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Showing posts from December, 2011

Mindfulness: If Shifting Attention Can Create Inner Peace, Anything Is Possible

"The only peace we find at the top of mountains" goes an an old Zen saying, "is the peace we brought up there with us." And yet we tend to search outside ourselves - and outside our daily existence - for inner quiet we hope will clear emotional fog and calm turbulent thoughts that seem unavoidable.   The trick is to develop a mind-and-skill set that helps us reframe life’s dilemmas, disappointments, and difficulties as creative choices – by working on them the same, focused way we learn technique in piano or dance or painting. By learning the techniques in a gradual and relaxed way when the pressure is off so they are ready to roll when the pressure is on. The fact that we can rethink our old, automatic mental habits, create new roles and change our minds through new learning for the entire length of our lives - the scientific term is “neuro-plasticity – really is good news, especially in these times of accelerated change and increasing complexity. Some effort and c…

SCIENCE FRIDAY ON NPR Dec. 16, 2012 to Feature Music Therapy

The Friday December 16, 2011 broadcast  of Science Friday with Ira Flatow is a rare opportunity to hear experts in the field discuss the brilliant applications of music therapy happening in medical treatment right now. More and more hospitals and clinics now offer music therapy as a supplementary treatment for everything from anxiety to Alzheimer’s, but its efficacy varies for different conditions.
Panelists are:
Neurologist Oliver Sacks, M.D. of Columbia University Medical Center, New York, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, Awakenings, a noted researcher and author of numerous academic works;
Concetta Tomaino of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function at Beth Abraham Family of Health Services in the Bronx, NY, groundbreaking and internationally recognized programs use music therapy to assist the "awakening and healing" of individuals with a wide range of neurological conditions including strokes, trauma, dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's di…

Less Pressure, More Joy: A Professional Organizer Recommends "Less Stress" Holidays

Supermarket check-out lines abound with idea-intensive magazines which either inspire us to a decorating-and-designing frenzy or leave us drowning in guilt and inadequacy over all the fabulous crafts, cookies and creations we have no time for or fear we could never achieve. The relentless pressure to have the best holidays that money can buy and perfectly deck our heavily-mortgaged halls can wear us down at the time we most want our spirits up. In her “Less Stress Holiday” workshops and in consultations with private clients, Professional Organizer and Life Coach Donna Jaroslawski recommends what she calls “the anti-idea perspective: Simplify. Streamline. Do less so you can enjoy more.”
       Beyond the clear financial benefits of rethinking this “more-is-more” mindset we can realize an almost immediately positive impact on relationships. “We can eat and spend less but do more,” says Jaroslawski, “For example, go for a walk to see holiday lights rather than having…

SHIFTS HAPPEN: Using Action Methods With Researchers, Academics and Policy-Makers

A workshop my wife and I presented at the annual conference of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse titled “Shifts Happen: Creative Strategies forStress-Resilience and Burn-Out Prevention”- in early November convinced me of two things:
1)Researchers, academics and policy-makers tend to have very little exposure to experiential/action methods - and trainers in these methods need to reach out to them far more than we do;
2)When reaching out to researchers, academics, and policy-makers, be sure to include Power Point.
The format of this workshop included carefully-designed improvisation and warm-up exercises, alternating with 5-7 minutes of Power Point that explained why these experiences were chosen and the research that supports their value, as well as writing in a journal provided with the workshop materials. While participants were encouraged to share verbally, they were free to confine the expression of their thoughts and feelings to writing in …