Lara Fielding, Huffington Post: Now that the holiday shopping is (mostly) finished, and we look to the New Year, perhaps it is a time when you may be selfish… in the best sense of the word! Building your self-awareness is the best gift you can give yourself, and ultimately to share with those you love.
Before you can know what you need, you have to know how to listen to your needs. While we tend to believe we know ourselves pretty well, the skill of self-awareness is not always intuitive. Our true authentic needs often get buried under layers of encrusted patterns of beliefs …
Vidyamala Burch, Kindness Blog: There is no doubt that ‘Giving Tuesday’ is a great way to bring us back to the true sense of charity and empathy towards others, but this is a one off seasonal donation. How is it possible to maintain kindness and compassion to others in our daily lives throughout the whole year, when we have so many demands from family, friends and live in a world where we witness others, and the environment, lurch from crisis to despair and back again?
To complicate matters, compassion and kindness can sometimes be viewed as ‘soft’, possibly even a bit weak? But nothing …
Betsy Hanger, Mindful Schools: At the Brooklyn public high school where I worked as an English and mindfulness teacher, the principal came in one afternoon during a guided practice on self-compassion. He quietly took a seat among my ninth grade students and closed his eyes. Though he’d encouraged me to start the school’s mindfulness program, he hadn’t witnessed our daily practice.
We were silently repeating short statements meant to cultivate self-compassion. “May I be safe and protected from inner and outer harm. May I be healthy. May I be peaceful and at ease. May I experience joy in my life.” I offered students the …
Bruce Davis, Huffington Post: Many people want to learn meditation or deepen their practice but are uncertain where to turn. There are so many different styles, teachers, techniques. What to do? It is the doing which can be the problem in the first place. Meditation is undoing and coming back to the simplicity of being, the simplicity of enjoying this moment. The more complex our practice, the more we are on the periphery of the heart of meditation. Every time we practice meditation we are making a mini retreat from the world around us to realize another world within. We don’t want to fill …
One of the most interesting studies I’ve ever seen was by James Pennebaker, a University of Texas psychology professor, and Shannon Wiltsey Stirman, who is now associate professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine.
Poets are particularly prone to taking their own lives, and Pennebaker and Stirman were interested to see if the writings of poets who had killed themselves contained linguistic clues that could have predicted their fate. They matched together, by age, era, nationality, educational background, and sex, poets who had and had not killed themselves, and ran their works through a computer program that looked for patterns in the language they used.
What they found was that the poets who … Read more »
Ann 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, and can …
Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D, Psych Central: Allow me to explain this paradox; and then I’ll provide 5 tips to help you with your practice.
Look at your right hand. See the shades of color in your skin? Notice the lines on your palm and the lines that separate the segments of your fingers? Easy to see, right? You just brought mindfulness to your right hand in this moment.
Now, consider the task of facing your deepest grief and sorrow. Or reflect on how it might be for you to bring your attention to extreme physical pain, hour after hour. Much more difficult to bring your …
I’m such an idiot! I can’t believe I locked the keys in the car. What am I going to do now? How am I going to get home? I can’t even call my husband because my phone’s in the car and my purse!! I’m totally stuck. I have no idea what to do. I am hopeless!”
I’d like to say that this is a purely fictional situation: that I have never locked my keys, purse and phone in the car, and that, moreover, I would not address myself in such a negative way. But, unfortunately, I cannot.
Firstly, I have found myself in …
Margarita Tartakovsky, Psych Central: So many of us take one isolated event — a mistake, a painful situation — or the critical comments of our inner critic and let it color who we are. Completely. It’s as though we become this one thing. This one negative thing.
Maybe your inner critic regularly spews remarks about your weight and how you look disgusting and horrible in everything. So you become the person who looks disgusting and horrible all the time.
Maybe you made a big mistake or a bad decision, which you regret. So you become the person defined by that decision, that one mistake.
Maybe you’ve …
Shame 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 »