Mindfulness is an ancient practice that is helpful in stress reduction and coping with difficult circumstances. It is also backed up by research in the psychology of health and wellbeing and will improve your quality of life, even if you are unable to change a lot of things at this time.
If you would like to participate in an interactive learning experience that is practical and immediately applicable to your daily life, please consider registering for my forthcoming webinar on May 20th at 7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. You can register here: Access Your Inner Calm – Mindfulness Made Accessible to All.
In this webinar you will experience my unique way of teaching mindfulness, such that you can immediately apply it in your life and benefit from it.
If you have never attempted mindfulness practice, or if your previous attempts at mindfulness have been unsuccessful, I encourage you to give this a try.
My teaching method enables people to immediately apply the learnings even if they lead busy lives and don’t have much time to dedicate to a traditional mindfulness practice.
Since 1996, I have taught mindfulness in universities, hospitals, professional settings, religious organizations, adult education and businesses in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Hong Kong and Thailand.
My focus is on practical steps you can take to integrate mindfulness into your daily life, such that it supports clarity when making decisions under stress. In this webinar you will learn how to maintain calm and a feeling of peace, even in difficult situations.
The proceeds from this workshop will support this website and blog. As the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected our financial situation, I would be grateful if you might consider supporting our work, and sharing this information with others who may also find the webinar useful.
Difficult situations can overshadow what is going well in your life, and the COVID-19 pandemic is like a giant shadow over all of our lives. There are many difficulties and challenges we are forced to accept. So many things are beyond our control and simple activities like visiting a friend or relative have become impossible.
As you work thorough the challenges, it is important to recognize and cultivate the good that is present in your life.
What are some of the good things, right in front of you, that you might be overlooking?
You may have to stretch your mind to notice the positive elements in your life. Try noticing the good, however small it might seem in the moment. Such things can be a source of joy and offer an uplift.
You don’t have to jump up and down clapping your hands. Noticing what is good in your life can be as simple as appreciating subtle things, such as the color of the sky, or listening to comedy or your favourite music on YouTube.
Mindfulness, practiced in its simplest form, for instance only sixty-seconds of focused attention, can nevertheless enable you to become aware of things that you may otherwise miss. If you like, you can just watch your belly rise and fall as you breathe and appreciate the intricacy of the human body.
What small things give you joy? Is it the smile of your child or grandchild? Might it be a joke that a friend shared with you in the course of a phone call? I’d love to hear about the simple joys in your life and invite you to share them below.
For Your Information: On May 20th at 7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, I will be doing a webinar through Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix, Arizona. It is is open to the public and all proceeds will support the bookstore and our work during this difficult time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our financial situation negatively. Thus I would be grateful if you might consider supporting our work and sharing this information with others who may also find the webinar useful.
Thank you for subscribing to my blog. I hope that you are doing as well as possible, given the current conditions.
Do you have specific questions or topics you would like covered in this blog? I am planning a section called “Answer Bank” where I will answer questions related to emotional health and wellbeing and will share my responses in a dedicated page on this site.
Chances are, if you have a question, someone else also shares the same concerns. That is why I felt the Answer Bank could grow into a useful resource. And of course I will keep your identity anonymous when I post the question and answer there.
Behind the Scenes at Prescriptions for Hope
Currently, I am in discussion with two child psychologists and two professional singers (one is a formally trained chanting teacher and the other is classically trained.)
My goal is to increase resources for parents and children, and to offer live chanting sessions via the Internet, because chanting offers psychological benefits and is something everyone can do.
Prior to posting on the blog, everything I publish is reviewed by colleagues in mental health and public health. This is to ensure quality and readability. I also have non-psychologists read as much as possible, to ensure clarity for general audiences.
If you are a mental health professional and would like to volunteer as a reviewer, I would welcome that.
Helping Medical Personnel Procure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
You might have heard about the shortage of protective gear among frontline medical personnel in the United States. Doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and others are forced to work with highly infectious patients and are not provided adequate PPE such as masks that protect against COVID-19.
Already, this has resulted in deaths of medical personnel. There have also been instances, where they requested proper equipment, and the workers were either terminated from their jobs or reprimanded. This situation makes the pandemic even more challenging when our medical professionals are unnecessarily risking their health and lives while helping the public.
Upon discovering by chance that medical clinics near me were lacking masks, protective gowns and sanitizer, I got involved in helping them procure supplies. In the course of my advocacy endeavors, I happened to learn about severe shortages not only in the greater Phoenix area, but also in the northern part of Arizona.
After a lot of intensive outreach and search for resources, I’m pleased to share with you that in addition to local clinics, I was able to help a large rural hospital as well as its related satellite clinics that serve some of the hardest hit areas of the state.
As a result of my helping with PPE procurement, my videos and other Prescriptions for Hope were slowed down. However, in the next days, I will be releasing more prescriptions.
Book on Emotional Wellbeing
Currently I am preparing PDF files of some of the chapters from my book, The Time-Starved Woman’s Guide to Emotional Wellbeing: tools and strategies for balance. My goal is to make these available to you here at no cost. These chapters contain research-based tools to promote emotional health and the content is relevant for men and women.
While revisions were underway, the original publisher was bought by another company thereby delaying everything and hampering access to online orders. The planned revisions don’t affect the usefulness of the content.
If you are interested, I have a limited number of copies that I had purchased from the publisher and can sell to you. All proceeds would go toward the operating costs of this website and blog.
Please let me know if you would like me to present a webinar for a group or organization that you are a member of.
Later this month, I will be doing a webinar, Mindfulness Meditation: a multi-faceted tool for turbulent times, for the Columbia University Alumni Association, Northern California Chapter.
In May, I will be doing a webinar, Access Your Inner Calm – mindfulness made accessible to all, via Changing Hands Bookstore in the Phoenix area. This webinar is open to the public and as soon as I have the sign up information, I will share it with you.
An Uplifting Way to Start Off Your Pandemic Mornings
Morning Dance by Spyrogyra is energizing and uplifting. You may like to start your day with it. You can indeed dance to it, solo or with a loved one…or just tap your toes to the music while heating your water for coffee or tea.
We are all in this pandemic together, and you can be sure, where ever you are in the world, that as you listen and/or dance to this, I am with you in spirit and am doing the same. I use this music like a tea bag to infuse myself with positive feelings to help me face challenges. I’m sharing this with you in the hopes that it will add an uplifting moment to your day.
Along those lines, if you have a favorite piece of music that you start your day with, I’d love to hear it! And if enough of you share your personal favorites of uplifting music, we could even have a dedicated page on this site with our collective playlist.
Mindfulness helps you to manage stress and increase your awareness of joy and gratitude in your life. It can also help to enrich your relationships with loved ones.
You don’t have to sit on a cushion for hours. Instead, you can simply turn everyday activities such as walking, eating, washing dishes, chopping vegetables and singing into mindfulness meditation.
Below is an excerpt from my book, The Time-Starved Woman’s Guide to Emotional Wellbeing: tools and strategies for balance, which offers you a brief overview of mindfulness. Of course this information is not for women only. I’ve been teaching mindfulness since 1996 to women, men and children in a variety of settings, including at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland.
You might consider chocolate mediation. It’s something everyone tells me they like and I will be sharing more on chocolate meditation in forthcoming posts.
Mindfulness—Going from Automatic to Aware
Mindfulness is a non-religious activity that promotes health and is supported by modern-day brain and physiology research. It is a widely-used tool in health psychology.
Mindfulness is about going from automatic to aware and being focused on the here and now. It is one of the simplest and most effective ways to appreciate what is good in your life. You can also use it to become aware, in a non-judgmental way, of negative thoughts that automatically pop up in your mind.
Picture your mind as the pendulum of a clock, moving back and forth, from the past into the future. The mid-point of the pendulum swing is the here and now. When your thoughts are on autopilot and drift off into worries about the future or criticism about your past actions—or any negative thoughts, for that matter—bring yourself from automatic to aware.
Notice where your thoughts are straying. Are your automatic thoughts steering you toward feeling bad? Take note of what registers for you and steer yourself toward neutral or positive thoughts.
To get started with Mindfulness, breathe slowly and focus on your breath. Use your awareness of your breath as an anchor to keep your thoughts from drifting in unwanted directions. In moments when you catch your thoughts going in directions you don’t want or don’t like, gently bring your attention back to your breath. You can look at your belly rising and falling as you breathe. Or you can notice the air going in and out of your nose as you inhale and exhale.
Your breath is your doorway to “stillness on demand.” It is available to you any time and any place, no matter the circumstances, whether it is during a medical procedure, at a performance review, or if you are about to erupt in frustration at your spouse or child.
Cultivating Mindfulness is easy and within everyone’s reach. It is not necessary to sit on a cushion or go on a retreat. If you’re too wound up—or just don’t have time—to sit quietly and focus on your breathing, you can focus on whatever you are doing, whether it is walking, eating, drinking, or working in the kitchen. You can even use everyday sounds in your environment, like the chirping of a bird or the ticking of clock, to keep you “aware” and keep your mind from drifting to automatic or negative thoughts.