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Upgrading the 'breathing space' meditation, some research-based suggestions (1st post): mindfulness & naming

Many forms of stress management & meditation teach brief "breathing space" exercises that can be used to bring oneself into the present in a variety of helpful ways.  These seem to have been particularly popularised by the 3 minute breathing space exercise (3MBS) taught in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).  Zindel Segal (one of MBCT's developers) describes the development of this Widen-Narrow-Widen attentional sequence in this short online article.

Mindful self-compassion residential: last morning, reviewing & appreciating

The first evening of this residential was back on Tuesday and it's now Saturday morning.  I've already written an initial post "Mindful self-compassion residential: first morning, doubts & overview".  So how am I feeling about the workshop now after three full days ... with just one to go?  Happy, touched, engaged, questioning, quietly inspired.  My initial doubts & impatience with the fact that such a widely taught training hasn't been backed up with better research still holds.  It wouldn't have taken a huge initiative to have set up a straight comparison trial between Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC).  How would they compare?  Would they have similar effects?

Mindful self-compassion residential: first morning, doubts & overview

Well this is interesting.  Here we are - Catero, my wife, and I - at the start of a five day workshop on "Mindful self-compassion" run by Chris Germer & Christine Brahler at Drangshlid, Eyjafjoll on the south coast of Iceland.  We flew into Reykjavik yesterday from Scotland, met up with a fellow course member who wanted to share transport, picked up our hire car and headed East on a two & a half hour or so's drive here.  Such a landscape ... bleak, beautiful ... in places a bit like driving across Rannoch Moor in Scotland.  And then arriving in time for supper.  Forty participants.  About twenty five are from Iceland and then there are about fifteen of us "foreigners".  And what a mix we foreigners are - from Estonia, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Canada and just three British.  The course is being run in English as Chris is from the States.

European Positive Psychology conference: 3rd day - prioritizing positivity, befriending, compassion genetics, & transcendence

I wrote yesterday about the "European Positive Psychology conference: better 2nd day - culture, use of strengths, loving-kindness, education & passion".  This third day was also full to bursting with intriguing presentations.  Barbara Fredrickson gave the 9.00am keynote on "Why prioritize positivity?". Barbara is a bit of a star of the positive psychology world, so having her on first looked a good way of encouraging conference attendees to arrive on time.  Sayyed Fatemi spoke on "Positive psychology and psychology of possibility".

European Positive Psychology conference: 1st day - a disappointing start & caution on over-selling mindfulness

I'm in Angers, France at the 8th European Conference on Positive Psychology.  Yesterday I went to a couple of pre-conference workshops and then attended the Opening Ceremony and the first keynote lecture.  The conference venue is lovely, on the edge of Angers Botanic Gardens.  It feels too that the organising group here have put in a huge amount of work to try to make the conference a success ... so many thanks to them.  So why do I say that I found the first day disappointing ... and actually quite worrying?  

Could increasing our compassion for others be even more "therapeutic" than increasing our self-compassion?

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."   Viktor Frankl  

Power objects, power postures, power clothes, power prayers: all ways to facilitate change (2nd post)

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work"   Thomas Edison

In yesterday's post - "Power objects, power postures, power clothes, power prayers: all ways to facilitate change (1st post)" - I introduced recent research highlighting how we can use physical objects and the way we position our bodies to significantly improve our chances of following through on new ways of thinking, feeling & behaving.  In today's post I extend this discussion of ways to help ourselves change to what we wear and what we say to ourselves.

Power objects, power postures, power clothes, power prayers: all ways to facilitate change (1st post)

"I will love you like a wind,
like a man stitching a skin
together like a winter coat.

Like a man sitting in meditation
and repairing a cracking spirit.
Like a man in love with a leaf,
a cloud, a flame, a temple.

Like a man on fire
running in the wilderness
shouting for sheer joy."

From the poem "A blessing (the way)" in the book "A shaman's songbook" by Norman Moser 

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