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From the Cambridge Mind Body Blog

Over the course of many years of working with clients in a variety of settings, I have gained a number of insights, and it’s my pleasure to share some of these insights and observations here. Please take what you find helpful, and leave the rest. — Douglas

Ever find yourself sheepishly wondering if you are the owner of a smartphone, or it's the smartphone who owns you? Friend, you are not alone.

It's been pretty clearly established that Apple and other digital giants studied such 'noble' disciplines as the gambling industry in designing their phones and tablets and their operating systems. It is apparently not enough to design and market a truly appealing product. Many of our devices have been desig...

Mindfulness is the radical practice of putting the mind and body in the same place, at the same time.

Sound kind of obvious? Sure, but how often is the mind somewhere else, miles or hours or even years away, in an imaginary world? Your body is at, say, the kitchen table, your mouth is eating breakfast, but your mind is already at work, pre-living the staff meeting scheduled for this afternoon. Your blood pressure spikes as you imagine your boss di...

I was in a swaying crowd at a yoga retreat, grooving to an evening of call-and-response chanting, or Kirtan. All was peace and love and namaste. The band sang Sanskrit devotional lines and we sang them back, no doubt mangling plenty. Beyond names of yoga poses, how much Sanskrit did any of us know? Precious little. For all we knew, they might have been calling out ingredients for a good cucumber Raita.

Some of us quietly danced, while others seeme...

Why do so many people experience unhappiness? There are lots of differing ways to look at it.

The personal-responsibility view says people are unhappy because they make poor choices, which bring negative consequences and lead to unhappiness. Another view is that our culture’s focus on material success leaves many of us empty inside, and confused as to why the nice home, car or vacation doesn’t completely satisfy us. The spiritually-oriented have d...

Make it a habit to notice how often you judge your feelings. I regularly hear people say their feelings are silly, stupid, or ridiculous. There are ridiculous shoes and TV shows, but not ridiculous feelings. They just are what they are. A judgmental reaction to emotions sets you up to be hating and struggling with what you feel.

It seems that what people actually mean if they say their feelings are silly is that it’s hard to understand why certain...

We are living in interesting and paradoxical times. The internet and smartphones, hailed as inventions that would save us tons of time and free us to do the things we most want to do, have in many cases done the opposite. So many of us are wasting time checking things we don’t really need to check, reading things that don’t have relevance in our lives, and viewing things that in the end only upset, distract or frustrate us.

It’s not exaggeration t...

It might seem like stating the obvious to observe that most of the moments in our days are spent getting from A to B. Getting to work, and home again. Getting to a movie, or dinner. Life follows the same pattern- we’re trying to get somewhere: To a better job or relationship, to grad school, or to our next vacation. How many of us spend the winter waiting and wishing for spring to get here? That’s the conventional approach to life- always on the...

A funny thing happens when we step off the merry-go-round. Things stop spinning. The dust settles,and we can see more clearly. We have time to reflect on how we are living, what’s working and what isn’t, and prepare for moving in new directions. A personal retreat is one way to step off and onto more solid ground.

There’s an old saying about the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. A retrea...

Mindfulness is getting a lot of attention these days, and rightly so. As a way to cultivate balance, sanity and contentment, it’s been well-tested since its development 2600 years ago. Consider its longevity, in comparison to the relatively infantile field of psychotherapy, which it’s generally agreed developed in the late 1800s in Vienna with Freud, Jung and their cohort.

Mindfulness originates in the teachings of the Buddha, who taught that if w...

It’s symptoms like anxious feelings that often drive people to seek a therapist. In Mindfulness we refer to symptoms as ‘suffering’, meaning, being uncomfortable. And of course when beginning therapy, the goal is usually symptom reduction- like feeling less anxious. It’s a perfectly reasonable goal, except that it may be unreaslistic (since anxiety is a natural and inevitable human feeling) and it misses an opportunity: The opportunity to use the...

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