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Mindful : February 2017
7 Celebrate Imperfection One of the most corrosive sources of self-criticism comes from believing we need to be “perfect.” Far from making us “better,” this attitude can cause us to spiral into obsessive think- ing, anxiety, and depres- sion. Try this instead: If you make a mistake or aren’t perfect at something, lift your arms and yell “Hooray” or “Woo-hoo!” Taking a more playful approach to life is a great act of self-compassion, as it trains your brain to let go, learn from mistakes, and, simply, to begin again. experiences and see if you can tap into the gratitude you felt at the time, and maybe still do. 6 BeKindto Yourself Sometimes it’s easier to feel compassionate for another than for your- self. But true compassion doesn’t discriminate. The next time you’re having a difficult moment, see if you can offer yourself some kindness. You might be surprised at how much it helps—and helps you to feel kinder toward others. 4 Try Understanding So often our disconnection from one another stems from a lack of understand- ing. Yet striving to under- stand where a person is coming from naturally elicits feelings of compas- sion and connection. This doesn’t excuse bad behav- ior, but it does give us per- spective and help us to not take things so personally. 5 Practice Gratitude Most of us have been the recipient of kind and compassionate gest ures at some point in our lives—an introduction that led to a new job; a compliment or kind word at just the right moment; an unexpected gift. Take a few moments to recall one of these 8 Just What the Doctor Ordered Research shows that feeling compassion is good for us. It causes our heart rate to slow, which makes us more relaxed and calm; it leads to the release of the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, which helps us to feel more con- nected and loving toward others; and it activates regions of the brain linked to empathy, caregiving, and pleasure. 9 Reach Out and Touch Someone In 2006 James Coan, psy- chologist and researcher at the University of Vir- ginia, found that holding the hand of a loved one 32 mindful February 2017 how to live a mindful life