Mindfulness, which comes from
Buddhist practices, is a state of consciousness that is defined as “the state
of being attentive to and aware of what is taking place in the present” (Brown
& Ryan, 2003, p. 822). It is also an
awareness of the impermanence of thoughts, which can lead to a trained mind
with an increased level of attention stability (Jha, Krompinger, & Baime,
2007; Weick & Sutcliffe, 2006).
Conceptually, mindfulness can also be considered a metacognitive
process, consisting of monitoring and controlling thoughts to self-regulate
thinking and emotions (Bishop, Lau, Shapiro, Carlson, Anderson, Carmody, Segal,
Abbey, Speca, Velting, & Devins, 2004; Schraw & Moshman, 1995), or
cognition about one’s cognition (Flavell, 1979).
Scientific Research breaks
mindfulness down into three constructs:
state mindfulness (the degree to which a person is aware and attentive
in each moment), trait mindfulness (looking at an individual’s innate mindful
traits or the frequency and duration a person spends in a mindful state which
varies from person to person), and mindfulness practice or training, which can
cultivate trait mindfulness (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Hülsheger et al.,
2012). In a 2003 study, where Brown and
Ryan examined the empirical links between mindfulness and well-being, they
found that mindfulness practice increased well-being and decreased cognitive
and emotional stress of their subjects, thus showing how mindfulness can be an
important tool in daily life.
Mindfulness has also been found to enhance working memory capacity and
reduce rumination which can lead to negative affect (Bishop et al., 2004;
Chamers, Chuen, & Allen, 2008) by acknowledging and accepting arising thoughts
and redirecting focus.
Living your life in a more mindful way can help bring about greater peace and feelings of relaxation. When our minds gravitate to the past we start to feel depressed and when we gravitate to the future we feel anxiety. Therefore, by focusing your mind to stay in the present with what is happening to you right then and there, you relieve yourself of depression and anxiety.
Mindfulness meditation training, such as Mindfulness Based
Stress Reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, is a form of mental
training that has been proven to reduce illness and improve immune function
(Davidson, Kabat-Zinn, Schumacher, Rosencranz, Muller, Santorelli, Urbanowski,
Harrington, Bonus, & Sheridan, 2003; Fredrickson et al., 2008), decrease
the cognitive and physical symptoms of stress, experienced negative affect,
rumination (Chiesa & Serretti, 2009), and burnout (Hülsheger et al., 2013). MBSR is typically administered as an 8-week
course that meets once a week, either in person or online, where
mindfulness-based techniques are taught and a daily Mindfulness Meditation
practice is encouraged (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).
Many of you are probably thinking, how am I going to find
the time to do an 8-week course on mindfulness?
With many free apps available such as Headspace, Calm and Insight, it
has become easier to incorporate daily meditations and reminders to take a
short time out of your day to unplug and refocus your attention to the
present. In addition, there are other
techniques to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine such as mindful
walking, cooking, eating and showering.
Beyond mindfulness meditation where you sit quietly and
focus your mind, there are other techniques that can help live mindfully such
as learning mindful walking. My favorite
way to remind myself how to walk mindfully is to use the acronym STOP, which
stands for Stop, Take a breath, Observe and Proceed. When doing so, you want to bring your focus
to your environment and away from your racing mind. This allows you to notice the details in how
things look and feel such as different colors and light that you see around you
or how the air feels on your skin. Many people do walking meditations barefoot
so that they can feel how the ground touches your feet.
more information on how to do mindful walking go to A Daily Mindful
Walking Practice which includes a guided audio meditation.
When you prepare a meal, what goes through your mind as you measure and mix ingredients in your kitchen? Do you observe details such as color and texture as you chop vegetables or chose descriptive words to describe how things feels as you touch them? Mindful cooking can not only relieve stress and bring you more into the present but can also help those people who struggle with physical health and weight issues. Setting intentions as you prepare a meal can change your experience into one filled with love and gratitude which can impact your state of mind and your daily life.
you are interested in learning more about mindful cooking, check out Recipes
for Compassion and How
to Master the Art of Mindful Cooking.
When we eat we often rush through our food because we are thinking about the next place we have to be or the next thing we have to do. We don’t allow our brains to really take in the experience of eating and end up in a whirlwind of thoughts or eating unhealthy because we are not fully aware of what we are doing. This is why we eat when we are stressed or binge eat because we are not fully conscious of what and why we are doing what we are doing. Taking a moment to be more cognizant of our actions will allow for better choices when it comes to eating and a more relaxed and enjoyable practice of having a meal. This is an important component to living mindfully on a daily basis.
more information on Mindful eating versus Mindless Eating check out 6 Ways to
Practice Mindful Eating, 8
Steps to mindful eating and The Center for Mindful Eating.
Have you ever heard of meditating while in the shower? Learning how to shower mindfully is something not many people think about but if you start off with the right mindset in your daily routine can drastically change how you feel throughout your day.
in learning how to shower mindfully?
Check out How
to Be Mindful While Taking a Shower and A
Mindful Shower – The Perfect Start to Every Day.
~ Stephanie Baker
Bishop, S. R., Lau, M., Shapiro, S., Carlson, L., Anderson, N. D., Carmody, J., Segal, Z. V., Abbey, S., Speca, M., Velting, D., Devins, G. (2004). Mindfulness: A proposed operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11(3), 230-241.
Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology: Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes, 84(4), 822-848.
Chambers, R., Lo, B. C. Y., & Allen, N. B. (2008). The impact of intensive mindfulness training on attentional control, cognitive style, and affect. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 32(3), 303-322.
Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: A review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(5), 593-600.
R. J., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli,
S. F., Urbanowski, F., Harrington, A., Bonus, M., & Sheridan,
J. F. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by
mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic
Medicine, 65(4), 564-570.
J. H. (1979). Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new area of cognitive–developmental inquiry.
American Psychologist, 34(10), 906-911.
Fredrickson, B. L. (1998). What good are
positive emotions? Review of General
Fredrickson, B. L., Cohn, M. A., Coffey, K. A., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. M. (2008). Open hearts build lives: Positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Attitudes and Social Cognition, 95(5), 1045-1062.
A. P., Krompinger, J., & Baime, M. J. (2007). Mindfulness training modifies
subsystems of attention. Cognitive,
Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, 7(2), 109-119.
Hülsheger, U. R., Alberts, H. J. E. M., Feinholdt, A., & Lang, J. W. B. (2013). Benefits of mindfulness at work: The role of mindfulness in emotion regulation, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(2), 310-325.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144-156.
G., & Moshman, D. (1995). Metacognitive theories. Educational Psychology Review, 7(4), 351-371.
Weick, K. E., & Sutcliffe, K. M. (2006). Mindfulness and the quality of organizational attention. Organization Science, 17(4), 514-524.
PWithdrawal is a group of symptoms with a degree of severity that occurs when the reduction in usage of psychoactive substances takes place for a prolonged period of time. With withdrawal can come some physiological and psychological disturbances. Withdrawal shows that there was a substance dependence.
Withdrawal symptoms can be time-limited and are related to the type of substance used and the dosage used before reduction occurred. We will now discuss what withdrawal looks like for each of the drugs and habits we discussed in a previous article, The Psychology of Addiction.
As hallucinogens begin to leave the system, a number of physical and psychological changes will occur.
A few of the hallucinogenic withdrawal symptoms are:
- Frank psychosis
- Long term psychosis
- Muscle spasms
- Permanent post-hallucinogenic perceptual disturbance
- loss of coordination
- zombie like state
- Aggressive, hostile, or violent behavior
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Precention (CDC), 1 in 10 Americans who use cannabis will become addicted. That number becomes 1 in 6 if the user begins to use marijuana before 18. Smoking marijuana occasionally may not cause any long-term significant symptoms but for those that use it regularly it is a different story.
Here are a few marijuana withdrawal symptoms:
- Mood changes
- Stomach problems
- Sleep difficulties/ insomnia
- Loss of focus
- Diminished appetite
- Craving for marijuana
- Increased feelings of depression
When the reduction of opiates occurs after heavy usage, users can experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms. With opiates, both early and late symptoms of withdrawal can occur.
Early opiate withdrawal symptoms:
- Runny nose
Late withdrawal symptoms:
- Abdominal cramping
- Dilated pupils
- Goose bumps
- Episodes of violence
A gambling addiction is considered a behavioral addiction. Unlike an addiction to a substance, behavioral addictions come with their own set of withdrawal symptoms that will be experienced during treatment.
Some gambling withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Cravings to gamble
- Difficulty breathing
Caffeine is one of the most commonly consumed psychoactive substances. ** It is important to note that regular use of caffeine has also been linked to positive health and psychological benefits, including decreasing the risks of cancer and suicide **
Once the body becomes dependent on caffeine, eliminating it from a diet can cause withdrawal symptoms that will begin 12 – 24 hours after stopping caffeine.
Here are a few caffeine withdrawal symptoms:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depressed mood
Lovers of junk food who try to cut back have found that junk food withdrawal can cause symptoms similar to drug withdrawal. It’s been noted that withdrawing, or cutting back, from things like fries or chocolate can cause the same withdrawal symptoms as someone who is withdrawing from cigarettes or marijuana.
Some food withdrawal symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Poor sleep
Withdrawal is not easy to fight, and it can even be deadly if not done right. Read more on Withdrawal: Why it’s not easy and can even be deadly.
~ Angela Tilghman
Valentines day is a day OF love. “LOVE” is a phenomenon that
has been the subject of controversy since the beginning of civilization, from
poets to artists to psychologists, scientists, and religions. But today, we are
going to talk about a different kind of love, and that is SELF LOVE.
What is self love?
The dictionary defines it as:
- regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than a narcissistic characteristic).
So lets separate this from narcissism.
- excessive interest in or admiration of oneself.
- selfishness, entitlement, lack of empathy, and a need for admiration.
There is a common saying, that one cannot love others until
one can love oneself. This may or may not be true, as there are plenty of
people who feel love with passion while still needing work on loving
themselves. But can they accept love from others fully? Do you yourself believe
that you can be loved completely?
Lets start there. Self love begins with allowing yourself to be loved, completely. And, well, with loving yourself, completely.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha
Self love is knowing that you deserve love. Now I’m going to
be honest, since the concept of “love” itself is such an enigmatic topic, I
cannot tell you one ultimate word of wisdom that defines what you need to be
striving for. But, we at Breaking Taboo can offer you some landmarks on your
journey of self discovery.
Here are six guidelines you can use every day, to help inspire
your journey to the top of the self love ladder.
1) Work on accepting yourself, and accepting what it is you want to work on.
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” – Mark Twain
We all have so called flaws, but it depends on how you choose to look at
it. What if we chose to see our “flaws” instead as, “opportunities for growth”?
In fact, lets do that right now. Lets decide to replace the word “Flaw” with
“Opportunity”. That’s it. Next time you see something in yourself that you want
to change, just see it as an opportunity to change and grow. That leads us to…
2) Allow yourself to grow.
“Love dies only when growth stops.” – Pearl S. Buck
In order to accept ourselves, we must accept the changes that naturally
occur in our lives. Fighting it only creates self doubt and missed opportunities
for you to expand your level of self awareness and self achievement. And,
achievement in any area of your life- even small achievements- lend itself to
growing your own self esteem.
3) Strive for having healthy self esteem.
self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.”
– Maxwell Maltz
This is easier said than done,
since our levels of self esteem is often deep rooted and formulated by our past
experiences, which we cannot undo. But there are many programs, seminars,
books, videos, healers, and therapists that are at your disposal to use! You
don’t have to be defined by your past, and you CAN create a you that is
4. Practice positive self talk.
be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.”
– Harvey Fierstein
Here at breaking taboo, we are all
about killing silence to save lives, and sometimes what we tell our own selves
simply isn’t true. When we use words such as “I can’t”, or “I’m not that good”,
it’s just our mind’s way of trying to protect us and shield us inside the tiny
little safety bubbles that we are used to surviving in. What you tell yourself
every day is powerful. So powerful, that you can choose to tell yourself
something different, something that actually helps you instead of harms you. Try
replacing the words “I can’t” with “I can”, and “I’m not that good” with “I can
learn how to do it”.
5. Practice self compassion
“Self compassion is how we recover.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Loving yourself does not mean stay
happy go lucky all the time and shut off any feelings of sadness or anger. In
fact, that would be the opposite of self-acceptance. Yes, I know we just spoke
about positive self talk, but we also need to allow ourselves to feel.
Afterall, that is what makes us human. We are all allowed to have bad days
where we just want to wallow in our bed- even mental health advocates
experience it. No one is perfect, and that is perfect in itself. When we fully
accept ourselves, we love our imperfections as a part of our whole, perfect
picture. Be compassionate to yourself when you are feeling down, know that it is
ok to feel that way, it’s ok to share, to ask for help or retreat- as long as
you understand that this is temporary, and soon, you’ll allow yourself to feel
6. Love love love
“Love is the true means by which the world is enjoyed; Our love to others, and others love to us.” – Thomas Traherne
I’ve been told that I love too many things. You know what I say to that? That there is no such thing as too much love. Love, whatever that wonderful feeling is, when practiced, is gained back in multitudes. If you want to practice loving yourself completely, practice loving others completely. Even if that other is your dog or your cat, or your special someone. Even if that other is your undying passion for the work that you do, or the cause that you are striving for.
I’m sure you have heard the saying
“Joy shared is twice the joy”, well love shared is much more than that.
That’s it! We’re keeping it short, sweet, and precious, just like Valentines day. Hope this inspires you on your journey of self love. Happy Day Of Love!