Sometimes the best way to experience fewer painful emotions is to simply let them go. It’s not possible to avoid all painful feelings. Everyone will, at one point or another, feel anger, sadness, fear or shame. For some these emotions tend to linger. In order to reduce the amount of time you spend in negative emotions, try the exercise below.
As you breathe in, you say to yourself: “Mindfully breathing.” As you breathe out, you say to yourself: “Letting go of X …” (here you insert whatever you’d like to have less of such as anxiety, tension, anger, judgments, perfectionism, etc.). You can select one thing to let go of and say that recurrently or let go of a whole series that comes to mind. Eventually, the practice often reduces to: Mindfully breathing, Letting go.
This breathing exercise can be done alone or practiced in a group. In a group one can go around the room with each member saying aloud what he or she would like to let go of. Those who don’t want to participate can say, “pass.” This can be done with several rotations. This tends to build a sense of group cohesiveness in addition to teaching a mindful breathing skill.
Richard Davidson, one of the world’s top brain scientists, studies how mindfulenss meditation, can change the neural circuitry in our brains and, as a result, how our brains function.
In an an ongoing study of the brains of Buddhist monks, each of whom had accomplished at least 10,000 hours of meditation, Davidson has found that mental practice can:
• change the brain in response to meditation
• induce long-lasting changes in the brain
• improve mental attributes and positive emotions such as compassion and empathy
• potentially alter the “happiness set point” in the brain for the better
Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation
If you are interested in the topic of DBT and Parenting:
Save the Date: Friday, April 16th, 2010, from 11:00a.m. to 12:30p.m. Eastern Time.
NAMI Child and Adolescent Mental Health announces:
“We are very pleased to have special guest, Pat Harvey, LCSW-C, co-author of Parenting a Child Who Has Intense Emotions: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Help Your Child Regulate Emotional Outbursts and Aggressive Behaviors on our April Children’s Conference Call with Dr. Ken Duckworth , NAMI Medical Director and child and adolescent psychiatrist, to discuss how to use dialectical behavior therapy skills to parent a child who has intense emotions. Pat is a licensed clinical social worker and has extensive experience in using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills with children and adolescents.
Friday Children’s Conference Calls with Dr. Duckworth take place on the third Friday of every month. The calls are toll free and are scheduled from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. E.T. To access the toll-free call, please dial 1-888-858-6021; access number 309918#. We hope that you will join us!”
Lesley Grant, the director of the Marin Mindfulness Cooperative in San Anselmo teaches mindfulness to preschoolers. The purpose: “to lower stress in anxious teachers and students.” Through pictures and stories they guide children in following their breath.
Here is a sample of a Mindfulness exercise used for kids ages 2 1/2 to five.
My mind is a clear, blue sky, my mind is a clear blue sky.
And I breathe in, and I breathe out.
And my mind is a clear, blue sky.
My mind is a clear, blue sky. And the feelings come, and the feelings go.
And my mind is a clear, blue sky. My mind is a clear, blue sky.”
For more on this story, follow the link: Preschoolers Practice Meditation