Mindfulness Resources

Over the last few decades, the concept of mindfulness has quickly become a hot topic in mainstream Western culture. Workshops in schools and the workplace are popping up more and more to teach exercises to cultivate general wellbeing and provide stress relief.

Broadly, the APA Dictionary of Psychology, Second Edition defines mindfulness as the “awareness of one’s internal states and surroundings,” cultivated is through meditation “in which a person focuses attention on his or her breathing and thoughts, feelings, and sensations are experienced freely as they arise.”

These practices can be incorporated into clinical psychotherapy, regardless of therapeutic approach, and modified as the psychologist sees fit. Here is a selection of products from APA Books that incorporate mindfulness-based principles:

 

APA Books® 

The Art and Science of Mindfulness, Second Edition

Intention is fundamental to any project, endeavor, or journey. Related to intention is the concept of mindfulness—the awareness that arises through intentionally attending to oneself and others in an open, caring, and nonjudgmental way. Authors Shapiro and Carlson draw from Eastern wisdom and practices as well as Western psychological science to explore why mindful awareness is integral to the therapeutic healing process. This new edition integrates the latest theory and research on mindfulness, with new sections describing the neuroscience of mindfulness and mechanisms of change.

 

Mindfulness-Based Therapy for Insomnia

This clinical guide presents mindfulness based therapy for insomnia (MBTI)—an innovative group intervention that can reduce insomnia symptoms. Combining principles from mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy, MBTI helps participants create meaningful, long-term changes in their thoughts and behaviors about sleep. This book reviews new research on MBTI and teaches mental health professionals how to integrate it into their own practices.

 

Therapeutic Presence

Therapeutic presence is the state of having one’s whole self in the encounter with a client by being completely in the moment on a multiplicity of levels—physically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually. The therapeutic relationship is essential to positive outcomes of psychotherapy. In this book, Shari M. Geller and Leslie S. Greenberg argue that therapeutic presence is the fundamental underlying quality of the therapeutic relationship and, hence, effective therapy.

 

Coming Soon—August 2017!

Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement 

This book serves as a comprehensive resource on the history, theory, and practice of mindfulness in sport.  The authors present mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE), an empirically-supported, six-session program that can be adapted for specific athletic populations.  Each MSPE session includes educational, experiential, and discussion components, as well as instructions for home practice.

 

 

APA LifeTools®

25 Lessons in Mindfulness

This book presents a practical, step-by-step approach for establishing your own mindfulness practice. Brief introductory chapters explain the scientifically proven effects on health, as well as the philosophy behind this ancient practice. The remainder of the book consists of 25 experiential lessons that guide you through various meditative practices. You will learn to be mindful of your breath, sounds, sights, tastes, movements, physical sensations, thoughts, and feelings as you maintain a compassionate attitude toward yourself and others.

 

APA Videos® 

Mindfulness for Anxiety

Ronald D. Siegel works with a young man who presents with stress-related chronic neck pain. First he helps the client to see that the mind plays a critical role in his presenting problem. Next, using the therapeutic understanding that resistance to mental and physical discomfort exacerbates suffering, Dr. Siegel works to identify the physical sensations and emotions that the client is struggling to avoid. Through practicing acceptance of pain sensations, anxiety, and other emotions, the client is able to become more comfortable with these experiences as they arise, placing him on a path toward freedom from his disorder.

 

Mindfulness for Well-Being

For most people, even the ordinary demands of life can cause some feelings of unease and stress, and these stressful thoughts and feelings may result in chronic mental and physical fatigue or anxiety. Yet, the seemingly simple act of mindfulness may help reduce the impact of stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. In this video, Rezvan Ameli demonstrates three mindfulness exercises within a group therapy setting and also discusses the science and practice of mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness for Insomnia

In this video, Jason C. Ong works with a group of young male clients who are all suffering from various sleep issues. In this demonstration, Ong teaches behavioral strategies within a mindfulness framework to help the group learn how to cope with periods of wakefulness at night.

 

 

 

Coming Soon—August 2017!

Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement in Practice

For many athletes, engaging competitively in a physical activity while staying in the moment can be quite difficult. Mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE) is a mental training program designed to help athletes, coaches, and other performers develop a set of core skills that can facilitate peak performance and optimal experience. This approach is rooted in the practice of mindfulness and typically administered in a group format, but it can also be used with individuals.  In this video program, Dr. Keith A. Kaufman works closely with a group of university golfers who wish to improve their performance.

 

References 

VandenBos, G. R. (Ed.). (2015). APA dictionary of psychology (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Being Your Own Valentine: On Self-Satisfaction and Well-Being

me4by Katie ten Hagen

This time of year tends to be a time of conflicting messages. Just last week, the Washington Post ran an article about how loneliness is a health hazard that puts people at “greater risk for heart attacks, metastatic cancer, Alzheimer’s and other ills” (Nutt, 2016). A great lead-in to Valentine’s Day, that. But also this year, several surveys have shown that most single people are not dreading Valentine’s Day—in fact, some are even looking forward to it. One survey, conducted by OpenTable (a restaurant reservation service), found that 42% of singles are not only not dreading Valentine’s Day but plan to dine out, either on their own or with platonic friends or family, on the big day.

To me, the idea that this news is so surprising that it merited a study is almost more depressing than the thought of spending Valentine’s Day alone.  But I shouldn’t be surprised. Our culture, for better or worse, stresses social relationships to an extreme. For those not celebrating Valentine’s Day with a romantic partner, society has coined terms like Galentine’s Day, to celebrate platonic love between friends, and to emphasize that we are not, in fact, alone.

Humans are, by and large, social creatures. But being alone does not have to mean being lonely, as the singles from these studies seem to know and the Washington Post makes sure to point out. They focus instead on the idea of self-satisfaction, and creating well-being within oneself.

It’s no secret that if we can feel fulfilled on our own, without needing the approval of others, we will almost certainly be more at peace with ourselves and our lives. What’s a little more mysterious is how to get there. A currently popular approach to this is mindfulness.

well-beingIn her book Creating Well-Being: Four Steps to a Healthier, Happier Life (2013), Dr. Pamela Hays identifies the components of well-being as “positive emotions, mental and physical health, healthy relationships, and a sense of purpose,” and the “well-being path as one that involves healthy, helpful ways of thinking and behaving” (p. 77). Of course, that’s easier said than done; we are all prone to “thinking traps,” and Valentine’s Day can be an especial trigger for these. “I’ll never find someone,” “No one will ever love me,” “I should be skinnier/healthier/better-looking,” etc.  Mindfulness would call this your “inner critic,” and of course it gets in the way of all of those components to well-being, because it’s not a healthy, helpful way of thinking.

There is of course more to creating well-being than simply recognizing your thinking traps. And mindfulness does not necessitate being alone—you can be mindful in and about a relationship, as well. But it is about being attuned to yourself and your emotions, and accepting them without judgment. It’s about communication, with a partner or with yourself and your own emotions. It attempts to allow us to make peace with our feelings rather than let them overwhelm us. It can be about noticing and taking joy from the small things; it is stopping to smell the roses. It is about creating well-being and satisfaction within yourself, despite whatever outside circumstances you can’t control—like whether you have a date for Valentine’s Day.

Perhaps a greater sense of personal well-being is part of why single people are not dreading Valentine’s Day this year. Or perhaps they’re just sick of pink hearts and commercialization.

Resources

Nutt, A. E. (2016). Loneliness grows from individual ache to public health hazard. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/loneliness-grows-from-individual-ache-to-public-health-hazard/2016/01/31/cf246c56-ba20-11e5-99f3-184bc379b12d_story.html

OpenTable. (2016). OpenTable Survey Finds Singles Aren’t Dreading Valentine’s Day [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/opentable-survey-finds-singles-arent-dreading-valentines-day-300216160.html

Hays, P. (2013). Creating Well-Being: Four Steps to a Happier, Healthier Life. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.