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Buddhism, mindfulness and wellbeing

oneday

oneday

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From the poem Bouyancy, by Rumi:

Why should we grieve that we've been sleeping?
It doesn't matter how long we've been unconscious.

We're groggy but let the guilt go.
Feel the motions of tenderness
around, the buoyancy.

Rumi


(I think Rumi is a wonderful poet especially if you like 'spiritual' without the bullshit. He was a 13th Century Persian Sufi poet and mystic.)
 
oneday

oneday

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Active acceptance:

View all problems as challenges.
Look upon negativities that arise as opportunities to learn and to grow.
Don't run from them, condemn yourself, or bury your burden in saintly silence.
You have a problem? Great.
More grist for the mill. Rejoice, dive in, and investigate.

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Mindfulness in Plain English"
 
oneday

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More on 'acceptance' - on meditation and powerful, or difficult, emotions...

The following comes from a blog by someone called Susan Piver (I hope she wouldn't mind me using it here in full):

Meditation and the Path of Strong Emotion

One of the very big misconceptions about meditation practice is that it will help you not to feel things too strongly – except for maybe peace, goodwill, and bliss (whatever that means). Eventually perhaps this will become true, but for most us, when strong feelings – especially strong negative feelings – are encountered, we view this as a failure of our practice. Like, if I was better at meditation, I could avoid becoming enraged when called an asshole by another driver (who was the asshole in this case, let’s face it) or the fact that my neighbour’s dog poops on my lawn every single day. I could avoid sorrow when my love is unrequited or I find that a dear friend is ill. I could avoid anxiety when I have to find a new job or have a scary appointment with the doctor.

In the sort of spiritually materialistic world we live in, we could find many suggestions for how to achieve such a state of implacability. Some of them are about avoiding dangerous situations (physical, emotional, spiritual) altogether by just staying home. Some direct you to assert yourself in the face of difficulty by taking strong action, asserting yourself, fighting back. Some revolve around restructuring the way your mind works so that you only think the thoughts that make you happy and “attract” good things—or, when bad things happen, you replace your sad and weary thoughts with perkier, brighter ones.

There is nothing wrong with making efforts along these lines. It is vitally important that we take precautions against danger by safeguarding ourselves on all levels. We should react boldly when it is called for. And of course we should examine our thoughts for self-sabotage and try to craft an inner environment of joy and positivity.

However. If we do so with the intention of creating a life where anger, sorrow, and fear have no place, then I’m afraid we will be quite disappointed.

…Please know that I wish for you only peace, joy, and love. But it is impossible to avoid the sorrows of being human and actually, if it were, we would cease to be human. At the core of anger is great vitality. At the heart of sorrow is love. Underneath fear is sadness, which is soft and workable. When you turn toward anger, sorrow, and fear, in some way you are gaining access to vitality, love, and great tenderness. You can’t separate them.

It would be a very small being indeed who could tolerate only the so-called positive feelings. You are capable of a vast range of emotion and connecting with this storehouse also connects you to poetry, passion, and your own brand of utter brilliance. We have a choice: feel it all or go home.

So it behoves us greatly to learn to meet our difficult emotions and our meditation practice can help in two ways:

First, by teaching you how to sit (literally) with yourself as you think, feel, and experience whatever arises, always returning to breath, you learn to ride the waves of grasping, aggression, and avoidance with equanimity — not by ignoring them, but by allowing them to be exactly as they are.

Second, your meditation practice gives you a tool for encountering those strong emotions that you simply cannot let go of.

Sometimes it happens during practice that deep, deep emotions arise and it is not possible (or advisable) to "just let them go.” In this case, your can slightly alter the meditation technique for as long as you need to. Rather than make your breath the object of awareness (as it is in classical shamatha [‘single pointed focus’, or ‘concentrated awareness’ meditation] practice), you could make your emotion the object of awareness. Not the story of the emotion (I feel this way because…. I wouldn’t feel this way if… I could stop feeling this if only…) but the feeling of the feeling: the heat or chill or constriction or weight of it. Make that the object of awareness and, when your awareness strays, which it will, just as in normal shamatha practice, bring it back. Place your attention on your feeling over and over until it begins to dissolve — and then come back to breath.

In this way, as meditators, we are learning to create a world for ourselves where we are unafraid of anger. Unafraid of sadness. Unafraid of fear. It’s not that we don’t feel such things, but they do not knock us down. This is a far more expansive, joyful, and humane way to live. And, as Chogyam Trungpa writes in Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. “The key to warriorship is not being afraid of who you are. Ultimately, that is the definition of bravery.”
 
oneday

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Following the idea of ‘letting it be’, I liked finding this quote this morning with its ancient teaching encouraging the practice of mindfulness, of letting it be…


In what is seen, let there be just the seen;
In what is heard, let there be just the heard;
In what is sensed, let there be just the sensed;
In what is thought, let there be just the thought.

From the Sutta Nipata
(considered one of the oldest Buddhist scriptures)
I wanted to remind myself of these words this morning. I'm spending today at a mindfulness day 'retreat' (of silent meditation practice and mindful movement) and at a local Buddhist centre. It's the final day of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course I've been attending and following since October. I'm really looking forward to it, and a bit sad it's finishing. There's even a psychiatrist on the course. He's a good guy, I like him.

Here are some words from Jon Kabat-Zinn (again), who is a bit of a leading light in modern mindfulness practice, and that reflect the ancient words above.

"It's not a matter of letting go—you would if you could. Instead of 'Let it go,' we should probably say 'Let it be.'

Jon Kabat-Zinn
 
oneday

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I find myself concerned a great deal currently with what “acceptance” is, and is not, as suggested by mindfulness, or Buddhist, meditation practice, and how much we might accept or befriend the parts of our experience we find most painful or difficult.


“Mindfulness is about paying attention on purpose and without judgement, as best you can, to what is going on in your body and your mind and in the world around you.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn, US author, founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic, and The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, Massachusetts


“The source of wisdom is whatever is happening to us right at this very instant.

We're always in some kind of mood. It might be sadness, it might be anger. It might be not much of anything, just a kind of blur. It might be humour or contentment. In any case, whatever it is, that's the path."


Pema Chodron, US Buddhist teacher and author


"In other traditions demons are expelled externally. But in my tradition demons are accepted with compassion."

Machig Labdron, 11th century Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and teacher
 
oneday

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A long piece for here, I guess, but worth reading I think.



The Wisdom in Dark Emotions
by Miriam Greenspan

"Emotions like grief, fear and despair are as much a part of the human condition as love, awe and joy," says psychotherapist Miriam Greenspan. "Each of these emotions is purposeful and useful - if we know how to listen to them."

I was brought to the practice of mindfulness more than two decades ago by the death of my first child. Aaron died two months after he was born, never having left the hospital. Shortly after that, a friend introduced me to a teacher from whom I learned the basics of Vipassana meditation: how to breathe mindfully and meditate with "choiceless" awareness. I remember attending a dharma talk in a room full of fifty meditators. The teacher spoke about the Four Noble Truths. Life is inherently unsatisfactory, he said. The ego's restless desires are no sooner fulfilled than they find new objects. Craving and aversion breed suffering. One of his examples was waiting in line for a movie and then not getting in.

I asked: "But what if you're not suffering because of some trivial attachment? What if it's about something significant, like death? What if you're grieving because your baby was born with brain damage and died before he had a chance to live?" I wept openly, expecting that there, of all places, my tears would be accepted.

The teacher asked, "How long has your son been dead?" When I told him it had been two months, his response was swift: "Well then, that's in the past now, isn't it? It's time to let go of the past and live in the present moment."

I felt reprimanded for feeling sad about my son's death. The teacher's response baffled me. Live in the present? My present was suffused with a wrenching sorrow - a hole in my heart that bled daily. But the present moment, as he conceived of it, could be cleanly sliced away from and inured against this messy pain. Divested of grief, an emotionally sanitized "present moment" was served up as an antidote for my tears. However well meaning, the message was clear: Stop grieving. Get over it. Move on.

This is a familiar message. Its unintended emotional intolerance often greets those who grieve, especially if they do so openly. I call this kind of intolerance "emotion-phobia": a pervasive fear and reflexive avoidance of difficult emotions in oneself and/or others. This is accompanied by a set of unquestioned normative beliefs about the "negativity" of painful feelings.

Emotion-phobia is endemic to our culture and perhaps to patriarchal culture in general. You'll find it in subcultures as different as spiritual retreats, popular self-help books and psychiatric manuals. In fact, my teacher's supposedly Buddhist response was very much in line with the prevailing psychiatric view of grief. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (the "bible" of psychiatry), the patient who is grieving a death is allotted two months for "symptoms" such as sadness, insomnia and loss of appetite before being diagnosable with a "major depressive disorder." Grief, perhaps the most inevitable of all human emotions, given the unalterable fact of mortality, is seen as an illness if it goes on too long. But how long is too long? My mother, a Holocaust survivor, grieved actively for the first decade of my life. Was this too long a grief for genocide? Time frames for our emotions are nothing if not arbitrary, but appearing in a diagnostic and statistical manual, they attain the ring of truth. The two-month limit is one of many examples of institutional psychiatry's emotion-phobia.

Emotions like grief, fear and despair are as much a part of the human condition as love, awe and joy. They are our natural and inevitable responses to existence, so long as loss, vulnerability and violence come with the territory of being human. These are the dark emotions, but by dark, I don't mean that they are bad, unwholesome or pathological. I mean that as a culture we have kept these emotions 'in the dark' - shameful, secret and unseen.

Emotion-phobia dissociates us from the energies of these emotions and tells us they are untrustworthy, dangerous and destructive. Like other traits our culture distrusts and devalues - vulnerability, for instance, and dependence - emotionality is associated with weakness, women and children. We tend to regard these painful emotions as signs of psychological fragility, mental disorder or spiritual defect. We suppress, intellectualize, judge or deny them. We may use our spiritual beliefs or practices to bypass their reality.

Few of us learn how to experience the dark emotions fully - in the body, with awareness - so we end up experiencing their energies in displaced, neurotic or dangerous forms. We act out impulsively. We become addicted to a variety of substances and/or activities. We become depressed, anxious or emotionally numb, and aborted dark emotions are at the root of these characteristic psychological disorders of our time. But it's not the emotions themselves that are the problem; it's our inability to bear them mindfully.

Every dark emotion has a value and purpose. There are no negative emotions; there are only negative attitudes towards emotions we don't like and can't tolerate, and the negative consequences of denying them. The emotions we call "negative" are energies that get our attention, ask for expression, transmit information and impel action. Grief tells us that we are all interconnected in the web of life, and what connects us also breaks our hearts. Fear alerts us to protect and sustain life. Despair asks us to grieve our losses, to examine and transform the meaning of our lives, to repair our broken souls. Each of these emotions is purposeful and useful - if we know how to listen to them.

But if grief is barely tolerated in our culture, even less are fear and despair. The fact is we are all afraid and act as if we're not. We fear the sheer vulnerability of existence; we fear its unpredictability. When we are unable to feel our fear mindfully, we turn it into anger, psychosomatic ailments or a host of "anxiety disorders" - displacements of fears we can't feel or name.

According to experts, some 50 million people in this country [the USA] suffer from phobias at some point in their lives, and millions more are diagnosed with other anxiety disorders. One reason is that we've lost touch with the actual experience of primal, natural fear. When fear is numbed, we learn little about what it's for - its inherent usefulness as an alarm system that we ignore at our peril. Benumbed fear is especially dangerous when it becomes an unconscious source of vengeance, violence and other destructive acts. We see this acted out on the world stage as much as in the individual psyche.

As for despair, how many among us have not experienced periods of feeling empty, desolate, hopeless, brooding over the darkness in our world? This is the landscape of despair. Judging from my thirty years of experience as a psychotherapist, I would say that despair is common, yet we don't speak of despair anymore. We speak of clinical depression, serotonin-deficiency, biochemical disorder and the new selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors. We treat the "illness" with a host of new medications. In my view, "depression" is the word we use in our highly medicalized culture for a condition of chronic despair - despair that is stuck in the body and toxified by our inability to bear it mindfully. When we think of all despair as a mental disorder or a biochemical illness, we miss the spiritual metamorphosis to which it calls us.

In retrospect, a more helpful answer from my meditation teacher (and one more in line with the Buddha's teachings) might have been, If you are grieving, do so mindfully. Pay attention to your grief. Stop and listen to it. Befriend it and let it be. The dark emotions are profound but challenging spiritual teachers, like the Zen master who whacks you until you develop patience and spiritual discipline. When grief shattered my heart after Aaron's death that brought with it an expansion, the beginning of my experience of a Self larger than my broken ego. Grieving mindfully - without recourse to suppression, intellectualization or religious dogmatism - made me a happier person than I'd ever been.

What I learned by listening closely to grief was a transformational process I call "the alchemy of the dark emotions." Many years after Aaron's death, after a second radiantly healthy child and a third who was born with a mysterious neuromotor disorder, I began to write about these alchemies - from grief to gratitude, fear to joy and despair to faith - that I had experienced in my own life and witnessed countless times in my work as a psychotherapist.

The alchemy of the dark emotions is a process that cannot be forced, but it can be encouraged by cultivating certain basic emotional skills. The three basic skills are attending to, befriending and surrendering to emotions that make us uncomfortable.

Attending to our dark emotions is not just noticing a feeling and then distancing ourselves from it. It's about being mindful of emotions as bodily sensations and experiencing them fully. Befriending emotion is how we extend our emotional attention spans. Once again, this is a body-friendly process - getting into the body, not away from it into our thoughts. At the least, it's a process of becoming aware of how our thoughts both trigger emotions and take us away from them. Similarly, surrender is not about letting go but about letting be. When you are open to your heart's pain and to your body's experience of it, emotions flow in the direction of greater healing, balance and harmony.

Attending to, befriending and surrendering to grief, we are surprised to discover a profound gratitude for life. Attending to, befriending and surrendering to fear, we find the courage to open to our vulnerability and we are released into the joy of knowing that we can live with and use our fear wisely. Attending to, befriending and surrendering to despair, we discover that we can look into the heart of darkness in ourselves and our world, and emerge with a more resilient faith in life.

Because we are all pretty much novices at this process, we need to discipline ourselves to be mindful and tolerant of the dark emotions. This is a chaotic, non-linear process, but I have broken it down to seven basic steps: 1) intention, 2) affirmation, 3) sensation, 4) contextualization, 5) the way of non-action, 6) the way of action, and 7) the way of surrender.

Intention is the means by which the mind, heart and spirit are engaged and focused. Transforming the dark emotions begins when we set our intention on using our grief, fear and despair for the purpose of healing. It is helpful to ask yourself: What is my best intention with regard to the grief, fear and despair in my life? What would I want to learn or gain from this suffering?

The second step in using the dark emotions for growth is affirming their wisdom. This means changing the way we think about how we feel, and developing and cultivating a positive attitude toward challenging feelings.

Emotional intelligence is a bodily intelligence, so we have to know how to listen to our bodies. The step I call "sensation" includes knowing how to sense and name emotions as we experience them in the body. We need to become more familiar and friendly with the actual physical sensations of emotional energy. Meditation, T'ai chi, yoga and other physical practices that cultivate mindfulness are particularly useful. How does your body feel when you are sad, fearful or despairing? What kinds of stories does your mind spin about these emotions? What happens when you simply observe these sensations and stories, without trying to understand, analyze or change anything?

In step four, contextualization, we acquaint ourselves with the stories we usually tell ourselves about our emotional suffering, and then place them in a broader social, cultural, global or cosmic context. In enlarging our personal stories, we connect them to a larger story of grief, fear or despair in the world. This gets us out of the isolation and narcissism of our personal history, and opens us to transforming our suffering into compassion.

Step five, the way of non-action, is the skill that psychologists call "affect tolerance." This step extends our ability to befriend the pain of the dark emotions in the body. When we can tolerate the pain of grief, fear and despair without acting prematurely to escape it, we are practicing the way of non-action. Again, it is helpful to meditate on your emotions with the intention of really listening to them. What does your grief, fear or despair ask of you? In meditation, listen to the answers that come from your heart, rather than from your analytic mind.

The dark emotions ask us to act in some way. While the way of non-action builds our tolerance for dark emotional energy, step six is about finding an action or set of actions that puts this energy to good use. In the way of action, we act not in order to distract ourselves from emotion but in order to use its energy with the intention of transformation. The dark emotions call us to find the right action, to act with awareness and to observe the transformations that ensue, however subtle. Action can be strong medicine in times of trouble. If you are afraid, help someone who lives in fear. For example, volunteer at a battered women's shelter. If you're sad and lonely, work for the homeless. If you're struggling with despair, volunteer at a hospice. Get your hands dirty with the emotion that scares you. This is one of the best ways to find hope in despair, to find connection in a shared grief and to discover the joy of working to create a less broken world.

Finally, step seven, the way of surrender, is the art of conscious emotional flow. Emotional flow is something that happens automatically when we know how to attend to and befriend our emotions. When we are in flow with emotion, the energy becomes transformative, opening us to unexpected vistas.

When we look deeply into the dark emotions in our lives, we find both the universality of suffering and how much suffering is unnecessary, the result of social inequities, oppression, large scale violence and trauma. Our awareness both of the universality of suffering and of its socially created manifestations is critical to the healing journey. Knowing how our grief, fear and despair may be connected to larger emotional currents and social conditions de-pathologizes these emotions, allowing us to accept and tolerate them more fruitfully, and with more compassion for ourselves and others. We begin to see the dark emotions as messengers, information-bearers and teachers, rather than "negative" energies we must subdue, tame or deny. We tend to think of our "negative" emotions as signs that there's something wrong with us. But the deepest significance of the feelings is simply our shared human vulnerability. When we know this, we begin to heal in a way that connects us rather than separates us from the world.

Miriam Greenspan is the author of A New Approach to Women and Therapy. and Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear and Despair. (This article was taken from Shambhala Sun, January, 2003)
 
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oneday

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"When sitting [in meditation], I often get thoughts to the effect of, 'Is this a waste of time? What is the purpose of this? What am I supposed to be getting from this?' It's natural to think this way, and with most human endeavors, that kind of thinking is reasonable. It's only with meditation that the point is not what you're getting out of it. The point is clear ackowledgement that what is happening is happening."

Jon Kabat-Zinn
 
oneday

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I want to repeat below the final paragraph of the long piece above by Miriam Greenspan, 'The Wisdom in Dark Emotions' (I think it's well worth reading in full). By 'dark emotions', she doesn't mean these emotions are bad or 'pathological' - she means that our culture has taught us to keep these emotions 'in the dark' - shameful, secret, unseen. But, as she says, emotions like grief, fear and despair are just as much a part of the human condition as love, awe and joy. They are our natural and inevitable responses to our existence.

Attending to our dark emotions is about becoming mindful of these emotions as bodily sensations, learning to experience them fully, to let them be and befriend them, to learn to "extend our emotional attention spans". This is so different from how our culture so often encourages us to 'deal with' these emotions, and of course how psychiatry, as the culture's star representative here, teaches and encourages us to deal with these feelings it/we find difficult - i.e. to deny them, suppress them (e.g. with drugs), displace them, act them out impulsively, run from them and numb them with a variety of substances and/or activities, etc, etc. Here's how she concludes the piece:

"When we look deeply into the dark emotions in our lives, we find both the universality of suffering and how much suffering is unnecessary, the result of social inequities, oppression, large scale violence and trauma. Our awareness both of the universality of suffering and of its socially created manifestations is critical to the healing journey. Knowing how our grief, fear and despair may be connected to larger emotional currents and social conditions de-pathologizes these emotions, allowing us to accept and tolerate them more fruitfully, and with more compassion for ourselves and others. We begin to see the dark emotions as messengers, information-bearers and teachers, rather than "negative" energies we must subdue, tame or deny. We tend to think of our "negative" emotions as signs that there's something wrong with us. But the deepest significance of the feelings is simply our shared human vulnerability. When we know this, we begin to heal in a way that connects us rather than separates us from the world."

Miriam Greenspan

 
A

Apotheosis

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I read Miriam's book - There was some of it that I found really good; & parts of it that I thought were nonsense. I think that she went way off the mark with the 9/11 stuff.
 
oneday

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Just sitting


Some sitting positions

I'd like to go back to basics – there's really nothing complicated, esoteric, "religious" or "mystical" about mindful meditation practice. Its beauty, and its challenge, is its very ordinariness – just sitting, just being, though in a particular, focused way.

To start meditating you need only to try it out for ten minutes. Find a quiet, private space. Once you’ve practiced for a while you can try this in busy places too – on a train, a bus, a bench by a busy street, a cafe – but first, choose somewhere peaceful where you won’t be disturbed…

1. Sit comfortably and quietly – on a chair, or on a cushion on the floor if you find it comfortable. Settle into a relaxed posture, with your back balanced and straight, and both feet flat on the floor if you are in a chair, or with your legs gently crossed, your pelvis tilted slightly forward, and with your knees settling towards the floor if you are sitting on a cushion. Let your upper arms relax and your hands rest palms down on your knees, or let them rest palms up, one on top of the other in your lap. Allow your body to feel balanced and relaxed, neither rigid nor slumped.

Let your eyes gently close, or, if you prefer, keep them slightly open and softly focused on the floor in front of you.

2. Bring your attention to your breathing. Notice how it feels as your breath enters and leaves your body. You might, for instance, observe how your breath feels as it enters your nostrils or the rise and fall of the breath in your lower abdomen. Just sit and observe your breath, don’t try to change it. Bring gentle awareness to your in-breath and your out-breath, to your breathing in each present moment. If you find it helpful, gently count your breaths, say on the out-breath, up to ten. Then start again at 'one'. Don't worry if you lose count, just return again to one.

3. When your mind wanders off, gently bring it back to the breath. It is natural that you will find that you have stopped observing your breath and your mind has wandered off into thoughts, daydreams, and fantasies. Just note where your mind has gone, and gently return your attention to your breathing.

4. Practice this for 10 minutes a day, building up to 20 minutes at a time.

5. In stressful situations, just gently stop and follow your breath in this way, if only for a couple of minutes.
 
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oneday

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After visiting the Occupy London camp at St Pauls I was interested to find this piece on “Emotional self-management for activists”. As the piece suggests some people might, I find the language of emotional “management” and "regulation", and "desirable" and "undesirable" emotions, sounds too controlling, precriptive and rigid for what mindfulness practice actually offers. That said, I think there’s a lot of useful stuff here and worth the (quite long) read:

http://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/08rp.html
 
oneday

oneday

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Hmm... I wonder



"All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone."

~Blaise Pascal (1623–1662)
 
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oneday

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Relating skilfully towards emotions



The following are some ideas, some tools, for relating skilfully towards painful and/or destructive emotions, and generating beneficial ones such as calmness, acceptance, joy. They come from the online article I mention in post #432 above, called “Emotional self-management for activists”. (As I’ve said already, I find some of the language of the piece a turn-off – the language of emotional “management” and "regulation", and "desirable" and "undesirable" emotions. That said, I think there’s lots of useful ideas in the piece.)

The ideas/tools below have been drawn from US psychologist Marsha Linehan's ‘Dialectical Behavior Therapy’. Linehan was amongst the first to introduce notions of mindfulness into contemporary Western cognitive psychology.

Ideas for relating skilfully towards your emotions and managing distress...

1) Objective:
Identifying and labelling emotions

Immediate Goal:
Observe and describe events and the interpretations you make that prompt emotions.

Action/Skill:
Keep an emotions diary that includes events, interpretations, body feelings, and urges to act.


2) Objective:
Reducing your vulnerability to the "emotion mind"

Immediate Goal:
Avoid stress that makes you vulnerable to emotional reactivity.

Action/Skill:
Take care of the body: exercise, eat well, avoid mood-altering drugs, get enough sleep. Do one thing a day that makes you feel competent.


3) Objective:
Increasing positive emotional events

Immediate Goal:
Increase the number of pleasurable events in your life in order to increase positive emotions

Action/Skill:
Do one thing a day that gives you pleasure. Make a list of positive events you want - and take the first step. Be mindful of positive experiences. Attend to your relationships.


4) Objective:
Increasing mindfulness to current emotions

Immediate Goal:
Experience emotions without judging them or trying to inhibit them, because this simply adds an extra layer of suffering.

Action/Skill:
Observe your emotion, note its presence - and step back. Accept your emotion: without trying to push it away or hang on to it. Remember you are not your emotion, and you need not act on it.


5) Objective:
Taking opposite action

Immediate Goal:
Change your behavioural-expressive response to emotions

Action/Skill:
Do things that give you a sense of mastery. Fear: do a little of what you are afraid of. Sadness: get active. Anger: imagine sympathy and do something nice for yourself.


6) Objective:
Applying distress tolerance techniques

Immediate Goal:
To tolerate destructive emotions without taking impulsive actions

Action/Skill:

Distract yourself with positive activities such as hobbies or visiting a friend.

Self-soothe the five senses: buy some flowers, listen to beautiful music, have a good meal.

Improve the moment: meditate, create meaning and purpose, relax the body.

Encourage your self: "I can do it"; "it will pass."

Calm the mind by learning to follow the breath, put a half-smile on your face.

Radical acceptance: decide to accept reality – let yourself embrace "what is" through mindfulness.



The piece (“Emotional self-management for activists”) goes on to talk about mindfulness as something which is “simple to learn but requires practice to make it effective.” Too true.
 
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F

fmlfml

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Hmm... I wonder



"All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone."

~Blaise Pascal (1623–1662)
I have no problem with it. haha
 
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