Five Steps to Mindfulness
This breathing exercise is designed to introduce you to mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of awareness of the present in the absence of judgment, analysis, and reasoning. In other words, it's awareness without dwelling on your thinking. (That's why we think the term mindfulness really ought to be mindlessness, but alas, the world has adopted the term mindfulness, so we'll go along with that.) You can't achieve mindfulness without acceptance, which involves patience and tolerance as well as willingness to feel and experience what is without resistance. In this chapter, we guide you through the acceptance of your thoughts and feelings so that you can achieve mindfulness.
Chapter 7 shows you how certain core beliefs darken and distort your view of yourself, your world, and your future as surely as eyeglasses with the wrong prescription muddle normal sight. We include tools for regrinding your life-lenses so you see things more clearly. Finally, in Chapter 8, you have the opportunity to practice mindfulness and acceptance more techniques for handling troubling thoughts.
From this wife's description one might conclude that the central problem of ADD is essentially a lack of sufficient self-awareness. She seems to believe that if only her husband were more steadily aware of what he is doing, he would not be so disorganized, jumping from one task to another without completing any single one. But most people do not require constant self-awareness to complete routine tasks. For most people, most of the time, operations of executive functions occur automatically, outside the realm of conscious awareness. For example, while driving a car to the local supermarket, experienced drivers do not usually talk themselves through each step of the process. They do not have to say to themselves Now I put the key in the ignition, now I put my foot on the brake, now I turn on the engine, now I check my mirrors and prepare to back out of my driveway, and so on. Most experienced drivers move effortlessly through the steps involved in starting the car, negotiating traffic,...
As might be expected in view of these differences, constructivism and social constructionism also differ in their endorsement of self-knowledge as a goal of life in general, or psychotherapy in particular. Whereas constructivists encourage the conscious elaboration of a multifaceted self'' and reflexive recognition of this process, social constructionists focus more upon the implicit ways in which practical engagement in specific contexts shapes one's mode of self-presentation, with or without one's conscious awareness or ''choice.'' This divergence contributes to a differential use of self-reflective versus social-conversational methods in various traditions of constructivist therapy, a topic to which we shall now turn.
The threats posed by support groups include a fear of becoming overwhelmed by attending to and disclosing one's difficulties, and by exposing oneself to the more severe difficulties faced by other group members, especially if those difficulties preview one's own possible fate. Although some members may benefit from this because of the anticipatory coping and sense of control such advance information may promote, others may cope most effectively by keeping such information out of conscious awareness. In short, differences in people's coping styles may powerfully affect their interest in and the value they gain from partici
Other controlled trials of cognitive therapy and other modalities for the prevention of depression are underway. In the meantime, cognitive therapy skills are being used to promote general social adjustment in school settings. School-based programs nationwide are applying cognitive-behavioral techniques as part of interpersonal skills training and conflict resolution. Cognitive skills such as disputing negative self-talk and problem solving are part of programs that typically include emotional awareness, communication skills, and behavioral self-control strategies. These programs are an example of health promotion, because they are applied at the community level and decrease the likelihood of occurrence of a range of psychological problems. Although cognitive therapy was designed as a treatment for psychological disorders, it may be beneficial in the prevention of psychological distress and in the promotion of well-being.
The brain has networks of neurons that very briefly hold in an active state the perceptions and thoughts of each moment, linking them with stored memories that allow the individual to string together experiences moment by moment to make sense of what is being perceived or thought and to act accordingly. This is working memory. Without it, an individual is perpetually locked into the present moment, unable to link what was seen, heard, or thought a moment ago with whatever is happening now. The importance of this function is painfully evident when one observes a
Some situations require only the simple exercise of very basic functions waiting a moment, heeding a warning to stop, saying a few words, or noticing the lighted color on a stoplight. Others are more complex and require more refined executive abilities. For example, in many situations behaving carefully requires attending to details that may signal risk it also requires working memory to keep in mind what one is doing, for example, avoiding distractions and attending to traffic while trying to cross a street. It also requires calling to mind information relevant to the present moment, such as remembering cautions one has been given to avoid certain potentially risky situations. And it requires monitoring and self-regulating actions so that one is not completely dependent on others to protect and control what one is doing.
You believe that you are informed of all that goes on in your mind if it is of any importance at all, because your consciousness gives you news of it. . . . Indeed, you go so far as to regard the mind as coextensive with consciousness, that is, with what is known to you, in spite of the most obvious evidence that a great deal more is perpetually going on in your mind than can be known to your consciousness. (p. 189)
Whether or not we regulate our emotions depends on our own emotional awareness (part of emotional intelligence) and how we think about our own moods. Also, we need strategies to use that can affect our feelings. So, for example, we might make ourselves feel good by helping other people, or by leaving the more pleasant things that we have to do until later in the day. (Of course, some people might start off with the more pleasant tasks and never actually get round to the less pleasant ones.)
Recognition of the amazing fact that executive functions generally operate without conscious awareness offers an important caveat to my use of the orchestra conductor as a metaphor for executive functions. Some might take my metaphor literally and assume that there is a special consciousness in the brain that coordinates other cognitive functions. One might picture a little man, a homunculus, a central executive somewhere behind one's forehead, exercising conscious control over cognition like a miniature Wizard of Oz. Thus, if there is a problem with the orchestra's playing, one might attempt to speak to the conductor, requesting or demanding needed improvements in performance.
Patients were instructed in mindfulness meditation and were taught how to become detached observers of their thoughts. This form of meditation helps patients increase their insight regarding how mental categories are developed. With the enhanced awareness patients can detach themselves from their habitual ways of thinking, and through therapy they can progress to greater cognitive flexibility and more adaptive self-im Patients participated in an 8-week course in which they attended weekly 2-hour classes. In the sixth week they also attended an intensive 7.5-hour retreat. Patients showed significant reductions in anxiety, panic symptoms, and depression from pre- to posttreatment and results were maintained 3 years later. It has been suggested that, unlike those who participate in cognitive therapy, patients who practice mindfulness meditation are not asked to substitute one thought pattern for another. Instead, patients observe the inaccuracy, limited nature, and intrinsic impermanence...
Some aspects of the person's behaviour or belief system. The idea is to help patients make some contact with their 'real' selves and find out what their basic goals and desires are. As part of this they are encouraged to bring their underlying emotions and motivations into conscious awareness.
Meanwhile, Glaisher had begun convulsing. I dimly saw Mr. Coxwell, and endeavoured to speak, but could not. In an instant intense darkness overcame me, so that the optic nerve lost power suddenly, but I was still conscious, with as active a brain as at the present moment whilst writing this. I thought I had been seized with asphyxia, and believed I should experience nothing more, as death would come unless we speedily descended other thoughts were entering my mind when I suddenly became unconscious as on going to sleep 2 .
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