Resilience

What a Feel-Good T-Shirt Slogan Can Teach Us About Mindfulness

I’ve noticed a phrase floating around on the internet lately, on mugs and t-shirts for sale and colorful social media feeds, meant to promote a positive attitude: “No Bad Days.”   The first few times I saw this phrase, I thought it was rather dismissive. I feel confident saying that I’ve had plenty of bad days in my life. And this trendy new feel-good phrase wants to erase that? It’s not that easy! “No Bad Days” presented itself to me as just another form of toxic positivity, meant to keep us from acknowledging the difficult times in our lives (and in others’). …

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Your Life As a Meditation

by Lynn Rossy, PhD I have taught many people to begin meditating; and I am aware that there are a LOT of misperceptions about what it is and isn’t. Because I have found the practice so very beneficial in my life, I have spent my entire career helping people overcome their misperceptions so that they, too, can reap the joys that arise from understanding how you can bring meditation into your life—both formally and informally. There are many types of formal meditation practice such as sitting meditations, body scans, mindful yoga, mindful walking, and mindful eating. These practices ask that …

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We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” —Hopi Elder Anyone who has spent as much time as I have in the self-help section of a book store can tell you that there are innumerable opportunities to improve upon this thing called “me/you.” The possibilities of self-fixing are mind-boggling and endless. Self-improvement is our national pastime, and there are all kinds of ideas about how to be different and better or how to make up for some flaw. Some books share their insights with humor, others in seriousness, but what they all have in common is the absolute conviction that …

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Letting Go of the Tail of the Elephant

There is a story about a group of blind men who came upon a strange and wondrous creature called an elephant. None of them had ever heard of such a strange beast before and decided to check it out. With some trepidation, they approached the animal from different angles. One approached from the front and touched the elephant’s trunk, proclaiming that this creature resembled a very thick snake. One came from the side and as he grasped the elephant’s ear, shouted, “No, this animal is like a fan blowing in the breeze.” Another bumped into the animal’s leg and was …

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Caught: How We Can Get Addicted to Almost Anything (and How Mindfulness Can Help)

The brain is an amazing, simplifying mechanism. It loves to automate as much as possible; otherwise, how would we make it through our lives (or even one day)? The more automatic our brain can make our life, the more energy it can conserve for the hard work of meeting new experiences and figuring out how to make them more automatic. So, how does the brain do this in real-time? It’s a process called Reward-Based Learning. In other words, something happens, the brain decides on a strategy to deal with it, and there is a result. It might be good or …

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Lift Your Mood with These Simple Yoga Stretches

When I first started doing yoga, it was for one simple reason: I wanted to get rid of my anxiety. A friend had invited me to a yoga class, and she said it might help with my restlessness, my inability to sit still, and maybe even my depression. I know; I was all over the map. I didn’t really hold out much hope. I had taken up meditation in college to relieve my anxiety and depression, and although it had worked well, I had let my practice lapse.   For any of you who have tried to maintain a meditation …

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5 Ways to Train Your Mind for Happiness

It’s not just a pipe dream anymore, and there is science to prove it. You’ve probably heard that by training in mindfulness, you can reduce the negative effects of stress on your mind and body. You may have even heard that mindfulness reduces anxiety and depression and helps people cope with chronic illness. But did you know that mindfulness practice can train your mind to be happier? It used to be thought that we had a happiness set-point; that no matter what we do or what happens to us, we will return to the level of happiness that we were …

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Mindfulness: Where Do I Start?

In my experience, and I’m pretty sure that psychological research would back me up on this, human beings don’t start new, helpful routines unless they are motivated. We tend to make sincere and lasting changes to our day-to-day lives only if we are at or nearing our tolerance threshold for emotional, psychological, or physical pain. For me, it was debilitating stress that brought me to mindfulness practices. Have You Had Enough? Depression had a way of sapping all my energy and joy. I was doing the same thing day in and day out, feeling trapped within the walls of my …

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When Mindfulness Isn’t Enough

When I began to receive the benefits of mindfulness, I was nothing short of amazed. Here I am, not doing anything, and I’m feeling calm and at ease. The old voices in my head that said I had to do something, fix something, fix me, had started to become quieter. Relieved that there was a way to be in my life that didn’t require doing, I embraced the gift of mindful awareness. There were ups and downs in my practice, but over the long haul, things kept getting better. I was feeling less anxiety, my stress level was way down, …

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Tips for Beginning a Meditation Practice

Developing a meditation practice can have a powerful impact on our lives, relationships, and well-being. And, it can be challenging and difficult! I know it was for me; I can’t tell you how many times I promised myself that I would be consistent only to lose it a day or two down the road. The process is like planting a garden. We plant seeds or small plants, and make sure they get plenty of water, sun, and nutrients. Then, we begin to wait, and wait, and wait. We do our best to trust that the plants will eventually grow. When …

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