My life is not this steeply sloping hour in which you see me hurrying."

- Rainer Maria Rilke

("Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain" article included below)
An Invitation to Learn
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

New Zealand Mountains
Photo by Sandy Renna

Learn to live with greater vitality, health and well-being through Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. Presented by the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center of New Jersey, the program offers powerful methods for reducing stress in your everyday life.


Diane Handlin, Ph.D. is the only instructor in New Jersey and one of the few in the world (not just trained) but actually Certified by Jon Kabat-Zinn's and Saki Santorelli's Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School. 




 Starting here, what do you want to remember?

How sunlight crept along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life-

What can anyone give you greater than now,
Starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

- William Stafford, "You Reading This, Be Ready"





Early autumn wind --
it seems to be counting
each leaf.

- Jim Handlin


Sssh the sea says
Sssh the small waves at the shore say, sssh
not so violent, not
so haughty, not
so remarkable.
say the tips of the waves
crowding around the headland's
surf. Sssh
they say to people
this is our earth,
our eternity

- Rolf Jacobsen


Upcoming Events


Free Introductory Talk

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

7:30-9:00 p.m.

Grand Summit Hotel

570 Springfield Ave., Summit NJ

All are welcome

Reservations are required.

January 2015 Course

at Temple Sinai in Summit NJ


For more information or to reserve a place for the course or talk, please contact Dr. Diane Handlin at
732-549-9100 or 
June 2015 course in Edison NJ
Monday evenings


For more information go to  


(Please note that MBSR is an educational course and not psychotherapy. If you suspect that you have medical or psychological issues, please pursue appropriate treatment.) 


Worthy of Note


Videos with Jon Kabat-Zinn


Jon Kabat-Zinn discusses MBSR

and the stress of modern life, YouTube.


Jon Kabat-Zinn discusses the significance
of MBSR for leading a healthy life

Google talk, YouTube, Oct 11, 2007.


Jon Kabat-Zinn discusses the
scientific research on MBSR
and its relationship to health

Bill Moyers PBS video on
from the series Healing and the Mind

"A Necessary and Vital Moment"
Interview with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Books by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Full Catastrophe Living; Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness. Revised Edition (released in fall of 2013, thoroughly updated and with the most recent research)

Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment--and Your Life (with CD)

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness

For more readings and resources, please see the Readings section of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center's website:

MBSR related articles included
in selected past issues of
The Living Moment newsletter
(click to select)




Dear Reader,

"Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain"

For students and others September is the beginning of a new year. As it is a time for reflection and sometimes resolutions, I wanted to share my reflections on a thought-provoking article from the August 9 New York Times Sunday Review. Daniel J. Levitin, the writer of the article entitled, "Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain," opens his article by expressing the hope that the reader has indeed taken a true "vacation" at some point this past summer. At the beginning of his article, he enjoins, "...beware of the false break. Make sure you have a real one...because it is an important way that we can make the most of our beautiful brains."


      Dr Levitin, in addressing the importance of taking care of our capacity for paying attention, points out that our brains have two main ways of paying attention: 1) the "task-positive network" or central executive function, and, 2) the "task-negative network" or what he describes as the "daydreaming or mind wandering" function. He describes this two-part attentional system as similar to a "seesaw," where when one is active, the other is not. He also describes a third component of what he calls the attentional system as an "attentional filter" which helps discriminate between that to which it is important to pay attention to and that to which it is not. (One of the rubs for us contemporary electronically and technologically saturated human beings is that there is too much external information coming at us too much of the time.)


    He and Dr. Vinod Menon, a professor of neuroscience at Stanford have demonstrated that what they call the "switch between daydreaming and attention" is controlled by the insula.  Noting that the switching between two objects of attention involves the temporal-parietal junction, the researchers pointed out that if the attentional switch (or insula) mediating between the central executive system and the mind-wandering system(as in the "see-saw" process described above), isn't used efficiently and doesn't function smoothly, this results in tiredness and dizziness.


     In order to illustrate the significance of what he refers to as this "task negative network", Dr. Levitin  points out that in addition to the explicit benefits of a vacation or "vacating" (my take on his use of the word), the essential implicit benefits allow us to be more "productive, creative and have more energy." Additionally he suggests that, "the science dictates that optimally we should partition out day into project periods ... immersing ourselves in a single task for a sustained period of say 30 to 50 minutes."  He reminds us that all emailing, social networking, etc. should be limited to specific designated periods of the day or else our attentional resources will continue distracting us to wonder about what might be waiting for us there.


     In thinking about this, I was reminded of the studies that pointed out that when we open our email we are subjected to what is known as intermittent reinforcement. Because we occasionally get a very pleasurable or important message, we become like rats having been conditioned to keep pressing the key in the hope of getting

that positive or tasty pellet. Scientists know that intermittent reinforcement is the most difficult to extinguish. To this end there are even "vacation" programs you can install on your computer that only allow you to check your email during certain periods of the day. We who are overly electronically connected, have the tendency to not give ourselves the mental and emotional rest that is essential to our optimal functioning and well-being.


     Dr. Levitin writes about the importance of what he calls the "neural reset button." He says it can come from a walk in nature or from music, or even from daydreaming. I know that you, the reader, could add many more-whether it be exercising, or making time for any deeply pleasurable hobby or creative activity.  In his article, Dr. Levitin points out how essential to agency it is to be able to access the reset button in any area of human endeavor, uses the examples of the importance of this in order to be successful in occupations as diverse as being a surgeon or an  air traffic controller.


    Since this is an MBSR newsletter, let me conclude with some reflections upon the findings above and their relationship to Kabat-Zinn's down to earth, practical approach to stress reduction.  The beauty of MBSR (including the beneficial health and other effects which have been so consistently empirically validated), is that it offers a practical method for re-alignment and re-attunement, which leads the practitioner to cultivate an appetite for turning off the electronic devices and putting away all "to do" lists for a certain period of each day. This is not about shutting our minds down, but about enabling us to become more anchored in and attuned to our bodies and sensations through systematically "turning toward" (in MBSR language) whatever is going on in the mind, body and feelings."  This elegantly designed curriculum teaches the cultivation of the skill of gently, affectionately and powerfully developing the practice of giving ourselves this small "vacation" or "vacating" each day. Kabat-Zinn describes this process as an orthogonal rotation. Perhaps seemingly paradoxically, becoming intimate with oneself in this way has the deeply restorative effect of contributing to a greater sense of agency and creativity as well as health and well-being.


For the full article by Dr. Levitin, "Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain," click here.

Diane Handlin, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist


NJ Lic. #3306, NY Lic. #015840



The Living Moment 


There is a stillness at dawn
asking for me

I hear the note not played

I see the line not written

I understand the word not spoken
I am in stillness

I am the Living Moment

           Cliff Woodward

     (with Stephen Damon)



Diane Handlin
Diane Handlin, Ph.D.

Founder and

Executive Director

"As to the value of the course, I would note that the group workshop designed to work through Jon Kabat-Zinn's curriculum is very effective. The workshop / course added a great deal of depth and opened my mind to a different way of looking at things and fostered exploration. When mindfullly present, time seems to expand for me. I relax, freed from thinking about the next place I have to be or the next thing I have to do ... I have discovered that if I hold off, I usually do not act along the lines of my first reaction. I've realized that I almost always have time not to act immediately. I've also rediscovered my happy me, what I remember from soooo long ago ..., and that is really wonderful."       - Jane Dobson, Corporate attorney

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Although Dr. Handlin is a licensed psychologist and has a separate psychology practice, please note that this is an educational course and not psychotherapy. In addition, information contained in this document is informational and not to be construed as medical advice. If you suspect you have medical issues, please pursue appropriate treatment. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a separate educational course for those interested in developing mind-body connections. MBSR is a non-psychological service offered apart from Dr. Handlin's psychology practice and is not meant to substitute for personal or professional psychological advice which must be received from a licensed mental health professional.

NJ Lic. #3306, NY Lic. #015840

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center of New Jersey™

328 Amboy Ave, Metuchen NJ 08840

Tel:  732-549-9100,