Just One Thing (JOT) is the free newsletter that
suggests a simple practice each week that will bring you more joy, more
fulfilling relationships, and more peace of mind.
A small thing
repeated each day adds up over time to produce big results.
thing that could change your life.
Rick Hanson, 2010)
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This newsletter comes from Rick Hanson, Ph.D., neuropsychologist, founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, PsychologyToday.com contributor, and meditation teacher.
See Rick's workshops and lectures for therapists and the general public.
· Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom - Written with a neurologist, Richard Mendius, M.D., and with a Foreword by Daniel Siegel, M.D. and a Preface by Jack Kornfield, Ph.D., it's full of effective ways to use your mind to change your brain to benefit your whole being.
· Stress-Proof Your Brain -Meditations to rewire neural pathways for stress relief and unconditional happiness.
· Meditations to Change Your Brain - Three CDs of powerful guided practices, plus practical suggestions, for personal transformation.
· Meditations for Happiness - Downloadable program (3 CDs worth) on gratitude, inner protectors, and coming home to happiness.
|What's in your heart to say?|
Why? It's been said that
the most powerful tool for physical health is a fork (or spoon), since the
choices you make with it determine the good or bad things you put into your
In the same way,
perhaps the most powerful tool for your mental health - and certainly for the
health of your relationships - is your tongue. Thousands of times each
day, it (or your fingers on a keyboard: same thing) offers the good word or the
bad one out into your world.
If you say what's
true for you, and say it clearly and kindly, you get one kind of results. But
if you use a sharp tongue, speak falsely, exaggerate, or leave out the parts
that are most important to you, you get different results: unnecessary
conflicts, lost opportunities, a tightness in your chest, etc.
Of course, the most
important person to speak truly to is yourself, with inner speech. Come to
peace with the truth: the facts, your experiences and intentions, the goodness
inside your heart, what's led to what for better or worse.
On the other hand,
if you act like something is true but deep down there's a knowing that it's not
- like it's OK not to go after an important dream, or that you can keep putting
off dealing with a health issue such as smoking, or that everything's fine in a
cool and distant marriage - you're living on thin ice: hard to build a good
life on that foundation.
Truth is bedrock. Even
if you wish the truth were different, it's what you can count on in a world of
full of selling, spin, and BS. It's your refuge.
How? Speaking truly does not
mean saying everything. You can cut to the chase in a conversation, not burden
a child with more than he or she can understand, be civil when you're angry,
and not spill your guts in a meeting.
Nor should you confide
more than is appropriate. There's a place for privacy, for not telling A
everything you know about B, for recognizing how intimately you can safely
communicate in a particular situation or relationship.
Speaking truly - to
yourself and to others - does mean being authentic. Is your outer expression
lined up with your inner experience? Most of us have "that thing" which is hard
to express. For me growing up, it was feeling inadequate. For many men, it's
feelings of fear or weakness. For many women, it's feelings of anger or power.
Could you find appropriate ways to say your whole truth, whatever it is?
Ask yourself: "What
am I actually experiencing?" Relax your face completely and look at it in the
mirror: What does it tell you? What does it say you really need these days?
Also ask yourself:
"What's important that's not getting named?" This applies both to you and to
others. Consider the hurt or anxiety beneath irritation, or the rights or needs
that are the real stakes on the table. Is there an elephant in the room that no
one is mentioning? Maybe someone has a problem with anger or with drinking too
much, or is simply depressed. Maybe someone's jumbo job - 60, 70 hours a week
or more, counting commute and weekend emails - is crowding family life out to
you're upset, watch out for distortions in the words you use. These include
leaving out the context (like getting mad at a misbehaving child who's hungry),
using extreme language - words like "always" or flat statements that should be
qualified - or using a tone that's harsh or nasty. Without talking like a
robot, look for ways to be more judicious, accurate, and to the point in what
Last, accept the
fact that no one is a perfect communicator. You're always going to leave
something out, and that's OK. You have to give conversations room to breathe,
without continually judging yourself as to whether you're speaking truly!
Communicating is repairing. As long as you come with basic sincerity and
goodwill, your words will weave and mend a tapestry of truth in all your