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How to Help Your Child Learn Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a topic that has received a lot of attention from psychology and wellness gurus in recent years. It refers to being present in the moment and cultivating an awareness, non-judgment, and acceptance of one’s feelings, thoughts, and body. There are numerous benefits of mindfulness; those who regularly engage in meditative mindfulness practices report reduced stress, better sleep, improved productivity, lower levels of stress and bodily discomfort and pain, and even weight loss.
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With all the perks of mindfulness, it only makes sense to introduce this concept and practice to young people, particularly because adolescence can be an anxious and uncomfortable experience for many children and teenagers (this idea seems to be catching on; some are even introducing mindfulness into school curriculums, and certain gyms offer classes of yoga specifically for children!)
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By teaching them how to get in touch with their feelings, we can help them prepare for a lifetime of mental and emotional wellness. Here are some ideas to help children practice mindfulness on a daily basis:
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Avoiding Mormon Burnout by Saying No

One of our core values as Latter-day Saints is honesty (the 13th article of faith begins, “We believe in being honest,” right?). We know that it’s dishonest to lie, steal, and cheat, but have you ever considered that it might also be dishonest to say “yes” when you really mean “no”? For example, if someone asks you if you’d be willing to do something and you say yes when truthfully you are not willing to do so, you are being dishonest. It’s so tricky—we want to please, and we want to help; we want to do our share, and we want to do what’s right. I know that there have been times when I really wish I felt free to say “no” (and feel at peace about it), but I found myself saying “yes” yet again. Unsurprisingly, this pattern of repeatedly saying “yes” can cause problems in one’s emotional wellness, communication, and even in relationships. I do not intend to suggest that we stop going out of our way to serve others, or to always say “no,” but I think it’s important to examine why always saying “yes” can be harmful, and to look at why it’s okay, even honorable, to sometimes say “no.”

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How to Handle Being Rejected

No one likes to be rejected. No one.
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Whether it’s not landing that job you desperately wanted or getting turned down for a date by someone you’ve been crushing on, it’s painful to be told “no.” And what can be even worse is that these kinds of experiences can send you spiraling into self-doubt. Negative thoughts like, “what’s wrong with me?” or, “I’ll never be able to get ahead in my career” can add to your frustration and may even limit you from pursuing goals in the future. But the truth is that rejection is universal and unavoidable; everyone is rejected at some point! Thankfully, there are some key things to remember and strategies to help you avoid getting emotionally crushed. Here are some ways to deal with the reality that not everything you want or go for will work out:
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If you find yourself obsessing over being rejected, you might want to step back and view what happened as objectively as you can. We sometimes have a tendency to catastrophize, or make some things seem worse than they actually are. Keep in mind that just because you feel rejected doesn’t mean you actually are.
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Social Media, Depression, and Loneliness: How to Beat the Facebook Blues

It’s no secret that social media connects us like never before. In an instant, we can snap pictures and post our whereabouts (think that selfie from your backpacking trip in Europe) and also keep tabs on what our friends are up to. I love social media. It has been an integral part of my professional life and is a great way to keep in touch with my loved ones. But it is not without its problems.
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In the past few years, there has been public and medical concern about such topics as cyber-bullying and too much screen time (particularly for young people). As a psychotherapist, I’d like to address one more issue as it relates to mental health and social media: that of internet loneliness, depression, and feelings of low self-esteem.

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Managing Technology Overload: Studio 5

Have you ever looked around in a public place to see how many people were using their phones (texting, surfing the web, etc.)? It’s usually a lot, and truthfully it can be a little discouraging to witness individuals staring at their screens instead of talking to one another. Please don’t misunderstand, I am a huge advocate of technology; it’s profoundly changed my life and career for the better! Still, we all know that things can get out of hand if we let them. Digital overload affects our ability to process information cognitively, to be mindful of our own experience, and to be present with other people. Here are some ways to help you manage your technology use (instead of letting it control you):

Daily Mindfulness For A Better Life: Studio 5

Mindfulness is becoming somewhat of a movement; mental health professionals and wellness advocates are singing its praises as a way to become more in touch with ourselves in the present moment. And it’s not just talk, either. There’s a lot of research to back up the idea that mindfulness can lead to greater happiness.

Practicing Daily Mindfulness

So what is mindfulness exactly? Some may think of practicing yoga or chanting mantras of peace and calmness. And while mindfulness may include meditation or have a spiritual component, at its core it simply refers to paying attention to ourselves on purpose. What clues is your body telling you? What emotions are you experiencing? What does your breathing sound like? We are such a distracted generation, and sometimes we need to slow down and tune in. The RAIN strategy is a simple technique to help you practice mindfulness:

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Is Anxiety Hereditary? What You Need to Know

We get a lot from our parents. Bone structure, our first car, eye color, money habits, etc. It’s well-known that we can inherit certain health conditions from them as well (you’re 50% more likely to develop migraines if either of your parents experiences them) Recently, evidence has emerged that suggests anxiety may be one more thing that we can get from our parents (and this is clinical anxiety, which is much more than ordinary nervousness that we all experience).
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Quit Monkeying Around!
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Dr. Ned Kalin and a team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison analyzed brain scans of rhesus monkeys and found that the ones that displayed signs of anxiety had a family history showing stress-related symptoms in their brain wave patterns. While the study was complex, the takeaway is that anxious thought patterns may not be merely adult occurrences but can have their roots in one’s genes. This is groundbreaking, as the cause of anxiety had previously been largely unknown.
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Overcoming Insecurities: Studio 5

Think of the last time you felt insecure. Ideally, we want to have good confidence, but all of us, men and women, experience insecurity in some form or another; those nagging uncertainties that can leave us feeling vulnerable and make us doubt ourselves. Sadly, our weaknesses and flaws (perceived or real) can make us feel like we’re not “good enough” or worthy of receiving love in our relationships. Thankfully, we have the opportunity to reframe out mindset and expectations so that we can overcome insecurities and choose confidence. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you get started:

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Overcoming Insecurities Free Printable Worksheet

Did you see today’s Studio 5 on Overcoming Insecurities? We all have at least a few areas where we feel less than confident. Here’s the free worksheet I mentioned that walks you through the 5 questions to help you overcome an insecurity.

To download a PDF version click here