Between a stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom. The last of human freedom’s is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.
– Viktor Frankl, Austrian psychiatrist, survivor of Auschwitz
Mindfulness is the steady awareness of our experience, moment by moment, without judgment or resistance, with acceptance and compassion. Mindfulness allows us to see clearly and tolerate what is happening, and then to see clearly and tolerate our reactions to what is happening. Mindfulness leads to self-awareness and to shifts in our perspectives. When we can pause and notice our experience in the moment, we can begin to discern what choices and options we have. We can respond to triggers and traumas with far more open-mindedness; we can navigate the twists and turns of our lives with far more flexibility and resilience.
These exercises cultivate mindfulness and, over time, strengthen the structures of the brain we use to respond flexibly to the ups and downs of our lives.
Chapter 3: Using Mindfulness to Foster Self-Awareness and Flexible Responses
Introduction to Mindfulness pp. 52-53
Exercise #1: Mindfulness of Breathing, Chapter 3, pp. 54-55
How Mindfulness Steadies Awareness, pp. 55-56
Exercise #2: Steadying Awareness as What We observe Becomes More Complex, p. 58-59
Chapter 16: Using Reflection to Identify Options
Introduction to Response Flexibility, pp. 308-309
Exercise #1: Noticing and Naming to Create Options, pp. 311-312
Deepening Our Skills in Reflection, pp. 3-12-313
Exercise #2: Naming Patterns as Patterns, pp. 316-317
Additional exercises are available in Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being.