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
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
- Jim Handlin
Sssh the sea says
Sssh the small waves at the shore say, sssh
not so violent, not
so haughty, not
say the tips of the waves
crowding around the headland's
they say to people
this is our
- Rolf Jacobsen
Free Introductory Talk
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
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
June 2015 course in Edison NJ
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
Google talk, YouTube, Oct 11, 2007.
of MBSR for leading a healthy life
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
more readings and resources, please see the Readings section of the
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center's website: www.mindfulnessnj.com
MBSR related articles included
in selected past issues of
The Living Moment newsletter
(click to select)
"Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain"
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
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
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.
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
(with Stephen Damon)
|Diane Handlin, Ph.D.|
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
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
NJ Lic. #3306, NY Lic. #015840
| |Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center of New Jersey™
328 Amboy Ave, Metuchen NJ 08840
Tel: 732-549-9100, www.mindfulnessnj.com