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.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 · 4 Comments
During the day many of us are moving so fast, sometimes physically, but almost always mentally. Our neurons are firing in hyper speed with so much to do and so much to pay attention to. We’re all working so hard to get somewhere that we forget to be here. Sometimes when I’m rushing, I’ll notice that I’m “rushing home to relax.” In that moment I become present and realize that I don’t have to rush home to relax, I have arrived in the present moment and can choose to “be” different.
Here’s a trick I learned that helps me train my brain to be present while simply walking.
Mindfulness On-the-Go: Walking Meditation Practice
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 · Leave a comment
Most people I meet would like to be calmer and more focused on what matters in the moments of their lives. But the more stressed we are, the less open we are to creative ideas and the more prone we are to procrastination.
Here is a 10-second practice that I challenge you to practice a few times a day and realize its power to help you focus on what matters moment-to-moment. Inevitably, as you practice and repeat this, you’ll become more of a PRO at life.
The Be a PRO Practice
- P – Pause – This is the initial step that helps break the auto-pilot stress cycle.
- R – Relax your body – When we’re stressed, our muscles get tight which sends signals back to the brain to fight, flee or freeze, making thoughts more distracted and chaotic. Relaxing the body, does the opposite, it begins to open the mind again, making it easier to focus.
- O – Open to what matters in the moment – As the body is relaxed we have a greater chance to be more aware of creative ideas or simply the ability to focus on the task at hand.
Here are 10 really good places where practicing being a PRO at life can come in handy:
Tuesday, October 4, 2016 · Leave a comment
The comic Calvin and Hobbes has always been one of my all time favorite since I was a teen. The author and illustrator Bill Watterson, really had a way with images and words. One of the pictures I’ve enjoyed looking at, and reminds me of this work in mindfulness, is with Calvin and Hobbes walking way together in the snow saying, “We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”
This is so simple and the mere recognition of this as a practice in daily life could help us drastically reduce our stress levels (and help us be happier).
I know for me, I’ve had a lot going on recently in my life and as I was sitting next to a pool watching my kids play my head was swimming with all the future endeavors coming up. In that moment, likely because of my mindfulness practice, I naturally took a deep breath and as I exhaled realized that in this moment I was safe. My kids were playing and this was a beautiful moment.
In the six month program A Course in Mindful Living, I introduce three statements that help deepen our “good moments,” getting those neurons firing in a resilient direction. The next time you notice a good experience say:
Friday, September 16, 2016 · 1 Comment
I haven’t met many people who say they wouldn’t enjoy feeling more relaxed or even being able to relax-on-demand. The good news is that according to a study published in the journal Nature, learning how to get better at relaxing, not only feels good, but increases our brain’s ability to remember new information (including strengths of mindfulness, compassion and joy).
The researchers in this study recruited eight epileptic volunteers who were shown 100 photos and then 30 minutes later were shown 50 of the same and 50 different photos. They then had to tell the researcher which photos they had seen before and which they had not.
While the participants were using their memory, the researchers used electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes to record electrical activity in the area of the brain where memories are formed.
The findings showed that recognition was highest when participants were in a relaxed state (referencing “theta waves”).
Okay, it’s not necessarily news that we learn better when we’re more relaxed, so why does this matter?
It matters because at this point in time, we happen to live in a petri dish of overstimulation and fractured partial attention on a daily basis. The way we’re living right now stresses out our nervous systems making it really difficult for any new learning (mental or behavioral) to really stick.
Some people think mindfulness meditation is the answer – a tool that is meant to actively relax us. But no, it’s meant to help us cultivate awareness so we can make wise choices, which may be to Continue Reading →
Thursday, September 1, 2016 · 3 Comments
Enjoy these 11 Ways to bring more mindfulness (and happiness) into your daily life.
1. Eat Slightly Slower
With the speed at which we do most things today, eating can easily become just another thing to cross off your to-do list. The next time you eat, try slowing down—you’ll pull more enjoyment out of your food, feel more satisfied, and your digestive system will thank you.
2. Honor the Elements
Every piece of food we eat has its own rich origin story, which we usually don’t think about. Next time you sit down for a meal, take a moment to acknowledge everything that went into the food on your plate. Consider the people who made it, bought the ingredients, stocked the store shelves, delivered it, harvested it, and all the natural elements of sun, rain, soil, and wind that allowed it to grow.
3. Cook with Love
Even if you’re just making a sandwich, food tastes a lot better when we put a little love into it. Pay attention to the preparation of your food, think about who’s going to eat it, and say in your mind, “May this food help you be strong, healthy, and happy.”
4. Take a Trip
Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “Life is routine and routine is resistance to wonder.” Break from routine, try ethnic foods from different regions of the world and imagine, even if just for a moment, that the food is transporting you there for a mini vacation in your mind.
5. Try Something New
Novelty is the spice of life (and a source of healthy neuroplasticity), so be adventurous and reach outside of your comfort zone. Be bold. Push yourself to try something you never thought you’d like—you never know, you just might be pleasantly surprised!
6. Start from Scratch
Most of us eat the same foods week to week for convenience and taste. And that’s okay. See if you can approach a familiar food with a sense of curiosity: Imagine it’s the first time you’ve ever eaten this food; what new sensations or flavors do you notice?
7. Eat Local, Be Respectful
Fruits and vegetables don’t grow at the grocery store. Get to know where your food comes from by visiting a local farm (or at least a farmers market)—not only will you feel more connected to what you eat, but as a rule food tastes better when it’s fresher. For those of us who eat meat, it can be tricky to figure out where the meat came from and how the animal was treated. Whenever possible, buy from companies you know treat animals respectfully.
8. Use Your Nose (and any other senses that apply)
Our sense of smell has a lot to do with how food tastes. Before eating, pause for a moment to take in the aroma of the food. What scents can you pick up? Does a memory emerge? Take a second look, what colors do you see? Then take a bite and see how much richer the experience can be.
9. Just Eat
When we eat we are often “doing” something else at the same time (working, looking at a device, talking with someone, reading, etc.), which takes away from tasting and fully enjoying the food. See if you can, for at least one meal or snack this week, just eat.
10. Have a Communal Meal
Since the dawn of time people have made it a point to “break bread” together. Invite people over for a special dinner, have a potluck, or go out to a restaurant. Feel the connection grow.
11. Surf Your Urges
We have all been prone to want something that isn’t good for us—for many of us it happens more often than we’d like to admit. Try an experiment: Next time you are craving something you know isn’t healthy for you, set a timer for 20 minutes and then check back in to see if you still want it. That space can often invoke perspective that will help you make a more mindful decision.