DAY 5: Dr Elise Bialylew interviews Dr Russ Harris
- The inner obstacles that get in the way of happiness and how to work with them.
- How to overcome moments of doubt and be more courageous.
- A powerful mindfulness practice “Dropping Anchor”, which takes less than 5 minutes and will transform your day.
- Why avoiding difficult emotions is holding you back and how to manage them.
Prefer to listen, rather than watch? Click the play button below.
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Your meditation for today
Flashlight Of Attention Meditation with Amy Saltzman
Dr. Amy Saltzman is a holistic physician, mindfulness coach, long-time athlete, devoted student of transformation, wife, mother and occasional poet. Her passion is supporting people of all ages in enhancing their health, experiencing joy, and finding flow. She is a pioneer and a visionary in the the domain of mindfulness for athletes, coaches, and other high performers.
Mindfulness Of Thoughts with Elise Bialylew
MINDFULNESS OF THOUGHTS
Today I want to introduce you to the “mindfulness of thoughts” meditation practice. You'll also find a guest meditation with Amy Saltzman to complement this practice.
For those of you who are new to today's practice, "mindfulness of thoughts", this meditation can be tricky when you begin. We don’t often observe our thoughts as they cascade through our mind. More often, we just get lost in them as they carry us off into their compelling, but not necessarily factual, story lines.
As Russ Harris tells us in his interview:
“A boat’s going to drift out to sea unless it’s anchored. We drift all day long. Our attention wanders. We drift off here, there and anywhere.”
Russ offers some wonderful strategies for grounding ourselves and refocusing.
Remember, this is a training and you are developing, a new skill which takes time and practice.
In my book, The Happiness Plan, I make the analogy of relating to thoughts like bubbles – transient entities that appear and disappear in the space of the mind. But we don’t always allow our thoughts to just float past; instead, we get fixated on them, allowing them undue influence on our behaviour.
We can easily become absorbed by the story of our thoughts, and lose touch with the fact that they are only representations of reality.
In my interview with Joseph Goldstein (which you’ll hear on day 20) Joseph gives us a helpful metaphor about thoughts:
“I often use the example of when we go to the movies, and we get totally engrossed in the story. It can be very compelling. The story and the movie can elicit all kinds of emotions in us. Then the movie is over, and you realise, ‘Oh, that was just a movie. Nothing was really happening.’ That’s the experience we have every time we wake up from being lost in a thought. When we recognise, ‘Oh, thinking is present,’ we’re mindful of it, rather than lost in it.”
A regular mindfulness practice helps us recognise our thoughts simply as thoughts, and so we avoid falling into the unhelpful stories that the mind creates which increase our suffering. We are reminded that while thoughts are real, they are not always true.
So today, practise the “mindfulness of thoughts” meditation as a way of beginning to develop this new understanding and relationship to your thoughts. This is an advanced practice and it usually takes time before you get the hang of it, so don't be hard on yourself if, the first few times you use it you feel a bit confused about what you're meant to be doing!
Remember you can always share your meditation questions in the Facebook group!
stay on track
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Watch Elise's conversations with four leading well-being experts: Shauna Shapiro, Linda Graham, Frank Osteseski, and Jon Kabat Zinn.