It is normal to experience a broad range of emotions. In fact, emotions are what make us human! Common emotions include sadness, joy, excitement, fear, guilt, anger, shame, and anxiety, to name a few. Experiencing a broad range of emotions is natural and unproblematic. However, intense emotions or rapid fluctuations between positive and negative emotions can be a source of great pain and distress for you and for those around you.[Read more…]
Background: Meditation’s health benefits
Meditation and mindfulness practices have become more accepted in Western cultures since the late 1990’s. There are several reasons for this. A primary one is the research and writing of Jon Kabat-Zinn, a scientist who adapted a Southeast Asian Buddhist meditation practice for a Western audience.
His work focuses on a practice called mindfulness meditation. Kabat-Zinn initially, in the late 1970s, focused on patients suffering from chronic pain. His research showed promising results for these patients. His work led to an expansion in research on what other conditions improve with mindfulness meditation. In the following years, studies showed that mindfulness and meditation produce benefit for those suffering from other conditions as well. These include hypertension, insomnia, as well as various anxiety and mood disorders.[Read more…]
More and more people are seeing benefits from learning and practicing mindfulness. It helps them decrease stress and stress-related illnesses, and to improve their mental health by learning how to let go of painful thoughts or feelings. In my work, patients often ask how to be mindful around their emotions. This question usually arises after realizing that one has great difficulty controlling intense emotions (i.e. going from “0 to 100”) that may be triggered in uncomfortable or distressing situations.[Read more…]
Everyone experiences anxiety at some point during their lifetime. It’s natural to be concerned about a big test or interview or to feel anxious about your finances after losing a job. However, some people suffer from excessive worries or panic attacks that begin to affect their everyday functioning. When this happens, it can be hard to complete daily tasks. Constant worry may become physically exhausting. So how do you know when to get help for anxiety?[Read more…]
More and more scientific research tells us that we need to try to more present. This means keeping your focus off the past and the future. How does meditation help improve that focus?
Many people with a form of anxiety characterized by over-worrying find that they spend an excessive amount of time pondering either the future or the past. Research published in the journal Science suggests that doing so worsens our mood. Does this very human tendency to get caught up in thoughts about the past and future affect you?[Read more…]