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It is paying attention to little details and anticipating future actions--both yours and the actions of the people around you. Walk with me into a Big Box Store parking lot for a moment. As we head toward your car, did you see the father handing shopping bags to his adolescent son who is standing in the bed of a white Chevy pickup truck parked two rows away? What about the blue Honda Accord that has passed you twice while searching for a closer parking spot? Was that a thin middle-aged woman driving it? Did you hear the crash of shopping carts as the gray-haired gentleman pushed his cart into the corral? What's that smell? The employee leaning on the corner of the building is smoking a cigarette and holding a Coke. And if you're wondering, Are they really inevitable? <a href=''>THE</a>POP-UP THOUGHTS' EXERCISE Here's a little exercise invented by Steven Hayes. I'm about to give you three well-known phrases - but in each case, the last word is missing. As you read the incomplete sentences, notice what words automatically pop into your head. This is not a quiz - I don't want you to guess the answers - I want you to simply notice what pops into your head without any effort at all. Children should be seen and not . Mary had a little . Blondes have more . So what happened? Here's another example: PAULINE: Anything you can think of that might get in the way of telling your ex-wife that you don't want to change your holiday plans?

LENNY: I don't want her to get her angry. PAULINE: Okay, if you do have the thought I don't want to get her angry, what do you want to be able to tell yourself? LENNY: That if this doesn't get her angry, something else will. And I should do what's good for me--not accommodate her all the time. PAULINE: Good! Will that be enough, do you think, to go ahead and tell her you're not changing the plan? WHEN AUTOMATIC THOUGHTS ARE TRUE Sometimes automatic thoughts turn out to be true, and you may choose to do one or more of the following: Many people enjoy creating a special meditation nook in their home where they can relax comfortably for as long as they wish. Some like to burn incense or scented candles for a calming atmosphere or play gentle meditation music to help them de-stress. Meditating will help lower your stress levels, enhance your productivity, and improve your overall health. Basic Meditation Steps Here are four simple steps that can guide you in developing a meditation practice. The more often you put some quiet time aside and follow these steps, the easier it will become to turn your focus away from internal and external distractions (your stress) and experience deep relaxation and stress reduction. Sit comfortably in a quiet space where you can't be interrupted or disturbed in any way for at least 15 minutes. With your body relaxed and your eyes closed, start breathing deeply (you might even try the belly breathing technique from the above article). Slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Concentrate on your breathing . Did you make eye-contact with the man getting out of the car next to yours? In less than ten seconds, he will be passing by.

Have you asked yourself who or what could help if a problem were to arise? Did you notice the smoking employee throw the butt on the top of the trashcan and return to the store? Did you look inside, around and underneath your car as you approached? Did you turn and watch the passing man continue down the aisle? Whoa, that sounds like a lot of work and too much paranoia. You may think that but it really isn't. We go through our day in various states of awareness. When you are zoned out, your mind wanders. If you grew up in the UK, Australia, the US, Canada or New Zealand, speaking English as your first language, then the words that probably popped into your head were: heard',lamb' and fun'. <a href=''>So,</a> do you really believe that children should be seen and not heard? <a href=''>Or</a> that there really was a girl called Mary who had a little lamb that followed her to school? <a href=''>Or</a> that blondes really do have more fun than people of other hair colours? <a href=''>I'm</a> betting the answer in each case is no. <a href=''>So</a> now suppose I said to you: eliminate all of those word sequences from your mind; <a href=''>Could</a> you do that? <a href=''>Maybe</a> with science-fiction brain surgery - but otherwise they are deeply implanted in your mind. <a href=''>We</a> can pretty much guarantee that in a context where someone says,Mary had a little . And your mind is full of this stuff. Focus on problem solving. Investigate whether the client has drawn an invalid or dysfunctional conclusion.

Work on acceptance and refocus on valued action. These strategies are described below. Focus on Problem Solving If a client's perception of a situation appears to be valid, you might investigate whether the problem it's associated with can be solved, at least to some degree. In one session, LENNY and I evaluate his automatic thought If I don't get a job soon, I won't have enough money to pay my rent, and the evidence does indicate that this is a possibility. PAULINE: So even if you're careful, it looks as if you might not be able to come up with rent toward the end of the year. Is it possible that you'll have a job by then? LENNY: It's possible, but what if I don't? If your thoughts start wandering off, don't worry and don't chase after them. Let them pass through and by you. Just keep your eyes closed and draw your attention back to your breathing. As your session ends, slowly open your eyes and gradually stand up and stretch. Take your time turning your attention back to your surroundings and then inhale and exhale deeply one last time. Movement Meditation Movement meditation is an ideal method for people who want to meditate but struggle to sit in one position and concentrate on their breathing. Movement meditation focuses on mindful awareness of how your body moves and how your muscles work in motion (Flarey, 2012). The aim is being mindful, not so much of the movement itself, but rather of the physical process of how the body creates each movement. As with traditional meditation techniques, there are also various ways of practicing the movement-focused model of meditation. During these times you're lost in your thoughts, or living with your head in the clouds. Thoughts and daydreams cause us to zone out and so do distractions like cell phones, texting, television, and mp-3 players.

How many times have you asked your kids to do something while they're watching TV and they say What? There's a good reason for that. Scientists have concluded when you are zoned out, you almost always have no idea what's going on around you. We could have told them that, right? Plugged in is when you are relaxed and scanning your surroundings. You notice the people and things around you but you're not honed in on anyone or anything in particular. You're looking at the whole picture. You're observing. Let's try a few more: read these sentences and notice the words your brain supplies automatically. Every cloud has a . Diamonds are a girl's . Plenty more fish in . You only use 10 per cent of . Just as the word lamb' pops up when we encounter the phraseMary had a little', negative thoughts will pop up whenever we encounter a genuinely challenging situation. Like it or not, as soon as we even think about stepping out of our comfort zones, our minds are likely to tell us those same old stories; You know the ones I mean: You'll fail', orYou'll screw it up', or It'll go wrong', orYou're not ready', or You're not good enough', orIt's too hard' and so on. We can bundle all these thoughts up into one big story: `I can't do it'. In article 1 I mentioned Claire, the somewhat shy 33-year-old receptionist who hasn't been out on a date in more than four years. PAULINE: Have you thought of what you could do if that happened? LENNY: Well, I don't want to have to move in with one of my kids.