Top positive review
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A groundbreaking program to alleviate pain and stress
on 31 October 2010
Mindfulness is paying close attention to whatever you experience in the here and now. It's does not necessarily mean doing things slowly, it simply means cultivating nonjudgmental awareness of your life one moment and one breath at a time.
Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein's insightful and practical exercises in "A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook" brings mindfulness into your daily life. Their helpful step-by-step training includes mindful breathing, eating, walking, self-inquiry, interpersonal communication, meditation and rest. The workbook provides a perfect companion to Jon Kabat-Zinn's book "Full Catastrophe Living." Kabat-Zinn, a molecular biologist with a long-term meditation practice, founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in 1979. Today there are over 250 hospitals around the country and many more around the globe who use the mindful-based therapies. Unlike concentration meditation where the focus is on a mantra or concept
mindfulness meditation focuses on the body and mind in the present.
The Mindfulness practice, originally an ancient Buddhist meditative discipline, is not only used for mental and emotional well being today but also helps people deal with stress, pain and illness.
Mindfulness flourishes when the following eight attitudes are present: Beginner's mind, non-judgment, acknowledgement, non-striving, equanimity, letting be, self-reliance and self-compassion.
Stahl and Goldstein say you can't always control or eliminate stressors but you can engage with them differently. The answer isn't to turn away but towards the mind traps like negative self talk, interpretations and thought patterns. The six negative thought patterns are: thinking of worst case scenarios called "catastrophizing," exaggerating the negative and discounting the positive, assuming without actual evidence called "mind reading," being the eternal expert, holding others responsible for your pain through "blaming" and feeling guilt and disappointment because of a list of unbreakable rules called "shoulds."
Other mindfulness tools include:
Observing thoughts to see how busy minds mostly rehearse and rehash instead of being in the present. The body scan, investigating and working with pain, tension and emotions in the body.
Formal sitting mindfulness meditation that focuses on the breath, sensations, sounds, thoughts and emotions.
Mindful lying and standing yoga to bring awareness to the breath, movement, posture, thoughts and emotions. Yoga, an inherently physical practice, brings together the body and mind and keeps bones, joints, muscles, nerves and organs healthy, supple and flexible.
The "Transforming fear through loving-kindness meditation" helps access compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity to dissolve egocentricity, greed, resentment, jealousy and hatred creating more spaciousness and freedom in the mind and heart.
Interpersonal mindfulness brings nonjudgmental present moment awareness to your interactions with others. This includes mindful listening and the "Aikido" of communication. Aikido, a physical movement called entering and blending allows you to respond to an attack with a skillful deflection so no one gets hurt. There are four steps: "Align" and enter through empathy, (What's their point of view?), "Agree" on shared concerns (I'm also disappointed), "Redirect" focuses on shared goals, (What can we do to make it better?) and "Resolve" explores mutually agreeable compromises or agrees to disagree.
Stahl and Goldstein's groundbreaking program will not only help you alleviate stress but gently invites you to find "peace with your own soul" and discover the treasure within you.