This concern was widespread in 2008, when a big fuss was made about the omega-6 fat content in tilapia (a kind of fish), with wildly hyped media stories suggesting that donuts and bacon were somehow safer to eat. Not surprisingly, the energy in the room would sink each time Carlotta spoke. Eventually, as she emerged from her depression and noticed others talk about what they were learning or enjoying, her perspective changed and her shares became more about her and what she was doing to move forward. Suzanne will never forget Jed, the insurance agent who repeatedly ignored our hints to wrap it up. An audience full of potential clients was simply too tempting. It was a rainy night, and his pitch never ended. When I noticed myself jamming my pen into my thigh a few times to stay awake and several club members yawning or texting on their phones, I realized I had to do some heavy lifting and push this man out the door, Suzanne says. I let him know it was time for group shares. He said, `I know I'm not in the group, or divorced, but mind if I stay? If group members feel like unwilling captives in an endless sales pitch, be sure to rescue them. Gracefully let any guest speakers know how much time they will be allotted before the meeting and keep them to it. Most people are unaware of this thinking process and how it is influencing them, but when we practice mindfulness, we bring it into awareness. We notice how the type of thoughts we have are influenced by the mood we are in. If we are feeling down, our thoughts will take on a more negative tone than if we are feeling happy. If our interpretation is so easily influenced by our mood, that tells us that our interpretation cannot be assumed to be accurate. Once we realize this, we notice how many of the stories we are creating in our minds are just that: stories--fiction rather than fact. When we pay attention to our experience as it unfolds, we notice how much we are generating our own suffering. Something negative happens to us but, rather than letting it go, we keep it alive by picking it over and replaying it repeatedly. Each time we do this, the negative story becomes more entrenched. We focus only on what reinforces our story and discount any information that might undermine it.

We notice how often we fuel negative mind-states with a particular story line, perhaps catastrophizing events or overgeneralizing how this always happens to me. This was sheer nonsense, and for many reasons . It's true that tilapia, a lean fish, provides virtually none of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids commonly referred to as fish oil and does provide more omega-6 fat, which is pro-inflammatory. But that's not because tilapia is an important source of omega-6, but rather because it contains very little fat of any kind. Tilapia is almost all lean protein, and if anything, likely to confer net health benefits by displacing less nutritious protein sources from the diet . As for omega-6 fats, they are a class of essential nutrient; Their intake in the context of a balanced diet is both necessary and beneficial. While I seem to have colleagues less concerned about it than I, I do think an excess of omega-6 fat resulting from dietary imbalance is apt to confer harm. But tilapia is not the culprit when that occurs. The culprit is dietary imbalance, with too much fried food, processed food, and fast food - where omega-6 fats prevail - and too little olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, and seafood (plant or animal), where omega-3s and monounsaturated fat are well represented . Research has shown that this substitution in infant formula leads to increased production of DHA, the hoped-for effect. Make sure that your timekeeper monitors their presentation, gives a five-minute warning, and when the time is up, issues a polite, This has been great, but we're out of time to keep your meeting on track. There have been moments when the ex-husband confessions seemed more like a competition for the worst ex than a share. Some women are so attached to their pain and their story that they seek to prove they have the most strife, the worst ex, and the hardest life. It's a meeting to benefit all, not a pity party for one. Remind members to share, not to compare. Whoever starts the group will be contacted when a new member wants to join. Our policy has been that anyone who wants to participate in the group can. However, this leaves the group open to potential conflicts among members who may have been romantically involved with one another's former spouse. Of course, you will not know the romantic histories of all the women who want to join the group.

Jill recalls an incident when she approved a new member, Hannah, only to realize that Iris, a longtime member, had dated Hannah's ex (the anesthesiologist) for a while. The more we pay attention, the more we notice how repetitive these stories can be. We become familiar with our own chart-toppers. Sometimes we are alerted to the storytelling by the accompanying physical sensations (often unpleasant). With mindfulness, we can tune into the body, bringing an attitude of curiosity to how the narrative manifests itself. As well as shifting us from the head into the body, this creates some perspective as we move from avoidance mode (I don't like that) to an approach mode of mind (I'm interested in finding out more) (see articles 32-33). It is only when we become aware of something that we have the power to do something differently: Become familiar with your own red flags. As mindfulness expert Professor Mark Williams reminds us, thoughts are not facts (even the ones that say they are). CORE ATTITUDES There are seven core attitudes that are useful to bear in mind as you practice and which will also be cultivated through practice: Beginner's Mind, Non-judging, Kindness, Curiosity, Letting Go of Expectations, Non-striving, and Patience. In contrast, just supplementing ALA without attenuating the intake of omega-6 fails in that regard. This story is, above all, a reminder about the importance of dietary balance. Newborns are best fed breast milk whenever possible. After that, we can all avoid an excess of omega-6 fats by minimizing our intake of highly processed and fast, fried foods -- and getting our fats from nuts, seeds, olives, and avocado; For those so inclined, we can also get DHA directly from fish such as salmon or from supplements, including vegan supplements derived entirely from algae, which contains both EPA and DHA (I take one). Paleoanthropologists tell us that our native intake of omega-6 and omega-3 was in a ratio of between 1-to-1 and 4-to-1. In modern diets, we eat 11 to 20 times as much omega-6 as omega-3. Is that a problem? Does it make omega-6 bad?

Being out of balance and at odds with one's adaptations is bad, pretty much every time. Unsure if Hannah was aware of this, Jill told her that a woman who dated her ex was already a member. That way Hannah could decide if she wanted to become a member before she attended her first meeting. Jill was surprised by the strongly worded email Hannah sent back. She said it was unfair that the other woman was able to stay in the group instead of her. Still bitter, she concluded: This tramp doesn't deserve to be in the club. Hasn't she taken enough? And if you're wondering, no, Hannah didn't join the group. Jill didn't like placing herself in the middle of potential conflict she but she knew it was her job to protect the harmony of the group. Emotions also ran high when Denise's hot date turned out to be the ex-husband of our newest member, Liz. Denise was upset to learn her date had been married to Liz; BEGINNER'S MIND Beginner's mind means approaching things as if for the very first time, seeing the world through the eyes of a child with a sense of curiosity and wonder. We drop preconceptions and are willing to be open to whatever arises. It is a not-knowing that is rich in potential. Usually, once we have had an experience, we tend to file it away with the been there, done that, got the t-shirt mentality. If we have that experience again, we assume it will be exactly the same but, of course, it never is. It may be better or worse but it is always different. There is the potential for finding out more about ourselves and others, whatever unfolds. This is the richness of life available to us, if we are willing to be open to it.

NON-JUDGING Modern living tends to give us an excess of inflammatory factors, including those that come from our diets. A large excess of omega-6 in the diet relative to omega-3, with the right balance defined by our adaptations, represents a serious potential excess of pro-inflammatory input and/or a deficiency of anti-inflammatory omega-3s that help control that fire . A large and expansive body of literature across many different fields highlights the potentially important effects of omega-3 fats -- from fish, seafoods, nuts, seeds, and/or their oils -- on inflammatory conditions. I know this in part because I have written three editions of a nutrition textarticle. From altitude, omega-3s clearly matter. I also see this from the more intimate perspective of patient care. We are all cautious about anecdotes, but it is not unimportant when a patient with arthritis adds an omega-3 supplement (from fish, krill, flaxseed, or algae) and gets better. My colleagues and I have seen this many times. What if the true benefit of omega-3 fats to, say, cardiovascular risk is not about treatment, but prevention? What if those anti-inflammatory effects are most important over a span of years to decades by preventing the inflammation that propagates vascular injury and plaque formation in the first place? Denise realized she would have to make a choice and decided not to continue dating Liz's ex for the sake of the group. We now have a rule that if you learn that you're dating the ex of another member, your choices are to excuse yourself from the club (and start another article if you like) or stop dating him. Trying to accomplish too many things in a month can fracture your group and negatively impact the attendance at your meetings. Planning social events, a self-defense class, mom & me outings, and holiday parties has to take a backseat to giving women a chance to talk about what they're going through. When two members volunteered to plan a movie night, they took on organizing it, and the event was in addition to our regular meeting, not instead of it. We got together to celebrate birthdays, to check out a new restaurant, and to enjoy cookouts in the park with our kids. However, we found that all these events, which developed because of the growing friendships among our group members, worked best when they supplemented regular club meetings. We wanted to create a safe, nurturing environment that was free of drama. This proved challenging at times in a small community where gossip is a pastime and cliques form just as quickly in adult groups as they do in middle school.