On this page you will find articles, free audio and video, and other resources that may give you tips on working toward healing and growth. Whether you struggle with stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, or addictive behaviors, no matter the struggles you come here with, this is a place for you to get some tips to support you.

3 Steps to Evolving Valentine’s Day: A Day of Connection and Compassion

Wooden Hearts

It’s a dreaded day for some and joyous for others. Whether we like it or not, February 14th is Valentine’s Day! Since the 11th century it’s been a time representing romantic love and by the 15th century it was a day to express love with flowers and greeting cards. But maybe there’s even another evolution that this day can take… can we make this a day of greater meaning that transcends and includes romantic love?

In my mind it’s the case that all people, if not all beings, at the core want to feel like they belong and that they’re loved.

Why not make Valentine’s Day a day for all people in the greater relationship of humanity? If you’re in a relationship, you can celebrate a romantic version and also a wider Valentine of all humanity, enhancing connection and compassion.

Here’s a rich three step Valentine practice:

Romantic Valentine for your love:

May you feel loved, May you feel accepted, May you feel free, and May you feel at peace.

Individual Valentine:

May I feel loved, May I feel accepted, May I feel free, and May I feel at peace.

Everyone as a Valentine:

May we all feel loved, May we all feel accepted, May we all feel free, and May we all feel at peace.

If you don’t have a romantic love interest, you can do step one with a good friend in mind.

The meaning of Valentine’s Day has evolved through the centuries. We can make the next evolution of it starting today, deepening intimacy with ourselves, our loved ones and the rest of humanity.

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

Adapted from Mindfulness and Psychotherapy

You Can Always Begin Again

With the onset of a new year, many of us set intentions to make changes. We make plans to exercise more, eat a healthier diet, meditate, save money, or go on more romantic dates with our partners. However, as soon as we run into obstacles it’s easy for these plans to get derailed. People often ask me how to effectively stay on track with one’s intentions and my answer is summed up in a short passage from one of my favorite little books, Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler:

“When we stray from our intentions, whether bringing mindfulness to experience or trying to be more forgiving and compassionate with ourselves, thoughts of failure can rain down: ‘Great, I’m back at square one.’

The beauty of mindfulness is that it teaches us that no matter what the problem is, it can be worked with.

We can always begin again!

Let this knowledge support you in the moments of your day.”

When we fall off the wagon and a parade of self-judgment, helplessness and hopelessness about ever succeeding with our intentions kicks in, it’s not only mentally and physically draining, it also brings us further and further away from getting back on track.

The fact is, no matter how far we’ve strayed, each moment presents a “choice point” to begin again.

As one of my favorite poets, Kabir, says, “Wherever you are, that’s the entry point.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter what you’re trying to change in life, or if you stray because you got sick, injured, depressed, or for a reason you’re not aware of, you can always start over.

When you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to investigate what brought you off track so you can learn from the experience, recognize the telltale signs next time, and hopefully avoid the same pitfalls.

Take these words into consideration whatever your intentions for change are: you can always begin again.

Mindfulness and Meditation: Overcoming Personal Barriers and the Secrets to a Self-Sustaining Practice

Mindfulness and Meditation: Overcoming Personal Barriers and the Secrets to a Self-Sustaining Practice

Elisha Goldstein, PhD is joined by 6 members of the faculty from A Course in Mindful Living in a Live Panel conversation on Mindfulness and Meditation: Overcoming Personal Barriers and the Secrets to a Self-Sustaining Practice.

In this panel they cover:

  • • Practical tips for creating a self-sustaining meditation practice
  • • How regular practice helps in combating sleep disorders
  • • Using meditation to manage anxiety and/or negative thinking
  • • The connection between meditation, happiness, and well-being

Everyone is welcome to benefit from this, so if you know someone who would be interested, please share this link:

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

by Elisha Goldstein, PhD & Stefanie Goldstein, PhD

“Happiness” is a loaded word: It’s loaded with expectations, hope, yearning, confusion… You get the idea. What makes happiness feel so elusive usually has more to do with how you relate to the concept than with how you really feel. Here are a few simple adjustments that can help you unleash the happiness within yourself.

1. Be present
Awareness is the springboard from which we can appreciate the world around us. Set reminders in your phone throughout the day to pause and check in with yourself. By stepping into a space of curiosity you will discover an increased ability to notice happiness in everyday life.

2. Harness difficulty
As long as you’re alive, challenges will find you. Sometimes you probably even create challenges for yourself—we all do. Instead of getting down on yourself, try thinking of difficult moments as opportunities to ask yourself: How can I be kinder to myself right now?

3. Get connected
Connection is more than an experience—it’s also a skill that we can strengthen with small gestures. Try smiling at a stranger, tell a friend you appreciate them, or tell a loved one how much they mean to you. Create connection in the small moments of life.

4. Turn meaning into action
What in life really matters to you? Is it family, compassion, good friends, the environment? Take these values and turn them into verbs. If you value family, make a plan to put phones aside during dinner. If it’s the environment, consider volunteering with an organization.

5. Find purpose
Getting involved in something outside ourselves has the power to infuse our daily lives with meaning amid the drudgery. Every day, ask yourself these three questions:

• What do I care about beyond myself?
• What action can I take today that aligns with this?
• In the long run, how will my actions affect the world?

Practice and repeat this over time and watch your sense of purpose grow.

6. Be generous
There is no experience more uplifting than giving. Practice being generous: tip the server a bit more than usual, give more to charity this month, or offer more of your time to friends, family, and strangers.

7. Forgive and let go
Lily Tomlin once said, “Forgiveness means letting go of the hope for a better past.” Letting go is hard. It’s also easy—we let go every single night when we go to bed. When we hold onto our mistakes or the mistakes of others, it only serves to stress us out, which has negative impacts on our minds, bodies, and relationships. Ask yourself, “Am I ready to let go of this burden?” If so, try breathing in and acknowledging the pain you feel, breathing out and releasing the burden.

8. Overhaul your habits
We’ve all got habits we’d like to kick and if we could, we’d feel a lot happier. The key here is to focus on the reward you seek from any given habit. For instance, many of us snack on junk food to soothe stress. In that case, ask yourself: What else can you do in times of stress that is soothing?

Getting a hug can feel soothing. So can placing your hand on your heart. Practice understanding the rewards you seek from your habits, so over time you can develop healthier ones.

9. Nurture positivity
Most of us have a hard time receiving compliments and entertaining positive beliefs, especially when we’re stressed or unhappy. Choose a positive belief such as “I am skilled” and ask yourself:

• Is it true? If your answer is “No,” then ask yourself:
• Would someone else say it is true? Chances are, yes. Now, follow with:
• If you were to accept this possibility, how would you feel?

If you then start experiencing any positive feelings, allow yourself to savor them for a few moments.

10. Make your body happy
If you look at a map of the nervous system, you’ll see it goes from the brain throughout the entire body—there is no separation. A healthier body means a healthier brain.
Listen to your body and notice how it needs to be treated, moved, and fed. Bringing more mindfulness to your body is a recipe for overall well-being.

11. Keep track of your joys
At the end of each day we are usually aware of the long list of bad things that happened. What if, instead, you focused on the joys? Make a list or write a journal entry about the things that bring you joy each day. It could be a smile a kind stranger gave you, the sweet smell of a flower you passed on the street, or the presence of a trusted friend or pet. The more you take note of what brings you joy, the more joy you’ll find in your everyday life.

Forgive, Investigate, and Invite
To uncover happiness we need to accept what’s difficult and learn to savor the good. But the truth is we often dwell in excessively negative thinking and self-judgment. When you lose sight of your intentions, remember to forgive yourself. Investigate what pulled you off track without judging yourself, and then invite yourself to begin again.

Originally published on Mindful

How to Mindfully Deal with Difficult People (and Save the World)

There’s a short practice I’ve been doing for a while that is so simple, and yet so impactful when interacting with difficult people. It brings a sense of balance, and perspective in the moment, it’s almost shocking to me. I live in Los Angeles, California which is well known as a city with one of the highest degrees of traffic. If we were to be able to peek into the average LA driver’s brain I think you’d see a hyperactive amygdala and most of the blood flow moving out of the prefrontal cortex. In other words, LA drivers can be a large group of difficult people with emotions and stress running high.

One day while I was driving, I was cut off by some sports car, who seemed to be speeding, and weaving in and out of traffic. My teeth locked together, my shoulders tensed, and what went through my mind is only appropriate on HBO.

In that moment I realized how tense I was, and likely how out of control that driver was. It made me think of all the cars on the road and how many people were very likely tense in their cars too.

That simple recognition sparked the beginning of something important.

My shoulders dropped a bit and the question arose, “What is it that I’m actually needing right now?” The word “ease” came to mind.

So I said…