Blog

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.


The Relax and Awaken Meditation

I sometimes lead the Sunday Morning drop-in meditation at The Center for Mindful Living in Los Angeles. In this particular drop-in I led one of the early meditations in A Course in Mindful Living. In the course you have the option of doing 10, 20, or 30 minute versions of this practice.

In this meditation, the intention is to play with the balance of being deeply relaxed, yet completely awake to the moment.

For now, sit or lie down and enjoy this practice!

Warmly,

Elisha

P.S. Registration for A Course in Mindful Living – my 6-Month Online Mentorship Program – is now open. The course kicks off on October 2nd and space is limited. Learn more here.


3 Ways to Release Negative Anxious Thoughts

What a time we live in. Recently we’ve had two historic hurricanes, Harvey and Irma leaving devastation across Houston Texas and the Caribbean, while Bangladesh experiences one of its most catastrophic floods. That’s not even adding in the constant barrage of political uncertainty and threats of potential war that stream across the news feeds.

It’s no wonder that an increasing amount of people are experiencing heightened stress and anxiety.

No matter what we choose to do in the next moment, it’s almost always better when we’re emotionally regulated and balanced. Here are three simple ways to break free from negative anxious thoughts and restore feelings of calm and well-being (I go into 8 additional ways to do this here).

3 Ways to Release Negative Anxious Thoughts

1. Recognize the Thought: If the thought is, “the world is going to hell in a handbasket” or “life is never going to get better” or some form of complaining, blaming or something like that, take a moment to recognize that the thought is forming in your brain.

2. Relax the Body – When you’re experiencing negative anxious thoughts, your body is also reacting. You’re going through some form of a fight-flight-freeze response, so take a moment to relax your body.

3. Release the Thinking: You can use the out-breath to release tension in your body, as well as any negative thinking. You can even imagine negative anxious thoughts leaving your body with the out-breath.

At this point you might find yourself in a bit of a more balanced space and if you like you can even take a moment to open up to what’s good. Could it be that you’re safe, you’re body is working okay in this moment, you actually have some friends you can count on, you have a job—whatever it might be, see if you can name a few of those, recognize them, and also just linger in that a little bit.

Practice these three things of Recognize, Relax and Release – consider it the Three R’s to Breaking Negative Anxious Thoughts. You can also flip it with thinking about what’s good too. Treat it like an experiment. Remember, like anything else what you practice and repeat starts to become more automatic.

Warmly,

Elisha Goldstein, PhD

Adapted from Mindfulness and Psychotherapy


3 Key Practices for Calm, Self-Compassion, and Happiness

When it comes to mindfulness, there are a number of great short practices that help us be more present to our lives. In this post I’m going to reveal three key mindfulness practices that can help us pause, break out of auto-pilot, step into emotional freedom and even open up to a source of connection that is ultimately healing to ourselves and the world. Plus, I’ll reveal a new practice that people are starting to love.

I know it sounds lofty, but give them a shot and let your experience be the teacher.

Continue Reading →


4 Mindful Ways to Start Your Week

clock in morning sun

How we start the morning often sets the stage for how the rest of the day unfolds. Life has a habit of throwing us curve balls in many forms – a heated email, a fender bender, or a failed deal that you were really hoping would work out. Anything can happen in the present moment and how we start our day can significantly influence how we respond to various situations.

These 4 mindful ways to start your day or your week can help you deal with life’s inevitable ups and downs.

Do a Mindful Check-In

It’s good to begin the day by simply noting where you are starting from. How is your body? What emotions are present? Is your mind calm or already racing off to work? If you’re lying in bed, try to get a sense of whether the body feels comfortable or tense. Are you feeling calm, anxious, annoyed, or maybe neutral? What is on your mind?

Here’s a 2-minute video to give it a go:

Prime Your Mind for Good

After a brief mindful check-in, one way of inclining your mind toward resiliency and opening up to the good of the day is to consider an intentional gratitude practice. What do you have to be grateful for in your life right now ? It could be something simple, like waking up “on the right side of the bed,” to having a roof over your head, to having just had a really great cup of coffee. Practice inclining your mind to the good in life – you’ll start to notice more and more good things the more you practice this!

Bring Presence to the Morning Activities

When you’re in the shower be in the shower rather than solving problems at work already. When you’re making breakfast for you or your family, consider the intention of taking care of yourself and others throughout the day. Put some love into your food. If there are pets or other family members in the house, make sure to say an intentional goodbye while looking into their eyes before you leave.

Red Light Practice

As you drive to work use red lights as an opportunity to do another check in, pressing the reset button if traffic has made you flustered. Take this time to become centered and focused on what matters. You can make the choice to listen to your favorite music, intentionally plan the day out in your mind, or just have a quiet drive for a change. If you take public transportation you can do the same thing every time the bus, train, or subway stops. If you work from home, try this before turning on your computer, then take 5-15 minute breaks every 25 minutes to do a mindful check-in. Exposing yourself to choices and acting on them intentionally feels good. It also serves as a reminder that you can always choose how you want to respond to situations, be they good or bad.

Try these 4 things each morning as an experiment to see how your life changes.

Adapted from Mindfulness & Psychotherapy


P.S. I offer a simple yet powerful meditation to Relax and Awaken in the first lesson in A Course in Mindful Living – my 6-month online mentorship program to help you live with greater purpose, courage, ease, and happiness. I’ve included a shorter 10-minute version of this meditation below and invite you to practice with me! Just click the play button to get started.

P.P.S. Registration for A Course in Mindful Living – my 6-Month Online Mentorship Program – is now open. The course kicks off on October 2nd and space is limited. Learn more here.

 


Science Points to How Mindfulness Helps Us Break Bad Habits

There has been a growing amount of evidence that mindfulness can help us kick our bad habits.

In a recent study, 63 participants who were addicted to stimulants received behavioral treatment for 12 weeks. Four weeks into the program they were randomly assigned to two groups – one group received mindfulness training targeted at cravings and urges and the other received health education. At the end of 12 weeks, researchers measured changes in participant’s use of stimulants, and their reported symptoms of anxiety and depression.

87% of the participants with major depression were no longer using stimulants at the end of the 12 weeks, versus only 67% of the health education group. One month later, 100% of the depressed patients were off of stimulants compared to 50% in the health education group.

How could this be?

Change happens through experience and community support, not as much through cognitive education.

Mindfulness helps slow us down and creates space from the cravings (desires) and urges (feelings) that can control our attention and decision making. The reality is the greatest “bad habit” we have is our thinking.

The snap judgment of whether something is good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair all happens faster than the blink of an eye and then leads to the behavioral bad habit. Mindfulness trains awareness of this and over time the actual craving or urge becomes a “wake-up call” in the moment to choose a different response.

A healthier response.

After we practice and repeat noticing the urges and cravings that span from cutting people off while they’re talking, to stress eating, to more intense and destructive addictive behaviors, our awareness starts to be more automatic. Our awareness of our choices also grows and so we actually expand our “cognitive flexibility” which is correlated with well-being.

On top of that, when we feel better, we also tend to be more resilient and so the spiral goes up!

A Breaking Bad Habit Exercise – 5 Steps

Continue Reading →