• Mindful Moments are Everywhere

    This little robin was just sitting in our driveway, checking me out, but with her back to me, and I just waited, with my camera, taking a few shots, but I wanted to see it fly away when my wife and our dog Zoe came out of the house for our walk. She did and boy did she! We take things like common robins for granted, but when you see them–really *see* them–they’re as amazing as any majestic raptor. Yours in Mental Hygiene, “> The Ancient Brain and Modern Mindfulness

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  • Daily Grateful: Be Aware, Not Wary

    March 30, 2014 Taking in the good is….good for you. You’ve heard the phrases, “Give me a moment,” or “Let me take a moment.” Moments are all we have. They’re gifts; little parcels of space-time that enable us to live more fully. By enabling/permitting ourselves to dwell in the moments of life more deeply, we’re actually helping shape our brain to do positive things. In today’s post, Rick Hanson explains how that helps–from a technical point of view, while increasingly well-known Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh explains it as only he can. I love that modern science and ancient teachings have finally

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  • Daily Grateful: Stephen Fry – “The time to be happy is now.”

    March 25, 2014 Stephen Fry offers up a brilliant animated summary of humanism and a secret to happiness that’s not so secret (has a lot in common with mindfulness, to be honest. 😉 Thanks to “Upworthy” for this one. Yours in Mental Hygiene, ” data-lightbox-gallery=”lightbox[gallery-B5SH] “> The Ancient Brain and Modern Mindfulness

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  • Daily Grateful: Jon Kabat-Zinn Sums it Up

    3.23.2014 Jon Kabat-Zinn. For many, the name has become synonymous with modern mindfulness. As a physician who took a break from his work to study Buddhism in the ’70s, it was a decision that helped lead the beginning of the mindfulness movement in the United States. After training in Buddhism, he came back to his practice with the then-fairly radical idea that the benefits of Buddhist mindfulness could help his patients who were suffering from chronic illness. The result was the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts. Read more here. Watch his presentation at the 2014 Wisdom

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  • Part 1: What happens when you practice mindful meditation?

    “It is a tribute to the accumulated wisdom of humankind that a traditional Buddhist meditation practice going back 2500 years, which was originally designed in part to deal with the problem of human suffering, has been successfully adapted to prevent the relapse of depression in the modern era.” ~ Simon N. Young, PhD It’s a source of great debate  among many in the West (not among those who practice and are adherents of mindful meditation, of course; for them, there is no debate): just what are the benefits of mindfulness meditation? This is, really, the core question that can help change not

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  • Bypassing the Automatic Bypass: How Mindfulness Practice can Improve our Relationships

    It’s happened to everyone at some point or another. Someone says something that triggers your sense that you’re being: a) attacked b) disrespected c) ignored d) misunderstood e) blamed f) made to feel lesser than g) some or all of the above. What do we do? Well, it’s complicated, because everyone reacts differently, but in many people, the pre-frontal cortex (PFC)–that executive “Central Processing Unit” and keeper of higher functioning emotions and empathy–can be bypassed. This happens naturally enough during periods of extreme duress or surprise–when you react to avoid another car that suddenly appears in front of yours, or

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  • Spotlight on Jon Kabat-Zinn: Ancient Practices, Modern Mindfulness

    Jon Kabat-Zinn. For many, the name has become synonymous with modern mindfulness. As a physician who took a break from his work to study Buddhism in the ’70s, it was a decision that helped lead the beginning of the mindfulness movement in the United States. After training in Buddhism, he came back to his practice with the then-fairly radical idea that the benefits of Buddhist mindfulness could help his patients who were suffering from chronic illness. The result was the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts. Although I haven’t participated in an any of his

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  • Daily Grateful: Don’t Just Do Something…

    February 26, 2014 No Zabuton or Zafu required, just a space, a chair or a pillow for your bum, and…you. You can use a guided meditation to focus on, or just be there, with your thoughts, allowing them to come and go, focusing only on your breathing, the ambient sounds around you, or bodily sensations. Sometimes amazing things happen, sometimes nothing happens, sometimes you feel pain or discomfort or have a hard time dealing with your torrent of thoughts. Any and all of these sensations are fine. All are equal and all can be perceived without fear, attachment, or judgment. Wiring

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  • The Mindful Pause: Elisha Goldstein says “S.T.O.P.”

    Elisha Goldstein is a well-known psychologist and speaker who believes that mindfulness can be learned by anyone, and has a series of guided meditation videos that help people get into a mindful place quickly and easily. The author of highly regarded The Now Effect, Goldstein has come up with a simple way to engage in mindfulness in everyday situations. His acronym, S.T.O.P., is an easy to remember way to create a mindful pause that can disconnect us from old habits and conditioning that can hijack our well-being. I’ve slightly modified his explanations for each (which were posted on the psych central.com blog recently).

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  • What is Neuroplasticity?

    There was a time, not that long ago, actually, in which the prevailing wisdom among scientists and brain researchers was consistent: The brain stops developing at an early age, and continues to “die off” over the span of one’s life. We now know this to be horribly inaccurate. Over the past 20 years, advances in brain imaging and neural research have revealed pretty much the opposite conclusion: the brain’s neural networks continue to change and grow throughout our lifetimes, even up to and through old age and death. This is pretty amazing in and of itself. But what’s even more, er, “mind

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  • Daily Grateful: Man Saves Deer Trapped on Ice

     February 21, 2014 “A man in Minnesota saw a Facebook post about some deer stuck on the ice in the middle of a frozen lake. The exhausted animals had been sprawled out there for a couple days, so James pretty much became a hero when he and his dad used their hovercraft vehicles to stage a rescue.” (source)

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  • Daily Grateful: It’s a Beautiful Day

    February 14, 2014 Something to remember, regardless of whether you like the weather…! 😉

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  • Yet More Evidence: Meditation Reduces Inflammatory Response

    It’s hard to keep up, sometimes–seems like mindfulness research data just keep piling up; a good “problem” to have, indeed. A recent study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France, indicates the first evidence of molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation, specifically, lowered cortisol. “The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels

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  • Daily Grateful: Emergency Puppies!

    February 8, 2014 The Daily Grateful is one way to “take in the good,” which is helps rewire yourself, especially if your brain has a negative bias. It helps to experience moments of beauty and really dwell in, or “internalize them,” many times throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be a major event, it just has to a moment or series of moments that make you feel good or simply put a smile on your face. Take the time to embrace the many joys that are available to you; really dwell in those moments, and your brain’s neural wiring will reward you

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  • Daily Grateful: Winter Birds in Vermont

    February 7, 2014 The Daily Grateful is one way to “take in the good,” which is helps rewire yourself, especially if your brain has a negative bias. It helps to experience moments of beauty and really dwell in, or “internalize them,” many times throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be a major event, it just has to a moment or series of moments that make you feel good or simply put a smile on your face. Take the time to embrace the many joys that are available to you; really dwell in those moments, and your brain’s neural wiring will reward you

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