In Mindfulness, a Method to Sharpen Focus and Open Minds

Posted by on Mar 26, 2013

This is a nice description of mindfulness, how it is different from meditation, and how it has a very practical application in our day-to-day lives. I love the phrase “purposeful pause”; sometimes that is all we need to get our heads out of autopilot and make conscious choices in sync with who we want to be, and the live we want to create.

In Mindfulness, a Method to Sharpen Focus and Open Minds(NY Times)


ACT, Anxiety & stress, Mind & Body

A present, focused mind is a happy mind

Posted by on Dec 4, 2012

When are humans most happy? To gather data on this question, Matt Killingsworth built an app, Track Your Happiness, that let people report their feelings in real time. Among the surprising results: We’re often happiest when we’re lost in the moment. And the flip side: The more our mind wanders, the less happy we can be. (Filmed at TEDxCambridge.)

Matt Killingsworth talk (10 minute video)

ACT, Anxiety & stress, Mood & Emotion

Suspending the “self” and living from our essence

Posted by on Jun 19, 2012

“We each have a self — but I don’t think we are born with one.” This is an eloquent and powerful 14-minute talk on the struggle with self-identity by movie actor Thandie Newtown, daughter of a white man from England and a black woman from Zimbabwe. But it is not just about racial identity. It is about the relationship between who we are, our essence, and the “selves” we have constructed, which she says are “projections our clever brains create”. “When the self is suspended” as when she is fully engaged in dancing or acting, she says, “so is divisiveness, and judgement.”

I honestly believe, that the key to my success as an actor, and my very progress as a person, has been the very lack of self that used to make me feel so anxious and insecure. I always wondered why I could feel others’ pain so deeply, why I could recognize the somebody in the nobody.It’s because I didn’t have a “self” to get in the way. The thing that was a source of shame, was actually a source of enlightenment.

Thandie Newton TED Lecture

ACT, Anxiety & stress, For clients, Relationships and relating, Values and what is important

Eat broccoli, walk and… be alone

Posted by on Jun 16, 2012

Psychology and Western culture have had an unfortunate emphasis on the negative side of being alone. It’s as if alone=lonely. However, there is a growing body of research — nicely described in this article — that points to the values of alone-time: creative thinking, increased empathy, better memorization, deeper spirituality and (paradoxically) an increased ability to connect with others. Like exercise and good sleep, it turns out that solitude is an important part of healthy living.

The Power of Lonely (Boston Globe, 3/6/11)

Anxiety & stress, Cognition, Mood & Emotion, Parenting & Children, Relationships and relating

Learning to be helpless?

Posted by on May 15, 2012

“Learned helplessness” is a very real psychological phenomenon, as this video demonstrates, in which beliefs about our helplessness or incapacity lead us to stop trying. It was first discovered by accident by Martin Seligman, a pioneer of Positive Psychology, when he saw that caged dogs who were given an electric shock and denied escape, later no longer tried to escape even though the door to their cage was open.

Anxiety & stress, Mood & Emotion, Psychology 101