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

Want Relief? Spread It Out

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Jan 10th 2013

When it comes to the emotional challenges of our lives one of the first thing the brain does is contract and makes us self-absorbed. This make sense, we have to focus on ourselves to fix our problems. But this strategy has some unfortunate side effects. One critical one is feeling disconnected and alone and this in and of itself is a form of dis-ease. Getting re-balanced is about feeling connected and there are things we can do to correct this neural malfunction. 

person jumping in sunlightSpread it out. 

Whether the emotional suffering comes in the form of stress at work, frustration with our kids, or ambiguous anxious attacks that hit us when we least expect it, the bottom line is that in that moment the brain is disconnected and operating mainly from its emotional center. It’s a painful mode of self-referencing that reinforces stories that continue to spiral the flavor of the mood that is fueling it. 

The fact is we are suffering and it’s worth acknowledging. 

The moment we acknowledge we are suffering we’ve stepped into a space of awareness to choose a healthier response. This is what’s called The Now Effect.

The healthier response might be to place our hands where the emotional pain is, knowing that research has shown that the when the brain maps sensation it turns the volume down on the storytelling. 

Then we can spread it out. 

This means considering all the other people who have or perhaps in the moment are experiencing that form of suffering and wish them well, to feel at ease, to feel safe and protected, to be at peace. 

This is furthering the process of getting out of our mind and into the world. 

There’s a healing element that enters our minds when we begin to experience connection and this is one way of facilitating that.

But don’t take my word for it. Set your judgments aside, try it for yourself and let your experience be your guide. 

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates 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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