Media Mindfulness Mayhem

Have you noticed a total deluge of headlines from the news in the first 2 weeks of February are flooding readers with the magic of mindfulness.  Consider these randomly selected tidbits:

  • “Smartphone based Mindfulness training can Reduce Loneliness” summarizing a Carnegie Mellon study.

  • “Mindfulness Proven to be a Powerful Painkiller” from Psychology Today

  • “Children Across England Now Being Taught Mindfulness Training” everywhere in the media!

  • &

  • “Spanish Schools are Teaching Mindfulness” from Euro Daily

  • Mens Health Magazine, “This Mindfulness Technique Will Enhance Your Sex Life”

  • &

  • “Mindfulness May Ease Menopausal Symptoms” from US News & World Report

  • “Dallas Police Officers Benefitting from Mindfulness Training”, CBS Dallas

  • “Mindfulness: Good Tool For Backcountry Skiers to Sense Avalanches”, Helena Independent Record

  • Forbes, “How to Manage Teams Through a Meditative Lens”

  • & $

  • All across the news: Calm (a mindfulness app) valued $1 Billion

And a little dissent from the Irish Times, “Mindfulness Classes for Politicians Might Not Be Such a Good Idea”.  Article points out how the turning inward might make narcissistic individuals more focused on themselves.

A big dissent from me: unmonitored, self-help mindfulness can be detrimental for victims of trauma. That bombshell is another blog topic to explore in the future.

 I do not like popular culture trends in general. In my practice clients have benefitted enormously from developing and using skills of Mindfulness in their daily lives to reduce a variety of symptoms.  ADHD/ADD, Anxiety in many forms, Depression, Grief, Relationship Issues, Anger, Substance Abuse, Parenting all become tamer with a comprehensive mindfulness routine. Working with children, adolescents and their parents, I can certainly testify to the power of teaching meditation skills in all its’ forms (of which there are many) to young children through adulthood.    Current headlines are singularly focused on the daily meditation apps and routines used to find an inner sense of personal calm, balance and “wellness”.    

 The Irish Times article resonates deeply in its’ spotlight on the narcissistic quality of mainstreaming mindfulness today.  Harvesting a true love for others and our physical world is equally important to the practice of mindfulness and largely absent in the press. We know this concept as GRATITUDE. Awareness of ourselves in a global community is central to the impact of a mindfulness practice.  Bringing this awareness into every minute of our existence is a key ingredient to healing. 

 In the spirit of gratitude, University of Massachusetts Medical School is a founding institution and has generated an enormous body of scientific evidence-based research in the field of mindfulness also offers an online extensive mindfulness training program.  It is free, as in costs absolutely no money. Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MSBR) is a thorough practice for any adult interested in learning how to live mindfully.  The link:

 https://palousemindfulness.com

 

 

 

Bedford Playhouse to re-open and why I care

 Lots of light through big windows, tall ceilings and being situated close to the heart of downtown Bedford was on the list "musts" when searching for our family home.  Our needs seemed well defined and our real estate agent (who has become a wonderful friend) located the perfect home for us.  

Feel good date nights were often a local movie and dinner on a Friday night.  A time to re-connect, relax, and use the movie as dinner conversation.  Our vision was to walk, holding hands on nice evenings to the Bedford Playhouse and we did this for a while.  One day our wonderful friend the real estate broker shared the news that the movie theater would shut down.  Real estate agents know everything first in a small town.  

Moving, changing, rebuilding and growth when expectations are not met is pretty much what therapy can be.  We did not move, we grew in place.  Discovering new movie theaters, new restaurants, watching children leave for college and filling up the spaces they left behind became a new journey with new goals. My current office is a re-use of my son's bedroom!

Along the way, I worked with an 11 year old boy with an extensive trauma history who taught me the power of movies.  He entered the therapeutic relationship with an inability to use words to describe his childhood experiences.  Anger and violence toward those he loved became his tools of communication to signify his pain.  Children who experience trauma events before they can speak often cannot put words to their feelings of distress or narrate what happened to them.  In building a largely nonverbal relationship with this young client, he suggested we watch movies during session.  We struck a deal, he would allow me to pause the movie every 10 minutes or so, and he would identify his feelings in the minute by using a feelings vocabulary list.  Over the course of 7 weeks and one movie, the client learned to name and share feelings.  His adoptive family noticed a reduction of violent outbursts in this period of time and he was able to navigate his way to feeling safe through the course of trauma therapy that combined CBT and creative expression over the next several months.  Supporting families to emerge from trauma with strength and new depth is a joyous experience.  

Movies do have the power to aid healing, the power to create intimacy, the power to open up one's experience of the world and expand options.  I am thankful that the Bedford Playhouse is returning to our town and thankful that I was able to grow from it's absence.