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 · 7 Comments
Have you ever stopped to think about how profound music has been for you in your life? Just the beginning of a song can change someone’s mood, drop us into a state of reflection on life, reduce stress or even prepare us for a better athletic performance.
For many people there may be a calming effect to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” Or Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” can create a surge of energy bringing up a feeling of courage and confidence. Or Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” can drop you into a reflective mood on the impermanence of life and the longing for connection. Apparently, science shows that Beethoven’s 9th symphony can lower blood pressure and improve heart disease. Then there’s Matisyahu’s “One Day” that can inspire a sense of global hope and instantly bring a smile to your face.
That is why throughout my upcoming program A Course in Mindful Living, a small part of each Lesson introduces a song that is meant to inspire the theme for that time. For example, in the first month we’re focusing on the understanding and practice around making our minds functional again. This means allowing them to be deeply relaxed, awake and focused. The theme revolves Continue Reading →
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 · 7 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 →