From shame to self-worth: development of shame spectrum feelings in childhood

August 6, 2015

Silhouette of tree isolated on white backgroundShame is a very primal emotion, one that has a lot of traction in the mind.

As we grow up, from infants to adults, shame elaborates many nuances, like the branches and twigs growing from a single trunk.

Let’s consider four common sources of shame spectrum feelings.

First, consider a young child who is continually signaling her state of being and her needs. Maybe her caregivers respond routinely with attunement, empathy, and skillful responsiveness: this sends messages, associated with positive feelings, of existing for and mattering to her caregivers, of being inside the circle.

Or maybe her caregivers ignore her signals, or continually misinterpret them, or simply have a kind of dismissive tone – “I’ll … Read more »

After meditation, self-critical people ease up

August 5, 2015

wildmind meditation newsAnn Lukits, Wall Street Journal: Self-critical people were significantly kinder and more compassionate toward themselves after practicing lovingkindness meditation compared with a control group, according to a pilot study in Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy. The technique, rooted in Buddhism, may help to reduce symptoms of depression, the researchers suggest.

Lovingkindness is a form of meditation designed to cultivate feelings of warmth and kindness to all people, including oneself, the researchers said. Practicing the technique may activate a soothing-caring regulation system that is probably deficient in chronic self-critics, they suggest.

Self-critical perfectionism is implicated in a number of psychological conditions, such as eating disorders …

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Inviting Mara to tea

August 5, 2015

Tea set, Tea Cup with Teapot and Rose

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!…
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
—Rumi

One of my favorite stories of the Buddha shows the power of a wakeful and friendly heart. The night before his enlightenment, the Buddha fought a great battle with the Demon God Mara, who attacked the then bodhisattva Siddhartha Guatama with everything he had: lust, greed, anger, doubt, etc. Having failed, … Read more »

From shame to self-worth: evolutionary neurobiology of shame

June 24, 2015

Jbilo al atardecerHave you ever scolded a dog and seen him or her look guilty?

Obviously, animals do not have the elaborated textures of thoughts and feelings that humans do. But our emotions, even the subtlest ones, have their roots in our ancient evolutionary history. By understanding that history better, we do not reduce our feelings to animal instincts, but instead find illuminations from our past that paradoxically give us more choices in manifesting ourselves as fully human.

We can find two sources of shame spectrum emotions in our evolutionary history.

First, many animal species live in social groups with clear dominance hierarchies. Once those pecking orders are established, it can be lethal to challenge them. Consequently, … Read more »

You must find time for self-care to take back control of your life and wellbeing

April 27, 2015

wildmind meditation newsMeditation MP3 – Guided Meditations for Busy People (complete album) Reeta Wolfsohn, Social Justice Solutions: How do you find time for you when our lives are full of responsibilities towards others? How can you disconnect when, thanks to technology, our lives are always connected? If you’ve been looking for answers to these questions, we’ve got a few tips to share with you below.

Finding time for yourself isn’t a luxury – it is a necessity. If you do not take time to find healthy balance in your life and take care of yourself mentally, physically or spiritually, then you can …

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Forgive Yourself

April 23, 2015

SONY DSCMeditation MP3 – The Heart’s Wisdom: Development of Compassion Everyone messes up. Me, you, the neighbors, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, King David, the Buddha, everybody.

It’s important to acknowledge mistakes, feel appropriate remorse, and learn from them so they don’t happen again. But most people keep beating themselves up way past the point of usefulness: they’re unfairly self-critical.

Inside the mind are many sub-personalities. For example, one part of me might set the alarm clock for 6 am to get up and exercise . . . and then when it goes off, another part of me could grumble: “Who set the darn clock?” More broadly, there is a kind of inner critic and inner protector … Read more »

Compassion meditation reduces ‘mind-wandering,’ research shows

April 23, 2015

wildmind meditation newsMeditation MP3 – The Heart’s Wisdom: Development of Compassion Clifton B. Parker, Medical Xpress: Compassion meditation focuses on benevolent thoughts toward oneself and others, as the researchers noted. It is different in this aspect than most forms of meditation in the sense that participants are “guided” toward compassionate thoughts.

The research article, “A Wandering Mind is a Less Caring Mind,” was recently published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.

“This is the first report that demonstrates that formal compassion training decreases the tendency for the mind to wander, while increasing caring behavior not only towards others but towards oneself,” said …

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How mindfulness can benefit the modern teenager

April 10, 2015

wildmind meditation newsMeditation MP3 – Mindfulness Meditations for Teens (complete album) UBC: Today’s teens face a unique set of stressors from social media, parents, schools, and society, says Dr. Dzung Vo, a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Pediatrician with a specialization in adolescent medicine. The author of The Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time, says mindfulness can be the key to helping teens cope.

Mindfulness is an ancient practice that’s been brought into modern medicine by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He describes mindfulness as …

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Self-compassion: lovingkindness squared

April 2, 2015

stone heart handSelf-compassion is the most radically transformative practice that I’ve stumbled upon in more than 30 years of exploring Buddhism. It’s helped me to cope with many difficulties I’ve faced, ranging from the mundane challenge of a child’s tantrum, to financial problems and even serious illness. It’s helped me to become kinder and more compassionate not just to myself but also to others. In fact I don’t know of any other practice that’s changed me so much. I’d describe self-compassion as “lovingkindness squared.”

Self-compassion is simply treating yourself kindly, responding to your own pain with compassion in the same way you’d respond to the pain of someone you care about. “Self-compassion” is a bit of a … Read more »

Introduce yourself to mindfulness, quiet

January 12, 2015

wildmind meditation newsMeditation MP3 – Guided Meditations for Calmness, Awareness, and Love Monisha Vasa, M.D., Fredericksburg.com: As a psychiatrist, I have the honor of being with people through the ups and downs of life’s journey. I bear witness to joy, fear, anger and sorrow, and the ways in which we deal with these emotions.

My patients often say to me, “I think what I need is to just stay busy. I need to distract myself.”

Distraction certainly has its role. Sometimes keeping ourselves occupied with meaningful activities like exercise, time with friends or work can keep us out of our head. Sometimes distraction …

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