes more, sometimes less. Some people are born into this world with a genetic prevalence for anxiety, depression, bipolar, among others, while others grow into these states of mind and body through the course of traumatic nurture.

However, one thing that is a true-ism is that most of us do not have much patience for perseverance in the face of not feeling well and perceived setbacks. Our negative self-talk is so convincing and believable we truly believe “things will never get better” or “I’m a failure” or the classic, “what’s the point.”

It’s almost as if at those times we need to access something outside of ourselves, someone who is on steady ground to hold our hands and say, “here, this is the way, just take my hand I’ll lead you there, step by step.”

One practice that is helpful in accessing this wise part of yourself who can point the way or be a guide is to ask yourself if there is a person or sentient being out there, living or dead, who you look up to. Some people say, God, others say, Buddha, while others say Mother Theresa, their parents, Jesus, a good friend, etc…

Then ask yourself, what would they say to do? Often whatever that answer is points the way to some action that can lead you “facing in the right direction” and how “all we have to do is keep on walking.”

When things are difficult for you, what is the right direction for you? Who do you look up to as a guide?

Please share your thoughts about this as your entry below will likely help many others who are struggling with the very issue of perseverance in working with their struggles. In other words, your additions create a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

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

Learn to Cultivate Joy Right Now!

Friday, March 26th, 2010

I’ll be interviewing James Baraz in the not-too-distant future, but I thought the topic that he writes about his latest book Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness is pertinent enough to let you know about it now rather than later so you don’t have to wait to know about it. I have people that come into my practice all the time that lament about losing their sense of “joy” in life. So how do we cultivate more joy in our lives?

The practice is one that takes some audacity and intention. Why audacity? Because we live in a culture that seems to focus on distress so often and feel there is an unworthiness for experiencing joy. If you’re not feeling particularly well, you may have had the experience of feeling aversion to those who were expressing joy at the time. A voice might have crept up, “If only he was feeling a little lower, then I’d be happy.” This is nothing to be ashamed of, it happens quite automatically because it reminds us that we aren’t experiencing the joy we’d like.

In order to actively cultivate joy, we need to first practice being present. In a past interview with Rick Hanson, author of Buddha’s Brain he told us about ways to “incline the mind toward the good.” I developed a national research program about cultivating sacred moments in daily life for stress reduction and well-being. All of these are based on being present first. Why?

Psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl says it best:

“Between Stimulus and response, there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

We need to be able to recognize that space so we can choose to get out of our habitual cycles of potential negative rumination and realize we have a choice and that choice may be to practice ways to awaken joy in our lives or incline our minds toward the good. This is not to ignore the difficulties in our lives, but just to help correct the automatic negativity bias that’s neurologically built in as a survival mechanism.

But, we want to do more than survive, we want to live well.

I’ve now heard this practice from a few people including Tara Brach and now Carolyn Hobbs, author of Joy, No Matter What. This is something Carolyn said in James Baraz’s book, Awakening Joy:

“We often think if only life were a little different—better, easier, more comfortable, more in my favor—then I could feel joy. We hold our joy out there like a carrot on a stick, saying, ‘When I get through this conflict with my boss or my mother, then maybe I’ll have a moment of joy, or when I get past my depression, my despair, my loneliness…’ But the potential for joy is always present, and the key to accessing it is saying ‘Yes’ to whatever is true in this moment, whether or not we like what’s going on or expect it.

“This of something in your life that you’re not too happy about—perhaps a conflict, a health issue, something you wish hadn’t appeared at all. Without any judgment, notice your first reaction. Then try saying ‘Yes’ to this situation. Notice what happens inside you as you do this. What you’re experiencing may not be what you wanted or expected, but saying yes can empower you and give you the courage to handle whatever rests on your plate.”

What gives you joy or holds you back from joy? 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

10 Ways to Bring Meaning into Your Life

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

My life can often appear to be hectic. At times it feels like I overload myself with more things than I could possibly ever accomplish. As I’m going to sleep, my mind wanders with all the things I need to get done, and when I’m awake during the day I catch my mind thinking about all the things that need to get done. Take a shower, make coffee, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, write, go see clients, etc. … When I’m not mindful, at the end of the day I can truly ask myself, “Where did the day go?” Enough of these, and I can ask myself the same questions in weeks, months, or even years! Can you relate to this?

So when I feel like these questions are coming up, I do some brief exercises that help bring me to the present moment and remind myself that I’m living.

1. For 5 minutes: Whatever you are doing, just do it slightly slower. At work, we are all given tasks to do. One time per day, for 5 minutes, do that task a little bit slower. Do not do the task in slow motion, or take breaks from the task, simply do it a little bit slower.

2. Take 5 minutes at lunch to notice what you’re eating. You can actually do this at an meal, or any time you eat. You are going to notice what your food looks like, how it smells, feels, and tastes. As you pick up your food, notice the texture of it, is it bumpy, smooth, wet? Notice what you smell. As you take it in your mouth notice how it feels in your mouth, notice the tastes that are coming out of it, how your teeth break it down. As you swallow it, notice it going down your throat. Do the same with the drink.

3. Take 3 minutes to just sit and notice your breath. Sit in a place of your choice, could be behind your desk, or anywhere. Close your eyes. For 3 minutes, simply pay attention to your breath. For these 3 minutes, your breath gets your undivided attention. If you notice yourself thinking about something, even the thought “Why am I doing this stupid exercise?”, just notice that you’re thinking that and then gently bring your attention back to your breath.

4. Wash the dishes. If you’re not used to doing dishes, there will be many benefits to this one. As you begin to wash the dishes, notice the texture of the plate and the warmth of the water on your hands. Inhale and notice if there is any scent. Listen to hear the rush of the water or any other sounds that are happening around you. Not only will you be able to practice being in the moment, but many of your family and friends will be thrilled with you.

5. Take a bath or shower. Preferably a bath if you have one, but even with a shower, you can take your moment in the shower or bath to feel the warmth of the water or feel how your body is immersed in the water. How does your skin feel? Do you notice any smells? Is your hair wet? Just be in the moment and notice all your senses … breathe.

6. Make love slightly slower for a few moments. As you are making love to your significant other, take a moment to purposely move slightly slower. As you do this begin to mentally feel over all parts of your body. How your skin feels when touching his/hers, how are you breathing? Are you sweating? Is there a scent in the air? Take a moment and really be there making love.

7. Smell a flower for an extra breath. This one I love. Often times I will be passing by a flower and if I remember to smell it, I take an extra inhalation to really get the full experience of the scent. You will be surprised how much that extra inhalation makes a difference in the experience.

8. Be silly. I’m serious;). Being silly allows your creative juices to flow and your creative juices is what life is all about. Letting yourself be silly can also be very relaxing and create joyful situations that are full of meaning.

9. Write a letter to someone close to you … telling them how much you appreciate them. This is not a new idea by any stretch, yet it is always worth mentioning since it is so meaningful. A letter that that person will always cherish.

10. Remind yourself that you are a miracle. This may be the most important. How they heck did any of us get here? When we break it down to nanotechnology and quantum physics, scientists are stumped to figure out the great mystery of us physically being here and interacting and creating symbols and concepts and communicating.

It’s boggling. That’s why our moments on this earth are so precious, and it is a wonderful gift to attempt to cultivate those moments in life that you consider to be sacred.

You get the idea … try it out.

What works for you in bringing meaning to your life? 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

The RAIN Practice: Monday’s Mindful Quote with Rumi

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Here we are again with Monday’s Mindful Quote. In a famous poem, 13th century Sufi poet Rumi lays down a radical notion about welcoming pain in life, rather than avoiding it to experience emotional freedom. As you read the following poem, remember, the words speak as a guidepost, reminding us which way to go. After the poem, I will introduce you to a practice from A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook that you can begin taking into your daily life to work with difficulties (but read the poem first).

This being human is a guest-house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

Who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture.

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you

out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

–Rumi, “The Guest House”
Translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne

Here is a practice excerpted from A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook to get started with.

The RAIN Practice

A little later in this chapter, we’ll guide you through a meditation for self-inquiry into stress and anxiety. In the meantime, you can use the acronym RAIN as an informal practice for working with mindful self-inquiry:

R = Recognize when a strong emotion is present.

A = Allow or acknowledge that it’s there.

I = Investigate the body, emotions, and thoughts.

N = Non-identify with whatever is there.

RAIN is an insightful self-inquiry practice that you can bring into your daily life to help you dis­cover deeper threads of what triggers strong emotional reactions. Throughout the next week, bring rec­ognition to any strong emotion and allow it to be present. Investigate what you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally and see where it takes you. The last element, non-identification, is very useful because it helps to deflate the mind’s stories and cultivates the understanding that strong emotions are just another passing mind state and not a definition of who you are. It’s like going to a movie, where you sit back and watch the actors play out the drama. By seeing your story as impermanent and not identifying with it, you’ll begin to loosen the grip of your own mind traps. This will help create the space for you to be with things as they are and deepen your understanding of what drives, underlies, or fuels your fears, anger, and sadness. It also grants you the freedom to look at the situation differently and choose a response other than what may be dictated by your story.

Go ahead and try this out. You can even try it when you’re feeling fine to awaken to the pleasantness of a particular moment.

As always, 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

Raisin Meditation

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Bob Stahl leads an mindful raisin eating meditation. Please get yourself a raisin and join him. We often use this practice as a way to help demystify meditation. When we speak of mindfulness meditation we are talking about an “in the body experience”. Learn how you can bring mindfulness to eating and transfer this practice to everything you do in daily life.

The RAIN Practice: Mondays Mindful Quote with Rumi

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Here we are again with Monday’s Mindful Quote. In a famous poem, 13th century Sufi poet, Rumi, lays down a radical notion about welcoming pain in life, rather than avoiding it to experience emotional freedom. As you read the following poem, remember, the words speak as a guidepost, reminding us which way to go. After the poem, I will introduce you to a practice from A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook that you can begin taking into your daily life to work with difficulties (but read the poem first).

This being human is a guest-house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

Who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture.

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you

out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

Rumi, “The Guest House”
Translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne

Here is a practice excerpted from A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook to get started with.

The RAIN Practice

“A little later in this chapter, we’ll guide you through a meditation for self-inquiry into stress and anxiety. In the meantime, you can use the acronym RAIN as an informal practice for working with mindful self-inquiry:

R = Recognize when a strong emotion is present.

A = Allow or acknowledge that it’s there.

I = Investigate the body, emotions, and thoughts.

N = Non-identify with whatever is there.

RAIN is an insightful self-inquiry practice that you can bring into your daily life to help you dis­cover deeper threads of what triggers strong emotional reactions. Throughout the next week, bring rec­ognition to any strong emotion and allow it to be present. Investigate what you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally and see where it takes you. The last element, non-identification, is very useful because it helps to deflate the mind’s stories and cultivates the understanding that strong emotions are just another passing mind state and not a definition of who you are. It’s like going to a movie, where you sit back and watch the actors play out the drama. By seeing your story as impermanent and not identifying with it, you’ll begin to loosen the grip of your own mind traps. This will help create the space for you to be with things as they are and deepen your understanding of what drives, underlies, or fuels your fears, anger, and sadness. It also grants you the freedom to look at the situation differently and choose a response other than what may be dictated by your story.”

Go ahead and try this out. You can even try it when you’re feeling fine to awaken to the pleasantness of a particular moment.

As always, 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

The Neuroscience of Happiness: An Interview with Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

Friday, March 19th, 2010

I am delighted to bring to you neuropsychologist, meditation teacher and author of the hit new book Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom, Rick Hanson, Ph.D. Rick is co-founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, which also publishes the monthly Wise Brain Bulletin and hosts the WiseBrain.org website. He is also author of the Meditations for Happiness audio download and co-author of the Meditations to Change Your Brain CD set.

Today Rick talks to us about how we can use our minds to change our brains, to help our minds in everyday life.

Elisha: You quote a popular phrase that came from Canadian psychologist Donald Hebb, saying that “neurons that fire together, wire together.” Can you let us in on the significance of this quote?

Rick: Hebb and others were trying to understand how we learn things, from remembering what we had for breakfast to the emotional learning that is the residue of happiness – at one end of the spectrum – and trauma, at the other end. In other words, how does mental activity change neural structure? A pretty important question! Hebb developed the theory, since borne out in its essence by subsequent research, that it is the simultaneity of firing (within a few thousandths of a second) of neurons that are connected with each other that leads to strengthening existing synapses – which are the junctions between neurons – and to building new ones.

For example, if you routinely dwell on your resentments and regrets, the neurons involved in that particular mental activity will fire busily together, and automatically start wiring together as well. Which will add one more bit of neural structure to feeling discontented, mistreated, angry, or sorrowful. On the other hand, if you regularly focus on the good facts around you and inside you – like your own good qualities, such as patience, determination, or kindness – then the neurons involved will wire together, stitching more resilience, hopefulness, confidence, and happiness into the fabric of your brain and your self.

Any single time you do either of these will usually not make much difference, but the gradually accumulating wiring of one or the other will definitely add up over time. As they say in Tibet, if you take care of the minutes, the years will take care of themselves.

In the traditional phrase, the mind takes the shape of what it rests upon. Modern neuropsychology is starting to shed light on how, exactly, this happens – how the fleeting flow of thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams, sorrow and suffering, gradually, inexorably sculpt the brain. This is neuroplasticity, most of which involves the slow sifting of the residues of lived experience into the brain and therefore the mind.

The takeaway point is to be both careful with the mental activities one indulges in past the point of usefulness, and hopeful about how – with the insights of modern brain science informed by the hard-won lessons of the contemplative traditions – you truly can use your mind to change your mind for the better … with ripples fanning out to benefit everyone else whose life you touch.

Elisha: In your book you mention how our brains emphasize negative experiences. Why is this and what can we do about it to create greater balance?

Rick: As human beings, our home base – what we usually default to when we are not in pain, hungry, upset, or chemically disturbed – is what I call the Five C’s: conscious, calm, contented, caring, and creative. But as we evolved, we also developed the capacity to be driven from home by the crack of a twig or a voice raised in anger. That’s because it is usually more important for survival to avoid “sticks” – threats such as predators or aggression from others of our own species – than it is to gain “carrots” such as food, shelter, or mating.

The result is what scientists call a “negativity bias” in the brain. It’s like Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive ones. This is a great strategy for passing on gene copies – which is the engine of biological evolution – but a lousy one for quality of life. The brain is tilted toward survival, but tilted against happiness.

Therefore, just to level the playing field, we need to tilt toward ourselves – getting on our own side, not against others, but for ourselves – and toward good facts and good experiences. And we need to help ourselves see the world clearly – not ignoring the actual threats that are out there, but waking up from the paranoid trance that thinks it’s always Threat Level Orange.

Elisha: You have a chapter in your book called “Taking in the Good”; tell us a bit about what this is and why it is important to our lives.

Rick: To reverse the negativity bias, and to help your brain become Velcro for positive experiences, and Teflon for negative ones, try these three simple steps of taking in the good:

  1. Look for good facts about the world and yourself, and register them as good experiences (move from the conceptual to the experiential).
  2. Savor the good experience for 10-20-30 seconds in a row:
    • Sense that it is filling your body.
    • As you can, intensify it; really enjoy it!
    • Make it last
  3.  Sense and intend that this positive experience is sinking into you, becoming a part of you, a resource you can take wherever you go.

Try to do this several times a day. Most of the good experiences you will take in will be fairly mild, and that’s to be expected. But as you do this, you will gradually change your own brain for greater inner strength, happiness, love, and wisdom.

Elisha: If you were sitting across the table from someone who was caught in what seemed like perpetual distress, how might you interact with them and what advice could you give them?

Rick: I’d start with compassion, and with opening to and trying to understand whatever was going on with the person. “First of all, do no harm.”

Then I might explore whether the person had compassion for herself (for simplicity, let’s say the person is female), whether her own suffering mattered to her, and whether she was on her own side with regard to doing something about it. While this may seem obvious, it is actually a missing link for many people. I’d also wonder who loved her, who cared about her, and try to encourage more of that in her life, and more sense of that caring from others inside her own awareness.

Assuming she is willing to take sensible actions – inside her head and outside, in the world – to help things get better, I’d want to explore:

  • What could be done in the world (including her relationships) to improve things. (I think that dealing with a person’s environment is very important, and often left out in personal growth and spiritual practice.)
  • What could be done inside her body to make things better. (When someone is distressed, that wears on health, plus distress, anxiety, anger, depressed mood, etc., is often worsened by physical health problems.)
  • What skills and practices would help things inside her mind. The details of this would depend on the sources of her distress. To simplify a lot of things, there are three fundamental phases of psychological healing and growth: Let be; let go; let in. In other words (1) open up to the experience as it is (mindfulness training helps a ton here); when it’s right, shift to the second phase, (2) releasing the painful, negative experiences through various methods (e.g. relaxing the body, venting, challenging erroneous negative thoughts, and (3) replacing what’s been released with positive alternative experiences (such as replacing feelings of rejection in relationships with factually based experiences of being loved).

Then more than anything, I’d encourage her to keep going!  There is always something a person can do – in the world, in his or her body, or in his or her mind – to help things get better.

Thank you so much, Rick, for your words of wisdom!

As always, 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

Two Questions You Must Answer to Live the Life You Want

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Here’s a question to consider (and this isn’t one of the two): When the mind pops up with the statement “I am such a failure,” what is the underlying value that it is in cahoots with?

We all have values in life, some we’re aware of and some we’re not. Values are the road signs that guide us in the direction we want our life to go. Maybe we value good physical or mental health or perhaps being a good friend or politically active member of society. But values aren’t always pointing us in healthy directions and sometimes we’re not even aware of what our values are.

Perhaps we value never failing or never being vulnerable. Or maybe it is a hidden value that we must always be right. Where do these values get us?

I promise you that you care about where you are going in life. The simple fact that you are reading this post right now tells me that you care about your health and well-being.

I often say the tag line at the end of any mindfulness-based offering that become more aware and present to your life can help you “live the life you want to live.” That’s what is often so painful to most of us is that we’re don’t feel like we’re truly living our lives the way we want to.

When we are clear about the values that we want to guide our way in this life and we become intentional about taking action alongside these values, our lives become infused with meaning, which is a major anti-depressant. Our self-esteem rises, our stress reduces and we generally feel happier and more at peace.

So, here are 2 questions for you today:

  1. What do you want your life to be about, really?See if you can take a moment, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and sit with this question for a minute or so.

    Now, without judgment, see if you can consider where in your life you are creating actions that parallel those values? Are there values that aren’t getting any action? If so, what can you do, even something little, to bring some action to that value?

  2. What hidden (or not so hidden) values that are guiding you in a direction that is detrimental to your health and well-being (I’m assuming this value for youJ)?  Are there values of being perfect, never failing, or always needing to be right or the best? Is that really what you want as your guideposts? Simple yes or no answer here is fine. So, assuming that you don’t want these as your guideposts, this is where we can bring a mindful, non-judgmental awareness to work with our sabotaging values. When you notice it coming up as a thought in the mind or even an action, become aware of it, remind yourself of what value this is, and gently redirect to something that is more important in the moment. Because these negative values may have been practiced over many months or years (more likely), it may be necessary to practice this mindful redirection several billion times.  So, no need to be harsh on yourself when you fall back into them.

So, if you’ve just read this and haven’t actually answered the questions above, take a moment to go back and do this, it is an enormously important practice to wipe off the dust or shine the important guideposts in your life.

As always, please share your values, thoughts, and questions below. Your interaction here provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

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