5 Easy Steps to Start a Mindfulness Practice

mindfulness practiceIn a recent post I mentioned the mental and physical benefits of meditation and mindfulness practice.  But if you don’t have experience with meditation or mindfulness, incorporating a practice into your daily life can seem daunting.

In his book, Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn makes recommendations on how to get started on establishing a mindfulness practice in your life. Continue reading “5 Easy Steps to Start a Mindfulness Practice” »

101 Ways to Hack a Super Stressful Day

If you're heading back to school or just need a few helpful tips on how to reduce your stress and improve your health, check out the article 101 Ways to Hack a Super Stressful Day at Onlineclasses.org. There are a wide range of tips for work, health and managing emotions, some of the tips include: create a mantra, follow a schedule, stop multitasking, accept less than perfect, smile, work out, drink water and take a walk. There are 101 great tips.

The Story of Emotion

Where do emotions come from? Are they simply a wave that rolls over you, unpredictable and unchangable?

Emotions are triggered by events in our environments or in our bodies. Something happens that starts the process of an emotional experience. This could be anything from rain outside to feeling sore from exercise.

It is our thoughts about an event, not the event itself, that determines the emotion we will experience. If it is raining, you might think "I hate the rain" or you might think "At least it's not snow." Those two different thoughts will result in very different emotions.

You will feel the emotion as physical sensations in your body. A few examples are that sinking feeling in your stomach, your heart racing, a lack of energy or a burst of energy.

Verbal communication is the ability to name and label the emotion. What does that sinking feeling mean? How about sweaty palms and a racing heart? The ability to name and label your emotions adds a feeling of control and actually can decrease their intensity.

Finally there is an action urge with each emotion. Fear causes us to want to run or hide, anger causes an urge to approach and attack, happiness to reach out to others.

Prompting Event: Something happens
Interpretation: What do you think about he prompting event?
Body Response: What physical sensations do you feel? How does your face change?
Verbal Communication: Can you name the emotion? Can you communicate it verbally to others?
Action Urges: What do you feel

Understanding the story of emotions is an essential step in beginning to change how you feel. You can begin to change how you feel by finding ways to have more pleasant experiences or by changing how you think about the events that are already happening in your life.

Mindfulness Training for a Fit Mind

Just like physical training improves physical health, there is a growing body of research that indicates that mindfulness training improves mental health.  In a University of Pennsylvania led study, Marines who received Mindfulness Training before deployment to Iraq saw improvements in mood and working memory.  Improved working memory leads to better complex thought, problem solving and cognitive control of emotions.  Mindfulness training also improved functioning in high stress situations.

“The program emphasized integrating mindfulness exercises, like focused attention on the breath and mindful movement, into pre-deployment training. These mindfulness skills were to regulate symptoms in the body and mind following an experience of extreme stress. The importance of regularly engaging in mindfulness exercises was also emphasized. Are really useful and are emphasized in martial arts training as muay thai that help training the mind and body.

This study was published in the journal Emotion and also featured in the most recent edition of Joint Force Quarterly, the advisory journal for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was funded by the John W. Kluge Foundation and the Department of Defense.

For more on the study go to http://www.physorg.com/news185466556.html.