Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a nonjudgmental awareness of your mind and body in the present moment. While it's been around for thousands of years, in the last 40 years, it has been studied a great deal, earning strong support from the medical and scientific communities for its effectiveness in reducing stress.  In mindfulness meditation, you sit quietly and simply observe your thoughts as they enter your mind. You don't get involved with them or judge them, but are aware of them as they arise. When practiced regularly, and for only a few minutes a day, meditation produces what's called a relaxation response that reduces the activity of the sympathetic nervous system (which activates our fight-or-flight response). Studies have documented a range of health benefits that result, including: lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, slows respiration (breathing) rate, less anxiety, lower blood cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, more feelings of well-being, deeper relaxation

 

If one person could be credited with bringing mindfulness into the mainstream it is Jon Kabat-Zinn. Founder of the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program and prolific author here he explains what Mindfulness is.

The following Mindfulness teachers/writers have good reputations (and vast experience) and many offer free meditations and resources

 

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mark Williams, Danny Penman, Sharon Salzberg, Thich Nhat Han, Jack Kornfield, Eckhart Tolle, Elisha Goldstein,  Pema Chodron, Rick Hanson, Kristen Neff (self-compassion.org), Tara Brach, Ruby Wax, Melli O'Brien

 

These resources, which are from Mark Williams book Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World, are some of my favourite meditations

 

http://franticworld.com/free-meditations-from-mindfulness/

 

and here are a few good APPS: HeadSpace, Buddhify, Calm & Insight Timer

 

One if the best ways of learning mindfulness is by completing a course with a qualified mindfulness (MBSR/MBCT) teacher.  These are a list of qualified experienced teachers in Cork.

 

Catherine Sutton www.everydaymindfulness.ie 

Pascale de Connick www.ease-kind.ie 

Alvina Cassidy www.alvinacassidy.ie  

Seamus McMahon www.corkmindfulness.ie/    

Shirine Beausang suaimhneasmindfulness.ie 

Gemma Desmond www.mymindfulspace.com 

You can also take a course online 
 

This 40 day training allows you to learn mindfulness from two of the world’s most respected meditation teachers Tara Brach & Jack Kornfield.  The training is being offered free of charge and takes less than 15 minutes a day. You need to sign up for this course through the Sounds True platform but no charge applies.    https://www.soundstrue.com/products/mindfulness-daily

Another online course from UK is Be Mindful.  This claims to be the only digital Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course. it's NHS-approved and proven effective,and has helped thousands of people reduce their levels of stress, anxiety and depression, and enhance and maintain mental health and wellbeing. £40

https://www.bemindfulonline.com/

Monkey Mind - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-JiQubfMPg

9 Attitudes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n7FOBFMvXg

Self Compassion - the antidote to self criticism

 

Self-compassion means treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would a friend. People who struggle with this concept do not necessarily lack compassion toward others, but they hold themselves to higher standards than they would expect of anyone else. Developing self-compassion allows them to recognize and accept their own feelings rather than constantly challenging themselves to “do better.”  Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?

Randomized controlled trials have demonstrated that Mindful Self-Compassion significantly increases self-compassion, compassion for others, mindfulness and life satisfaction and decreases depression, anxiety and stress. 

 

meditations and exercises here:

 

http://self-compassion.org/category/exercises/

 

and a self compassion test here: 

 

https://self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/

Dr. Brené Brown 

Dr Brené Brown is an American professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host.  Brené has spent decades studying the topics of courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She is, to date, the author of five number-one New York Times bestsellers, The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and Dare to Lead. Brené hosts the Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead podcasts. Her TED talk, "The Power of Vulnerability", has had over 50 millions views, a second TED Talk "Listening to Shame" has been viewed 15 million times.  Her filmed lecture, Brené Brown: The Call to Courage,  debuted on Netflix in 2019.

https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability?language=en

https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame?language=en

https://www.netflix.com/ie/title/81010166

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZWf2_2L2v8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ck6atQ6xppc

https://www.theworkofthepeople.com/boundaries

Dr. Brene Brown's book The Gifts of Imperfection explores the topic of wholehearted living.  The publishers give away the first couple of chapters on their website (link below) so you can check it out and see if she speaks to you,

 

https://www.hazelden.org/HAZ_MEDIA/2545_GiftsofImperfection.pdf

The Gottman Institute 

The Four Horsemen - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1o30Ps-_8is 

45min talk here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKTyPgwfPgg&t=168s

Podcasts I listen to 

Therapist Uncensored - Sue Marriott and Ann Kelley translate the complex relational sciences and psychology into understandable and practical tools that can give you the power you need to uncover your best self.

Checkin In - Susan David (psychologist at Harvard Medical School) offers strategies on how to cope with our heightened emotions.  This podcast is a support system, toolkit, and understanding voice during a time of great uncertainty.

Super Brain - Sabine Brennan

Where Should We Begin - Esther Perel

Being Well with Dr Rick Hanson 

Psychology In Seattle - Kirk Honda

Dear Therapist Podcast - Lori Gottlieb and Guy Winch 

TED Talks

Psychologist Kelly McGonigal talk stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en

Psychologist Susan David shares how the way we deal with our emotions shapes everything that matters: our actions, careers, relationships, health and happiness. In this deeply moving, humorous and potentially life-changing talk, she challenges a culture that prizes positivity over emotional truth and discusses the powerful strategies of emotional agility.

https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_david_the_gift_and_power_of_emotional_courage?language=en

Psychologist Dan Gilbert, author of "Stumbling on Happiness," challenges the idea that we'll be miserable if we don't get what we want. Our "psychological immune system" lets us feel truly happy even when things don't go as planned.

https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_the_surprising_science_of_happiness

Researcher Matt Kilingsworth wanted to find out when are humans most happy? He built the app, Track Your Happiness, that let people report their feelings in real time. Among the surprising results: We're often happiest when we're lost in the moment. And the flip side: The more our mind wanders, the less happy we can be.

https://www.ted.com/talks/matt_killingsworth_want_to_be_happier_stay_in_the_moment?language=en

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, uses classic visual illusions and his own counterintuitive (and sometimes shocking) research findings to show how we're not as rational as we think when we make decisions. https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_are_we_in_control_of_our_own_decisions

The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. Happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you're going and being grateful.

https://www.ted.com/talks/david_steindl_rast_want_to_be_happy_be_grateful?language=en

Other Video clips

Psychologist Kelly McGonigal teaches the popular “Science of Willpower” course at Stanford University and has spent years examining the research around self-control.  In this video she explains the many things you can do to boost willpower and to help you achieve your goals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzVoQkPswRk&t=8s

The STOP practice - Elisha Goldstein

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiuTpeu5xQc

Sleep

Staring at screens right before sleep turns out to be a lot worse than previously thought. Dr. Dan Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, lays out all of the negative effects bedtime screen viewing can have on the brain and body.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fis_wtiVUU8

Russell Foster, a circadian neuroscientist who studies the sleep cycles of the brain, shares three popular theories about why we sleep, busts some myths about how much sleep we need at different ages and hints at some bold new uses of sleep as a predictor of mental health. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWULB9Aoopc

Sleep expert Matthew Walker breaks down the many effects of sleep deprivation on your brain and body.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-8b99rGpkM

TIPS

The Drama Triangle

Poems / Quotes

Keeping Quiet

The Man in the Arena

Autobiography in 5 chapters

“Finding yourself" is not really how it works. You aren't a ten-dollar bill in last winter's coat pocket. You are also not lost. Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people's opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are. "Finding yourself" is actually returning to yourself. An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you.”

Podcasts

Checking In with Susan David

Susan challenges a culture that prizes positivity over emotional truth and explores how the way we deal with our emotions shapes everything that matters:  our actions, careers, relationships, health, and happiness. Susan’s TED Talk on the topic of emotional agility has been seen by more than 8 million people.

Super Brain with Sabina Brennan

Sabina talks to an eclectic mix of inspiring guests about thriving and surviving in life. In addition, Sabina injects a weekly booster shot packed with practical tips to transform your everyday brain into a healthy, happy,

Unlocking Us with Brené Brow‪n‬

Brené has spent over 20 years studying the emotions and experiences that bring meaning and purpose to our lives.  "if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this: We are hardwired for connection, and connecting requires courage, vulnerability, and conversation" Episodes include conversations with the people who "are teaching me, challenging me, confusing me, or maybe even ticking me off a little"

https://therapistuncensored.com/episodes/

Therapist Uncensored

 
 

Videos

Eckhart.PNG

In this 14min video, Eckhart Tolle discusses how we can manage fearful thoughts e.g. losing our job, money, getting sick or a loved one getting sick, by turning our attention away from fearful thinking to focus on the inner body and deepening into the present moment.

In this brief animation, Dr Russ Harris, author of the best-seller The Happiness Trap, illustrates how to use ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) to deal the fear, anxiety and worry that goes with it the virsus.  

Download a free FACE COVID eBook here.

In this 27min video Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of The Center for Mindfulness, shares with us what he calls the 9 attitudes that create a strong foundation for mindfulness practice.

The With ProjectA Young Persons Guide to Parental Mental Health

A video series created for young people (10+ years) who have a parent with a mental illness and aims to help you understand your parent's mental illness and their behaviour. The videos describe different mental illnesses and answer common questions.

 
 

Support & Help Information

Consult your GP or mental health provider or one of the free confidential helpline services:


Samaritans  Freephone 24/7 116-123, email jo@samaritans.ie

Childline (ISPCC) Freephone 1800 666 666 (24/7) Text 50101 (10am-4pm) chat online www.childline.ie 

Pieta House Freephone 1800 247 247, email mary@pieta.ie , text HELP to 51444 

Alone on 0818 222 024 8am-8pm everyday 

National mental health services: yourmentalhealth.ie or HSE website

List of resources on A Lust for Life

Gov.ie/together

Lots of advice and tips on how you can look after your mental wellbeing, stay active and stay connected

Community Call

Local authorities have Community Response Forums in each local authority area.  A dedicated phone line is now operational in every county listed here or phone 0818 222 024 (8am-8pm Mon-Sun)

 

Help is available for: 

  • Shopping for food, fuel and other essential household items

  • Transport to medical appointments

  • Delivery of hot meals through local meals on wheels services

  • Collection of prescribed medicines

PLUS

You can find accredited therapists in your area here:

iacp.ie

iahip.org