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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Your Mind: A Blessing and a Curse

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Oct 8th 2010

We all have a function in our brains that serves as both a blessing and a curse. This automatic function to anticipate the future helps us when we’re walking, driving, reading, and to plan for the future. But, while moderation is key, somewhere along the way this function got kicked into overdrive as we’re a nation that is constantly busy worrying about the future.

While I’m not Christian I recognize wisdom when I see it. Jesus said, “Don't borrow tomorrow's troubles - deal with tomorrow tomorrow. Today's troubles are trouble enough.”

The mind is a storyteller. Every moment a new story is being weaved based upon previous experiences. We do a fantastic job imagining and rehearsing all the scenarios that could happen whether they are possible or not.

But when we’re doing this where aren’t we? We’re not here in this present moment and this is where life is.

I was recently at a talk with Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and author of Full Catastrophe Living, Wherever You Go, There You Are, among many others. He said if we’re not going to live these moments of our lives as if they mattered, we might as well just get it over with.

This is dramatic, but there’s some truth to this. We’re often spending the moments of our lives living for a better tomorrow, when the fact is, this moment is all we’ll ever have. The future is an illusion in our minds and this is it. And as Jon Kabat-Zinn said on the night of his recent talk at UCLA, “If you don’t like what’s here in this moment, too bad.”

The fact is, we can’t make change in our lives unless we acknowledge the reality of this moment. It’s like trying to build a house without taking the foundation into consideration.

Right now you can stop what you’re doing for 30 seconds, take a breath and just acknowledge how you are. Is your mind racing or is it calm? Is your body tense anywhere or is it loose? Are you feeling anxious, bored, restless, excited, tired or any other number of emotions?

Breathe in, breathe out, you have arrived.

Now continue on with your day.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interactions create a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 

 

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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