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How to Shrink a Shrink

A mindfulness blog by psychiatrist Candace Good, MD

TOP 10 Mindfulness Tips

It's OK to have a lot of thoughts when you meditate

meditation mindfulness Jun 12, 2020
 

Welcome to my first VLOG where I discuss how common it is to feel like you have too many thoughts when you are trying to meditate.

I describe how our thoughts behave by sharing one of my favorite children's books.

Why waste energy trying to control our thoughts? Wouldn't it be better to find a way to coexist with them?

Rx meditation--Dr. G

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Are you ready to listen?

mindfulness Jun 09, 2020

“It was an honor, to be listened to closely, to be heard. One could honor someone without agreeing with them.” ― Meg Waite Clayton, The Last Train to London

 

“Are you even listening?” My husband used to complain about my hearing. I’d come home from work in the evenings and he’d accuse me of ignoring him.

I did not believe I had a hearing problem and blamed the constant background noise of the TV; I had to tune out his yelling during hockey, football, NASCAR, and the news. But when I started missing things my patients were saying, I decided to get checked out.

The results of my hearing test were normal. The audiologist explained the problem was that other parts of my brain were working overtime to interpret what I was hearing. Just like a muscle, the brain’s ability to process sound can fatigue.

“I see this in people who do a lot of active listening. What do you do for a living?” He was pleased when I answered psychiatrist....

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Have you ever murdered a cake?

mindfulness perfectionism May 17, 2020

I’ve baked cakes that didn’t taste (or look) like a masterpiece; they’ve been under-baked or a little dry, but I’ve never had a cake turn on me on so many levels. This angel food cake fell apart in my hands like I had shot it!

My husband was looking for healthier desserts online and pulled off this angel food cake recipe. He proudly came home with egg whites “already separated” in that milk carton container. He busts on my cooking all the time; I couldn’t believe I knew something he didn’t!

“Ha ha, you can’t make an angel food cake with that! The pasteurization does something to the proteins, it says so right on the box!” Luckily he bought regular eggs too, but with so many items missing from the store during COVID-19, should we really be wasting a dozen eggs on a cake?

With an entire day off and nowhere to go, I casually waited until afternoon to get started on our make-up cake. I studied the recipe—wait for...

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What Do You Want To Carry Into The New Normal?

mindfulness reflect write Apr 23, 2020

Six weeks of social distancing encourages self-reflection; the pace of life has changed, at least for this moment. 

Before COVID-19 (B.C.), we were early into the new year, depleted after the holidays, but with the hope of filling up. In March and April, we got that immediate family time, longer days, and greener grass. Spring is everything we said we wanted--just not the way we wanted. 

I'm thankful for lovely writing teachers who encourage me to list intentions or habits I'd like to carry forward when the state reopens after covid (A.C.). What baggage can I leave behind when I'm able to venture out again into the new normal?

B.C.:  I was a checklist person who viewed any down time as non-productive. Even yoga was practiced on a schedule and for a specific reason. Watching the news, the loss, the strain on the local economy--my checklists don't seem as important now. 

A.C.: I still struggle to view my relaxation time as valuable. Why does all my time need to be...

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Your Presence Is Gift Enough

mindfulness Dec 16, 2019

As a psychiatrist, making spirits bright is my job all year long. I prescribe antidepressant medications, but also help patients prepare to navigate holiday gatherings and family obligations. We can enjoy the holidays when all is calm, but what about when it’s not so bright? Contentment grows from the ability to pause and take notice amid the chaos of the season.

I started practicing meditation, breathing, and the conscious movement of yoga to be more present for the moments that count—but I struggle to stay mindful during the holidays. Last Christmas, I was doing everything right with my yoga practice yet everything still felt wrong, like yoga wasn’t working. If you feel your self-care routine is letting you down, consider these five causes. 

  1. Compassion fatigue

Compassion fatigue is common in people who work in helping professions. It often starts with feeling pressed for time and eliminating the very things that would combat stress. We eat lunch over the...

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Breathe to Make Space

Bulk haul week in my neighborhood means anything that doesn’t fit into a trash bag goes out to the curb. Junk collectors cruise the street two days ahead of waste pickup in search of treasures among tangled Christmas lights and outdated toilets. Fall collection makes room for the holidays, but the season of gifts will fill our homes back up again. Why is it so hard to make space?

We clean our garage twice a year, but our brain is the closet we never quite get to. Before we can organize our minds, we run out of time. We end up shoving more in until we feel stuffed, a door ready to unhinge.

When your mind feels too full to be mindful, you don’t have to kick memories to the curb to make more room, just breathe! When a room feels crowded, we navigate to an opening and take a breath. Do the same when life feels crowded. Conscious breathing prepares us for meditation. 

We are meant to breathe from our bellies, not our chest. Relaxing the abdomen allows more room for the...

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Choose Self-Care

mindfulness self-care Sep 12, 2019

Singer Kelly Clarkson had her appendix removed only a few hours after hosting the 2019 Billboard music awards. The headline on social media? “Not All Heroes Wear Capes”. I admire Kelly Clarkson and her work ethic, but I wish, “Kelly Clarkson took care of herself today” would get as many retweets! 

Our society hasn’t paid much attention to self-care. Now we have record numbers of people being treated for anxiety disorders or burnout. We read about the problem but still value that professional who can do it all. 

Last month a journalist who wanted an expert to comment on the definition of self-care contacted me. Her take was that the term is now so prevalent that people may indulge in unhealthy behaviors under the guise of self-care. The example she gave was a spouse getting upset over a partner’s nights out away from the children. Getting together with girlfriends to whine over wine is fun, but is it self-care? 

For me, the first...

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