Resilience

Meeting Difficult Emotions with Compassion

Life is full of incredible difficulties. Amidst the pain and challenge, we experience a range of uncomfortable emotions. We get sad, angry, frustrated, and lonely. We get confused and afraid. When life is going well, some new challenge presents itself and our emotional system sounds the alarm bells or crashes again.  I’ve been looking for ways to escape the pain of this emotional roller coaster most of my life. When I was in college, there were times when my anxiety became unmanageable. As a young mother, I struggled with depression and eating a whole pizza became my escape. As a …

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4 Ways Mindfulness Helps My Anxiety

By Rachel E. Watson When my husband and I took the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class at Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness in 2013, we weren’t sure what to expect. I approached the class with trepidation. What if it’s too much work? What if there’s an Eastern religious angle that conflicts with my Christian faith? What if it doesn’t help reduce my stress? Won’t it be stressful to attend a class every week and do homework every day? Turns out, my fears were groundless. Yes, the class was a bit of work—maybe an hour a day, or up to two hours …

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Gratitude: A Training Ground for Happiness

Gratitude: a feeling of appreciation or thankfulness. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts and failures into successes. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie “The Scarcity Loop” Sometimes …

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Move Your Body Change Your Brain

Your brain is constantly remodeling itself. When you learn to play the guitar or expand your vocabulary, you physically alter your brain. When you meditate, you stimulate the executive parts of the brain to get bigger, and the anxiety parts to get smaller. In brain-speak, this is called neuroplasticity and there is powerful science to back it up. When I tell my mindfulness students about the research into brain science, they are excited that they are doing something positive and proven. When I first started meditating, we had no idea that meditation was changing the brain, just stories that said …

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Train for Happiness with These Three Skills

When I got up this morning, things were not going my way. It was shaping up to be a really bad day. I stubbed my toe on the way to the bathroom, the plate shattered when it slipped out of my hand between the cupboard and counter, and I realized that the blog I was writing just wasn’t going to work for what I wanted to convey. Then, I stepped into the shower. The water was warm and felt good. I redirected my attention to the sensations of water cascading down my body and reminded myself how grateful I was that …

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Working with the Energy Centers of the Body – Tools for Well-Being

This last week things almost seemed like normal again. We had a great weekend with family, and I could feel my heart crack open when I spent the evening with my granddaughters. Lots of laughter and people talking over each other, just as it should be. It was in the midst of all of that I realized how abnormal everything had been over the last 18 months and how it had affected me more than I was willing to admit.  Many years ago, when I wasn’t really sure which end was up, I embarked on a healing journey through the …

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Well-Being Tools – Calm Anxiety with the Breath

One of the first books to tout the stress-reducing qualities of relaxation was “The Relaxation Response,” written in 1975 by Herbert Benson—cardiologist, author, and founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Institute. The particular practice he described was sitting quietly for 10-20 minutes twice a day, repeating a word over and over again. Sounds suspiciously like meditation. Since that time, there have been many forays into the realm of mind/body medicine and using the body’s natural capacities to move into a state of deep relaxation. These include explorations in the areas of breath, progressive relaxation, visualization, and meditation-all wonderful ways to use the power of …

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Skills for Re-Entry, Part II

Moving forward with awareness and kindness I recently heard someone comment that there’s less room for small talk after the year we’ve all had. We’ve been through something significant together, even while apart, and we probably have a lot to say about what happened, or what we lost, in the last year. Still, like me, you may have noticed yourself answering the well-meaning, asked-out-of-habit “How are you?” with a one-word answer that doesn’t sum up how you’re feeling. But how would you answer that question? Do you feel in touch with your experience? Or have the days been passing by? …

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How Do You Care for Your Mind?

And an update on our mission In January 12’s newsletter, we shared the recent Ten Percent Happier podcast interview with Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. My takeaway from the discussion is that the single most important thing we can each do at this moment of great personal, political, and global turmoil, is take care of our minds.  Practicing mindfulness helps us notice our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, which creates the foundation necessary to objectively examine our biases, discomforts, and the values and judgments we’ve inherited from others rather than consciously formed for ourselves.  Yes, I agree; …

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Not Another Zoom Call!

We’ve all gone through a year+ now with video meetings taking the place of in-person connection. And Zoom fatigue is real.  Yet, we’d like to invite you to our upcoming online multi-week classes, or our free introductory classes two weeks before.  We get it: The last thing most people want to take on these days is one more Zoom call.  But while most video conferences on your schedule are asking for a chunk of your time, energy, or input, our online classes are meant to help you add some peace, balance, and restoration to multiple areas of your life!  Overcoming …

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