The Mindfulness-Based Emotional Balance Workbook (An Eight-Week Program for Improved Emotion Regulation and Resilience)

The Mindfulness-Based Emotional Balance Workbook (An Eight-Week Program for Improved Emotion Regulation and Resilience)

Margaret Cullen and Gonzalo Brito Pons, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Experiencing emotions is a part of the richness of life. But sometimes emotions can get in the way of our health and happiness. Suppressing strong feelings like fear, anger, and resentment isn’t the answer—in fact, doing so can lead to a host of physical problems, from a weakened immune system to heart disease. On the other hand, overreacting in the heat of the moment can be detrimental to relationships. So, how can you ride even the strongest waves of emotion without causing harm to yourself or others?

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Experiencing emotions is a part of the richness of life. But sometimes emotions can get in the way of our health and happiness. Suppressing strong feelings like fear, anger, and resentment isn’t the answer—in fact, doing so can lead to a host of physical problems, from a weakened immune system to heart disease. On the other hand, overreacting in the heat of the moment can be detrimental to relationships. So, how can you ride even the strongest waves of emotion without causing harm to yourself or others?

This workbook offers a breakthrough, eight-week program using emotion theory and mindfulness-based techniques to help you manage the overwhelming thoughts and feelings that cause you pain. You’ll learn to approach your emotions without judgment, understand their source, and foster forgiveness and kindness toward both yourself and others. Instead of trying to bury feelings or lashing out and hurting relationships, you'll learn how to cultivate emotional balance using this powerful program.

Details
Item MBEBW
ISBN# 9781608828395
Pages 216
Cover softback
Year 2015

Authors

Margaret Cullen, MA, MFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) teacher. She has also trained with Zindel Segal in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. For over twenty years she has been teaching and pioneering mindfulness programs in a variety of settings, including cancer support, HIV support, physician groups, executive groups, and obesity support. For ten years she has been involved in teaching and writing curricula for several research programs at the University of California, San Francisco, including “Cultivating Emotional Balance,” designed for teachers, and “Craving and Lifestyle Management with Meditation,” for overweight women.

In 2008 she launched a mindfulness-based emotional balance program for teachers and school administrators that has been piloted in Denver, CO; Boulder, CO; Ann Arbor, MI; Berkeley, CA; Portland, OR; and Vancouver, BC. She has also been a facilitator of support groups for cancer patients and their loved ones for twenty-five years at the Cancer Support Community, and is currently a senior teacher at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, where she contributed to the Compassion Cultivation training manual. A longtime contributor to Inquiring Mind, Margaret has been a meditation practitioner for 35 years.

Gonzalo Brito Pons, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who has worked with diverse populations in Chile, Peru, and Spain, integrating Western psychological approaches with traditional medicine and contemplative practices. As a certified yoga teacher and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) instructor, he has included these practices in his clinical work and workshops for health care professionals and educators over the last decade. Gonzalo is a certified instructor of the Compassion Cultivation Training Program and serves as a supervisor for Spanish-speaking teachers in training at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. He obtained his PhD doing experimental research on the individual and relational effects of compassion cultivation training and mindfulness-based stress reduction.

Currently living in Granada, Spain, Gonzalo combines his therapeutic work with ongoing compassion-based and mindfulness-based programs, collaborating regularly with several educational and health organizations. In 2014, he coauthored the book Presencia plena: Reflexiones y prácticas para cultivar mindfulness en la vida diaria (Full presence: Reflections and practices to cultivate mindfulness in daily life).

Contents

Foreword

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Part 1: Foundations

1. Mindfulness – The Key to Emotional Balance

2. Emotions – What Drive Us, and What Drive Us Astray

3. Clarifying Values and Intentions – Why Are You Here?

Part 2: The Program

4. Learning How to Pay Attention

5. Feelings: Pleasant, Unpleasant, and Neutral – Where All the Trouble Begins

6. Mindfulness of Thoughts – Using Your Head Instead of Being Used By It

7. Exploring Forgiveness – The Key to Opening Your Heart

8. Working With Anger – Costly Fuel That Burns Hot!

9. Cultivating Kindness – Tapping Into the Ocean of Love Within

10. Working With Fear – The Art of Facing the Monster

11. Awakening Compassion – Embracing Our Shared Vulnerability

Part 3: Sustaining and Deepening

12. Diets of the Heart, Mind, and Body – Surfing the Full Catastrophe

13. Continuation of Practice – Resistance and Forward Momentum

Conclusion

Additional Resources

Excerpts

”So, given these challenges, here are some attitudinal foundations that can help you to engage with the practices and get the most out of this workbook. The first seven of these come from Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living (2013), but then we added a few more for good measure!

1) Nonjudgement. This quality of awareness involves cultivating impartial observation in regard to any experience – not labeling thoughts, feelings, or sensations as good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair, but simply taking note of thoughts, feelings, or sensations in each moment.

2) Patience. This is an expression of wisdom and maturity. It acknowledges that things must unfold in their own time and is a wonderful antidote to the agitation that can escalate around resisting the truth of the present moment.

3) Beginner’s Mind. This quality of awareness sees things as new and fresh, as if for the first time, with a sense of curiosity.

4) Trust. This is about honoring your own experience and learning how to listen deeply to your own heart, mind, and body. There will be times throughout the course of this training, and certainly in life, when your inner experience is in conflict with what is being asked of you. Learning how to trust yourself is essential to engaging with these practices and cultivating emotional balance.

5) Nonstriving. With this quality of awareness, there is no grasping, aversion to change, or movement away from whatever arises in the moment; in other words, nonstriving means not trying to get anywhere other than where you are.

6) Acceptance. This quality of awareness validates and acknowledges things as they are. To accept the truth doesn’t necessarily mean you have to love it, or even like it. It is really about connecting with what is true in each moment and fighting the tendency to deny, reject, or avoid.

7) Letting Be. Although Kabat-Zinn uses the phrase “Letting Go,” we prefer to soften this a little. For many people, letting to is a slippery slope on the way to actively pushing away what is unwanted. With this quality of awareness, you can simply let things be as they are, with no need to try to let GO of whatever is present.

8) Humor. Although humor can’t be forced, it can be welcomed and encouraged. And humor is a great ally when it comes to watching the machinations of your own mind. Like many of the attitudes on this list, humor creates space in the mind and counteracts the tendencies to tighten and contract in response to unpleasant experience.

9) Curiosity. Many of the insights that lead to emotional balance involve seeing things as they are while at the same time inquiring into their causality and consequences.

10) Affection. Kabat-Zinn sometimes describes mindfulness as “affectionate attention.” When awareness is imbued with the qualities of warmth and tenderness, it’s much easier to move in close to experience and to know it fully, especially when that experience is painful or invokes feelings of vulnerability.

We encourage you to approach these qualities or attitudes as touchstones, rather than as mandates. None of us will ever fully embody these qualities in every moment. And even mediation and compassion cultivation can become co-opted by past conditioning into yet another way to beat ourselves up.”

Reviews

“In an increasingly topsy-turvy world, finding emotional balance is more important than ever—and Margaret Cullen and Gonzalo Brito Pons show you how, walking with you step-by-step, drawing on brain science, ancient wisdom, and the power of mindfulness. Comforting and powerful, down-to-earth and profound, this book is a clear path from stress, frustration, and irritation to calm strength, happiness, and inner peace.”

—Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Buddha’s Brain

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