What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a simple concept. Basically, it involves paying attention to whatever is happening in the present moment. All of us are mindful at times; however, because our minds are used to not being in the present, but rather off daydreaming, planning for the future, or thinking about things that have already happened, we spend very little time actually in the present moment unless we make a conscious effort.

 

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Positive Psychology, Blessings and Three Good Things

A type of therapy called Positive Psychology, has been gaining popularity as research continues to demonstrate the effectiveness of positive psychology in helping people feel better and increase their well-being. Compared to many other approaches to therapy, positive psychology focuses less on identifying and fixing deficits, and more on recognizing and building on positives—looking at “What’s right with you?” instead of “What’s wrong with you?”

In his book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, Martin Seligman writes:

We think too much about what goes wrong and not enough about what goes right in our lives. Of course, sometimes it makes sense to analyze bad events so that we can learn from them and avoid them in the future. However, people tend to spend more time thinking about what is bad in life than is helpful. Worse, this focus on negative events sets us up for anxiety and depression. One way to keep this from happening is to get better at thinking about and savoring what went well.

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How to Reduce Stress at Work

stress work I was recently interviewed for an article in Inside Toronto about the stress caused by dealing with difficult people. Especially in the workplace, these difficult people and negative influences can create a great deal of stress.

I find that work stress is one of the most common reasons people come for counselling or therapy, and often the biggest source of stress is difficult bosses and co-workers.

In the article, I talk about a number of way to help reduce stress when faced with challenging interpersonal relationships and relieve the stress once it starts to build.

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Mindfulness in Everyday Life

mindfulnessIn previous posts, we looked at the importance of giving ourselves time outs, as well as other techniques to manage stress and anxiety. Another great way we can keep things like stress, anxiety and depression from building throughout the day is to start bringing mindfulness into our everyday life.

We often talk about two broad categories of mindfulness practice. Formal mindfulness involves setting aside some time specifically for practicing mindfulness as we do when we engage in mindfulness meditation. Informal mindfulness, on the other hand, refers to finding ways to incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives.

Since mindfulness simply involves paying attention to the present moment, mindfulness can be brought to anything we do. We can take a shower mindfully, shave and brush out teeth mindfully, eat mindfully, walk mindfully, drive mindfully, work on a computer mindfully, talk to people mindfully. Whatever it is we’re doing, we can do it mindfully.

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Positive Psychology and the Gratitude Journal

gratitudeHave you ever felt anxious and noticed yourself being extra vigilant, looking for any signs that something bad may be lurking nearby, on the lookout for all the things you might need to worry about?

This may seem like a good way to protect yourself from the things you’re anxious about, but it usually backfires. Since there is never any end to the list of “what ifs?” you can find to worry about, if you’re constantly looking out for things that could go wrong, you’ll usually find them, and this keeps you in a state of worry and anxiety.

Or have you ever been depressed, and found yourself focused on all of the negative things in your life, trying to figure out how they happened and how to solve them? Again, this sounds like a good way to fix what’s wrong in your life, but it often ends up making things worse. You keep finding more and more things to regret, more disappointments, more ways you don’t measure up to other people, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the negatives that keep adding up.

The more we’re on the lookout for something, the more likely we are to find it. But just as it is easy to find things to worry about or feel badly about when that’s what we’re focused on, it’s also easy to find some things to feel good about when that’s what we’re looking for and paying attention to.

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Mindfulness From Your Computer or Smartphone

mindfulnessOften, the more technology we have in our lives, the more difficult it is to practice mindfulness. Our computers, laptops, cell phones, HDTVs, iPods, tablets and whatever other new gadget comes along, offer us so many different ways to stay busy and distracted all day long, allowing stress and anxiety to build as we go about our lives without being mindful.

But as people recognize how difficult it can be to stay mindful in our digital world, applications are being developed to help prevent us from getting too caught up in all the technoogy that surrounds us, and offering ways to come back to the present and be more mindful.

Digital Mindfulness Bells Read More



Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

mindfulnessMindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a relatively recent type of therapy that combines aspects of cognitive therapy with the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program created by Jon Kabat-Zinn. MBCT was developed to help people struggling with depression, and it is also helpful in treating anxiety and low self-esteem.

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Some Questions and Answers About Mindfulness

zen rockIs mindfulness the same as meditation?

Mindfulness meditation is one way to practice mindfulness, but since being mindful simply involves paying attention to the present moment, mindfulness can be brought to anything you do. Becoming more mindful takes practice, and mindfulness meditation is good tool to learn to be more mindful.

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Some Q&A Videos About Couples and Relationship Issues

Do you and our partner argue a lot or have trouble communicating? Are you wondering how to move past an infidelity in your relationship? Or do you feel like your partner is controlling and you’re not sure what to do about it? The short videos below answer some common questions and concerns people have about their relationships.

Fighting and Arguing in Relationships

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