I know it can be challenging to develop new habits and health practices, but if you are curious about how meditation can benefit you, I'm here to encourage you to go ahead and check it out! It's more accessible than ever, and doesn't require a huge time commitment.
Let's talk about what mindfulness and meditation have to do with your mental health.
A lot! Our brains are neurologically prone to engaging in processes that can cause or exacerbate suffering, and the regular practice of mindfulness and meditation can mediate these effects so that we grow wiser and more peaceful over time.
Meditation can help you...
Many of us struggle with the pressures and the grind of trying to get through our tyrannical "to do list". We try different planners/organizers, apps, and others tools to help us organize our lives. We look for those extra free moments to get something done, or we burn the midnight oil in desperation to catch up.
But there are times when I encourage my clients to work on doing less, not more. For example, when a person is so chronically stressed out and overwhelmed by her to-do list that she loses the ability to relax and find joy and meaning in her life, or she neglects her most important relationships, it's time for her to do less. Similarly, when someone is struggling under the burden of depression (and it's best pal anxiety), the to-do list often seems downright impossible. Enter the "to-don't list."
The to-don't list is a critical coping strategy for the depressed or otherwise overwhelmed person. She builds this
These days, our smartphones give us access to many powerful tools for supporting our efforts to maintain positive mental health, and to achieve our goals.
Some smartphone apps are excellent adjuncts to psychotherapy and psychiatry as well. For example, a central component of cognitive behavioral therapy is “self-monitoring” – i.e., tracking behaviors, moods, and thoughts over time. What better way to do that than with a tiny computer you already keep in your pocket all day, every day?!
Below are a few of my favorite psychology and mental health related apps, podcasts, and other online resources. I’m just scratching the surface here - explore what’s out there to meet YOUR needs!
Try my 9-minute guided audio version of this tree meditation here.
Tree Visualization Exercise
Close your eyes. Breathe deeply in through your nose, and exhale through your mouth, focusing on the sound of your breath and the bodily sensations of breathing. Stay with it. Use your breathing to focus you and help you slow down your body’s internal activity.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, which inspires me to write something on the topic of alcohol. There is so much to say about this powerful substance that plays such a huge role in human life – for better and for worse.
Once upon a time I thought of alcoholism in black and white terms… either you’re an alcoholic, or you’re not. And if you are, time to get to some AA meetings and become abstinent.These days I think of alcohol a bit differently.
Maysie Tift is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Master Hypnotist with offices in San Rafael, CA and San Francisco, CA.