Posts Tagged ‘meditation’
Here is a short mindfulness practice that you can come back to again and again whether you ar at work or home to practice mindfulness throughout the day. Once you get the hang of it, try it out wherever you are. Come visit us in the facebook mbsrworkbook community to connect with us and others.
This MBSR Workbook Vblog talks about how to work with sleepiness and wandering mind while meditating. It also speaks briefly on perception and how we see things from a limited view.
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…
These days, more than ever, it’s critical to be able to take moments during the day to check-in and see what the state of affairs is with us. In this video you’ll be introduced to The Mindful Check-In from “A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook.” Feel free to connect with others who are interacting around the workbook and how mindfulness is being used in everyday life to work with stress pain and illness.
At the beginning of every Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class we go around the circle introducing ourselves and saying what brought us here. In “A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook”, we ask a similar question, what brings you to this book? Listen to Bob Stahl speak about what brought him to mindfulness practice.
This video is a short introduction to the New Harbinger publication, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has changed the way thousands of people live their lives. In this 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. Find out more at mbsrworkbook.com
This is a short video welcoming you to MBSR Workbook. It includes a brief overview of what is mindfulness and a short guided meditation.
Today I bring to you a wonderful mindfulness teacher, Psychiatrist and author, Jeff Brantley, M.D.. Jeff is Founder and Director of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at Duke University’s Center for Integrative Medicine, and author of the popular book Calming Your Anxious Mind: How Mindfulness & Compassion Can Free You from Anxiety, Fear, & Panic, and co-author, with Wendy Millstine, of his recent hit series Five Good Minutes: 100 Morning Practices To Help You Stay Calm & Focused All Day Long, and Daily Meditations for Calming Your Anxious Mind
In this interview Dr. Brantley answers some important questions about seeing a rise in anxiety in our culture, practical skills to help us out, and his favorite ways to take 5 Good Minutes in his daily life.
Elisha: In my own practice I seem to be seeing more people coming in with heightened anxiety than ever before. Have you seen a rise in anxiety, and if so, why are people so anxious right now?
Jeff: Yes, I think most folks would agree that there are even more sources of anxiety in our lives now, than even when I wrote the first edition of Calming Your Anxious Mind in 2003.
Obviously, worries about the economy and jobs have worsened since then, and with that are the related issues of health care costs and availability to millions of Americans. Plus there is the on-going global issue with radical fundamentalism and the harsh facts that our country has deployed its military men and women multiple times to fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Then, there is the disturbing information about environmental changes and global warming perhaps unfolding more rapidly than previously expected.
And, against all of these serious matters, our country’s political and cultural atmosphere seems to have become even more polarized and calcified into vastly different ideological camps with one result being a degradation of civility and tolerance in public discourse and in many individual relationships. Such intolerance and mistrust surely works against enacting any positive plan of response on a national and international level, and it likely also contributes to some increased despair in the general public about the ability of our government, and ourselves, to deal with these massive problems.
So, if fear is a natural response to a perceived threat, and “anxiety” is a state of feeling fear when there is actually no immediate threat, or a feeling of fear in excess to the danger of the threat, then I think all of these factors contribute to folks feeling more anxiety-excess fear in daily life-about these things.
In short, they may be feeling fear about ideas that have not happened, or that have happened but have not impacted their lives directly, or that they have little capacity to actually affect, except to worry about them.
Also, I think that our media and sensationalist news driven culture has contributed to the general anxiety by so often showing (often in grim or gruesome detail) very disturbing images and stories, and (to my way of thinking anyway) rarely leaving the viewer with anything positive, or any real resolution or action they can take in the situation.
Then, there is the whole range of everyday issues that folks have to deal with, just living and raising families. They haven’t gone anywhere, but now exist against this larger background of national and international issues.
In short, I think folks nowadays have even more to “worry” about and, too often, still have little guidance or support in managing the disturbing impact of the constant “news” about how bad things are.
Elisha: In light of this, what are some practical skills you can share with readers of the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Blog to calm their anxious minds?
- The first “skill” is actually a perspective, or wise view, you might say. That is, you are not your thoughts, and your anxiety is not a permanent identity. Anxiety is not who you are.Once a person understands that the anxious thoughts they experience are only thoughts, and are not permanent, and probably not even accurate in some fundamental way, then the “scary story” in those thoughts will lose considerable power over them.
And, even if there is some truth to the “scary story”, that the danger is real (one may lose a job, for example, or a loved one may be deployed to Afghanistan), it is still important to recognize that the thoughts one’s mind generates about a situation can either be helpful or add to the anxiety. For example, if one becomes stuck, ruminating on the mere possibility of losing one’s job, what is happening is that each of those worried thoughts is a signal to the body that danger is present. So, through the mind-body connections, the worried thoughts signal the body to go into the “fight or flight” response. The body does, and becomes hyperaroused and ready to act.
If a person understands this reaction to threat in their own mind and body, and knows how their own thoughts about what is happening actually can contribute to the feelings of fear, then the next “skills” become more important.
- The second skill then would be having a method of strengthening and sustaining self-reflection or self-awareness (something many call “mindfulness”) of what is actually going on in the mind and body. So, the noticing of bodily arousal, plus the noticing of mental/cognitive and emotional reactions and “stories” can be developed as a “skill” using mindfulness.
- Then, the skill of wise response can be utilized. This can include acknowledging what is happening and taking any possible practical steps to meet the problem. For example, checking with one’s boss about the likelihood of actually losing the job. Or, developing a plan of what to do if that happens, etc.And, the wise response must also include coping skillfully and compassionately with one’s own inner life, and reactions to the situation. Some people call this “emotion-focused coping” as compared to the “problem-focused coping” when one develops a plan for getting a new job. So, if the mind is worried and the body is agitated, having some methods to soothe the mind and body that are constructive and positive. These could include practicing meditation, using spiritual life, talking and gaining support from loved ones, eating better, exercising, etc, etc.
In Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Classes, we often say “you can’t stop the waves (of stress), but you can learn to surf.”
In part what we mean is that you can learn to recognize the “waves” of inner reactivity to stressors, and learn to “ride” them without making them stronger or succumbing to them.
Elisha: If you were sitting across the table from somebody who was really experiencing deep emotional suffering, what kind of wisdom could you give to them?
Well, that’s a tough one.
I might begin with simply acknowledging that they are suffering. Saying something like, “I am so sorry that you have to go through this.” And, acknowledging ( to myself and to the other) that there is only so much anyone can do to take it away, but knowing that the act of bearing witness is extraordinarily powerful and comforting. Something like: “I know I cannot take your pain away. I know it is here and, and I am here with you.”
Then, I think a great gift for someone in pain is simply to ask them what they need or want, in that moment. If you can assist that, then do it. If you cannot, (and many times you will not be able to), then staying present with them is very important, if they want that.
I think many, maybe all of us; have a tendency to want to “fix” our loved ones pain, for reasons both altruistic and selfish. Altruistic because we are moved by genuine compassion to relieve the pain of another, and selfish because we can also be so threatened by the pain or vulnerability in another that we cannot tolerate being with it (or them), and hence we are “driven” to “fix” or remove the pain.
So, I think any “wisdom” is best generated from the position of willingness to simply be present (and perhaps to be silent) for the other person. Then, as we are listening both to them and to ourselves, the “wisdom” that is most appropriate in that moment might find its voice through us.
Thank you so much Jeff!
To the readers: As always, please share your questions, thoughts, and stories below. Your interaction here provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
There is a tradition on the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Blog. Every Monday, I cite a quote or a poem that is related to mindfulness and psychotherapy in some way and then explore it a bit and how it is relevant to our lives. For me, quotes and poetry can often sink me into a state of greater understanding. So for today, here is a quote by Carl Jung:
“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
This is what we’re talking about at the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy blog, really awakening so we can be aware of that space in between the stimulus and response (a la Viktor Frankl), and recognize that we have more choices to make more skillful decisions in life.
The answers don’t lie outside of us, they lie inside of us. Rather than dreaming of some distant vision, we can awaken the dream inside of us, right here, right now.
However, in order to do this we need to pay attention to ourselves and sometimes the gifts are in our wounds. Jan Goldstein wrote the book Sacred Wounds which exemplifies this. Through a series of stories and the telling of his own journey, he teaches how we can succeed because of life’s pain.
This parallels recent writings on the upside of depression.
This isn’t too dissimilar from a Rumi quote that I mentioned a bit ago:
“Don’t turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place. That’s where the light enters you.”
In taking a moment to STOP throughout your day, you are literally breaking out of the habitual routines and moving toward becoming more awake to this life. When you are more awake, you begin to feel like you have more choice in your life. When you feel like you have more choice, you feel like you have more hope and this is the greatest anti-depressant.
Additionally, as neuroscientists are all teaching us (neuroplasticity), with these new actions we are laying down new tracks in our brains that allow this practice of waking up to become more natural down the road.
So take the opportunity today to take some time-out to wake up! Practice looking inside, even if only for a few moments. Allow this to be a reminder; perhaps you can even do it right now for 1 minute.
1. Take an assessment of how you’re feeling physically, emotionally and mentally.
2. Bring your attention to your breath as an anchor to this moment.
3. Feel into your life.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interactions here provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from