Mindfulness cognitive therapy can be likened to monitoring your thinking stream like you do your twitter stream, exept your thinking and physiology are much faster than twitter. In fact, you process sensory data perhaps twice as fast as you can blink your eyes, so mindfulness cognitive therapy needs to be fast doesn't it?
I know you have a twitter account, don't you? Well, if you don't sign up for one, and follow a few folks and you will see what I mean. You will begin to see a stream of their tweets in your twitter account, and most of them will have no more interest for you than a casual greeting offered to someone in the hallway.
Other tweets will make you cheer, and others will leave you surprised, or curious, or angry, or disgusted, ect.
Mindfulness cognitive therapy means paying attention to your thoughts the way you do your twitter stream, except more frequently.
The process is not unlike what you do when you look at the Necker Cube graphic at the top of this page.
If you look at it for a moment, you will see it seem to change, a new face of the box will appear to be closer, and if you move your attention to a different corner, the face closest to you will again move.
I often ask my clients in my domestic violence education classes a couple of questions about the Necker Cube designed to make them more aware.
For example, If I see Box A, (on the Necker Cube) and you see Box B, who is right? The answer is that both of us are right.
The next question would be, When I see Box A, where does Box B go?
The answer is, Into the background.
I think mindfulness cognitive therapy involves paying attention to which square of the Necker Cube I am seeing and switching if need be to the other one.
The down side of all this mindfulness cognitive therapy in a time limited psychoeducation class is that while the clients get it, they are not motivated to do the somewhat tedious process of truly implementing it, so I use some computerized tools to spark interest in mindfulness cognitive therapy.
The first is a biofeedback tool called Heartmath, or heart rate variability biofeedback, which is based on recent discoveries about the heart's own nervous system.
The mindfulness idea here is that you can learn to aware of very subtle changes in time between heart beats, and move into coherence or out of coherence on demand.
So you are learning to pay attention to your physiology and your thinking heart beat by heart beat, and since your heart has enough neurons to learn and make decisions independently of any other brain you have, you can train your heart to respond to your breathing and thinking on any given heart beat.
And there is a cognitive therapy component to Heartmath, which means that you do need to be aware of your thinking, and with the biofeedback, you will see how a change in thoughts immediately impacts your body.
So the computerized heart rate variability training gives you a very positive boost towards the awareness and choice that you need to be really mindful.
Not sure you can pay attention to your thinking or your physiology heart beat by hear beat?
Well, technology has given us some new tools that train memory and attention too, based on the dual n back task.
Yes, in about 19 sessions lasting about 1/2 hour each, you can make some serious improvement in your your memory and attention, as measured by an IQ test.
Nobody even knew that we grew new brain cells daily until about 10-15 years ago, and it was only in the last year or so was there any research on the dual n back task for us to look at.
The program which I think best embodies the dual n back process is the Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro, which I think qualifies as a very important novel learning experience tool in the emerging brain fitness field.
We can work out our brains these days, and attend to their fitness, and their mindfulness, by attending to the pillars of brain fitness, which are physical exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress management (sounds like mindfulness), and novel learning experience, which is where the computerized brain fitness programs can fit in.
Very early in my personal growth experience, a wise person taught me to use the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was resentful or afraid and that phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
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