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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mindfulness Exercise - Focus on the Positive

As taught in Emotion Regulation, being mindful of positive experiences can act as a buffer to unpleasant emotions and experiences.  Often in life, we hyper focus on the unpleasant which can lead to emotion overload or burn out.  The act of sharing or thinking of something positive may be one way to counteract overload.  For this mindfulness exercise, I would like everyone to think of a positive experience in the past week.  You may want to take a few moments and write down notes of your memory.  What was the experience?  What occurred?  How did it feel? 

Article on Using Mindfulness to Overcome Pain

Click here to read an article on the benefits of mindfulness training to reduce chronic pain.  The study authors compared mindfulness training to a conventional support group and found significant reductions in misusing pain medications in the mindfulness group.

Dream Vacation Mindfulness Exercise

This is one of my favorite mindfulness exercises, especially in the middle of the harsh winter.  Enjoy!

Dream Vacation Mindfulness

When we feel intense emotions, or during what feels like the 10th snow storm this winter, it can be helpful to use imagery to help regulate our emotions. Today, I'm going to ask you to imagine your dream vacation.  To begin, I'd like everyone to allow their eyes to close gently, if this feels comfortable.  If not, feel free to focus on a spot on the wall or the floor.  Take several slow, deep breaths and bring your mind into the present moment.  Try to imagine your dream vacation.  Where would you go? Who would you take with you? How would you get there? What would you do? What would you eat? How long would you stay? Try to imagine what the weather would feel like, what the food would taste and smell like, and what the sights would look like.  Try to engage your senses.

(Pause for a minute or two)

When you are ready, open your eyes and gently bring your mind back into this room and the present moment.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Article on Mindfulness in Low-Income Schools

Click here to read an article about how low-income schools are incorporating mindfulness into their curriculum.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mindfulness and College Students

Click here to read an article about a study at the University of Miami of mindfulness for college students.  The study found that students who went through a short mindfulness training had increased attention as compared to those students in a control group. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mindful New Years Resolutions

As we turn towards 2014 and close the book on 2013, some of us find it helpful to take stock of our lives and make resolutions for the upcoming year.  This is certainly nothing new. As a DBT therapist, I can't help but wonder, what are some ways in which we can resolve to be more mindful in 2014?

1. Daily Activities - We can practice mindfulness while doing ANYTHING (by itself).  We can mindfully drive a car (no music, no talking on bluetooth, no eating, just focusing on the road), brush our teeth (focus on the taste of the toothpaste, the feel of the bristles on your tongue, etc), do the dishes, and take a shower (focus on the smells, the feel of the soap, etc).  We can mindfully change diapers, prepare dinner, and even type emails.  We can resolve to practice one daily activity mindfully each day; by doing so, we are fully participating in that activity alone and exercising our mindfulness muscle for other times when we may need it.

2. Relationships - We can practice mindfulness while talking on the phone or talking in person to anyone.  We all have had conversations with others while driving, doing the dishes, cleaing up around the house, etc; when we multitask in this way, we always miss out on something.  When we are mindful with others, we give them the gift of our attention which can help to improve the quality of our relationships.

3. Daily Formal Practice - A daily mindfulness practice could entail sitting for 5 minutes each morning and focusing on your breath.  It could also mean walking mindfully to the train station or doing a body scan every evening after dinner. Regardless of which formal practice you choose, we find that people tend to stick with the practice if they schedule it in (even a few minutes is sufficient) and commit to doing it every day. 

We wish everyone a happy and healthy 2014!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Article on Gratitude in Children

Click here to read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the many benefits of raising kids with gratitute.  The article cites research stating that teenagers with high levels of gratitude had higher GPAs, less depression, and less envy than less grateful teenagers.