Posts Tagged ‘Jon Kabat-Zinn’

In every moment we experience some kind of feeling or another. Some of the feelings are happy others may be sad or even angry. The problem is not that we have feelings, or that we judge those feelings in a negative way, or even that we agree with and justify those feelings. The problem is that we often let those feelings take over our lives, our relationships, our jobs, our health, and sometimes our mental stability.

The practice of meditation or mindfulness can help you deal with your feelings in a helpful, positive way. In Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein’s book, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (2010) they have a short exercise that you might like to try to help you identify your feelings and emotions.

Just Do it!

Take a moment right now to notice the connection between what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling physically and emotionally. Spend a few moments observing your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations and considering how they may relate to one another. Then take this practice with you into your daily life. For example, notice your initial reactions when you’re stuck in line or in traffic, and how bringing mindfulness to the situation offers you the opportunity to respond differently (page 37).

This is the time to simply give yourself the opportunity to “feel into your body and acknowledge whatever you’re feeling, physically and emotionally” (page 47) say Stahl and Goldstein. When you are sitting and times get tough and your monkey mind begins to appear, and your body aches, using this technique may help. Trying to “force” it to go away will not work. It will just bring up additional feelings and emotions like frustration, fear, and anger.

I remember several years ago during a week-long retreat I had the most dramatic “feeling” of joy that I had ever experienced. I had these bright red socks on my feet and suddenly my eye caught site of them and I could feel my entire body slowly melting little by little into a big red puddle. As I tried to stop the “feeling of joy” I noticed that the teacher at the head of the class also began to melt into a big red puddle. I could not hold back my joy and laughter any more, no matter how hard I tried. So I worked up all the energy I could muster and got up and went out of the room. I spent the next 15 minutes in my bunk in the dorm in the most blissful uncontrollable laughter that I had ever experienced.

In the past I probably would have tried to subvert the feeling out of shame, embarrassment, or fear. But not this moment in time: I allowed myself the wonder of joy and laughter! After reading this I hope you’ll take the time to think about your feelings and how they are affecting you physically and emotionally. Once you’ve done that do what Stahl and Goldstein recommend, “As far as letting go of emotions, we suggest putting your energy into learning to let them be (page 61).”

In that moment when I allowed my feelings to “just be” I found myself in another time and place where total joy existed. Try it I think you’ll like it!

In gassho,



Stahl, B. and Goldstein, E. (2010) A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook. New Harbinger Publications, Inc: Oakland, CA

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I am getting ready to present a workshop for Career Source Broward the audience will be people that are working with them to find employment. The title of my workshop is “Reduce Stress…Increase Success with Mindfulness.” My desire is to share with each one of them the principles of mindfulness and breath work that can help them decrease their stress in mind, body, and spirit even in these trying times.

It is easy to be relaxed and joyous when your life is moving forward with a good job, personal health, and family members doing well, and when you have time for recreation, hobbies and the like. But for the unemployed or underemployed that is not always possible. Many times they are filled with emotions of fear, anxiety, depression, and panic–some in a small way and for others in a big way where they are probably going to need the help of the medical community. But for many some simple mindfulness, stress reduction, and time management techniques integrated into their daily lives on a regular basis can help them immensely.

One of my colleagues recommended a book to me, Mindfulness an Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World (2011) by Mark Williams and Danny Penman so I ordered it online and was highly impressed by the content and the information and tips shared in it.

In Chapter 2 “Why Do We Attack Ourselves?” they shared with the reader an illustration they titled “What makes an emotion?” I thought this would be great information for the participants in my stress and mindfulness training since I was sure they were having the gamut of every emotion on the planet during this trying time in their lives.

They define emotions this way”

Emotions are “bundles” of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and impulses to act. Next time you experience pleasant or unpleasant emotions, you might check in with what’s going on, and notice the interplay of the different aspects of the bundle (page 20).[1]

These ideas: Thoughts (I’m getting nowhere with this.”), feelings (tense, upset), impulses (Escaping; crawling into bed; pulling the covers over your head) and bodily sensations (Tense shoulders, churning stomach) (page 20)[2] can come in any order and move round and round leaving you sick in mind, body, and spirit. You are probably relating to this idea and wondering what the heck you can do about it.

The authors recommend some simple things that anyone can do at any time to turn the switch from one negative thought, feeling, impulse, or sensation to a better one. Here is one simple thing they recommend that you can do at any time and in any place to bring “peace” back into your life.

Something as subtle as frowning, smiling or altering posture can have a dramatic impact on mood and the types of thoughts flickering across the mind.

. . .the act of smiling can itself make you happy. It’s a perfect illustration of just how close the links are between mind and body. Smiling is infectious too. When you see someone grin, you almost invariably smile back. You can’t help it (pages 20-23).[3]

So if you want to make peace with yourself to see more peace in your life—even in the most difficult times and situations—observe your facial expressions and body language and make a simple adjustment. Put a smile on your face and stand up tall with your shoulders back and head held high and watch what happens to your “feelings” and your “attitude” you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Plus, you’ll feel more peaceful and your mind will feel sharper and ready to handle anything that anyone throws at you! Try it today and let me know what happens!

[1] Williams, M. and Penman, D. (2011) Mindfulness An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World. Rodale: NY, NY

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

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