Why Mind-Wandering Can Be a Detriment to Happiness (and One Way to Refocus)

When a person’s thoughts start to stray, they can tend to go in one of two directions. Sometimes people find themselves dreaming of an upcoming vacation or looking forward to a get-together with friends . . . . . . or, maybe they’re distracted by worries about approaching deadlines or unpaid bills. Even though the former scenario seems preferable to the latter, both instances of mind-wandering could be detrimental to happiness. Why? Dan Siegel, MD reveals his answer in the video below, and shares one way to refocus. How have you used mindfulness practices in your work with clients? Please…

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A Practical Skill for Defusing Anger

Anger is a normal (and often necessary) emotion. But when tempers flare and rage ensues, our clients’ relationships suffer, their stress levels skyrocket, and reactivity simply takes over. So how can people shift out of anger once the fuse is lit? In the video below, Marsha Linehan, PhD will share a practical skill to help clients defuse anger before it escalates beyond control. Take a look – it’s about 2 ½ minutes. Marsha’s strategy is practical, it’s simple, and it’s something clients can use right away, in almost any situation where anger threatens to boil over. Now we’d like to…

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Working with the Body to Release Anxiety

When anxiety strikes, it not only consumes the mind . . . . . . it can take hold in the body as well. And chronic anxiety can contribute to a wealth of physiological problems, including chronic pain, fatigue, and insomnia – just to name a few. Below, you’ll see how Pat Ogden, PhD worked with a teenaged girl to release anxiety that was stored in the body. Pat is a pioneer in Somatic Psychology, and founder and director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute. Check it out – it’s less than 4 minutes. Anxiety can be so limiting for our…

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Could Stronger Resilience Promote Better Health?

Could greater resilience reduce a person’s need for health care services? James E. Stahl, MD, MPH, and a team of researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital Benson-Henry Institute (BHI), noted that poor psychological and physical resilience is often associated with an increased use of healthcare services. Since research consistently shows that mind-body interventions can be effective in reducing stress and increasing resilience, Stahl and his team wanted to see if a resilience training program could reduce the demand for health care services. To do this, they created a retrospective, controlled pre/post intervention database analysis of patients who received care at…

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5 Steps to Changing the World

How exactly does change come about? As health and mental health practitioners, our calling is to help people change. But I’m thinking about change on a number of different levels. There are the changes we help our clients make, as well as personal changes we might hope to see in our own lives. I’m also thinking about change on a broader scale – change in our communities, change in our profession and, if I may be so bold, change in the world. Stay with me, and I’ll get back to you on what I mean by that. Recently, I decided…

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Mindfulness and Relief from Chronic Pain?

Is medication the best way to relieve chronic pain? Most often, people who are suffering from chronic pain just want it to stop. But given the risks for drug dependency, abuse, and overdose from prescription medications, a number of doctors and researchers are refocusing their attention on alternative ways to help people experience relief. Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD, and a team at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, wanted to know if mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) could be as effective in relieving chronic back pain as traditional methods. They designed a randomized controlled study…

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