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Mindful : April 2017
Human beings are a fear- ful, self-critical lot who all too often increase our pain by internalizing emotions like fear, shame, and anger. “Ever yday discomfor t may be inevitable, but mind- made misery is avoidable,” writes Jerome Murphy, the former dean at the Harvard Graduate School of Educa- tion. “You can learn how to constructively handle the We’re forever reaching for something that will bring us pleasure: coffee, a Facebook post, a kiss, or something more sinful. We rev up our craving engine in the morning and give it few breaks through the day. What’s up with that? Why so needy? As director of research at the Center for Mindfulness and developer of smok- ing cessation and mindful eating apps, doctor Judson Brewer has a few things to say about that. Both a lab researcher and a psychiatrist, he has tried to figure out how we get ourselves into habits that adversely affect our health and how we can release ourselves from their grip. A little bit of understanding goes a long way, in Brewer’s view, so it helps us to know that we’re built to crave. Drawn toward what nourishes us, we’re rewarded with a good feeling, and the brain lays down a memory. That mecha- nism—trigger-behavior-reward—served our ancestors well when it came to learning where to find food and avoid toxins. But then a funny thing happened on the way to the watering hole: We started applying this mechanism to things that made us feel good, like smoking or gorg- ing on sugary snacks, but that had long-term negative consequences. We hijacked a powerful evolutionary system for short-term gain at the expense of long-term pain. The awesome power of this system accounts for why habits are so hard to break. But then along comes mindful- ness. Through repeatedly paying attention to how our mind and body behaves, at a moment- to-moment level, we can “see through” our “self-centered reactivity,” Brewer says. We can then interrupt the habit loops ingrained in our memory, and also use our built-in reward engine to foster habits that bring short-term pleasure and long-term benefit. THE CRAVING MIND From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love— How We Get Hooked & How We Can Break Bad Habits Judson Brewer • Yal e pressures and discomfort you encounter without mak- ing them worse.” Murphy uses dancing—preferably in the rain—as a metaphor for living fuller lives in the midst of life’s inevitable storms. So, rather than resisting life’s challenges, focus your energy on seeking inspira- tion, fostering kindness to yourself and others, and slowing down. “Are you getting enough sleep?” These days the answer to this question seems almost too predict- able, as the struggle for sleep affects the lives of millions of Americans. Yet not every- one’s struggle is the same; many factors can contribute to a lack of sleep. Dr. Meir Kryger, a sleep specialist and professor in the Yale School of Medicine, offers a thorough resource for anyone looking to figure out why they don’t get enough sleep so they can find the right treatment for their situation. The Mystery of Sleep reveals the many nuances of sleep, from body clocks and hormones to how much sleep humans require during each life stage, and why. This comprehensive book offers a solid ground on which to explore what you may need to do in order to get a better night’s sleep. DANCING IN THE RAIN Leading With Compassion, Vitality, and Mindfulness in Education Jerome T. Murphy • Orca THE MYSTERY OF SLEEP Why a Good Night’s Rest Is Vital to a Better, Healthier Life Meir Kryger, M.D. • Yale 76 mindful April 2017 reviews Bookmark This read...listen...download