Monthly Archives: April 2013

40 Recovery Tools

1. Abstinence (partial or total): We get support and growth by abstaining from people, places or things that we consider harmful. Early in recovery a period of total abstinence is a benefit; without abstinence, recovery is impossible. Later abstinence will come to mean abstaining from your bottom line behaviours (sometimes called inner circle behaviours) and boundaries (sometimes called middle circle behaviours).

2. Acceptance: Accept that you are an addict. Don't blame yourself for failures, but don't give in either. There is no room in recovery for guilt and shame, as they perpetuate the shame spiral that often feeds our very addiction. Guilt is when we feel we've done something bad. Shame is when we feel that we are bad. Both of these attitudes need to be addressed head-on in recovery. Recovery provides us an opportunity to change our behaviours.

3. Affirmations: Daily affirmations are a way of retraining "old thoughts" of low self-esteem. Visit (and keep clicking refresh or reload) for a never-ending supply of affirmations.

4. Anonymity and Confidentiality: Guard other's safety by not repeating what is heard in a meeting or other confidential setting; value yourself and others by practicing "principles before personalities." By using first names only, we guarantee that everyone will feel safe to share, and we place everyone on an equal footing. Living respectfully of others is an important thread in the fabric of recovery.

5. Balance: Balancing your life is important. To help build balance in your life and relationships, each day remember to develop personal relationships with people other than your partner. Engage in pleasure, education, rest, creativity, spiritual involvement, and play. Becoming compulsive about recovery does not make you sober and healthy; it merely substitutes another compulsion.

6. Carry Recovery with You: Keep reminders, cues, instructions, or anything else that will help in your purse or wallet. Those things might include phone numbers of recovery friends, photographs of loved ones, your recovery plan, etc.

7. Conferences, conventions, retreats, and workshops provide opportunities to spend more time focused on recovery and in the company of other members of the fellowship. While the home websites often provide information about these activities, not all local groups/intergroups make use of these pages, so local meeting announcements are a wonderful resource (if available).

8. Deep breathing: If you feel a panic attack coming on, try taking slow deep breaths until sanity begins to return. Try other healing physical activities like soaking in a hot bath, looking in a mirror and saying "I love you" or other affirmations, or repeating the Serenity Prayer.

9. Honesty: Work to eliminate denial, half truths, white lies, fibs, partial truths and overt dishonesty with ourselves and others.

10. Humour: "Laughter is the best medicine" is true. Never take yourself too seriously. Enjoy a healthy comedy movie or TV show when you feel down.

11. Journaling: Writing provides a way to become honest with ourselves and our Higher Power. By writing in journals, gratitude lists, letters and emails we can measure our progress, values, motives, and Twelve Step work. Record your thoughts, feelings, and insights. This can be an enormous help in developing and repairing your relationship with yourself. This also serves to show later how short-term our feelings can be.

12. Literature: Read some recovery literature everyday. Daily reading helps keep your focus on recovery. If you get one good new idea from a whole book, it was worth it. Become more knowledgeable about you addiction by any reading relevant books and visiting informational websites. It can tide you over till you're able to make contact with another member. It also deepens your knowledge of the program, and no matter how often you read it, there's always something surprising to learn.

13. Live in the moment: "One Day At a Time" as we often say. The thought of making a pledge to never act out again can be discouraging and overwhelming. It's important not to worry about the past or project the future, just stay in the moment. If necessary, take it one hour or even one minute at a time. If you become overwhelmed by tasks to be accomplished, make yourself a list of things to do. Keep them small and simple. Tasks that can be accomplished in five minutes or less can be as rewarding as major long-term tasks, especially in that moment of confusion and bewilderment. Be mindful when your attention is not in the moment. When your mind dwells in the future or the past, you can do nothing. Remember, the only time you can ever do anything is right now.

14. Meetings: Meetings (whether in real life or online) are where we share our experience, strength and hope with each other to better understand our common problem and work together towards the solution. Even if you feel you'll die if you don't act out or your mind doesn't want you to get better, you need to "bring the body" to a meeting. Even when something is "more important" or more exciting or more fun, get to a meeting. Very subtly your value system will get healed. We failed to do it alone, but we can do it together. You can listen to others tell of what it was like, what happened to them and what it is like now. You listen for the similarities and discard the differences. In these meetings you learn valuable information about your disease and how the 12-step program works. Members give and receive support, work the steps, and share experience, strength and hope in a safe environment. At first, attend as many meetings as you can. If possible, attend meetings daily for the first 90 days and practice abstinence to the best of your ability. The slogan "90 meetings in 90 days" is a sure-fire way to learn the true meaning of "First Things First." Making a meeting every day no matter what is a foolproof way to discipline deep habits of "giving in" and self-indulgence — habits so deep they seem our true selves rather than the voice of our illness.

15. Open-mindedness: Be vigilant to listen for similarities and not differences. We share common feelings, no matter what our acting-out behaviour involved. Be very mindful to not separate yourself from recovery or the fellowship. We all feel "terminally unique" sometimes, but with time we learn that we are part of a larger unity that overcomes miracles.

16. People, Places and Things: Choose to avoid all triggering situations, or make them safe if you can't avoid them. You don't have to go to business meetings in bars. You can tell the others that going to such places interferes with your spiritual growth. If you can't avoid some triggers, make it safe for yourself. Avoiding triggers is respecting your own boundaries.

17. Physical Activity: Spend time doing fun activities, and get involved in sports, exercise, and other physical activities. This is useful for all addicts and particularly important for those who became sedentary with their addictions. No matter what the activity (even cleaning) releases natural endorphins in the brain which help us feel healthy.

18. Prayer and Meditation: Prayer and meditation are a means of establishing a conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves, for spiritual healing. Regular spiritual practices help us connect with our Higher Power, which strengthens our recovery. There is a website ( with worldwide prayers and meditations. It is important to explore whatever beliefs you have in a power greater than yourself. This may be God as you know God through your religious beliefs or values. Your higher power may be nature, the energy of the universe, your 12 Step group, or any other thing that is greater than you are. There are no religious requirements or beliefs necessary for recovery. Some people have either lost their
spirituality before coming to recovery and some have never had any spiritual beliefs. In recovery you may experience a new or reawakened spiritual feeling. Some of these awakened feelings may challenge your religious upbringing. Be open-minded. Pray for help from your Higher Power — as you understand it or don't understand it. Particularly effective is the Serenity Prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." In emergency situations, some of us use it as a mantra, saying it over and over till the crisis passes.

19. Prioritize: Make recovery your number one priority. All of your hopes and plans, your very survival depends on your recovery. It may not make sense at the beginning but your order of priority should be: #1 Sobriety; #2 Physical and Mental Health; #3 Financial; #4 Family Relationships.

20. Professional Help: Your addiction may have been a subconscious way of self-medicating yourself for wounds you carry from your earlier life. It is important to work with a professional who understands addiction or is willing to learn. This is another way to keep yourself on the path of recovery. Remember that recovery is much more than abstinence from addictive behaviours. You may want to seek out group therapy, individual therapy, or both. If possible, including your spouse or partner in therapy, both individually and as a couple, can be a great benefit to the recovery of both and to your relationship. We also suffer from cognitive distortions (core beliefs): it is erroneous to think: "I am basically a bad, unworthy person;" "No one would ever love me as I am;" "My needs are never going to be met if I have to depend on others;" "My addiction is my most important need." These core beliefs provide the structure for many particular errors in thinking. Cognitive errors distort the experience of the addict to conform to the shameful core beliefs. The particular errors also screen out any new, potentially corrective information. For example, the addict who fundamentally believes that "no one will love me the way I really am" will set up relationships so that there is ample evidence of rejection of the true self and support for the false, public self. A professional therapist can help us better understand cognitive distortions and retrain our core beliefs.

21. Recovery Partners: Being accountable to someone is an important anchor for sobriety. Make an agreement with someone to check in — daily if at all possible. That person should have a list of questions — very specific questions — to ask you and that you have agreed to answer honestly. Your partner may be a member of your group, a friend in recovery, your therapist, or a good friend. A recovery partner must be someone you trust and with whom you feel safe. Shaming an accountability partner is not acceptable. It is not recommended that you ask your life partner to be your recovery partner. This tool can be a valuable addition to your sponsor.

22. Recovery Plan: A recovery plan is a pre-determined way of expressing our behaviour consistent with our values, so that even when confused, we have a written guideline to help us. In defining our own sobriety, we make a list of all of our acting out behaviours. Making this list is very specific and is followed by a solemn commitment to yourself not to engage in those behaviours. We choose, one day and one situation at a time, not to engage in those behaviours. Set your bottom lines; discuss your bottom lines; know your bottom lines; observe your bottom lines. Read over your recovery plan frequently. Remembering our goals helps us lose the craving to go back to the anguish and confusion we are beginning to ease out of. Most recovery plans include personal boundaries in addition to bottom lines from which we completely abstain. Boundaries are the "slippery" slopes that can became blurred or even non-existent when we were in our addiction. Part of recovery is identifying appropriate boundaries or limits with respect to people, places and activities. For example, we might choose to set a boundary regarding keeping company with people who continue in their addictions. This is self-protective and healthy. When we were in our addiction there was nothing we would not do and nothing we felt we could not or should not do. Now, in recovery, we must set boundaries to keep ourselves healthy and safe. There is no right or wrong way to write a recovery plan for yourself. Some members benefit by seeing an existing plan in use.

23. Relationships: Dating is a way of changing the instant gratification habit and getting to know more about ourselves and another person, before committing to any sexual decisions. We let go of self-serving power and prestige as driving motives.

24. Reminders: Simple reminders can often be a powerful way to stay sober. For instance, posting small signs or post-its with affirmations or healthy reminders near your computer, your bathroom mirror, your car's interior, or wherever you want to be "reminded" can be a gentle nudge to staying on the path of recovery.

25. S.A.F.E. Formula: The “S.A.F.E.” Formula is an easy way to define addiction. If the following elements are present, then the person's behaviour could be called an addiction: “Secret; Abusive; Feelings; Empty.” Secret — It is a secret. Anything that cannot pass public scrutiny will create the shame of a double life. Abusive — It is abusive to self or others. Anything that is exploitive or harmful to others or degrades oneself will activate the addictive system. Feelings — It is used to avoid or is a source of painful feelings. If the behaviour is used to alter moods or results in painful mood shifts it is clearly part of the addictive process. Empty — It is empty of a caring committed relationship. Fundamental to the whole concept of addiction and recovery is the healthy dimension of human relationships.

26. Service: Service is helping ourselves by helping others. Service includes participating in activities that support your Twelve Step group as a whole, including leading meetings, sponsoring, reaching out to newcomers, telling your story, serving as any trusted servant position, writing an
article for the Journal (NA Publication), or volunteering in other ways. You may also serve by helping your neighbours, volunteering in your community, and so on. The benefit of service is not limited to serving in the recovery community. The benefit is in connecting with others through their needs rather than your own.

27. Sharing: Being honest and vulnerable in front of fellow recovering addicts is frightening but worth it. Many of us believe we recover in direct proportion to our willingness to share. Some recovering addicts commit to talking during the discussion time in each meeting.

28. Slogans: Slogans are simple statements that can be used in crisis situations, so that we have some basic guidelines. These include: One Day At a Time; Live and Let Live; Easy Does It; Progress, Not Perfection; First Things First; Keep It Simple; Let Go and Let God; HOW (How our program works: Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness); HALT (Not allowing ourselves to become too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired), Meeting-makers Make It, But For the Grace of God, and many more.

29. Socializing: Socializing is a way of breaking down our isolation and getting to know other people in a nonsexual context — at fellowship after meetings, in supportive organizations and groups, and in the community at large. Spend time with people. Isolation is a part of your disease. Find ways to be in contact with people. Meetings are good, but the company of others is good too. The only limit is that those people must support your sobriety even if they don't know you are an addict. You can also "socialize" by posting to forum message boards and recovery groups.

30. Sponsorship: Sponsorship is two people with the same problem helping each other to work the programme. It can provide a framework for a recovery plan and for doing the 12-Steps, and bring emotional support at difficult times. As part of the surrender process, we admit our weaknesses and we ask others for help. A sponsor is a recovering addict with more sobriety and programme experience than you. Your sponsor should be someone with whom you can communicate. Find a sponsor immediately, even if they are only temporary. You can always change sponsors later if the relationship does not work out.

31. Start a Meeting: While there are online meetings, some suggest that they have no local meetings to attend. NA Fellowship Wide Services provides help in creating new groups. Tradition 3 states, "The only requirement for NA membership is the desire to stop living out a pattern of drug addiction. Any two or more persons gathered together for mutual aid in recovering from drug addiction may call themselves an NA group, provided that as a group they have no other affiliation." No matter how new you feel that you are in recovery, you are most welcome to create a group, and this tool works toward "Meetings," "Service," "Sharing," Support Network," "Replace Behaviours with Healthy Ones," "Socializing" and more. It is worth the effort.

32. Support Network: Meeting with other people to discuss your journey helps you to know you are not alone and allows you to get another perspective on your struggles. Cultivate communication with other recovering people between meetings, either by phone, the Internet, or in person; ask for support when needed. These relationships are best cultivated in non-crisis times. Some recovering people commit to talk with someone everyday.

33. Surrender: "Surrender to Win" is a slogan. Webster first defines surrender as: to yield to the power, control, or possession (of another upon compulsion or demand); to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favour of another. So often newcomers "fight" for their recovery/sobriety by "white-knuckling" the symptoms of this dis-ease of addiction. Once we learn to surrender to the process of recovery, through the use of all of these tools, we begin to see how it can be easier to gain victory. If I was up for a boxing match with Mohammed Ali, I would certainly loose if I really got into the ring. For my own health, it is far better for me to surrender before the match, than to take a beating.

34. Take the First Step: Repeat the works "We admitted we were powerless over our addiction — that our lives had become unmanageable," until the meaning begins to sink in. If we really accept that we have no power over our compulsion, we will be able to turn it over — to our Higher Power, to our sponsor, to the programme.

35. Telephone: The Telephone is your lifeline between meetings. Get phone numbers from other members in your programme. Get used to calling someone daily. It is an important way to break out of the isolation that is so strongly a part of the disease. You may be shy and hesitant at first but by training yourself to call someone, it will be easy to place that call when that moment of crisis arises. And it will! Don't tell yourself people don't want to be bothered; phone calls are one of the ways we all stay sober. NA is a selfish programme, and everything we do in it — including getting phone calls — is for our own sobriety. Try calling somebody with a lot of sobriety. In times of danger it's more important than ever to "stick with the winners."

36. Think It Through: "Interrupt the acting out" by developing and memorizing a set of strategies to help you to avoid acting out (back to a well-written recovery plan). Postpone the slip, reminding yourself you can have it later but you'll talk to someone first. Our feelings are real, but often very short-lived. Ask yourself, "will you really get what you want if you go through with this?" Don't dwell on how exciting it's going to be, but remind yourself of the misery that inevitably has to follow.

37. Top Lines: Replace Behaviours with Healthy Ones: Break the habit pattern. We can't get sober in a vacuum. We can't simply stop destructive behaviour. We have to replace it with healthy new
activities. Often we have to be as compulsive for a time about sobriety as we were about acting out. Try taking creative actions you've never taken before. Prove to yourself you are capable of healthy actions by taking them. "In maintaining my sobriety, I find it more useful to keep in mind
what I call my top line rather than my bottom line. My top line is what I do want for myself, my programme goals. I want to integrate myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually; to relate to others from a state of wholeness; to live making decisions from a place of freedom and clarity rather than compulsion and confusion; to feel sufficiently safe to stay open enough to find the little realities of life moving, rather than needing to get dropped off a cliff to get a thrill. I want to be present, see things the way they are, and be glad to be alive. These things are beginning to happen for me."

38. Twelve Steps: Working the steps is the foundation of recovery; they are a set of spiritual practices for personal growth and recovery. Meetings may keep you sober for some time, but the Twelve Steps are vital for a stable and happy recovery. The Steps are the means by which you move from the problem of addiction to the solution of recovery. You learn about the Steps by reading the literature, by attending Step-study meetings, and by working with a knowledgeable sponsor. Read the Twelve Steps and work them. Join a step study; discuss a step at your Twelve Step meetings, with your sponsor, therapist, recovery partner and others who are supportive of your recovery. But work the Steps!

39. Willingness: Become willing. Open your mind to the possibility of giving up the slip, rather than giving in to it. It will feel that there's no way you can break the power of your own will. There is. But it can only be done by taking a positive action. Willingness is action. Remember: There is hope; there is a future.

40. Withdrawal: Withdrawal — Gateway to Freedom, Hope, and Joy: "The pain of withdrawal is unique, special, even precious (although you probably don't now think so). In a sense, the experience is you, a part of you which has been trying to surface for a long time. You have been avoiding or postponing this pain for a long time now, yet you have never been able to lastingly outrun it. You need to go through withdrawal in order to become a whole person. You need to meet yourself. Behind the terror of what you fear, withdrawal contains the seeds for your own personal wholeness. It must be experienced for you to realize, or make real, that potential for you and your life which has been stored there for so long."



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Success Takes Desire – Part 1

There is a huge difference in having an interest in achieving a goal and having a burning desire to achieve a goal. How intense does the desire have to be? It has to be enough to pull you through any obstacles or challenges that can possibly come up.
I’m sure you’ve heard the analogy of how you must want your goal as badly as you want to breathe. If someone held your head under water, you’ll do whatever it takes to be able to breathe. Procrastination is no longer an issue. Motivation is no longer a problem. The desire has become so intense that you will give it all you’ve got to take that breath of air.
Obviously, you don’t need a do or die level of desire to achieve most goals but if you’ve failed to achieve goals due to laziness and lack of action, then your desire just wasn’t strong enough. Now even if you have an intense, burning desire, you may still have moments where your level of desire is weakened.
During these moments, there are many things you can do and here are two that could help.
The first is to choose a goal that you can actually be excited about and keep focusing on how life will like when you finally achieve that goal. Choose a goal that is big enough where if you succeeded in obtaining it, your life will never be the same again. The more you want that goal, the less time you will spend trying to motivate yourself to take action.
The second approach is to remind yourself how life would be if you failed to achieve that goal. Think about the pain it would cause you. Think about having to go through another moment of feeling like a complete failure. Basically, think about the consequences of not giving the goal everything you’ve got.
People are motivated in different ways so choose the one that will work best for you. You can also use both approaches as well. When things are going as planned, you can keep that momentum going by visualizing how it will feel at the moment of success. When things aren’t going so great and you feel like giving up, visualize the disappointment you’ll have if you just quit now.
The opposite works as well. For some people, when things go the way they want, they tend to slow down and relax a bit too much so if you do this, you can use the second approach to keep your momentum up. If you’re the type that when things go bad, thinking about failure just makes things worse, use the first approach to pick yourself back up.
The final thing I want to say about this reminder of success is that your level of desire will most likely fluctuate as you get feedback/results from the actions you take towards obtaining your goal. Keeping that desire strong isn’t always an easy thing to do.
There may be times where you will question why you’re putting yourself through all of this. You may wonder if your goal is really worth it. Having a burning desire for a goal doesn’t mean you’re pumped up and excited every time you think about your goal. When you truly have a burning desire for a goal, all it means is that even when it would be so much easier to quit, when taking another step in the direction of your goal is tough, when you just don’t feel like taking action, you keep moving forward anyway because the thought of failing to achieve that goal would be unbearable.
This is why it’s critical that you choose a goal that you have enough desire for where even when things aren’t going so well, you still want to keep pressing on.
When your desire for a goal is weak to begin with, your chances of riding through the tough times will be slim. Think back at the goals that you failed to achieve, how badly did you really want those goals? An easy way to judge your level of desire is by looking at the actions you took or lack of actions.
If someone held your head under water, I’m sure you wouldn’t procrastinate on trying to breathe. You wouldn’t hesitate to spring into action. You wouldn’t just half ass it. You’d go full force. You wouldn’t second guess your ability to grasp that breath of air, your desire is too strong; and you certainly wouldn’t give up trying until you’ve literally given it everything you’ve got.
Attack your goal with just half of this level of desire and you’ll see just how unstoppable you can really be.

“It is during our failures that we discover our true desire for success.”

Mindfulness Meditation and Addiction


Causes For Addiction And How Mindfulness Meditation Can Help With Them.
By Ronald Alexander, Ph.D. in The Wise Open Mind

One of the first steps in dealing with addiction is to discover the emotional cause of it, whether it is fear, depression, anxiety, or pessimism. Many times these unwholesome thoughts and beliefs come from what I call the “wanting mind.” In wanting mind, we feel that our current state of unhappiness could be cured if only we could have the money, job, relationship, recognition, or power we had and lost, or never had and strongly desire. Often we cause ourselves suffering when we ache for something that lies out of our grasp or cling in vain to something that has already passed away. Sometimes, wanting mind involves tightly holding on to something negative: an unwholesome belief about how things ought to be or should have been, or an unwholesome emotion such as anger, sadness, or jealousy. Mindfulness practice helps us develop the capacity to see clearly exactly what we’re attached to so that we can let go of it and end our suffering. The hidden areas of resistance that emerge into our awareness can be noted and examined later so that we can make the conscious choice to reject them.

You can never completely avoid the wanting mind or any other hindrance. Desire is part of being human. It causes us to strive toward bettering our lives and our world, and has led to many of the discoveries and inventions that have provided us with a higher quality of life. Yet despite all that we can achieve and possess, we can become convinced that we won’t be happy or contented unless we acquire even more. This unwholesome belief can lead to competitiveness and feeling resentful toward, or envious of, those who seem to have an easier life.
If I have a patient who is using drugs or even food to manipulate their moods I first refer them to a nutritionist; a psychiatrist or psychopharmacologist; or a holistic doctor, such as an integrative medical doctor, to break this habit. In addition to this I recommend mindfulness meditation, yoga practice, and regular exercise as they are all excellent to help mood regulation. These types of activities lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your bloodstream, increase your interleukin levels (enhancing your immune system and providing you with greater energy), and streamline your body’s ability to cleanse itself of chemical toxins, such as lactic acid in your muscles and bloodstream, which can affect neurotransmitter receptors and alter your mood.

The challenge to altering addictions is the fear that you can’t change which can push you into denial and cause you to minimize the consequences of your unproductive behaviors. Whatever you discover about yourself and however painful your discovery, dramatic breakthroughs are always possible. Research on mindfulness meditation indicates that qualities we once thought immutable that form temperament and character can actually be altered significantly. By retraining your mind through mindfulness practice, you create new neural networks. If you’re aggressive, you can find ways to temper that aspect of yourself, becoming assertive and clear about your boundaries without entering into a competitive and possibly even hostile mind-set that will sabotage you.

For many years, scientists believed that the brain’s plasticity, that is, its ability to create new structures and learn, was limited after childhood. However, new research shows that we can alter the structure of the brain and reap the benefits well into adulthood. Sara Lazar, a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, discovered that the more one practices mindfulness meditation, the thicker the brain becomes in the mid-prefrontal cortex and in the mid-insular region of the brain. Changing your mind (or thought processes) actually causes changes in the brain (Lazar et al. 2005). Lazar found that, while people who’ve practiced meditation for ten or twenty years are adept at quickly achieving a state of concentration and mindful awareness, newcomers who engage in mindfulness meditation as little as four hours a week can achieve and sustain a state of mindfulness that leads to creative flow, or what I call “open-mind consciousness.” She discovered that even beginning meditators in their early twenties were able to achieve advanced states of concentration and insight (what I refer to as “mindstrength”) equal to that of senior meditation practitioners. Intention and attention of focus were the keys to reaching these states, not the number of hours spent on a meditation cushion (Lazar and Siegel 2007). From my own experience and work, I know that regular mindfulness practice allows us to set aside distractions and enter the transformative state of open mind.

Mindfulness practice may positively affect the amount of activity in the amygdala, the walnut-sized area in the center of the brain responsible for regulating emotions (Davidson 2000). When the amygdala is relaxed, the parasympathetic nervous system engages to counteract the anxiety response. The heart rate lowers, breathing deepens and slows, and the body stops releasing cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream; these stress hormones provide us with quick energy in times of danger but have damaging effects on the body in the long term if they’re too prevalent. Over time, mindfulness meditation actually thickens the bilateral, prefrontal right-insular region of the brain (Lazar et al. 2005), the area responsible for optimism and a sense of well-being, spaciousness, and possibility. This area is also associated with creativity and an increased sense of curiosity, as well as the ability to be reflective and observe how your mind works.

By building new neural connections among brain cells, we rewire the brain, and with each new neural connection, the brain is actually learning. It’s as if we’re adding more RAM to a computer, giving it more functionality. In The Mindful Brain, leading neuroscientist Daniel Siegel (2007, 5), defines the mind as “a process that regulates the flow of energy and information.” His early brain research showed that “where neurons fire, they can rewire” (2007, 291); that is, they create new neural pathways or structures in the brain. He postulates that one of the benefits of mindfulness meditation practice is this process of creating new neural networks for self-observation, optimism, and well-being. Through mindfulness meditation, we light up and build up the left-prefrontal cortex, associated with optimism, self-observation, and compassion, allowing ourselves to cease being dominated by the right-prefrontal cortex, which is associated with fear, depression, anxiety, and pessimism. As a result, our self-awareness and mood stability increase as our harsh judgments of others and ourselves decrease. By devoting attention, intention, and daily effort to being mindful, we learn to master the mind and open the doorway to the creativity available in open-mind consciousness.

It’s entirely possible that the same effects can be achieved through other practices that appear to open up new neural pathways, such as tai chi, yoga, and other forms of meditation, but thanks to researchers studying mindfulness meditation, we now know that we can actually remap the brain and affect the way it functions, as well as the way it influences the body.

NLP Presuppositions


• Respect for the other person's model of the world.
• Behavior and change are to be evaluated in terms of Context, and Ecology.
• Resistance in a client is a sign of a lack of rapport. (There are no resistant clients, only inflexible communicators. Effective communicators accept and utilize all communication presented to them.)
• People are not their behaviors. (Accept the person; change the behavior.)
• Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have available. (Behavior is geared for adaptation, and present behavior is the best choice available. Every behavior is motivated by a positive intent.)
• Calibrate on behavior. (The most important information about a person is that person's behavior.
• The map is not the Territory. (The words we use are NOT the event or the item they represent.)
• You are in charge of your mind, and therefore your results (and I am also in charge of my mind and therefore my results).
• People have all the resources they need to succeed and to achieve their desired outcomes. (There are no unresourceful people, only unresourceful states.)
• All procedures should increase Wholeness.
• There is only feedback. (There is no failure, only feedback.)
• The meaning of communication is the response you get.
• The Law of Requisite Variety. (The system/person with the most flexibility of behavior will control the system.)
• All procedures should be designed to increase choice. Real choice is only between two or more options.