I have spoken about Mindful Breath before and here it is again part of the happiness practices, I have included the audio you tube video for those whom would like a guided meditation of the mindfulness of just breath. Remember this is from The Science of Happiness which is coursework available on edx.org
“Mindfulness” refers to the ability to observe one’s thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without judging them as good or bad; it’s the skill of paying careful attention to the present moment. Research links mindfulness to lower stress and higher well-being. But how do you cultivate mindfulness? A basic method is to focus your attention on your own breathing. After setting aside time to practice mindful breathing, you should find it easier to focus attention on your breath in your daily life—an important skill to help you deal with stress, negative emotions, and sharpen your skills of concentration.
15 minutes daily for at least a week (though evidence suggests that mindfulness increases the more you practice it).
Find a relaxed, comfortable position. You could be seated on a chair or on the floor on a cushion. Keep your back upright, but not too tight. Hands resting wherever they’re comfortable. Tongue on the roof of your mouth or wherever it’s comfortable.
Arch, J. J., & Craske, M. G. (2006). Mechanisms of mindfulness: Emotion regulation following a focused breathing induction. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44(12), 1849-1858.
Participants who completed a 15-minute focused breathing exercise (similar to the mindful breathing exercise described above) reported less negative emotion in response to a series of slides that displayed negative images, compared with people who didn’t complete the exercise. These results suggest that the focused breathing exercise helps to improve participants’ ability to regulate their emotions.
Why It Works
Mindfulness gives people distance from their thoughts and feelings, which can help them tolerate and work through unpleasant feelings rather than becoming overwhelmed by them. Mindful breathing in particular is helpful because it gives people an anchor for their awareness that they can return to when they find themselves carried away by a stressful thought. Mindful breathing also helps people stay “present” in the moment, rather than being distracted by regrets in the past or worries about the future.
Diana Winston, Ph.D., UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC)
As promise during my journey The Science of Happiness I would share some of my course work. Note: The sections are from the lecture sections or book sections of the coursework. These sessions are for your personal growth or good for everyday practices.
We have all suffered incidents that felt hurtful and unjust. Choosing to forgive is a way to release the distress that arises again and again from the memory of these incidents—but forgiveness is often a long and difficult process. This exercise outlines several steps that are essential to the process of forgiveness, breaking this difficult experience down into more manageable components. These steps were created by Robert Enright, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading forgiveness researchers. Although the specific methods for forgiveness may look different for different people, they can still draw upon Dr. Enright’s basic principles. In certain cases, it may help to consult a trained clinician, especially if you are working through a traumatic event.
Each person will forgive at his or her own pace. We suggest that you move through the steps below based on what works for you.
1. Make a list of people who have hurt you deeply enough to warrant the effort to forgive. You can do this by asking yourself on a 1-to-10 scale, How much pain do I have regarding the way this person treated me?with 1 involving the least pain (but still significant enough to justify the time to forgive) and 10 involving the most pain. Then, order the people on this list from least painful to most painful. Start with the person lowest on this hierarchy (least painful).
2. Consider one offense by the first person on your list. Ask yourself: How has this person’s offense negatively impacted by life? Reflect on the psychological and physical harm it may have caused. Consider how your views of humanity and trust of others may have changed as a result of this offense. Recognize that what happened was not okay, and allow yourself to feel any negative emotions that come up.
3. When you’re ready, make a decision to forgive. Deciding to forgive involves coming to terms with what you will be doing as you forgive—extending an act of mercy toward the person who has hurt you. When we offer this mercy, we deliberately try to reduce resentment (persistent ill will) toward this person and, instead, offer him or her kindness, respect, generosity, or even love.
It is important to emphasize that forgiveness does not involve excusing the person’s actions, forgetting what happened, or tossing justice aside. Justice and forgiveness can be practiced together.
Another important caveat: To forgive is not the same as to reconcile. Reconciliation is a negotiation strategy in which two or more people come together again in mutual trust. You may not choose to reconcile with the person you are forgiving.
4. Start with cognitive exercises. Ask yourself these questions about the person who has hurt you: What was life like for this person while growing up? What wounds did he or she suffer from others that could have made him or her more likely to hurt you? What kinds of extra pressures or stresses were in this person’s life at the time he or she offended you? These questions are not meant to excuse or condone, but rather to better understand the other person’s areas of pain, those areas that make him or her vulnerable and human. Understanding why people commit destructive acts can also help us find more effective ways of preventing further destructive acts from occurring in the future.
5. Be aware of any little movement of your heart through which you begin to feel even slight compassion for the person who offended you. This person may have been confused, mistaken, and misguided. He or she may deeply regret his or her actions. As you think about this person, notice if you start to feel softer emotions toward him or her.
6. Think of a gift of some kind that you can offer to the person you are trying to forgive. Forgiveness is an act of mercy—you are extending mercy toward someone who may not have been merciful toward you.This could be through a smile, a returned phone call, or a good word about him or her to others. Always consider your own safety first when extending kindness and goodwill towards this person. If interacting with this person could put you in danger, find another way to express your feelings, such as by writing in a journal or engaging in a practice such as compassion meditation.
7. Finally, try to find meaning and purpose in what you have experienced. For example, as people suffer from the injustices of others, they often realize that they themselves become more sensitive to others’ pain. This, in turn, can give them a sense of purpose toward helping those who are hurting. It may also motivate them to work toward preventing future injustices of a similar kind.
Once you complete the forgiveness process with one person on your list, select the next person in line and move up that list until you are forgiving the person who hurt you the most.
Evidence that it works
Baskin, T.W., & Enright, R. D. (2004). Intervention studies on forgiveness: A meta-analysis. Journal of Counseling and Development, 82, 79-90.
Researchers compared several studies that used Dr. Enright’s “process model of forgiveness,” similar to the steps outlined above. All the studies were done in a clinical setting including individual and group therapy. Therapies that used these methods were shown to be effective in increasing forgiveness, and in decreasing negative psychological states such as anxiety and anger. These were often long-term therapies, ranging from 6 to 60 weekly sessions, aimed at helping individuals cope with serious offenses.
Why it works
Forgiveness is a long and often challenging process. These steps may help along the way by providing concrete guidelines. Specifically, they may help you narrow and understand whom to forgive—to name and describe your pain; to understand the difference between forgiving and excusing or reconciling; and by thinking about the person who has caused you pain in a novel way, you may begin to feel some compassion for him or her, facilitating forgiveness and reducing the ill will you hold toward this person. These steps also attune you to residual pain from your experience, and encourage you to find meaning and some positivity in it.
Coyle, C. T., & Enright, R. D. (1997). Forgiveness intervention with post-abortion men. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65(6), 1042-1046.
Freedman, S. R., & Enright, R. D. (1996). Forgiveness as an intervention goal with incest survivors. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64(5), 983-992.
Robert Enright, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison
One day this week, perform five acts of kindness—all five in one day. It doesn’t matter if the acts are big or small, but it is more effective if you perform a variety of acts.
The acts do not need to be for the same person—the person doesn’t even have to be aware of them. Examples include feeding a stranger's parking meter, donating blood, helping a friend with a chore, or providing a meal to a person in need.
After each act, write down what you did in at least one or two sentences; for more of a happiness boost, also write down how it made you feel.
If you want please post your experiences here.
confessions of a starseed
Wisdom to be passed to the human race...