Month: April 2021

6 Mindfulness Books to Read This Spring

How the Body and the Mind Experience and Endure Physical Suffering

Abdul-Ghaaliq Lalkhen, MD •

Anyone whose doctor ever asked them to describe pain on a scale from 1 to 10 knows just how hazy our understanding of pain is. There is perhaps nothing more private, or more lonesome, than your own pain. Even though pain is the main event that causes us to seek medical attention, if a doctor can’t find the source of the pain, and treat it, they’re very unlikely to have much sophisticated help to offer you for managing the pain.

Dr. Lalkhen, who has been helping patients with pain for over two decades, and who is on the Faculty of Pain Medicine at UK Royal College of Anesthetists, hopes to advance all of our understanding—medical professionals and laypeople alike—of the subtleties of pain. And in so doing he asks that we get past some fundamental and harmful misconceptions: “Simply put, we need to stop viewing our bodies as machines that medicine can fix when they go wrong. If people are educated about their body and about pain, perhaps we might put an end to the undulating fashions of medical meddling—meddling that, in some cases, has far-reaching consequences appreciated only decades later.” The opioid epidemic is a prime example of one of these consequences.

His mission, he says, is to “explain pain in all its forms” so that with “renewed knowledge and understanding, we can become active participants in the art of caring, understanding, and coping with an experience that can become all-consuming.” He fulfills his mission well, beginning with the anatomical mechanics of pain and a history of human relationships with pain, concluding with helpful prescriptions—including mindfulness—for changing our relationship to the way we suffer. – BB

The Lost Art of Giving a F*ck

LaRayia Gaston • Sounds True

This easy-to-read book is a friendly, motivating companion for those who want to make a difference in the world, but find themselves intimidated by big calls for even bigger solutions. LaRayia Gaston says it isn’t our personal responsibility to fix the world, but rather to try to have a positive impact on those around us. She offers stories and lessons on mindfulness, scarcity, and humanity from working with people experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in LA.

She reminds us why we should allow ourselves to care, and offers pathways to caring without being overwhelmed by the world’s problems. This message is interspersed with research on humanitarian issues and thoughtful quotes from authors, poets, and volunteers. Simple “heartwork” exercises suggest opportunities to take the content off the page and into your own life. -AWC

Break Free from Beauty Culture and Embrace Your Radiant Self

Lauren Geertsen • Sounds True

It’s easy to mistake The Invisible Corset for yet another self-help book, but you don’t need to dive too deep to realize it’s not. Opinions long perpetuated by culture—for example, the notion that “Beauty is pain”—have been taken as law and rooted as core aspects of how we view our bodies.

Although Geertsen is directly talking to women, her book has a lesson for everyone. Society enforces a lot of expectations, many of which are unattainable or unsustainable, and that, if internalized, are warped into self-hate. This book is for those ready to go beyond the idea of body love (in its more shallow versions) into self-love: from loving your body as it is, to loving your life as it is. – OL

Lidia Zylowska, MD,
and John T. Mitchell, PhD •
Guilford Press

This manual for clinicians presents a wonderfully thorough, informative, and compassionate guide to the science and practice of applying mindfulness to treating ADHD in adults, from two authoritative voices. Lidia Zylowska, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Minnesota, also wrote The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD (2012), which speaks directly to those diagnosed with ADHD. John T. Mitchell, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University and a faculty member in Duke’s ADHD Program, conducted the first controlled study of the mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) detailed in this book: MAPs (Mindful Awareness Practices) for ADHD, a program Zylowska pioneered.

Treating a so-called disorder of attention using the largely attentional tools of mindfulness might sound like a nonstarter. In fact, as the authors note, adult ADHD is a disorder of executive functioning and self-regulation: two areas addressed by both Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and MAPs, one of MBSR’s therapeutic descendants. In reviewing the research, the authors summarize that MBIs, “particularly MAPs, have demonstrated improvements in core symptoms of [ADHD] as well as characteristic features of the disorder, such as executive functioning and emotion dysregulation.”

The first section offers an overview and conceptual foundation, and a research review, of MAPs for ADHD—thoughtfully addressing such questions as “Is mindfulness training secular?” “Is MAPs a group or individual therapy?” and “Can MAPs exercises be adapted for individuals with physical or sensory difficulties?” Next, the authors explore a session-by-session treatment manual, including scripts for mindfulness exercises. They explain the program’s structure, while emphasizing the need to creatively adapt that structure based on each patient’s needs. Finally, in part 3, they place MBIs in the context of typical treatments for adult ADHD, and advise on next steps to consider with patients who have worked through the initial 8-week MAPs training. – AT

Tom Lutz • Columbia University Press

Many a high school student has written what they were told was an essay or answered an “essay” question, but those versions lack the essential ingredient of a genuine essay, the kind invented by Michel de Montaigne in the 16th century, which wandered aimlessly. Straying like a lost dog. Appropriately, Tom Lutz—Chair of the Department of Creative Writing at University of California, Riverside and founder and editor-in-chief of the LA Review of Books—begins this celebration of drifting and wandering by discussing the essay, after which he stumbles into poetry, beginning with renowned Japanese poet Bashō, who encouraged readers to “listen recklessly.” Lutz doesn’t limit his beautifully haphazard musings to writing. He touches on workaholism, the nomadic life, restlessness, travel, and drugs, among many other topics, like a box marked “miscellaneous.”

To be without aim is not a lack in Lutz’s book. It is fulfilling. So as his lovely little book closes he seems to suggest that our endless striving to make and to do is most unnatural, for “There is nothing more natural than aimlessness, nothing more aimless than nature.” – BB

Judson Brewer, MD, PhD •
Penguin Random House

“I had a lightbulb moment when I realized that one of the reasons so many people fail to see that they have anxiety is the way it hides in bad habits,” writes psychiatrist and neuroscience researcher Judson Brewer. You might expect that a book about the anxiety that permeates our lives right down to our habits—and why much of the conventional advice for dealing with it doesn’t work—is unlikely to be a rollicking good time.

Unwinding Anxiety defies that expectation. It’s richly pragmatic, down-to-earth, and (truly) fun to read, while making leading-edge neuroscience on habits and anxiety easy to grasp. Drawing from his own clinical practice, research, and personal experience, Brewer guides readers from identifying our anxiety triggers to understanding why we get trapped in fretful thought-loops. The result is an accessible guide to uncovering what you may unconsciously be doing that perpetuates your anxiety, and breaking the cycle through awareness and curiosity. – AT

Three Mindful Podcasts to Listen to Now

1) High Impact Physician

Episode: “The Science of Resilience (Dr. Jonathan Fisher)”

Cardiologist and meditation teacher Dr. Jonathan Fisher wants us to consider how we’re taking care of our hearts. He isn’t strictly referring to the physical organ, but also to our minds and our hearts—emotionally. In this insightful conversation with host Sandy Scott, Fisher talks about stress and resilience through the lens of cardiology and how promoting emotional well-being in health care can help patients and providers alike. “[Self-care] coincides with the evolution of healthcare,” Fisher says. Where healthcare advice was once prescriptive, we’re now moving toward “shared responsibility for caring for ourselves.” – KR

2) Life Kit

Episode: “Poet Maggie Smith On ‘Trying On’ Hope”

Maggie Smith wrote Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change at a time in her life when everything felt unsure. By mere happenstance, the book was released during a global pandemic when the world began collectively grappling with the same feelings. Prompted by perceptive questions from host Kat Chow, Smith explains the “notes to self” found in her book, in the context of holding on to hope with “self-pep talks” and daily practices like making time to do something “that makes you feel like you.” Smith says this felt like “trying on hope every day, even though it didn’t fit well, like it was scratchy and oversized.” But after a while, she says, she was able to connect with a “kinder story” about herself. – KR

3) Vox Conversations

Episode: “We don’t just feel emotions. We make them.”

Neuroscientist, psychologist, and author Lisa Feldman Barrett talks to Vox Conversations host Ezra Klein in this densely scientific, but enlightening episode about emotions and how they don’t actually work the way we think they do. Feldman Barrett explains current research that shows emotions aren’t inherent in our biology, but are constructed throughout our lives (the principle at the heart of Barrett’s 2017 book How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain). This highly individualized view of emotions means we’re past due for a major rethink of our systems, our behaviors, and even the way we understand reality. -AWC

The Mindful editors look back on their favourite books from this year, covering diverse topics such as mindful eating, the truth of belonging, and emotional resilience.
Read More 

  • Stephanie Domet, Amber Tucker, and Barry Boyce
  • December 17, 2020

From exploring emotional resilience to dabbling in mindful eating, here are four books (and three podcasts) to nourish your body and mind.
Read More 

  • Amber Tucker, Barry Boyce, and Stephanie Domet
  • November 23, 2020

What’s on your reading list for 2021? To get you started, here are 10 books (and three podcasts) that help us reflect, celebrate, practice, and find balance.
Read More 

  • Amber Tucker, Barry Boyce, Stephanie Domet, and Oyinda Lagunju
  • April 16, 2021

Dealbreakers: What Are You Not Willing to Compromise On?


Identify your dealbreakers. What core values do you hold that you aren’t willing to compromise on no matter what?

What in your life isn’t negotiable? What can’t be bought with money, fame, or attention?

If you know the answer to that question, you can save yourself a lot of unnecessary problems and compromises in life.

Identifying your “dealbreakers” helps you make smarter choices in multiple areas in life, especially your relationships, work, and personal happiness.

For example, ask yourself:

  • “What is my #1 dealbreaker when it comes to relationships or dating?”
  • “What is my #1 dealbreaker when it comes to a job or career?”
  • “What is my #1 dealbreaker when it comes to my lifestyle or personal interests?”

Try to think of just one huge dealbreaker or “red flag” that you absolutely can’t compromise on – a clear sign that something isn’t for you

With relationships, maybe your dealbreaker is a history of cheating, or certain political or religious beliefs, or someone who doesn’t share the same vision of the future as you (like not wanting to get married or have kids).

With a job or career, maybe your dealbreaker is having to work in a corporate office setting, or spending too much time away from family, or working for a company you find unethical.

There are many other types of dealbreakers too such as certain lifestyle choices, personal habits, or where you want to live. No matter what choice you’re making in life, it’s important to consider where you draw the line.

You can filter out a lot of unnecessary options quicker if you know what you aren’t willing to compromise on.

When you have a clear idea of what you DO NOT want in your life, then you can cut off potential choices sooner rather than waiting for things to “work out,” especially when you know there is a fundamental incompatibility.

In fact, it’s often best to start your decision-making process with a dealbreaker. By doing this, you can screen out any unsuitable options and save yourself the maximal time and effort.

Dealbreakers can be used as a cognitive heuristic to save you from unnecessary over-thinking and cost/benefit analysis. When you know “X = Dealbreaker,” then you don’t have to entertain all the other factors going into a decision. It cuts right to the chase.

Knowing what you DON’T want is a good starting point toward knowing what you DO want.

If you’re creating an online dating profile, then it’s often best to mention your dealbreakers right away. That ultimately saves both you and potential matches from wasting their time – you’re doing everyone a favor when you’re honest about what you want.

The same goes for job searching, be upfront about what you’re looking for. This will save you from applying to jobs you know will make you miserable. It also means being honest about your dealbreakers during job interviews (which are just as much about finding out if you’re right for a job, as if a job is right for you).

Everyone’s dealbreakers will be different. Sometimes it means going against certain social norms and social pressures; but if they are real dealbreakers, then the rewards will outweigh the costs in the long-term.

You can technically break any social norm you want as long as it’s consistent with your values and you’re willing to pay the potential social costs.

I was lucky enough to recognize a dealbreaker very early in my life and I stuck to it ferociously.

Since I was 10-12, I knew I always wanted to work for myself. I still had various jobs throughout my life working for others (a golf course, pharmacy, music venue, and art gallery), but I knew my main career path was being self-employed. I craved the independence and flexibility.

At times, I had to settle for a lot less money and a lot less stability to follow my path. People would ask me, “So Steven, what are you doing for work now?” and I’d say I’m writing about psychology on my website. Then they’d reply, “Cool…so when are you getting a real job?” Ouch.

A part of me could’ve given up at anytime to be a normal person with a normal job. But over a decade later, I’m glad I didn’t. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made (so far) – and it’s because I knew what I really wanted.

There were costs and pain, but it was also “easy” because I knew there weren’t any other paths that were right for me – that concentrates your focus and energy. Long-term compromise on that core value simply wasn’t on the table. Not negotiable. Dealbreaker.

Of course, compromise is necessary in life – no one gets everything they want – the key is knowing what things you aren’t willing to give up.

Some things are easier to compromise on than others. Maybe someone you marry isn’t as attractive as you’d like them to be, or your job has some annoying coworkers, or your current home isn’t as big or nice as you wish.

Most people learn to be happy with these “imperfect” choices because they know there are more important things in life.

The ultimate question is: What’s most important to you?

One sign that something is a real dealbreaker is that you can’t even imagine yourself being able to live that way in the future.

Take a moment to “zoom out” and try to picture yourself in the future 5 or 10 years from now. What would it look like if you didn’t compromise on that value? What if you did?

If you want to build a better future for yourself, identifying your dealbreakers is a smart place to start.

Stay updated on new articles and resources in psychology and self improvement from The Emotion Machine:

The post Dealbreakers: What Are You Not Willing to Compromise On? appeared first on The Emotion Machine.

Habits and Everyday Addictions

by Judson Brewer

Everyday Adelaide No. 130 (Spring/Summer) (SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre)

Hate to tell you this, but you’re addicted to something. When you read the word addicted, your first thoughts might be of alcohol, heroin, opioids, or other illicit drugs. You might also think that addiction is something that happens to other people. A friend, family member, or coworker who really struggled (or is still struggling) might pop into your head as your brain quickly compares their situation to yours. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you said out loud, “No way, I’m not an addict. I just have a few pesky habits that keep sticking around.”

I can guess that’s your first reaction, because that’s exactly what I thought for the longest time. I’m just a normal guy who grew up in the center of normal—Indiana. My mom made sure I ate my vegetables, got an education, and stayed away from drugs. I clearly took her lessons to heart—perhaps even too much?— because here I am, in my forties, and I’m a vegetarian with too many graduate degrees (MD and PhD). Everything a boy could do to make his mom proud. Yet I didn’t know the first thing about addiction.

In fact, it wasn’t until I was in my psychiatry residency training at Yale that I really learned about addiction. I saw patients addicted to meth, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, cigarettes . . . you name it. Many of them were addicted to multiple substances at the same time, and many had been in and out of rehab. In most cases, these were ordinary, intelligent people who knew all too well the costs of their addiction on their health, their relationships, the people around them— heck, on their lives in general—and yet they could not get back in control. It was often as baffling as it was sad.

Seeing what my patients were going through brought to life the otherwise dry definition of addiction: “continued use despite adverse consequences.” Addiction isn’t limited to the use of chemicals such as nicotine, alcohol, and heroin. Continued use despite adverse consequences goes way beyond cocaine or cigarettes or any of the really bad things I had avoided. That definition— and let’s hear it once again, in case we’re in any doubt: “continued use despite adverse consequences”—well, that could mean continued use of anything.

A strange sunrise

This thought brought me up short. While I was treating patients who had ruined their lives with use of the big bad stuff, I also had some nagging questions in my head: “What if the root of addiction isn’t in the substances themselves, but in a deeper place? What really causes addiction?” Could anxiety be a habit, or even an addiction? In other words, how obvious are the adverse consequences of anxiety?

Can we get addicted to worrying? On the surface, it seems that anxiety helps us get things done. It seems that worrying helps us protect our children from harm. But does the science back this up?

The joke among psychological researchers is that when we conduct research, we are in fact conducting “me-search.” We study our own quirks, foibles, and pathology (conscious or unconscious) in order to gain a way into the wider subject. So I looked inward; and I also started asking friends and coworkers about their habits. Long story short: I found addiction everywhere. And this is what it looked like: Continued shopping despite adverse consequences. Continued pining away for that special someone despite adverse consequences. Continued computer gaming despite adverse consequences. Continued eating despite adverse consequences. Continued daydreaming despite adverse consequences. Continued social media checking despite adverse consequences. Continued worrying despite adverse consequences (yes, as you’ll see, worry does have significant adverse consequences). Addiction isn’t limited to the so-called hard drugs and addictive substances. It is everywhere. Is this new, or had we missed something?

The answer: this is old and new. Let’s start with the new.

The rate of change in our world over the last twenty years far outstrips all the changes in the previous two hundred years. Our brains and bodies haven’t kept up, and it’s killing us.

Let’s use where I grew up—Indianapolis, Indiana, the middle of the Midwest, the center of normal— as an example. Back in the 1800s, if I lived on a farm on the prairie and I had a hankering for a new pair of shoes, I’d need to hitch my horse to my wagon, ride into town, talk to the person at the general store about what shoes I wanted (and what size), go back home, wait a couple of weeks for the order to go out to the cobbler and for them to be made, hitch my horse back up to my wagon, go back into town, and (assuming I had the money to pay for the shoes) buy the darn shoes. Now? I can be zipping along in my car, find myself stuck in traffic, and in a fit of frustration, click on an ad that I saw in my email (yes, targeted to me because Google knows I like to buy shoes), and as if by magic, one to two days later (thanks to Amazon Prime), a pair of perfectly fitting shoes shows up on my doorstep.

You don’t need to be an addiction psychiatrist to see that the two-minute, two-click fix is more likely to get you to keep buying shoes than the two-month experience.

In the name of convenience and efficiency, the modern world is increasingly designed to create addictive experiences. This holds true for things (like shoes, food, etc.) and behaviors (like watching TV, checking social media, or playing video games). It can even be true for thoughts, like politics, romance, or the need to keep up with the latest news: dating apps and news feeds are increasingly engineered to have itch-inducing features and headlines designed to be “clickbait.” Instead of time-honored news agencies delivering a newspaper to your door once a day, letting you decide what to read, modern media conglomerates and start-ups decide what information to deliver to you and when. They can track your every search and click, which give them feedback on which articles have click-worthy stickiness that gets you to scratch that itch. Based on this feedback, they can write more clicky and sticky articles, rather than simply delivering the news. Notice how today more headlines are phrased as questions or partial answers than ten years ago.

On top of this, because almost everything is readily available at a moment’s notice through our TVs, laptops, and smartphones, companies can take advantage of any weak moment (boredom, frustration, anger, loneliness, hunger) by offering a simple emotional fix (buy these shoes, eat this food, check this news feed). And these addiction get reified and solidified into habits, so that they don’t feel like addictions—they just feel like who we are.

How did we get here?

Prairie Stendhalienne

To answer this question, we need to go back a lot further in time than Little House on the Prairie. We need to go back to when our brains evolved the ability to learn.

Remember, our brains have old and new components. The new parts facilitate thinking, creativity, decision-making, and so on. But these newer sections are layered on top of the older parts of our brain—parts that evolved to help us survive. One example that I gave in chapter 2 was the fight/flight/freeze instinct. Another feature of the “old brain” that I briefly touched on previously is what’s known as the reward-based learning system.­ Reward-based learning is based on positive and negative reinforcement. Put simply, you want to do more of the things that feel good (positively reinforcing) and less of thethings that feel bad (negatively reinforcing). This ability is so important and evolved so far back that scientists can see it at play in sea slugs—as I mentioned earlier, organisms with only twenty thousand neurons in their entire nervous system (a discovery so big Eric Kandel won the Nobel Prize for it). Imagine that: just twenty thousand neurons. That’s a creature similar to a car stripped down to only the essential elements needed to make it go (and stop).

Back in cave-person days, reward-based learning was exceedingly helpful. Since food was hard to come by, our hairy ancestors might come across some food and their stodgy little brains would grunt, “Calories . . . survival!” Cave person tasted the food—yummy—and presto! Cave person survived. When cave person got some sugar or fat, his or her brain not only connected nutrients with survival but also released a chemical called dopamine, a neurotransmitter essential for learning to pair places with behaviors. Dopamine acted like a primeval whiteboard, upon which was written: “Remember what you are eating and where you found it.” Cave person laid down a context-dependent memory and learned over time to repeat the process. See food, eat food. Survive. Also, feel good. Repeat. Trigger/cue, behavior, reward.

Fast-forward to last night. You weren’t feeling so great— you had a bad day at work; your partner said something hurtful; or you recalled the moment your father left your mother for somebody else— and you remembered that Lindt Excellence Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate Bar on the door of your refrigerator. These days, finding food isn’t as hard as it was for the cave person, so food has a different role in the (over-) developed world at least. Our modern brains say, Hey, you can use this dopamine thing for more than remembering where food is. In fact, the next time you feel bad, you can try eating something good, and you’ll feel better! We thank our brains for that great idea and quickly learn that if we eat chocolate or ice cream when we’re mad or sad, we feel better. This is the exact same learning process that cave person went through, but now the trigger is different: Instead of a hunger signal coming from our stomach, an emotional signal— feeling sad/mad/hurt/lonely— triggers our urge to eat.

Recall back to when you were a teenager. Remember those rebel kids outside of school smoking? You really wanted to be that cool, so you start smoking. The Marlboro man wasn’t a dork, and this was no accident. See cool. Smoke to be cool. Feel good. Repeat. Trigger, behavior, reward. And each time you perform the behavior, you reinforce this brain pathway.

Before you know it—because it’s not really a conscious occurrence—the way you deal with an emotion or to assuage stressors becomes a habit.

This is a crucial moment, so please read this slowly: With the same brain mechanisms as that unnamed cave person, we modern geniuses have gone from learning to survive to literally killing ourselves with these habits. And it’s gotten exponentially worse in the last twenty years. Obesity and smoking are among the leading preventable causes of morbidity and mortality in the world. Undeterred by modern medicine, anxiety disorders top the charts as the most predominant psychiatric conditions.

On top of this, people spend most of their time online getting little dopamine hits from clicking on this or that, or liking this or that, or being liked for this or that. Each of these habits and conditions are created by our old brain trying to help us survive in a new world.

And it’s not working so well.

I’m not just talking about stress or overeating or shopping or unhealthy relationships or too much time online or that general anxiety we all seem to face all the time. If you ever get caught up in a worry habit loop, you know what I mean:

Trigger: Thought or emotion
Behavior: Worrying
Result/reward: Avoidance, overplanning, etc.

Here, a thought or emotion triggers your brain to start worrying. This results in avoiding the negative thought or emotion, which feels more rewarding than the original thought or emotion.

Remember back to the start of summer...

Let’s recap:
Our brains evolved to help us survive. When we were hungry cavepeople, we used reward-based learning to help us remember where to find food. Now this learning process can be leveraged to trigger cravings and evoke emotions . . . and create habits, compulsive behavior, and addictions.

Companies have understood this for quite a while now.

The food industry spends billions of dollars finding just the right amount of salt, sugar, and crunch to make foods irresistible. Social media companies spend thousands of hours tweaking their algorithms to make sure you are triggered by the perfect photos, videos, and posts to keep you scrolling for hours (while looking at their advertising partners). News outlets optimize their headlines for clickbait. Online retailers design their websites with hooks like “other customers like you also purchased . . .” to keep you searching until you buy. It’s everywhere, and it’s only going to get more intense and bigger.

And it’s worse than you realize: there are additional “addiction maximizers” in play in the modern world.

First, the most crave-ogenic (that is to say, meant to make you crave) type of reinforcement learning is called intermittent reinforcement. When an animal is given a reward that isn’t on a regular schedule or one that seems random (intermittent), the dopamine neurons in the brain perk up more than usual. Think of a time when someone surprised you with a gift or party. I bet you can remember it, right? That’s because unexpected rewards fire off dopamine in your brain at a much higher rate than expected ones.

Casinos provide one example of how this works in the commercial world. They have dialed intermittent reinforcement in so well that they have a formula/algorithm that has the slot machines “hit” just enough times to get people to keep playing, even though on average everyone loses money (the casino’s “winning” formula).

Red alert

Here’s another: Silicon Valley. It turns out that intermittent reinforcement extends to anything that alerts you to something new. Remember, this is our old brain, using the only tricks that it has to try to survive in today’s fast-paced and hyperconnected world. That part of the brain, though, doesn’t know the difference between a saber-toothed tiger and a late-night email from your boss. So any kind of alert—from the ancient “You’ve got mail” of to a buzz in your pocket for a new like on your social media post—triggers a response in your old brain. Your email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Trulia 3-bedroom, 21⁄2-bath apartment with granite countertops search filter— anything that claims to help you stay connected is designed for maximum addiction, in part because they don’t bing, beep, tweet, email, or chirp at regular intervals.

The second everyday addiction maximizer in the modern world is immediate availability. Buying those shoes back in the 1800s was a lot of work, and that was a good thing. If I had a hankering for new shoes to celebrate the end of the Civil War, I couldn’t just impulsively order them, knowing that they’d show up at my barn the next day. And because the process was arduous and time-consuming and slow and, crucially, not immediate, I had to think hard about the costs and benefits. Were the shoes I already had really worn out, or would they work for a little while longer?

Time is critical for allowing all of that excitement to wash over us (oh, new shoes, how fun!), and importantly, go away. Time gives us, well, time to sober up, so that the sweet juiciness of the moment can fade into the reality of the need.

In the modern world, however, you can take care of any need or desire almost instantly. Stressed out? No problem. Cupcakes are right around the corner. Bored? Check out the latest posts on Instagram. Anxious? Watch cute puppy videos on YouTube. “Need” a new pair of shoes (as in see someone with a cute pair of shoes that you have to have)? Just hop on Amazon.

Hate to also tell you this, but . . . your smartphone is nothing more than an advertising billboard in your pocket. What’s more, you pay for it to advertise to you constantly.

By combining the reward-based learning built into our old brain with intermittent reinforcement and immediate availability, we’ve created a dangerous formula for modern-day habits and addictions that goes well beyond what we typically think of as substance abuse.

simple beauty

I’m not laying this out just to scare you. I want you to understand how your mind works and how much of the modern world is de signed to create addictive behaviors and capitalize on them. In order to successfully work with your mind, you have to first know how your mind works. Once you understand how your mind works, you can begin to work with it. It’s that simple. Now you know how your mind forms habits. And with this understanding, you are ready to take the next step: mapping your mind.

Ready for the first reflection?

Anxiety is a bit trickier than most habits. To manage anxiety, you need a bottom-up approach, so let’s start with something simple. What are my top three habits and everyday addictions? What bad habits and unwanted behaviors do I keep doing, despite adverse consequences?

Excerpted from UNWINDING ANXIETY by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2021, Dr. Judson Brewer

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Audio: A Meditation on Grief

Audio: A Meditation on Grief


When after heavy rain the storm clouds disperse, is it not that they’ve wept themselves clear to the end? —Ghalib

Grief is one of the heart’s natural responses to loss. When we grieve we allow ourselves to feel the truth of our pain, the measure of betrayal or tragedy in our life. By our willingness to mourn, we slowly acknowledge, integrate, and accept the truth of our losses. Sometimes the best way to let go is to grieve.

It takes courage to grieve, to honor the pain we carry. We can grieve in tears or in meditative silence, in prayer or in song. In touching the pain of recent and long-held griefs, we come face to face with our genuine human vulnerability, with helplessness and hopelessness. These are the storm clouds of the heart.

Most traditional societies offer ritual and communal support to help people move through grief and loss. We need to respect our tears. Without a wise way to grieve, we can only soldier on, armored and unfeeling, but our hearts cannot learn and grow from the sorrows of the past.

To meditate on grief, let yourself sit, alone or with a comforting friend. Take the time to create an atmosphere of support. When you are ready, begin by sensing your breath. Feel your breathing in the area of your chest. This can help you become present to what is within you. Take one hand and hold it gently on your heart as if you were holding a vulnerable human being. You are.

As you continue to breathe, bring to mind the loss or pain you are grieving. Let the story, the images, the feelings comes naturally. Hold them gently. Take your time. Let the feelings come layer by layer, a little at a time.

Keep breathing softly, compassionately. Let whatever feelings are there, pain and tears, anger and love, fear and sorrow, come as they will. Touch them gently. Let them unravel out of your body and mind. Make space for any images that arise. Allow the whole story. Breathe and hold it all with tenderness and compassion. Kindness for it all, for you and for others.

The grief we carry is part of the grief of the world. Hold it gently. Let it be honored. You do not have to keep it in anymore. You can let it go into the heart of compassion; you can weep.

Releasing the grief we carry is a long, tear-filled process. Yet it follows the natural intelligence of the body and heart. Trust it, trust the unfolding. Along with meditation, some of your grief will want to be written, to be cried out, to be sung, to be danced. Let the timeless wisdom within you carry you through grief and awaken a tender, open heart.

Keep in mind that grief doesn’t just dissolve. Instead it arises in waves and gradually, with growing compassion, there comes more space around it. The heart opens and in its own time, little by little, gaps of new life—breaks in the rain clouds appear. The body relaxes and freer breaths appear. This is a natural cycle you can trust—how life and the heart renews itself. Like the spring after winter, it always does.


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11 Steps to Manifest Something You Want

Manifest Something You Want

Do you wonder how to manifest something – anything – you want?

You read about manifesting, and you read about people, who succeeded to get the things they wanted, and you wonder how you too, can manifest something you want.

Why some people succeed with manifesting and others don’t?

Very simple. Most people are not familiar with the steps they need to follow, in order to manifest love, money, a job, a house, or anything else.

What are the steps required to manifest anything you want? How do you go about manifesting your dreams? Continue reading to find out.

Steps to Manifest Something You Want

1. Be Clear About Your Goal and Intention

If you don’t know exactly what it is that you want, you cannot actually take steps to get it. To manifest something, you must know exactly what you want.

Devote some time to think about what you really want. You need to be sure you want it, otherwise, you might get something you don’t want.

Get clear details of what you want. If it is a car, what model, what color, how much horse-power, new or second hand, etc.

If you decide about something, and then change your mind afterwards, that’s okay. Don’t get stuck with the something you stopped desiring, since this kind of thinking can prevent the law of attraction from working.

2. Do not Choose too Many Goals

If you choose too many goals, you scatter your energy, and do not focus enough on each goal. Choosing one, or just a few goals at a time, increase the energy you direct to each goal, and this way, you can get faster results.

3. Use Your Common Sense

You can manifest almost anything you want, but there might be limits, at least for the time being.

Don’t start with something far beyond your current situation, since this might take too much time to accomplish, and you might get stop believing you can get it.

Try first, to manifest things that are within your reach.

To do so, use your common sense.

For example, if you don’t have a job, start focusing on getting a good paying job. If you wish to be the boss, this can come later, after you get the job and make progress.

4. Ask the Universe for What You Want

The Universe is an Omnipotent power, capable of doing anything.

Ask the universe for what you want, and be clear about what you want to manifest.

Choose one or more of the following options:

  • You can ask the Universe by stating your wish audibly or silently, several times a day.
  • You can write down what you want, many times a day.
  • Repeat affirmations.
  • Visualize what you want, meaning, imagining in your mind what you want to manifest.
  • You can create a vision board.
  • Another option is to write a letter to the Universe, stating what you want, and read this letter every day.
  • Ask the Universe several times a day, for a few minutes each time.

When the universe knows what you want to manifest, it can help you.

5. Work toward Your Goals

Your chances of getting results increases, when you co-operate with the Universe.

Working toward your goals and doing things that will get you there, speed up the process and increase your prospects of receiving what you want.

Don’t just wait passively for things to happen.

Write 5 actions that will take you closer to achieving your goals. This could be getting some knowledge or expertise, developing a new skill or a new habit, or making some changes in your life.

If for example, if you want to live in a foreign country, start learning its language, geography, and the habits of the people living there.

Start Making Your Dreams Come True!

Visualize and AchieveMake creative visualization and the law of attraction work for you!
• Learn to use your imagination and thoughts to change your life.
• Upgrade your life and achieve your goals.
• Attract money and prosperity into your life.

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6. Trust and Believe the Process

As you work toward your goal, you might start having doubts if the process is not working.

You might get discouraged and frustrated, and start losing your belief.

When you question manifestation and the law of attraction, you are telling the Universe and your subconscious mind that you don’t believe in their power to help you.

To manifest something that you want, you have to trust the process.

Any time you catch yourself doubting and having negative thoughts, tell yourself, “Manifestation is working for me, even if I am unaware of this. Every day, I am getting closer to achieving my goals. The Universe is aware of what I want, and it is attracting it into my life.”

7. Keep an Open Mind

You need to keep an open mind, so you can recognize opportunities. Sometimes a door opens, but we might miss seeing it.

The universe opens a door, but it’s easy to miss recognizing it. This can happen, if close your mind and expect opportunity to come through just one channel.

Opportunities can appear in various ways and through various channels.

You need to keep your mind open, as things can happen in unexpected ways, and through unexpected channels. Don’t close your mind, expecting things to manifest in just one a certain way.

Sometimes, little things can happen, one leading to another, until you get your goal achieved. If you miss the signs, or disregard them, you might not get what you want.

If you want to manifest a house, you might get a better paying job, or get a loan with very low interest. You might get good payment terms, make a good investment, or the money might appear in various unexpected ways.

Be aware of your limiting beliefs and thoughts. Do not let them get the upper hand.

8. Stay Positive

A positive and happy frame of mind produces positive vibrations that helps the law of attraction manifest itself. A negative and unhappy frame of mind is repellent, pushing away from you the things you want.

Joy and positivity raise your vibration, both mental and emotional vibrations, and strengthen the attracting power of your thoughts. Make your positive vibration high, and good things will start happening.

To raise your positive vibrations, strive to keep your mind in a positive mood. to do so:

  • Seek the company of positive and happy people.
  • Read inspiring quotes each morning and each evening.
  • Watch comedies on TV or funny YouTube videos.
  • Look at bright side of whatever is happening to you.

Remember, a negative state of mind will create more negativity and unhappiness. A positive state of mind, will attract positive and happy situations. Staying positive is the best way to ensure that good things will come into your life.

9. Expectant Mood

Expect that good things are going to happen. In your mind’s eye see your goal as already achieved. This is one of the most important steps to making the things you want appear in your life.

This is one of the most important actions to manifest something in your life.

10. Use Your Imagination

Your imagination is a powerful tool. Both the subconscious mind and the Universe respond to the mental images and scenarios that you create in your mind.

Build a mental scene of what you want and focus on it every day. This is creative visualization, the technique that triggers the law of attraction into working for you.

11. Clear Doubts and Inner Resistance

If you are not manifesting what you want, there might be doubts lurking in your mind about the manifesting process.

There might be some resistance in your mind to improve your life and achieve goals due to:

  • Lack of self-esteem.
  • Feeling that you do not deserve to be successful.
  • Unconsciously, you might be resisting what the universe has to offer. Doubts, procrastination, frustrations, stress, fears, or anger might raise within you, all resisting the flow of the creative energy of the Universe.

Don’t get angry at yourself if this happens.

  1. When you notice the fears, doubts and resistance within you, remind yourself to take a few deep breathes and to relax.
  2. Repeat a few times in your mind something like, “I acknowledge how I feel now, but I can change how I feel. It is normal to feel these negative thoughts, but I am overcoming them now.”
  3. Remind yourself that all these are just thoughts and feelings. With a little detachment, you can free yourself from them.

How to Manifest Something – The Concise Steps

You are now closer to manifesting what you want. In this short article we have covered some of the important steps to manifesting. Here is a short reminder:

1. Be clear about your goal and intention.

2. Do not choose too many goals.

3. Use your common sense.

4. Ask the universe for what you want.

5. Work toward your goals.

6. Trust and believe the process.

7. Keep an open mind.

8. Stay positive.

9. Expectant mood.

10. Use your imagination.

11. Clear doubts and inner resistance.

This is the way of turning your dreams into reality, manifesting money and love, manifesting your desires, and making your dreams coming true.

Start Making Your Dreams Come True!

Visualize and AchieveMake creative visualization and the law of attraction work for you!
• Learn to use your imagination and thoughts to change your life.
• Upgrade your life and achieve your goals.
• Attract money and prosperity into your life.

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How to Manage Student Anxiety During COVID-19

Manage Student Anxiety

Almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, life is creeping back to normal, but it’s still far from what it was in early March 2020. Masks are a part of daily life, restaurants and stores are still operating at limited capacity, and live sports, music, and theater are still months away from returning.

Education and schools are also still a long way from returning to a pre-pandemic level of normalcy.

Although more students are returning to the classroom every day, the experience is far from what most are used to.

And all of the changes, from classroom arrangements and hybrid learning plans to the actual classroom arrangements, not to mention concerns about the virus itself, have increased anxiety among both students and teachers.

Prior to COVID-19, anxiety was an issue of growing concern among educators. The Child Mind Institute reported a 17 percent increase in anxiety in children from 2009 to 2019.

However, studies conducted in 2020 indicate that the number of children experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression during COVID has more than doubled.

Anxiety in children can present in a number of ways, but for many children, one of the first signs of trouble are problems at school, both in terms of academic performance and behavior.

Although teachers are experienced in child development and psychology, which form the foundation of education programs (check out the education department at University of Arizona Global Campus at for an example of a teacher education program), the pandemic has challenged even the most experienced educators.

That doesn’t mean teachers cannot help their students manage their anxiety. By keeping a few basic ideas in mind and using them in your everyday interactions with students, you can help support their mental health both now and in the long term.

Simple Tips to Help Students Feel Supported

COVID-19, and the uncertainty that comes with it, has many students feeling scared, isolated, lonely, and frustrated – much like adults.

Combined with your own feeling about the pandemic and concerns about the well-being of yourself and your family, the idea of focusing on commas and math facts might seem like a minor issue.

However, helping students feel secure and supported requires maintaining a certain level of normalcy, and that includes learning.

Although you may need to adjust your teaching methods to accommodate health protocols, education still matters. Strive for progress, not perfection.

More specifically, some of the things you can do as a teacher:

Implement Mindfulness

Whether you’re teaching online or in person, implementing mindfulness exercises that give students a chance to help refocus their thoughts, ground themselves in the present moment, and reduce their stress.

Anxiety spirals when you feel out of control – a common experience during the pandemic – and mindfulness exercises allow students to regain some control over their feelings. Search for mindfulness exercises you can try online.

Speak in Positive Terms

Regardless of your own feelings about the pandemic, it’s important to speak in positive terms.

No one likes wearing masks, but they help protect everyone’s health. Remind students of the good they are doing when they wear their masks, wash their hands, and practice social distancing.

When students express concerns and fears, validate them, but remind them of the positive strides and progress that’s being made. Focus on how they have been a part of the solution, and praise them for their strength and resilience.

Allow Space to Talk about Feelings

With limited instruction time, you may be reluctant to spend time on other activities.

However, creating a space where students can safely discuss their feelings, and incorporating activities that remind them of their strengths, give them coping skills, help them feel more in control, and can help them manage anxiety and be more open to learning.

Get Outside

When you can, go outdoors. Fresh air and nature are proven to help manage anxiety, and while exercise increases production of endorphins, the so-called happy hormones that produce feelings of well-being.

Depending on your local restrictions, children may also be allowed to remove their masks while outdoors. Even if you are teaching online, encourage students to head outdoors – or even make assignments that require an outdoor element.

Provide Journals

Some children may not be willing to talk about their feelings, or they may not be able to articulate their feelings very well. Giving them journals where they can share their thoughts, concerns, and fears, as well as their wins and positive feelings, provides an outlet.

Although not all children will take to journaling, for some, it will serve as a valuable tool to manage their feelings at this challenging time.

Stay in Touch with Families

Parents are likely to feel as much anxiety and frustration as their children – and you. Make a point of staying in contact and reiterating that you are all on the same team, and work together to support your students.

To be sure, not all students are struggling this year. However, almost everyone has had periods of anxiety.

Being flexible, knowing what to prioritize, and providing loving support will help everyone move forward and be happy and healthy when life returns to normal.

The Pleasure of Inner Peace in the Busy Daily Life

Inner Peace in the Busy Daily Life
• Release stress and tension.

• Stop being troubled by fears and worries.

• Get rid of nervousness, anger, unhappiness and agitated feelings.

• Enjoy tranquility, inner peace and happiness.
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52 Manifestation Quotes to Inspire You to Get What You Want

Manifestation Quotes

Are you looking for great manifestation quotes? We have collected some amazing quotes for you.

Manifestation is the process of bringing into your life, events, people and possessions, through the power of your thoughts, imagination and actions. It is a term that describes the results of creative visualization and the law of attraction.

Thoughts can become things. They create your reality. You attract and manifest things in your life according to your thoughts.

Here is a collection of manifestation quotes that teach about the power of manifestation, to inspire and motivate you to improve your life.

Manifestation Quotes

“We receive exactly what we expect to receive.” – John Holland

“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.” – Maya Angelou

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein

“A person is only limited by the thoughts that he chooses.” – James Allen

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Thoughts become things. If you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand.” – Bob Proctor

“Action that is inspired from aligned thoughts is joyful action.” – Abraham Hicks

“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.”Napoleon Hill

“Your whole life is a manifestation of the thoughts that go on in your head.” – Lisa Nichols

“Envision the future you desire. Create the life of your dreams. See it, feel it, believe it.” – Jack Canfield

“Eliminate all doubt and replace it with the full expectation that you will receive what you are asking for.” – Rhonda Byrne

“What you radiate outward in your thoughts, feelings, mental pictures and words, you attract into your life.” – Catherine Ponder

“A thought infused with a strong desire and belief is a powerful thought. If you keep pouring mental and emotional energy into it, sooner or later it would manifest in your life as something real and tangible.” – Remez Sasson

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Visualize and AchieveMake creative visualization and the law of attraction work for you!
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“I attract to my life whatever I give my attention, energy and focus to, whether positive or negative.” – Michael Losier

“Visualizing a positive outcome and repeating this visualization everyday, several times a day, will prompt your subconscious mind to seek ways to make your mental image a reality.” – Remez Sasson

“Visualize this thing that you want. See it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint, and begin to build.”Robert Collier

“A person is only limited by the thoughts that he chooses.” – James Allen

“When you have done your part it’s time to release your work into the universe and let it do its part.” – Maria Erving

“A thought is invisible, but its effects are visible.” – Remez Sasson

“Think the thought until you believe it, and once you believe it, it is.” – Abraham Hicks

“Manifestation is a process by which we transform seemingly unrealizable imaginations to reality.” – Debasish Mridha

More Manifestation Quottes

“You manifest what you believe, not what you want.” – Sonia Ricotti

“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” – Napoleon Hill

“Manifestation is directed by the multiple levels of consciousness, including the subconsciousness, unconsciousness and the collective consciousness.” – Russel Anthony Gibbs

“We become what we think about. Energy flows where attention goes.” – Rhonda Byrne

“See yourself living in abundance and you will attract it.” – Rhonda Byrne

“if you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

“I had a clear vision of myself winning the Mr. Universe contest. It was a very spiritual thing, in a way, because I had such faith in the route, the path, that there was never a question in my mind that I would make it.” – Arnold Schwartzenegger

“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice.” – William Jennings Bryan

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole France

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain

“See with a different eye, visualize with a colorful mind, manifest your thoughts with the energy within.” – Michael Bassey Johnson

“It’s only after you’ve found what you want inside of you that you can find it outside of you.” – Cory Groshek

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back – a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.” – Anais Nin

“Stop waiting for somebody to elevate your game. You are already equipped with everything you need to manifest your own greatness.” – Germanyy kent

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

“It’s our intention. Our intention is everything. Nothing happens on this planet without it. Not one single thing has ever been accomplished without intention.” – Jim Carrey

“When you are truly clear about what you want, the whole universe stands on tiptoe waiting to assist you in miraculous and amazing ways to manifest your dream or intention.” – Constance Arnold

“Every intention sets energy into motion, whether you are aware of it or not.” – Gary Zukav

“Each thought we have emits energy. That energy either brings us closer to the supportive flow of the Universe or resists it.” – Gabrielle Bernstein

“You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.” Oprah Winfrey

“Reality is a projection of your thoughts or the things you habitually think about.” – Stephen Richards

“Your whole life is a manifestation of the thoughts that go on in your head.” – Lisa Nichols

You might also like reading:
Steps to Manifest Something You Want
What Is Manifestation and How to Manifest Anything

Quotes about Manifesting Dreams

“Create your dream house in your mind, see all the details, focus on this mental image every day, and then make plans to allow this mental image to manifest in your life.” – Remez Sasson

“You are always in the process of creating. Every moment, every minute, every day. You are a big creation machine and you are turning out a new manifestation literally as fast as you can think.” – Neale Donald Walsch

“Your life is the manifestation of your dream; it is an art. You can change your life anytime if you aren’t enjoying the dream.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz

“The movie in your mind can become the reality of your life. Be careful to create in your mind the movie that you really want.” – Remez Sasson

“It is the combination of thought and love which forms the irresistible force of the law of attraction.” – Charles Hammel

“A mental image gives you a framework upon which to work. It is like the drawing of the architect, or the map of the explorer.” – William Walker Atkinson

“Nothing can prevent your picture from coming into concrete form except the same power which gave it birth-yourself.” – Genevieve Behrend

“Expectation is a powerful attractive force. Expect the things you want, and don’t expect the things you don’t want.” – Rhonda Byrne

“See the things that you want as already yours. Know that they will come to you at need. Then let them come. – Robert Collier

Manifestation Quotes Can Change Your Life

You can learn to choose your thoughts. You can teach your mind to focus on positive thoughts and turn them into reality. This, of course, needs some effort on your part, but this is the way to become successful and achieve your dreams.

What are you going to do now? Are you going to give manifestation a try? Are you going to strive to focus on what you really and truly want?

Read these manifestation quotes often, so you can imbibe their insight and wisdom.

Manifestation Quotes

Quotes Directory >> Manifestation Quotes

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Visualize and AchieveMake creative visualization and the law of attraction work for you!
• Learn to use your imagination and thoughts to change your life.
• Upgrade your life and achieve your goals.
• Attract money and prosperity into your life.

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Listen Again: A Century Of Money

Original broadcast date: December 11, 2020. Recessions, depressions, bubbles, and blue skies — our economy has a history of soaring and plummeting. This hour, TED speakers look to the past for lessons on building a more stable financial future. Guests include journalist Kathleen Day, financial advisor Tammy Lally, writer Elizabeth White, and filmmaker Abigail Disney.