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.
Thursday, September 10, 2015 · 6 Comments
Let’s start with the bottom line:
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) has been shown to be equally as effective in preventing relapse as anti-depressant medication.
This came from a study conducted at the University of Exeter where researchers randomly assigned 424 people into a group simply taking anti-depressant medication and another group going through an 8-week MBCT course. In this course participants learned mindfulness skills, how to relate to negative thoughts differently, and how to recognize signs of relapse and take action.
The MBCT group were offered four follow-up sessions within the year and after two years many had tapered off the medication.
The results found that the relapse was similar (44% for MBCT group and 47% for anti-depressant medication group).
This doesn’t mean that if you’re on anti-depressant medication you should get off of it, but it does provide hope that we have the power within us to train our brain with natural anti-depressants.
These are incredibly hopeful and encouraging results and it’s been accepted as a primary intervention for depression in England and Wales.
The Bad News
MBCT is still hard to find for a lot of people. While an increasing amount of people are being trained in it, it’s still largely unavailable to many of us.
The Good News
More Good News: Building Natural Anti-Depressants.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015 · 1 Comment
The rise of mindfulness has been incredible.
In part it seems like many of us are responding to a radical fast pace of living where we’re in a constant state of doing, doing and doing some more and and longing for something to help us create balance in our lives. The answer has been a variety of mindfulness programs with a heavy emphasis of “being” to balance out the “doing.”
Mindfulness is a fundamental skill for anyone in this day and age and yet at the same time it can go too far.
In the formal practices of mindfulness we do meditative exercises like breathing meditation, the body scan, or an open awareness practice. All of these focus on training the brain to “be with” experience. We need this training because the alternative is the brain’s default to try and fix our stress by kicking into auto-pilot and constantly planning in the future or looking to the past to figure out the present.
This juggle between the past and future only stresses our mind and body more. Learning how to “be with” helps turn the volume down on all this thinking and can often bring us into a state of balance.
Sometimes this state of balance teaches us important lessons, like in life all things come and go, otherwise known as the law of Continue Reading →
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 · Leave a comment
Last year when my wife Stefanie Goldstein, PhD and I started The Center for Mindful Living in Los Angeles, our intention was to provide a space for people to integrate mindfulness into their lives for healing and growth. I’ve found over the years that pictures and quotes have the power to move beyond explanations and speak directly to our hearts and minds.
Here are 10 Quotes for Mindful Living, with some having links back to blog posts where I have explored the quote. There is a lot under these links, so feel free to bookmark this page and come back to it over and again.
Note: One way to go through this is to pause, do a mindful check-in, and then read the quote slowly. See what you notice.
- “You can hold back from suffering of the world,
you have permission to do so,
and it is in accordance with your nature,
but perhaps this very holding back
is the one suffering you could have avoided.” ~ Franz Kafka
- “Don’t turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place. That’s where the light enters you.” ~ Rumi
- Continue Reading →
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 · Leave a comment
Most people I’ve met, if not all, would try like to be happy. There are all kinds of books on happiness, courses on happiness, and documentaries on happiness. So why aren’t we all just happier? If we’re approaching happiness as some goal to achieve, we’re almost always going to reinforce that something is wrong with us and fall short. If we see it as an unfolding process of learning, we will most likely be able to be more grateful for the good times and more graceful during the more difficult times.
I can’t reinforce enough the critical importance of seeing happiness practices as something to continue to play with and learn from, rather than using them to achieve some desired end state. You might be able to taste happiness if you see it as a performance, but only with a learning mindset will you find more mastery with it.
Here are 5 Practices for Daily Happiness
We NEED playtime and we need it daily! One of the first scientists to embark in the field of neuroplasticity, Marion Diamond, showed how rats that have toys and playmates inevitably ran mazes more efficiently and also showed growth in an area of their brain (the cerebral cortex) involved with cognitive processing. Play enhances social bonds and social learning, key areas for generating happiness.
How do we figure out what play means to us? This is going to mean different things to different people. What’s playful to you, may not be playful to me. You may enjoy competitive sports, board games, or going out and doing something — anything. Making it prosocial with friends adds another level of engagement.
Thursday, July 16, 2015 · 8 Comments
As soon as we open up our eyes in the morning, stories are running in our minds that influence the way we see people. We have preconceptions about who our wife, husband, kid, roommate or partners are. When we walk out the door, we already have ideas about who the neighbors, baristas, grocery store clerk, colleagues, and even strangers who are walking up the street are. We are wired to sum up whether someone is beautiful simply upon a surface glance of their body.
So the question is: Do we actually even see the person behind our conceptions of who they are? Most of the time the answer is a resounding no.
Mother Teresa said, “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis but rather the feeling of not belonging.”
We live on auto-pilot in our every day relationships and our ability to automatically interpret the world can lead to disconnection, dis-ease and unhappiness in life.
It’s that simple.
Here is a four step practice to try out today with anyone you come in contact with to help your eyes look beyond the body and see the person. As we intentionally practice and repeat looking beyond the body, we create connection which is an essential ingredient for a more enduring happiness.