Mindfullness Reminders


Recently I was reading a great post on a Facebook Group I’m on and it gave some excellent reminders of how to practice Mindfulness, which has become a lost art for many these days. The group is called Mind Over Fatter (the psychology of weightloss) and it is owned by a gentleman called Greg Justice. I think you’ll enjoy the discussions on there.

The Ten Guiding Principals of Mindfulness
1. Awareness. Stuff happens every second, and if seconds could be divided even those particles have moments that slip by too fast or too slow. The stomach tickles, to take a check into what’s going on inside of your head and your body. It’s like using those little emoticons and smileys in your texts and tweets that show immediately your awareness of what you are feeling on the inside – and projecting it outward!

2. Acceptance. You already know what you really experience –it is true for you, whether or not you like it– no matter what anyone else might say. This moment is the time to stop the fight over what goes on with you in your mind that you want to change, avoid, get back at, get even with, or on the other hand, even to crow about. In this moment you don’t have to be responsible to make a change or to change – merely to accept.

3. Compassion- It is commendable to be on the road to improvement. But usually you do it by criticizing your weaknesses, lacks, and you may even be down about what you did wrong, mistakes, missed plans. Take this moment to be as compassionate to yourself, as you would be to others in need. Give yourself the hug, the pat, the nod, the ok, that you would give to your dear friend or relative.

4. Invitation- Today we might be expecting to be super heroes and use your own power as a force–even if it’s for the good like Captain America or Black Widow. But this attitude is about the moment to just be curious about possibility, what will be will be without any you force or power to make things happen. Force causes a stiff neck which blocks the flow of energy or chi. Why do you think people, who seem stubborn, blocked and immovable are called – “Stiff Necked?”

5. Non-judgment- Of course you have opinions–that is part of who you are. But this is the moment to dispel judgment–just to ease and observe, take a load off because it’s a relief not to have to know where your philosophy is all the time.

6. Patience- The things you don’t like or want happen too quickly–bills come, deadlines come, preparations and intentions don’t always pan out, the best growth and discoveries usually take more time than you think, and are not easy, but that’s ok and that’s the way it is.

7. Practice- Thinking, planning, understanding, feeling inspired are all great, but like the saying, put your muscle where your mouth is. Until you practice it’s nothing more than interesting and entertaining ideas and thoughts.

8. Present moment focus- Luckily you remember the past– and are also planning the future–it’s life and what you have to do, and it is useful to think in all directions. But this moment is just to be aware of the moment, what is filling up this exact moment. It’s not empty, each moment to the next is willed with sight, sound, sensations, thoughts, emotions.

9. Tolerance- Into every life some rain must fall the old saying goes and nobody escapes some unpleasantness and pain and that’s just the way it is. In this moment learn to tolerate the bad, and appreciate a peaceful feeling that it is just there.

10. Validation. What you experience goes on inside you and is your thought, emotion, sensation. It is there for a reason because it is what makes you unique. You have your learning, your history, your genetics, your personality, and that is you and valid–whether you understand the moment’s experience or not.

Take away: It is interesting to note how successful 12-step self-improvement programs echo the Principles of Mindfulness above. All such programs owe their origin to the Oxford Groups led by Dr. Frank Buchman in the 1920s. According to Buchman the guiding principles of the “OGs” were: absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness and absolute love. Another example of east meets west?

You can find the original post and the FB Group here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/491885354262293/permalink/729736670477159/?comment_id=742205415896951&offset=0&total_comments=2&ref=notif&notif_t=group_comment_mention

How Scarcity Affects Our Minds


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I mucked up this morning and missed out this link referring to the original  author of this article, Dr Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. who writes for Psychology Today and has her own practice in Marin County:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201401/the-psychology-scarcity?quicktabs_5=0

When we experience emotional deprivation in childhood, this feeling of not being important or lovable enough can persist into adulthood as a “deprivation mindset.”  We may never feel as if we have enough of the things we need.  This sense of insecurity can harm our close relationships. We may expect our loved ones to let us down, never express our needs directly or choose romantic partners who are avoidant of intimacy. Feeling deprived of important resources like love, food, money, or time can lead to anxiety or anger. We may obsess about the thing we are deprived of.  Or we may feel like we need to operate in emergency mode—penny-pinching or scheduling every second of our days. New theories and research about the psychology of scarcity provide some insights into how perceiving scarcity negatively impacts our brains and behaviour.

How Scarcity Affects Our Thinking

A scarcity mindset narrows our time frame, causing us to make impulsive, short-term decisions that increase our difficulties in the long-term, like putting off paying credit card bills or not opening the envelopes, hoping they will magically disappear. Poor farmers in India do better on cognitive tests at the end of the harvest when they are flush than at the beginning of harvest when they are running out of money. The size of this effect was equivalent to a 13-point drop in IQ! Dealing with extremely limited resources increases the problems and barriers we have to deal with, resulting in mental fatigue and cognitive overload. Other studies show that being lonely or deprived of food results in an unhealthy obession, hyperfocus, and overvaluing of the thing we don’t have. Ironically, the nature of scarcity itself impedes our coping efforts.

Scarcity and Motivation

Stress and anxiety associated with scarcity interfere with motivation, causing us to be more vulnerable to temptation. Do you notice how people buy stuff they don’t need at after-holiday sales when they’ve already spent most of their money? Perceiving scarcity, we’re unable to resist the time-limited super-bargain. Similarly, crash/starvation diets make us more likely to binge eat—not to mention the physiological effects of hunger on thinking and performance.  Lonely people see themselves and others more negatively and may counterproductively avoid joining group gatherings and activities for fear of rejection.

 What To Do

So, how do we overcome this scarcity mindset without becoming too complacent and living in ‘la-la-land’?  While different people may be comfortable with different levels of scarcity versus abundance mindset, the following suggestions can help you feel less deprived.

  1. Practice Gratitude – Deliberately focus your mind on what is good about your life, including the people who support you, the sense of community in your neighborhood, your achievements, or your exercise and healthy lifestyle. This can stop you from magnifying the importance of any one scarce resource like time or money.
  2. Don’t Compare Yourself With Others – You will always be exposed to people who have more time, money, or possessions and may experience a touch of envy. But in reality, you don’t know what it’s like to walk in that person’s shoes. As the saying goes, “Don’t compare your inside to everybody else’s outside.”  Your struggles may have created inner strengths that you don’t fully appreciate.
  3. Stop Obsessing – It is easy to get caught up in mental scripts about all the wrong decisions you made or worries about “what if.”  To break these cycles requires a lot of effort and preparation. Make a plan for what you will do if you catch yourself ruminating. Getting up and getting active can activate the left side of your brain, which breaks the depressive emotional focus. So, take a walk, call a friend, tidy your house or read a book.
  4. Take Preemptive Measures – Make a list when you go to the supermarket or program automatic appointment reminders and deposits into savings accounts. Don’t take your credit card to the shopping mall—take a frugal friend with you instead. Put the biscuits on the top shelf or give them away before starting your healthy living plan.
  5. Don’t Be Greedy – When resources are scarce, people get competitive because they think that more for somebody else means less for you. In fact, when you help somebody else grow their business, they may be more likely to refer extra business to you. Being helpful to others can lead to deeper friendships, gaining respect and reputation, creative bartering, or making allies.