Classic Blg: ‘All it takes is 10 mindful minutes’ by Andy Puddicombe

When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking?

Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions)

‘How to Beat Panic Attacks: 3 Simple Mindfulness Techniques’ by Krista Lester

PauseFound this interesting blog on the Tiny Buddha website.

‘“By living deeply in the present moment we can understand the past better and we can prepare for a better future.” Thich Nhat Hanh

When I was in high school, a hit-and-run car accident changed my world. My boyfriend at the time lost his nineteen-year-old brother to the accident. I had never met his brother, but it didn’t matter; a dark veil had been cast over my life.

In the days, weeks, months, and years following the accident, I sank into a deeper and deeper depression. I started to have panic attacks and I cut myself daily, trying to feel anything other than terror and despair. I sought treatment, met with therapists, tried dozens of medications, and routinely turned back to alcohol when nothing worked.

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‘No One Can Take Mindfulness Away from You’ by Jon Kabat-Zinn

‘Bestselling author and teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about what mindfulness means to him personally, and argues that the United States is an “underdeveloped” country when it comes to compassion and attention.’

This clip is from the Greater Good website. You can watch the full talk by becoming a member.

‘The three elements of self-compassion’ by Kristin Neff

NeffI continue to look at Kristin Neff’s views on self-compassion from her very informative and helpful website. Here, she describes the three elements that underlie self-compassion: 

‘Self-kindness
Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism. 

Self-compassionate people recognize that being imperfect, failing, and experiencing life difficulties is inevitable, so they tend to be gentle with themselves when confronted with painful experiences rather than getting angry when life falls short of set ideals.

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Jon Kabat-Zinn: How can mindfulness change your life?

The role that Jon Kabat-Zinn has played in getting mindfulness into mainstream medical practice (and beyond) in the Western world has been huge.  He is a true hero.

Here’s a fascinating video that describes how mindfulness-based stress reduction {MBSR] ‘grew up’ on the eastern side of the US. It’s important to hear how Jon and his colleagues emphasise the importance of research and scientific evidence in underlying the widening acceptance of MBSR as an important therapeutic tool.

You can find much more about mindfulness on Recovery Stories – try a search.

‘Five Things Resilient People Do’ by Jennifer Mattson

resilientCame across this excellent piece on Thrive – the Kripalu blog on yoga, health and wellness.

‘Why do some people bounce back after a major tragedy or illness, while others seem derailed by life’s daily challenges? The answer, in a word, is resilience.

At its core, resilience is the capacity to handle difficult moments. That could be a major trauma such as post-traumatic stress after a military deployment; a chronic source of tension, such as parenting a sick child; or a sudden loss—of a loved one, a job, a marriage, or a home, to fire or flood.

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Recommended Website: Greater Good – The Science of a Meaningful Life

temp_wellsThe Greater Good website from the University of California, Berkeley is definitely worth a look. I’ll be highlighting various content from this website over the coming months. Here is what they say in the About Us section:

‘The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.

Based at the University of California, Berkeley, the GGSC is unique in its commitment to both science and practice: not only do we sponsor groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being, we help people apply this research to their personal and professional lives. Since 2001, we have been at the fore of a new scientific movement to explore the roots of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior – the science of a meaningful life. And we have been without peer in our award-winning efforts to translate and disseminate this science to the public.

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‘These Digital Meditation Tools Can Be Your Gateway To A Calmer, More Effective Life’ by Carolyn Gregoire

rsz_n-meditation-large570Here’s an interesting blog from the Huffington Post, which also provides summaries on 12 online meditation tools. Here is part of Carolyn’s excellent blog. Check out the rest of her original blog.

‘Meditation, an ancient practice of calming the mind, would seem to be incompatible with modern technology, with its emphasis on speed and connectivity.

But as more and more Americans have embraced meditation as an antidote to hyper-connected lives, the world of technology has joined the movement. The result is a growing field of meditation tools – from apps and podcasts to timers and online classes – and a growing acknowledgment that, paradoxically, technology can help us to turn inward, still our minds, and shut out the many distractions around us.

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Recommended book: Mindfulness for Health

41RlD9kqm5L._-e1377080652263Pain, suffering and stress can be intolerable – but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Mindfulness for Health reveals a series of simple practices that you can incorporate into your daily life to relieve chronic pain and the suffering and stress of illness. Clinical trials show that mindfulness meditation can be as effective as prescription painkillers and also enhances the body’s natural healing systems. Mindfulness can also reduce the anxiety, depression, irritability, exhaustion and insomnia that can arise from chronic pain and illness.

Mindfulness for Health is based on a unique meditation programme developed by Vidyamala Burch to help her cope with the severe pain of spinal injury. Taught at Breathworks in the UK – and its affiliates around the world – this programme has helped tens of thousands of people cope with pain, illness and stress.

The eight-week programme at the heart of this book takes just 10-20 minutes per day. You’ll be surprised by how quickly your suffering melts away, leaving behind a deep-seated love of life.

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Helping You Gain a Better Life

Here are some resources that can help you lead a happier, healthier and more positive life.

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Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking?

Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions)

Most Viewed Content on Recovery Stories: The Top Five

And so here we are, the top five viewed content!

rsz_pic00016_35. Mark Williams on Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (blog from August 28th). Professor Mark Williams of the University of Oxford talks about mindfulness meditation as an alternative treatment for depression. Mindfulness is also a powerful tool to help someone recovering from addiction.

4. The challenges of recovering from heroin addiction is a short article I wrote summarising the research of Patrick Biernacki, who interviewed 100 people who had overcome heroin addiction without treatment. You can also read a longer article about the research on this website.

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Mindfulness Video Testimonial: Gareth Walker

Gareth, the founder of the Everyday Mindfulness website, talks about the benefits of practising mindfulness and how it helped him changed his life for the better.

‘The cumulative effect of not getting entangled in these stories of the mind has been an enormous benefit to my wellbeing and to the amount of peace I experience. The change in my life has been absolutely enormous.”

Mark Williams on Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Professor Mark Williams of the University of Oxford talks about mindfulness meditation as an alternative treatment for depression. In fact, mindfulness is also a powerful tool to help someone recovering from addiction.

Check out various other YouTube clips on mindfulness from Mark Williams, Jon Kabat Zinn (who was instrumental in promoting mindfulness as a tool for health issues in the Western world) and others.

I include the book Mark refers to in my list of six books that can help your recovery in our Resources section. Here is what I say about the book:

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Research on Spirituality and Recovery From Addiction

Robert Weathers PhD of California Southern University summarises two recent and authoritative research studies (from Harvard University and the University of Michigan) which focus on the crucial contribution of spiritual resources in the process of recovery from addiction, for example, in 12-Step programs.

I found this video to be very interesting. Robert also mentions the Buddhist Recovery network website which contains a number of resources and is well worth a look. This network was co-founded by the late G. Alan Marlatt, one of the all-time great researchers and clinicians in the addiction recovery field.

‘From Hungry Ghost to Being Human – without stopping in Hell’ by Vince Cullen

Hungry-Ghost-Retreat-New-Life-Foundation (12)I have always been interested in the use of Buddhist-oriented principles and practices in helping people find recovery. I recently asked Vince Cullen, who often blogged on Wired In To Recovery about a Buddhist approach to recovery,  if he would tell us a little about himself and what he does.

If you are interested in what Vince does, please note that he is running a retreat in Coatbridge, Scotland on 8th July which you might like to attend. Details are provided below.

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Jay’s Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Course

Here is a fantastic internet-based MIndfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course developed by Jay Uhdinger, along with an illustrator friend.

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Books to facilitate your recovery

I love reading and I have a large collection of books on recovery. Here are six books I believe are invaluable in facilitating recovery.

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On blaming

2007_0118walpole0076‘When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look into the reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilise, or more water, or less sun.

Yet if we have problems with our friends or our family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like lettuce.

Blaming has no positive affect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and arguments…

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Introduction to our Resources section

resourcesOver time, I’m going to build up a collection of resources that I consider to be valuable for helping people recover from addiction and mental health problems. High quality resources that help improve our systems of care will also be included.

Current resources include a selection of my favourite six books for helping people with their recovery journey, as well as a collection of links to peer support groups, e.g. 12-step groups like AA and NA, SMART Recovery, etc.

You can find a collection of articles on recovery by a favourite Wired In To Recovery blogger – Peapod’s Recovery Guide – as well as Jay’s online course based on mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy. On the latter page, Professor Mark Williams talks about mindfulness.

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