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

To Do: 3 Steps to Healing When You're Feeling Blue

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Mar 30th 2009

to do listI often ask my patients to give me a breakdown of their to-do lists. At times I'll even have them write it out on a piece of paper so we can both see it. People usually list all the errands they need to run, the various things that need to get done around the house, and other projects surrounding work. Sound familiar? While the list is being recited there is one critical aspect that I am listening for...them.  Nine times out of ten or more, there is no sign of any personal time for them that day. So, naturally I ask, "Where are you on this list?" The response I get is usually one of confusion. It is so foreign for many of us to grasp the idea that in order to be effective in our day to day, it's imperative that we take care of ourselves. So what can we do?

Here is a list of 3 things to do today:

1.       Top of the list - Write out your to do list, or if it already written out, put yourself on the top of the list. Write the word ME in capital letters.

2.       Pleasure - Find something pleasurable to do and put it next to ‘ME'.  it could be something as simple as taking a gentle walk, to getting a manicure/pedicure, to just singing around the house.

3.       Lovingkindness - Take a few moments to do the following 3 things.

  • Think of kind wishes for yourself and spend a few moments saying them. For example, a common lovingkindness practice instructs us to say things like: "May I be healthy, May I be happy, May I be safe, May I be free from fear."

  • Well wishes for a loved one - Sometimes when we're not feeling well, we become overly absorbed in our own heads and it's good to step out. So we can take these same well wishes and wish them to friends.

  • Well wishes to your community and/or the world - We can even expand these same wishes to our family, or larger community, or the world. Take a moment to try this out and see how you feel after.  In an earlier blog I wrote out more extensive instructions in doing this practice.

The point in all of this is for us to really look at if we are putting ourselves as priorities on our lists day to day. Just making a shift in taking care of ourselves or even intentionally wishing ourselves well could make a big difference in our day to day life.

Don't take my word for it, try it out for yourself.

As always, please share your thoughts and questions below. Your additions here provide 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.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Well Wishes for you - Kaye - Jul 9th 2012

As a 2nd year psychotherapy student, learning all about healing, relating & brain wiring, I was so touched to read your simple steps for self care and lovingkindness. I will now go to sleep with a smile & a warm heart after a difficult period in my life. Thank you. This is such important work!

Love and Blessings to you!


Me Too - chris - Apr 10th 2012

Just overwhelmed and hopeless.  Your artical made me see the light and remember how powerful these teachings are.  Thanks! Thanks Thanks!

Thanks !!! - Subroto Karmokar - Apr 4th 2009

Dear Elisha,

Thanks for your really helpful articles. I was feeling very depressed when I woke up this morning at 4.00 am. I did a search on the net and came across your articles. I really appreciate the time you spent in creating this articles and are helpful to people like us.

Blessings from me and thanks.



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