It is normal to experience a broad range of emotions. In fact, emotions are what make us human! Common emotions include sadness, joy, excitement, fear, guilt, anger, shame, and anxiety, to name a few. Experiencing a broad range of emotions is natural and unproblematic. However, intense emotions or rapid fluctuations between positive and negative emotions can be a source of great pain and distress for you and for those around you.[Read more…]
Mindfulness can help us in so many ways. It helps us feel more calm and centered. So why is it so hard to make it happen?
Practicing mindfulness can feel complicated and can leave you feeling discouraged or thinking you’re “doing it wrong.” Who would have thought that something associated with serenity and emotional health. could be so frustrating?
It’s only more frustrating when we realize that feeling frustration might be the opposite of what mindfulness is supposed to create.[Read more…]
Background: Meditation’s health benefits
Meditation and mindfulness practices have become more accepted in Western cultures since the late 1990’s. There are several reasons for this. A primary one is the research and writing of Jon Kabat-Zinn, a scientist who adapted a Southeast Asian Buddhist meditation practice for a Western audience.
His work focuses on a practice called mindfulness meditation. Kabat-Zinn initially, in the late 1970s, focused on patients suffering from chronic pain. His research showed promising results for these patients. His work led to an expansion in research on what other conditions improve with mindfulness meditation. In the following years, studies showed that mindfulness and meditation produce benefit for those suffering from other conditions as well. These include hypertension, insomnia, as well as various anxiety and mood disorders.[Read more…]
More and more people are seeing benefits from learning and practicing mindfulness. It helps them decrease stress and stress-related illnesses, and to improve their mental health by learning how to let go of painful thoughts or feelings. In my work, patients often ask how to be mindful around their emotions. This question usually arises after realizing that one has great difficulty controlling intense emotions (i.e. going from “0 to 100”) that may be triggered in uncomfortable or distressing situations.[Read more…]
How long should you meditate? Legend tells us the Buddha sat down to meditate for seven weeks before attaining enlightenment. What if we don’t have seven weeks, and have more modest goals?
The increased popularity and research evidence for mindfulness and meditation has led many people to integrate meditation into their lives. For some people meditation is a way to stay centered and feel sane; for others, it’s a way to manage anxiety. Still others find it’s a way to deal with stress, attention deficits, or other difficulties. Whatever the reason people practice meditation, many wonder, “How long should I meditate?”
There is not one simple answer, unfortunately, but there are several helpful clues around.[Read more…]