Archive for June, 2012

One of the Most Important Mindful Challenges of Our Time

Friday, June 29th, 2012

This is a time for you to make a very important choice in your life. This is a choice that won’t only affect you, but will affect your children, your friends and the world we live in.

Make no mistake, I’m a big technology advocate, but we’re living in an age where our brains are becoming addicted to screens. Phones and tablets at the moment are the biggest culprits. Let me explain what you may not know about how these affect your brain and why you’re going to want to start taking control back.

To get more specific, dopamine is one of the main chemicals regulating the pleasure center of the brain. At the most basic level, it regulates motivation — it sends signals to receptors in the brain saying, “This feels good!”

Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says that images of substances affect the rise of dopamine in our brains. So if we pass a McDonald’s and see the arches, our brain associates that with a tasty hamburger (for some) and shoots up dopamine. That good feeling will unconsciously drive the motivation to go in and get a Big Mac. It’s a conditioned response.

There is little doubt in my mind that the same thing is happening with our relationship to screens (i.e., phones, tablets, computers).

Whenever you hear the familiar message sound or blinking light that likely releases dopamine and drives an unconscious behavior toward the phone. That is why you have difficulty stopping texting and driving or you may find yourself developing an obsessive compulsive type of habit toward checking your phone, email, Facebook, twitter or whatever for new messages.

Today you have a choice to recognize what is happening individually, to our families and to our culture and not pass on this unhealthy brain restructuring habit to the coming generations.

The Experiment:

Join me in a critically important mindful experiment today.

Create a 1 hour technology (i.e., phone, tablet, computer) free zone as a simple way to how addicted your brain is to it. Notice how many times thoughts come up around checking it, see if there are any impulses or movements toward checking it.

Put any judgments aside of whether this is a good idea or bad idea and give it a shot. If you want a greater challenge, increase the amount of time.

Again, screens are not bad; they provide an enormous amount of value individually and in our culture. In fact, I encourage you to tweet your experiences @Mindful_Living or go to The Now Effect Community and let others know what you noticed. We can skillfully use these mediums for many different agendas including raising awareness.

It’s not the technology, but how we relate to it that makes the difference.

This is a choice you can make right now that could free up your time, reduce stress, build self-reliance and reconnect you to what truly matters in the moments of your life.

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

Woman holding a tablet photo available from Shutterstock.

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

A Mindful Look at Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris”

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Recently I finished a movie whose theme and moral I found right on the money. Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” is a movie about the romantic idealization of times past and in its own way speaks to our brain’s default to escape perceived discomfort of the present moment. Here’s a quote from the movie that sums it up:

“Nostalgia is denial — denial of the painful present,” says a philosopher (Michael Sheen). “The name for this denial is Golden Age thinking: the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one [that] one’s living in. It’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.”

The movie isn’t talking about personal nostalgia, the mind drifting back to an earlier time in one’s life remembering the “good old days.” This can actually be a good thing, creating mind states of joy, love, gratitude and humor. It’s pointing to historical nostalgia, remembering a past era as “better” than the present era, wishing to be there rather than here.

The truth is the present can be painful and the more we entertain wanting to be somewhere else but here, the stronger the tracks get laid in the brain making it a deeply seeded belief. Then we insist to others how the “Golden 20’s” were the best time to live, or maybe it was the 60’s with free love and activism, or maybe the 80’s – people really loved those leg warmers you know.

When the mind is so fixed on wishing it were somewhere else, its capacity to pay attention to the wonder of what’s actually here shrinks. That’s simple math.

If you or someone you know has the habit of wishing to be somewhere else but here, here’s a short practice to help prime their mind for the good of here, giving them a better chance to be happy.

Actively make a list of all “the good” that’s happening in life in this time. Including your life, the life of your friends and family and even the good that’s happening in the world

Look online for “the good” that people are doing.

Make it a daily practice to do good in your life. This may be giving more smiles to people, helping a friend in need, donating money if you have some, giving time to an organization that can use your strengths.

Try these three simple steps out as an experiment and see how you feel. It could turn a life around – and not just yours.

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

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

A Mindful Look at Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Recently I finished a movie whose theme and moral I found right on the money. Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” is a movie about the romantic idealization of times past and in its own way speaks to our brain’s default to escape perceived discomfort of the present moment. Here’s a quote from the movie that sums it up:

“Nostalgia is denial — denial of the painful present,” says a philosopher (Michael Sheen). “The name for this denial is Golden Age thinking: the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one [that] one’s living in. It’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.”

The movie isn’t talking about personal nostalgia, the minds drifting back to an earlier time in one’s life remembering the “good old days.” This can actually be a good thing, creating mind states of joy, love, gratitude and humor. It’s pointing to historical nostalgia, remembering a past era as “better” than the present era, wishing to be there rather than here.

The truth is the present can be painful and the more we entertain wanting to be somewhere else but here, the stronger the tracks get laid in the brain making it a deeply seeded belief. Then we insist to others how the “Golden 20’s” were the best time to live, or maybe it was the 60’s with free love and activism, or maybe the 80’s, people really loved those leg warmers you know.

When the mind is so fixed on wishing it were somewhere else, its capacity to pay attention to the wonder of what’s actually here shrinks. That’s simple math.

If you or someone you know has the habit of wishing to be somewhere else but here, here’s a short practice to help prime their mind for the good of here, giving them a better chance to be happy.

Actively make a list of all “the good” that’s happening in life in this time. Including your life, the life of your friends and family and even the good that’s happening in the world

Look online for “the good” that people are doing.

Make it a daily practice to do good in your life. This may be giving more smiles to people, helping a friend in need, donating money if you have some, giving time to an organization that can use your strengths.

Try these three simple steps out as an experiment and see how you feel. It could turn a life around and not just yours.

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

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

How to Outwit Your Diet Derailing Excuses: An Interview with Susan Albers, Psy.D.

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Eating is something that is a part of all of our lives, and for some of us, it’s a source of please and pain. Try as we might to avoid it, we get caught in unhealthy styles of eating in attempts to soothe discomfort. Unfortunately, this is followed by self-judgment, which takes all the joy out of eating.

This is why I am thrilled to bring to you a true expert on the topic, Susan Albers,  Psy.D., who has authored the latest book “But I Deserve This Chocolate!: The Fifty Most Common Diet-Derailing Excuses and How to Outwit Them,” along with “50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food,” and the classic, now in its second edition, “Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating and Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food.”

Today, Susan will talk to us about why we sabotage healthy eating, the mind traps involved and give us some tips to get started on a healthier mindful eating.

Elisha: What’s behind our subtle drive to sabotage healthy eating?

Susan: Many people wake up in the morning and say, “Today is the day that I am going to eat healthier,” and then by noon, their mind talks them right out of it with thoughts like “I’ll start tomorrow,” or “I’m too stressed out.”  We often want nothing more than to eat healthier.  But why don’t we do it?

My clients often scratch their heads trying to understand this dilemma.  Unfortunately, many chalk up overeating to “laziness” or lack of knowledge about food. Instead, I think self-sabotage actually comes from fear, stress and habit.  When you’ve tried fad dieting, you can easily become afraid that nothing will change or that you will fail.  When stressed and overwhelmed, we automatically slide right back into old behaviors.

If you notice that you talk yourself out of eating healthier, do a mini self-assessment.  Ask yourself if there is anything you might be afraid of if you should start today?  Are you fearful of disappointing yourself?  Worried that you can’t eat healthier for the long term?  Pinpoint which emotional obstacles you need to tackle to really get started.

Elisha: Are there any specific common mind traps or excuses that we should look out for?

Susan: Although I list 50 mind traps, there are many, many more.  In fact, I include a space in the book for you to write down your own mind traps and excuses.  I developed this list of 50 from simply listening closely to my clients.  I noticed that they kept saying the same things over and over again—things like “I don’t have time,” or “I’ll start after things calm down in my life.”

These often aren’t “excuses” because they are often very true.  You may not have a lot of extra spare time.  Instead, these thoughts are like emotional roadblocks.  Also, be cautious of self judgment.  Being critical of yourself can crush your motivation and stop your action in your tracks.  If a judgment pops into your mind, just notice it.  Try not to get caught in your emotional reaction to your reaction (being frustrated about being frustrated).  This creates a mental tug of war which distracts you from putting all of your energy into making healthy, mindful choices.

Start by keeping a record of the thoughts, excuses, rationales that your mind frequently enlists to hinder your efforts to eat more mindfully.  You will likely notice a pattern.  The book, “But I Deserve This Chocolate,” gives you ways to counter these thoughts to help you to continue to move forward.

Elisha: If someone was sitting across the table from you and asking for some specific practices that can support them in meeting their health goals, what would you say?

Susan: Here are three tips:

  1. You don’t have to make grand changes.  Just start with being more aware–noticing each bite (more on this in Eating Mindfully, 2nd Edition). Pay more attention.  Turn off distractions while you eat.  Psychological research indicates that we do better when we know someone is watching like a boss, coworker–or even yourself.  Focus on changing how you eat before you alter what you eat.
  2. Focus on the processes, not the outcome.  Instead of setting a goal to lose 5lbs (the outcome), keep your mind aimed at the process of mindful eating—things you can do to bring you closer to eating healthier.  Eat slower.  Put your fork down between bites. Etc. When you are eating mindfully, the weight takes care of itself.  You only have control over eating well in this THIS moment, not the outcome in the future.
  3. Manage stress, not weight. Doing a simple, short mindfulness meditation (like you find in The Now Effect and 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food) can help you cope better with cravings.  Mindfulness research indicates that being mindful can change the way you experience cravings, even on a neural level.  Practice taking a mindful breath or doing a yoga pose.  The good news is that mindfulness requires no formal training and is free.  Ultimately, learning mindful skills can pay off by making you happier, healthier and decrease your stress eating.

Thank you so much for your wisdom, Susan. It’s easy to talk ourselves out of getting started on a path to mindful eating. That’s why your tips are so critical to help us get moving and get past the thoughts that slow us down or keep us from getting back on track.

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

There is No Way to Happiness, Happiness is the Way

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Here’s is a quote from the blog post 10 Quotes for a Mindful Day by the influential author and mindfulness teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh:

“There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.”

It can sometimes seem like we are on a lifetime quest to achieve happiness. “Once I find my soul mate, then I’ll be happy” or “If I get that promotion, then I’ll be happy” or “Once I’m making this or that income, then I’ll be happy.” Woven within the mere thought itself is a sense of being “less than” you want to be and therefore makes you less happy than you were before that thought even arrived.

Some might argue that it’s not the conditions of our lives that make us happy (although some can certainly help at times), it’s the way we relate to ourselves and our lives that provide the happiness. It’s the way we walk through life.

In other words, we’re always practicing something. If we spend our time wrestling with negative, excessive worrying, or hopeless thoughts, we’re practicing unhappiness. If we spend our time noticing and acknowledging these unhelpful habits of the mind, without judgment, we can then choose to turn our attention to matters that walk in line with greater happiness and sense of peace.

In the realm of behavioral therapy, a therapist might say, “what would you be doing differently if you were happy?” Some people might answer, “I’d be smiling more” or “I’d be riding my bike” or “I’d be spending giving more to others.”

Then the response from the therapist would be, “now let’s put these into action.”

Sometimes we need to put our feet in front of our heads and then our thoughts and emotions will follow. We don’t have to climb Mount Everest, but if all you can do is take even one step in that direction, it can make a difference.

Try: What would you do if you were happy or what have you done when you’ve been happy? Write these things down and begin practicing them. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself and see what happens.

Please share your thoughts, stories, 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

5 Steps to Balance the Brain’s Negativity Bias

Friday, June 15th, 2012

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of balancing the mind toward more of the good in life. This isn’t meant to be a Pollyanna approach, just balancing the negativity bias that our brains inherently have.

Here is a short practice you can come back to again and again at work or at home as a way to prime your mind for good – experiencing more of The Now Effect in daily life.

The Practice:

  1. Think of a moment of receiving in the last day or week. You may have received something physical, or maybe a meal, the beauty of the sun, a smile, support from a coworker or the help from a stranger. It could be something that you may normally consider mundane.
  2. Revisit the memory like a movie in your mind, picturing where you are, who you are with and pausing the reel in the moment of receiving.
  3. As you’re recalling the memory, have awareness that you are receiving this, feeling into a sense of gratitude. Noticing how it feels in your body and allow it to get as big as it can get. As one client of mine said, “allow the glow to grow.”
  4. In your mind, picture who or what is giving you this gift and intentionally express thanks.
  5. Be on the lookout for moments of gratitude throughout today.

Theologian, philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart said “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

This practice will prime your mind for gratitude, which we know is connected to feeling well in life. The fact is, what we intentionally practice and repeat in life changes the architecture of our brains to make it more automatic.

What would the days, weeks and months ahead look like in your life if you practiced these 5 steps daily? Allow the answer that arises to light your path.

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

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

What Everyone Should Know About the Dangers of Meditation

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Here is a post I wrote a couple years ago that I wanted to revive as it’s increasingly important in the context of the fervor that is surrounding mindfulness as a wonderful antidote to stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, trauma chronic illness or as the seed of empathy, compassion, happiness and just a better life.

The following story shows us how even with the best intentions, it’s easy to fall into a trap of using meditation in a way that keeps us stuck in the perpetual cycles we’re wanting to heal.

In his recent article, Enlightenment Therapy, Chip Brown writes about a real life story that conveys the pitfalls of meditation, the importance of therapy and personal narrative and the potential benefits of a combined approach. The story is of Zen master, professor, poet, and essayist, Louis Nordstrom.

For the purposes of this blog I’m not going to get into the differences between the various different approaches to meditation (e.g., Zen, Vipassana, etc..), but explore Brown’s illustration of the importance in being aware of the subtle motives we may have to engage in meditation and how we might be using as a form of escaping our pain.

Many of us have experienced much wounding in our lives and some of us have even cultivated defensive coping styles as children to disengage or disassociate from these feelings in order to not be overwhelmed by them. Nordstrom experienced his own trauma and abandonment as a child and said:

“The Zen experience of forgetting the self was very natural to me,” he told me last fall. “I had already been engaged in forgetting and abandoning the self in my childhood, which was filled with the fear of how unreal things seemed.”

For Nordstrom, meditation felt like a natural fit as there was a familiarity and calmness that came from detaching from thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It was attractive. However, his own depression and challenges continually arose throughout his life. He decided to go back to therapy.

In therapy he came to understand a subtle, yet subversive motive he had to engage in meditation. In one way he was using meditation to cover up the pain he felt from the past, and by detaching from his thoughts, feelings, and emotions, so there was no self, he was saving himself from the possibility of his “self” ever getting abandoned again as he had by his mother in childhood.

In other words, by using meditation to abandon himself, he saved himself from feeling the overwhelming pain of being abandoned by another in relationship. In doing this, he remained walled off and alone even in his relationships, which can be an instigator for depression.

In returning to therapy he recognized something vital to his healing:

“One of the most important insights I got from therapy with Jeffrey [the therapist] is that subconsciously I want the depth of my suffering to be witnessed by someone.”

So many of us, deep down, just want to be seen and acknowledged. Therapy and authentic friendships (which can be hard to come by since so many of us are unaware of our emotional triggers), can be a great source of having our pain understood, validated and accepted.

Practicing mindfulness meditation is not about detaching and forgetting ourselves. It is about “being with” whatever is arising in the moment. We are attempting to pay attention to ourselves, on purpose, and when judgments arise (e.g., this is good/bad, right/wrong, fair/unfair), seeing if we can notice those, let them be and just bring ourselves back to the experience of connecting with ourselves, not disconnecting. 

Practicing mindfulness meditation in service of connection can be a wonderful source of healing.

From a mindfulness psychotherapeutic perspective, we are not trying disconnect from ourselves, but instead, become aware of all the history and experience that influences us today, remembering our life so we can cultivate insight into how it affects us intrapersonally and interpersonally in our relationships. We can learn to hold our past wounds in a nonjudgmental way, cultivating compassion and love for ourselves.

In the end, Louis Nordstrom was able to integrate the insights from therapy with his Zen practice. His journey of insight through his practice and therapy can be a great teacher to us all as we continue on our own paths through mindfulness and mental health.

As always, please take time to interact below. Your thoughts and comments provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Woman meditating photo available from Shutterstock.

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

Are We Addicted to Our Phones? A Mindful Check-In

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Every time I feel a buzz or a jingle from my smartphon,e a voice comes up inside of me: “oh, there is something for me that needs attention.”

If I were to look in my brain, I’m sure I’d see a surge of dopamine, the pleasure seeking chemical that drives us toward addictive substances. Now, I’m a promoter of technology, but the following story can show you exactly where it gets in the way and how we can turn it around and use it for good.

A while ago I was on a walk with my little boy and found myself checking my email and responding to a colleague. I let the colleague in on the fact that I was on a walk with my son. The colleague responded, “That is great, now get off the phone, AND BE PRESENT!”

She was right, I was on auto-pilot, caught in a habitual cycle of engaging with this little machine. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with sending people messages when we’re on the go, but for me, I noticed it was starting to take away from my experiences of being present with the world around me, and with my family.

This has actually become more dangerous as people are feeling compelled to engage with these machines while driving, not only at stoplights, but while actually driving. More and more states are banning the use of interacting with these phones while in the car, unless you are “hands-free.” How is this relevant to you?

If you do not have one of these little machines yet, at some point or another, it is highly likely that you will, so maybe this can preempt the addictive behavior from occurring. What can we do to break this cycle once we’re in it?

We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, we can actually use the machines to help us. I have begun to schedule little reminders that pos up with a link to a short video that’s embedded in The Now Effect that helps me take a minute to be present.

Yes, using the technology for good.

Here’s an example of a 2-minute check-in to help us widen that space between stimulus and response, allowing for more clarity and reconnecting us to what matters.

In doing this practice, we can become aware when we are on auto-pilot with our phones or anything else, ground to the present moment, and then choose how we want to proceed. We actually create opportunity to have more choice in our lives over what we really want to be doing.

Do we really need to send that text or email while driving, or can it wait? Would we rather be looking at the screen of the phone or staring into our baby’s eyes and listing to the birds sing? How does the incessant need to check the phone increase your levels of stress and anxiety or take you away from more stress reducing activities? Moderation can be so difficult, but this can support us.

Do you or someone you know have addictive behaviors with their mobile devices? What works for you? Share this in The Now Effect Community for others to benefit from.

Share your comments, stories, and questions in the space below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

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

Life is Routine: 9 Tips to Get Back in Touch with the Wonder

Monday, June 4th, 2012

I love to quote Abraham Joshua Heschel who said, “Life is routine, and routine is resistance to wonder.”

When we’re babies and kids, everything is like new and captures our attention, but over time we become habituated to life and lose out on the wonder if it all.

The Now Effect says, “The way you wake up in the morning, do your work, eat your food, interact with your digital devices and engage with friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances and strangers over time all become routine. Our brains ability to make things automatic enables us to function, but when life itself becomes routine, we miss out on the choices, possibilities and wonders all around us.”

How about the fact that we can see color and not just black and white? Or what about the multitude of different sounds, tastes and aromas that are out there? When we really take a moment to ponder and pay attention to all of these senses, it’s not only amazing, but quite a miracle.  Now, that may sound impressive, but how do we really get down to more practical matters?

Note: If any judgments arise (e.g., “paying attention to my senses – that’s a waste of time” or “this will never help me” or “this is too simple to matter”), just notice them as habits of the mind that have been with you for quite some time, let them be, and then come back to reading.

Here are 9 things you can do today to break out of your daily routine and get back in touch with the wonder of life:

  1. Waking up in the morning saying “breathing in, I calm my body, breathing out, every cell of my body is alive.” Do this a few times with each in and out breath
  2. When taking a shower, notice if your mind is already at work, bring it back to noticing the sensations of the water on your body or the smell of the soap. How amazing that we can smell at all.
  3. When eating your meals during the day, pay attention to the tastes for a moment and consider all the people (including yourself) who have worked hard to get that food to your table today. Consider the fact that it took rain, soil and sunshine to create this as well. All of this is within your food.
  4. Drive to work a bit slower today, use red lights as opportunities to just breathe. Be aware that this breath just happens autonomously without your awareness most of the day and is essential for living.
  5. While at work, try and see your co-workers as people with their own struggles and triumphs trying to do the best they can in this life.
  6. Throughout the day, if possible, send those who are struggling wishes of kindness. For example hold them in your mind and say, “May you be happy, May you be healthy, May you be free from fear, May you be safe.” If judgments arise around this, again, notice them as habits and know that wishing people well is an act that ultimately is a path toward healing yourself.
  7. Driving home, reflect back on your day, what went well, what would you wish you would have done differently. Breathe in and breathe out.
  8. Before stepping in the door, if you have family, take a moment to consider how you would like “to be” with your family this evening. Maybe you can set the intention for being present and kind, less reactive. Breathe in, breathe out.
  9. As you lay your bed on your pillow, look back on the day and ask yourself, “Where was wonder today?” If you are someone with a religious or spiritual inclination, you may ask “Where was God in my day today?”

Try these out and notice what comes up for you. Don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself and trust your experience.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interactions here provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

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

Why Wishing to Be Happier Can Be a Road to Unhappiness

Friday, June 1st, 2012

We are a culture driven by the motto more is better. If we turn on the television or glance over at the magazines at the checkout line in any grocery store, we see the sensational “bling” and the “more” we are looking for. Our minds automatically say, “If I just had a bigger house, a partner, more money, a snow cone, etc… then I’d be happy.”

Waltor Landor accurately said, “As soon as we wish to be happier, we are no longer happy.”

Landor’s quote echoes a millennia of teachings that say the same thing. As soon as we are reaching or grasping for something that is outside of this present moment, we get the sense that what we are or have is less than adequate in this moment. Our contentment drifts away and so does the potential for happiness right now.

For example, we could be feeling quite content in the moment and then see the car we’ve been wanting drive by with the thought, “Ahh, I’d feel better if I had that car.” Immediately, we are no longer content with the way things are. Our situation hasn’t changed at all, just a thought of “wanting or needing more” than we currently have has drifted into our minds, followed by feelings of discontent.

What to do: Be on the lookout for this “wanting.” As soon as you notice it, you are in a space of clarity where an opportunity for choosing a new response lies. This is The Now Effect, and we can train our minds to more readily drop into these spaces.

With an attitude of curiosity and non-judgment, we can notice when this is happening and recognize it as a habitual reaction our minds get caught up in. We can also notice the feeling that comes along with it (i.e, despair). This is the conditioned interaction between your thoughts, emotions and body.

You don’t have to buy into it – just become aware of it. When you’re aware of it, you can bring yourself back to the now and recognize that you likely have all you need and in fact, you are likely better off than most on this planet.

Then: Choose to list 5 things you are grateful for in your life in that moment. See what happens. You may not be aware enough to do this each time, but beginning to plant this seed can pave a path toward greater freedom and happiness.

Remember, author and renowned mindfulness teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh says, “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.”

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