Managing Mood with Mindfulness

Four free 75 minute weekly live on-line group sessions teaching the neuroscience and psychology of mindfulness with practical skills to reduce stress and enhance happiness.

Join us for the live on-line sessions beginning Wednesday January 18th at noon or listen to the weekly recordings.

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The four-session series covers the following topics:
  • – How does awareness protect us from stress?
  • – What makes a moment stressful?
  • – The neurochemistry of stress and curiosity.
  • – What happens in the brain and body when we suffer emotionally?
  • – Can we change our negative thoughts and emotions?
  • – How stress influences the formation of negative thoughts and emotions.
  • – A mindfulness strategy for working with negative thoughts and emotions.
  • – Practical mindfulness skills for reducing stress and enhancing happiness.
Many events in life are painful-but struggling with our own thoughts turns emotional pain into suffering.

Painful emotions can be useful. Fear protects us from danger. Anger is a useful response to a threat and sadness helps us heal from loss. But when we struggle with our thoughts and emotions, we turn fear into anxiety, sadness into depression, anger into frustration. Often, we feel caught in a struggle with our own thoughts and emotions. And the more we struggle, the worse we feel. Negative thoughts can be like quick sand. Struggling makes them worse.

Mindfulness practice slowly shifts the attitude of our attention from struggling to kind curiosity which alters the chemical conditions in which all thoughts and emotions evolve.

We can’t change a thought that is already here; but ,when we change the chemical solution in which that thought evolves, we change the future direction of our thoughts and feelings.

Here is a short video that describes this process of cultivating a different attitude towards our thoughts and emotions.

When we feel stressed we focus on negative thoughts and feelings. This negative focus is often self-fulfilling because it influences how we perceive and engage with the world. And yet it is possible to train our attention in a different way that frees us from this struggle with negative thoughts. It is possible to influence the mental conditions and neurochemistry in which all thoughts, emotions and sensations are formed and connected.

By training a gentle curious attitude of attention to whatever arises, even stressful thoughts and emotions, we can create healthy therapeutic mental conditions which reduce suffering, enliven neutral moments and enhance pleasant moments.

This is a skill that can be strengthened in just minutes a day.

In the same way an athlete builds strength by lifting weights or a pianist builds skills by practicing scales, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy builds skills to support purposefully attending to our own thoughts, emotions and sensations with a gentle curiosity.

Over 800 peer-reviewed articles have shown that mindfulness based cognitive behavioral therapy reduces stress and enhances mood. Many of these studies show actual physical changes in the brain after only eight weeks of mindfulness training. This therapy is now offered at over 700 medical institutions in the United States, including the VA and Kaiser Permanente health systems. Many companies, including Google, offer in-house mindfulness programs for their employees.

Mindfulness training can provide great benefit either as an adjunct or as an alternative to psychiatric medication and traditional psychotherapy.

Dr. Levine is a board certified psychiatrist and founder of Community Psychiatry, a psychiatry practice with 50 offices, 80 psychiatrists and 150 therapists throughout Northern and Southern California. For over 20 years Community Psychiatry has assured access to mental health services by accepting patients’ insurance as payment in full.

He completed his residency in psychiatry at California Pacific Medical Center in 1981 and received his MBA in 1999 from the University of Michigan.

He teaches and supervises a wide variety of mindfulness based programs for medical staff, clinicians and patients. As part of this endeavor, in 2015 he established Mind to Mindful, a non-profit clinical and teaching organization that collaborates with researchers at Harvard University, UC Davis, and the Sutter Health system to promote mindfulness training in the medical community.

For more than thirty years, Dr. Levine has worked in both clinical and corporate settings teaching people how to reduce stress and enhance well-being. As a physician consultant to researchers from Harvard University, Dr. Levine is studying the benefits of mindfulness training for reducing stress and enhancing happiness.