mindfulness

A Detox For The Soul: How To Eradicate Gossip For A Lighter, Happier Existence Part Three

Photo Courtesy of Bigstock

Choosing To Focus On The Positive

 

Sometimes it is incredibly difficult to focus on the positive when you seem to be surrounded by negativity. It takes great strength of character to seek the silver lining when you’re the victim of gossip but finding the positive is an essential tool when shifting from feeling powerless to powerful.

 

Mindfulness And Accepting The Present

 

Exert from ‘How To Stop Operating On Auto-Pilot And Live For The Moment’…

 

Whilst at one of the worlds best facilities in 2009, I was introduced to something called mindfulness. Mindfulness is a form of meditation which has gained great medical recognition and is designed to cultivate an experience of living in the moment. However, to stop there would be to sell mindfulness short. It also encourages us to accept the present in all its fullness – even if what we are experiencing is unpleasant.

 

It serves to both heighten our perceptions and teach us to appreciate and see our environment anew. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the pioneer of mindfulness and the man responsible for bringing it into the mainstream medical arena, describes mindfulness as ‘The awareness that emerges when we learn to pay attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally to things as they are.’

 

The first few mindfulness classes I attended brought me such a deep feeling of relaxation, well being and peace, I knew I would continue to use mindfulness throughout the course of my life.

 

Mindfulness can teach us to access states of openness, acceptance and immersion which we seldom find in our everyday lives. The sort of states one might experience on holiday. Think of mindfulness as a form of mental vacation, a way to connect with non-judgmental principles and a complete acceptance of what is, whatever that may be.

 

In recent years the body of research on mindfulness has been enormous and the amount of positive findings staggering. Mindfulness has been found to help us better process pain and emotion and there is evidence which suggests it can significantly reduce the chance of patients with chronic depression relapsing. Studies even show that mindfulness can improve our concentration and quality of sleep.

 

As if those benefits weren’t enough, it has also been proven that mindfulness lowers the stress hormone Cortisol and many patients treated for stress, anxiety, pain and depression are increasingly being advised to practice mindfulness. Whereby mindfulness was once seen as a holistic treatment, it is now recognized by the medical profession as a viable treatment in and of itself.

 

To gain more insight into what mindfulness is, it is important to examine what it is not. For instance, mindfulness is not trying to relax. To become aware of the present moment, especially when we are going through a period of stress or depression, can be far from relaxing. Mindfulness simply allows us to become less reactive to our inner struggles and enables us to let go.

 

Unlike other forms of meditation, mindfulness is not trying to rid the mind of thoughts. When thoughts arise (as they will) the mindful person will simply acknowledge and observe them, allowing them to pass and returning their focus to the breath.

 

Stay tuned – next Monday we will continue looking at choosing to focus on the positive and will go into the role goals, hobbies and interests have to play in helping us to ooze positivity.

 

Further Resources:

 

‘A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted’ by Will Bowen

 

Have you ever meditated? What type of meditation did you do and how did you feel after? Is daily meditation something you would like to introduce into your lifestyle? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, understanding and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

Why Patience Pays (and how to get more of it) Part Four

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

This is the final week in the series, so far we have covered:

 

  • The intimate relationship between patience and anger
  • Symptoms of impatience
  • Finding your triggers
  • The psychological impact of losing patience and its consequences
  • The psychological impact of having more patience

 

This week we continue to examine how we can all cultivate more patience.

 

Meditate

 

Mindfulness meditation teaches us to appreciate the present moment non-judgmentally and gives us a sense of contentment and peace , naturally cultivating more patience. Try these nifty exercises to become more mindful in your daily life:

 

The Three Minute Breathing Space

 

Sit in an upright position with a straight posture. Breath in and out slowly, your belly rising on the in-breath. Examine your body sensations from your toes to your head. What emotions are present? What thoughts are you aware of?

 

Return your focus to your breathing. Feel your stomach rise slowly on the in-breath and fall on the out breath.

 

Become aware of the entirety of your body and the sensations within it whilst slowly inhaling and exhaling.

 

Compassionate Mindfulness

More

Finding Balance In Action: Play a free online mindfulness meditation recording

Use this week to meditate for ten minutes over your lunch break during the working week and whenever you are stressed and see the impact it has over the course of the week.

 

For more of an in-depth look at the many benefits of meditation and how it can help you day to day please read my article titled ‘How to stop operating on auto-pilot and live for the moment’.

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Letting Go In Action: List behaviors that accentuate your pain + top tips on how to avoid them

List all the behaviors that make you depressed or low and rate out of ten how sad they make you, with 10 being depressed and 1 being having no effect. Anything you rate at a 7 or above brainstorm how you can minimize engaging in these behaviors.

 

For example:

 

  • Facebook or social media stalking – 8 – Deactivate your account for a month or two
  • Looking at photos of them (unless they have passed away) – 7 – Place them away in a box
  • Looking at videos of them – 10 – Every time you are tempted watch uplifting TED Talks instead
  • Going to places which reminds you of them – 9 – Plan to go to places you’ve always wanted to go but haven’t yet instead
  • Listening to music which reminds you of them – 9 – Delete from your devices and place the CD’s out of sight (or, even better, throw them away)
  • Watching movies which reminds you of them – 9 – Throw them away
  • Ruminating (thinking in circles with little problem solving) – 10 – Practice mindfulness exercises for ten minutes every time you catch yourself ruminating (if you can’t do this focus on your breathing for five minutes or place a time limit on how long you will ruminate – twenty minutes daily maximum)

 

Have you brainstormed how you might avoid depression inducing behaviors? Do you have any ideas that you could share which will help others? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

Why accepting the pain of holding on is the first step to recovery

When I resisted the pain I was experiencing, I accentuated it. When we practice mindfulness and both acknowledge and accept pain, it’s power against us diminishes. We are no longer trying to fight against the current and go upstream.

 

This is not the same as resigning yourself to the pain, but rather accepting its presence non-judgmentally, choosing to say ‘Ok, I am going through a difficult time right now and it is understandably painful. I will be upset whilst I am going through this but I will nurture myself and take positive steps which are going to let me move past this in time’.

 

HINT: Monday’s posts are jam packed with positive steps you can begin taking today!

 

Once you have accepted that pain will accompany your loss, and that this is to be expected, its power over you will diminish. Any generalized thoughts like ‘this will never end’ will cease and you will feel less trapped and hopeless.

 

Have you felt as though your pain would never cease whilst trying to let go and move on before? Have you ever tried to fight against your pain? What effect did this have? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

New ‘Best Resources’ Page Featuring The Webs Most Exceptional Psychology Resources

 

H All,

 

Here at Accessible Psychology I like to make things, well, accessible, so I have taken it upon myself to source the most exceptional psychology resources from all over the web and share them with you in one place, right here on my ‘Best Resources’ page. These resources are highly recommended by all top therapists. How do I know you say? Well, a therapist from none other than The Priory recommended them as the very best!

 

I like to think I have catered for everything so if you would like to become more assertive try the ‘Assert Yourself’ CBT InfoPax by CCI. Feel like you would like to have higher self-esteem? Try ‘Improving Self-Esteem’, also by CCI. Want more happiness? There’s a guidebook from Action for Happiness called ‘Ten Keys To Happier Living’ you can download right here at Accessible Psychology!

 

Should you have a therapist don’t worry there is something on my page for you too. I’ve featured a comprehensive selection of worksheets by Psychology Tools covering all sorts of thought records and diaries – there are even worksheets on anger, forgiveness and sleep. You can save, print and fill out all of the worksheets provided and then share them with your therapist. I’ve also included a fantastic online service by MindQuire where you can record and graph your depression, stress and anxiety levels and share the findings with your therapist.

 

For those of you wishing to integrate more mindfulness into your life, try Headspace – an online site and app with a massive encyclopaedia of meditation courses, all designed to help make meditation accessible, relevant and beneficial to the masses.

 

Please let me know which resources you like best and how they have helped you, I’d absolutely love to hear from you.

 

Enjoy everyone!

 

x X x Jenny Leigh x X x

7 Steps to a Happier You; Part Three

Step Six: Hobbies and leisure pursuits

 

Having hobbies and ways to creatively express ourselves can also significantly boost our feelings of happiness. Why not try taking a class of something you have always wanted to do? When we creatively express ourselves we experience a deep sense of personal satisfaction, pride and achievement which all work to boost our happiness. Check out Tasterlab for an extensive directory of hobby taster classes.

 

Likewise, having leisure pursuits is essential as they serve to both reduce stress, relax us and are a valuable source of fun and enjoyment. I have an unlimited cinema card which I pay for monthly so when I need to relax I can get lost in a movie. Other fun leisure pursuits include bowling, a meal at a restaurant, fishing, roller-skating, exhibitions and museums and even karaoke with friends.

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7 Steps to a Happier You; Part Two

 

Step Three: Live for the moment

 

In all of my happiest memories I was totally absorbed and engaged in the moment. These moments were so crystal clear it is as if I had experienced them with eyes which were seeing for the very first time. Amazingly, we can all learn to develop this close relationship to the present moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the man responsible for bringing mindfulness meditation into the mainstream medical arena, defines mindfulness as ‘The awareness that emerges when we learn to pay attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally to things as they are.’ Mindfulness has been found to reduce stress, anxiety and depression and to help us better deal with pain. It also serves to help us fully immerse ourselves in the moment and allows us to develop a sense of appreciation and gratitude, both essential components of a happier life.

  More

7 Steps to a Happier You; Part One

 

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary happiness can be defined as ‘A state of well being and contentment’. We all want to be happy but is it something we can actively pursue? For years I struggled with depression and so I began questioning whether I could reduce the possibility of further bouts by proactively seeking happiness. I was fortunate that I began my research into happiness at a time when the area of positive psychology had exploded and was grateful to discover that there was extensive information and findings surrounding the field of happiness. In fact there are many things we can all do if we want to increase our happiness and live more contented lives. These changes may be small and manageable, like keeping a daily gratitude journal, or could be fundamental changes like integrating meditation into our daily lives.

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Fantastic New CD’s Now Featured on ‘Further Reading (and Listening)’ Page!

Hi All,

 

Check out the fabulous new CD’s on my ‘Further Reading (and Listening)’ page! Whether you are struggling to move on after a separation or the loss of a loved one, you want a mindfulness meditation CD which all of the top therapists recommend, or you want to use the law of attraction to manifest more success in your life, you can find something on our page that’s just right for you.

Simply scroll to the bottom of the site to view ‘Recommended Books and CD’s’ where you can select the CD’s by genre, or go to our ‘Further Reading (and Listening)’ page and select page 4 to browse through our new selection of CD’s.

 

Enjoy!

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