mindfulness in daily life

Three mindful ways to calm an anxious mind

Elisha Goldstein, Mindful.org: Stress and anxiety are a part of life, especially during these times of uncertainty. But we don’t need to be enslaved by our anxiety, we can strengthen our mindful skills to ease our anxious minds.

Stress and anxiety are a part of life, especially during these times of uncertainty. However, we don’t need to be enslaved by our anxiety and instead can strengthen our mindful skills to ease our anxious minds, come into our lives and grow in confidence.

1. Release the critic. Not only is anxiety painful enough, but we …

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Five ways science says to handle difficult emotional situations

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Kira M. Newman, Yes Magazine: A mentor of mine recently passed away, and I was heartbroken—so I tried my best to avoid thinking about it. I didn’t even mention it to my family because I didn’t want those sad feelings to resurface.

In other words, I took the very enlightened approach of pretend it didn’t happen—one that’s about as effective as other common responses such as get angry, push people away, blame yourself, or wallow in the pain.

Even for the relatively self-aware and emotionally adept, struggles

can take us by surprise. But learning healthy ways—a collection of skills that researchers call resilience—to move through adversity can help us cope better and recover more quickly, or at least start heading in that direction.

The Greater Good Science Center has collected many resilience practices on our website Greater Good in Action, alongside other research-based exercises for fostering kindness, connection, and happiness. Here are 12 of those resilience practices (squeezed into five categories), which can help you confront emotional pain more skillfully.

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Buddhists bring meditation to the streets and subways of NYC

Sam Littlefair, Lion’s Roar: A new and quickly growing organization called Buddhist Insights is helping New Yorkers meditate in all manner of surprising places — and to make friends with their surroundings.

New Yorkers may not think of the city’s gritty streets as a place to find inner peace, but a new group called Buddhist Insights is aiming to change that.

“There’s this idea that you have to escape New York to find peace and quiet,” explains Buddhist Insights co-founder Giovanna Maselli. To challenge that idea, she and her co-founder, Buddhist …

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Can you cheat at mindfulness and self compassion?

Kellie Edwards, Psych Central: I have a client who laughingly says she loves to “cheat the system” — find a short cut, an easier way, a faster route and get “more bang for her buck.”

She remembers doing it as a child at school. When she was supposed to be learning how to touch type she got so frustrated with how slow it was she peeked under the hand-guard and typed faster by looking at the keys.

When she was studying and working in …

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Practicing mindfulness through kindness and compassion

Deniz Ahmadinia, NAMI: Between recent world events and the upcoming presidential election, there has been much discussion around themes of hate, racism, bigotry and differences among people. While we may see the occasional story of kindness, the notion of being compassionate is all too often drowned out in our society.

We hold all these misconceptions about what it is to be compassionate and kind, including that it makes us weak, that it’s a form of self-pity, that it’s indulgent, and that it gets in the way of success. Our competitive, tech-driven, busy …

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Meditation brought us back together, say couple who traded in corporate lives to meditate

Sarah Catherall, Stuff: They gave the impression of having it all but Sally Lewis and Greg Hopkinson were stressed and cynical. When they broke up, they felt as though something was missing, both in their lives and in their relationship.

Today, they radiate happiness, frequently breaking into laughter. Lewis reaches over and touches her partner’s arm lovingly as her face beams.

Sitting in a Wellington cafe, they attribute one thing to their joyous connection. “Meditation saved our relationship,” smiles 57-year-old Lewis.

A decade ago, Hopkinson was a stressed out businessman who ran the Animates pet store …

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Finding peace in every moment

53682718_mHere is the first email from our Stress Reduction Through Mindfulness event which starts Tuesday, Nov 1!

Often people assume that as a meditation teacher I must be immune to stress. But life can be challenging for anyone! In the last four or five years I’ve gone through a number of very stressful experiences, including the discovery that my tax accountant had covered up the fact that she hadn’t submitted my business tax returns two years in a row, leading to the Internal Revenue Service pursuing me for tens of thousands of dollars in penalties (which I ended up not having to pay any of, fortunately), a painful divorce, moving house several times, surgery for cancer (I’m fine, by the way!), and financial problems caused by my health insurance not covering all of the subsequent medical bills.

One time I told a friend that I felt like I was walking up the “down” escalator while someone was hurling bowling balls down the stairs!

Although my meditation practice was helpful, challenges like these showed me that my existing practice wasn’t enough. I was pushed to go deeper and to develop new and more effective tools for managing the difficulties I was going through. It’s those approaches that I’m going to share with you over the 28 days of this course.

My approach to stress reduction is based on the fact that there are two distinct, but related, forms of stress.

There is the primary stress that results from having an experience that your mind interprets as a threat — such as being pursued for tax penalties, having your home life disrupted and dislocated by divorce and moving house, becoming ill, or experiencing loss. These give rise to unpleasant feelings such as anxiety, confusion, and grief.

Then there is the secondary stress caused by our reacting to primary stress in ways that create further unpleasant feelings. For example, sometimes we assume that in being stressed we’re failing in some way, and so we criticize ourselves. This creates more distress. Sometimes we overeat, overindulge in alcohol, or take out our frustrations in others, and these actions ultimately lead to even more stress being created. In fact, much of our stress results when our chronic attempts to solve or avoid unpleasant feelings themselves cause unpleasant feelings.

With primary stress, it’s the ability to offer ourselves empathy, kindness, compassion, and reassurance that’s most important. We need to learn to be gentle and kind to ourselves. We need to learn to soothe and comfort ourselves in the same way that we would a dear friend, or even a child or animal, that was experiencing stress and anxiety.

Mindfulness is of great benefit in dealing with secondary stress. It helps us to let go of unhelpful mental patterns of having aversion to unpleasant experiences and of using craving to try to bury or avoid those same experiences. We’ll explore a number of mindfulness practices that will help us to identify and let go of stress-inducing habits.

Those, then, are some of the skills we’ll be cultivating over the next four weeks. To help you, there will be readings every day, which I’m going to try to keep relatively brief so that I don’t end up adding to your stress!

There will also be around a dozen guided meditations. Some will be very brief, and others will be a little longer. You can listen to the first of them here. It’s a short meditation that helps us set the intention to be kind and patient with ourselves as we cultivate mindfulness and self-compassion.

Here is Meditation #1, a 5-minute guided meditation to help us arrive and to set our intentions for the course.

Register here to learn more about reducing stress in your life!

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Why is meditation good for team building

Sven, Mindful Teams: After Yoga, mindfulness is becoming the new fast-growing trend. Leaders around the world would confirm the positive impact of meditation on work. Though mindfulness is becoming very popular, we are just at the beginning of its business application. At Mindful Teams we do think mindfulness at work is important for both individuals and team. Today we will focus on the benefits of meditation on teams.

1. Develop Team Harmony

Mindfulness practice and group meditation helps people to be closer and in harmony. By practicing together team members develop a …

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Three reasons you can no longer afford to ignore the mindfulness trend

Julia Samton, Inc.: What was once optional has emerged as a unique solution to the demands of the modern workplace.

Everyone from Fortune 500 executives to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are talking about mindfulness. Mindfulness is the awareness that arises when you pay attention to the present moment, on purpose, and without judgment. By using the breath or another sensation as an anchor during meditation, diligent practitioners are able to achieve this mind state in everyday life. Research has shown that we perform optimally and feel at our best when we are focused on the …

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The magic of mindfulness

Ed Halliwell, Mindful: Health writer Ed Halliwell explains that mindfulness can help improve our mental and physical well-being, if we don’t sabotage the practice.

Barely a week goes by without some new clinical trial showing how programs which teach mindfulness can help people minimize suffering and enhance their well-being. Whether it be through reducing stress, managing illness, boosting the immune system or moving away from addictive habits, science is confirming what meditators have reported for thousands of years—that mindfulness is beneficial in a wide range of ways. At the same time, it’s important not to get …

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