Rick Hanson PhD
Dec 29, 2011
Have you ever watched two people quarrel, or otherwise be stuck in a conflict with each other? Usually, if either or both of them simply acknowledged one or more things, that would end the fight.
Recall a time someone mistreated you, let you down, dropped the ball, made an error, spoke harshly, was unskillful, got a fact wrong, or affected you negatively even if that was not their intention. (This is what I mean, very broadly, under the umbrella heading of “fault.”) If the person refuses to admit fault, how do you feel? Probably dismayed, frustrated, uneasy, distanced, less willing to trust, and more defensive yourself. The interaction …
Nov 12, 2011
Someone recently wrote to me asking about how to deal with anxiety. He didn’t say specifically what his anxiety was about, so I offered some general advice, which I repeat here in a slightly modified and expanded form in case it benefits others.
1. Cultivate lovingkindness
I’ve found that doing lovingkindness practice as I go about my daily affairs has a big effect on my anxiety levels. I find it’s impossible to be cultivating lovingkindness toward people and simultaneously be worrying about what they might think of me. I’m talking here not of sitting practice (which helps too) but of cultivating lovingkindness as I walk around, drive, etc. There simply isn’t the …
Sep 06, 2011
I just read a news story about an 18-year-old woman whose car went out of control and hit a dump truck. The woman and her 10-month-old son were killed. On her phone was a half-finished text message.
Now, not all multitasking is as catastrophic as that. We do it all the time, don’t we?
But why do we do it? Sometimes we say it’ll make us more efficient, but if you’re trying to type a report and keep interrupting yourself to send text messages and check Facebook, you’re not exactly being very efficient. It seems to me that what’s really going on is that we’re being anxious, and trying to find …
Rick Hanson PhD
Aug 31, 2011
To keep our ancestors alive, the brain evolved strong tendencies toward fear, including an ongoing internal trickle of unease. This little whisper of worry keeps you scanning your inner and outer worlds for signs of trouble.
This background of unsettledness and watchfulness is so automatic that you can forget it’s there. So see if you can tune into a tension, guarding or bracing in your body. Or a vigilance about your environment or other people. Or a block against completely relaxing, letting down, letting go. Try to walk through an office or store that you know is safe without a molecule of wariness; it’s really hard. Or try to sit at home …
Jun 27, 2011
One of my clients — I’ll call him Mark — took up meditation to help with his lifelong anxiety. He was all too aware of his tendency to over-analyze and worry about everything. He’d been meditating on and off for two years, gone on retreats, read tons of dharma books, done everything he could think of.
But he felt like there was no progress at all. He told me that every sit still featured that same old frenzied monkey mind swinging from tree to tree. It was nothing but frustration.
I have to say, I empathize. I bet you’ve been in a similar place, too. We all take up …
Sep 26, 2010
‘I know how you feel,’ I say. I’m not thinking about running, though, but meditation. I’ve been meditating for some years now, but when I sit down sometimes it feels impossible. My head itches and the items on my ‘to-do’ list compete for attention. There are odd bodily sensations that could be illnesses in the making. And if all else fails, there’s my good old tinnitus.
Outside responsibilities of …
Apr 19, 2010
I have to confess, I’m a busy-holic. I’m often balancing at the knife-edge of being TOO busy. But everything I do is important to me, and I don’t want to give anything up. Recently, I started taking a different perspective, which is really helping me cut through the crap. Here’s what I’m doing differently.
There’s always something I want to do. I’m not only self-employed, I love my work and I’m eager to keep learning and growing personally and professionally. I’m constantly doing things with and for my Buddhist sangha. And I sing with my a cappella group, the Silk Tones. My calendar is always very full.
Mar 02, 2010
Is unconditional confidence possible? Famed meditation and dharma teacher Pema Chödrön argues that it is, says Vicky Matthews, and that the secret is a surprising one: unconditional confidence comes from being gentle with oneself.
Title: Unconditional Confidence: Instructions for Meeting Any Experience With Trust and Courage
Author: Pema Chödrön
Publisher: Sounds True
Format: 2 CDs (2 hours)
Available from: Sounds True and Amazon.com.
The opportunity to review ‘Unconditional Confidence’ arrived at a time that couldn’t have been more pertinent. It had been the finale of a project I had been involved in, with a final pitch. The whole event had been a high-pressured affair, and the final fruits seemed non-existent. Fear, in …
Dec 04, 2009
Srimati explains how, in her coaching, she encourages people who are experiencing a crisis to get below their panic in order to connect with their inner guidance.
Nov 16, 2009
Jeff Bell is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and radio news anchor. His first book, Rewind, Replay, Repeat: A Memoir of OCD, was published in 2007 and quickly established Bell as a leading voice in the mental health community. In this interview he talks about his new book: When in Doubt, Make Belief.
You describe this book as “an OCD-inspired approach to living with uncertainty.” What do you mean by OCD-inspired?
As I recount in my first book (“Rewind, Replay, Repeat”), I spent years battling severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), learning firsthand what the extremes of uncertainty can do to one’s life — in my case, leading me …