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Meditation

A Keen Mind / Meditation

Is Meditation Right for Me?

Written by: Jude Johnson Many people are skeptical of mindfulness and meditation because it has been presented as complex and difficult. Some practitioners and meditators have used terms that are hard to grasp or presented the concepts in a manner that is completely un-relatable. The way we present our ideas matter and may put distance between those who practice meditation and those who are new to the concept. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who created Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, has brought his approach in teaching mindfulness into the mainstream.  Jon has shared that he hopes that mindfulness becomes as popular as jogging-studies indicate it is on its way with approximately 18 million Americans reporting to meditate.  While the mainstream medical community has adopted mindfulness-meditation as an effective strategy for working...

Using Mindfulness to Help Enjoy the Holidays

Written by: Jude Johnson The holiday season is a time for celebration; however, for many it may also bring added financial pressures and the reminder that we have failed at accomplishing the goals we set for ourselves at the start of the year. If you are feeling financial pressure surrounding gift giving, have conversations with your loved ones about what you can afford and come up with a plan. Regardless of budget, reflect on the time you have spent with your loved ones and think about the reasons WHY you are giving gifts. If you do not have money to spend on gifts this season, consider writing letters of gratitude or providing coupons for kind deeds to those you love. Above all, remember what matters most are...

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Self-Compassion and Meditation

Written by Jude Johnson, MA, LMFT According to neuroscience, our brains our wired to focus on the negative as a survival strategy, so we are more likely to obsess over a snide remark made by a colleague, than we are to focus on a compliment given to us moments later.  If we are in physical pain, we are likely to focus intently on what hurts, rather than surrounding parts of the body that are at ease.  Since we are wired to judge and focus on the negative, we can find some relief by showing more compassion to ourselves when we recognize this familiar pattern. Kristin Neff, Ph.D., has pioneered research on self-compassion and notes three major components:  1. Having a sense of friendly and kind attention to...

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Why is intention important? Really?

This questions could be answered so many different ways and many of us have different answers based on our circumstances and life experiences.  However, I believe that there are essential ways of paying attention that can allow us to experience the richness and beauty of life.  One practice that has significant value to me is remembering to have gratitude. As I was driving today, I was reminded  of a moment that I shared with my four year old son Carter.   We admired the beauty of a sunrise.  Reminding Carter that being grateful is important, reminds me to have gratitude. It is hard to remember what’s important when we are faced with stress, pain, illness or loss.  When you are under stress how do you respond?  Many of...

What you won’t hear about during halftime at the Superbowl

According to the Centers for Disease Control approximately 90 percent of doctors’ visits are stress related. Stress comes from all areas of life: home, work, school, community, medical conditions, and relationships. We are often contemplating the next tasks on our endless to-do lists, anticipating scenarios in our minds that have yet to occur, and revisiting past events, resulting in a cycle that can be difficult to manage and may feel overwhelming.  While it is normal for our minds to wander into the past and future, this kind of mental gymnastics itself generates even more stress! As the scientific community understands more about the surprising impact of stress on our health, stress management has increasingly become an important focus of studies and research. As a consequence, recent...