What are we reading?

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This month, Susan Deane is reading (actually, listening, using Audible), Reconciliation by Thich Nhat Hanh.  She's finding it to be one of the best informative pieces on how to practice mindfulness, and why we should practice mindfulness.

Being mindful is one of the first steps in resolving, or "reconciling" painful emotions - pulling them up from the unconscious mind into the conscious mind, and doing the work to let go for the sake of our own inner peace and well being.  Holding on to painful emotions only hurts our own self at the end of the day.  Doing this keeps us from living fully in the present moment and being able to experience something new, and perhaps something much more wonderful than the traumas from our past.

But, it is "normal" to get stuck in living the traumas of our past.  It is a biological protective mechanism.  Evolutionary psychology explains that our more primitive parts of our brains are hardwired for what's called "negativity bias."  This means we are vigilant of potential threats (negative experiences) in order to survive, and when we've already experienced one or multiple negative experiences, it skews our perception even more of the likelihood of more negative experiences.  

The problem is that sometimes our negativity bias sticks even when, rationally, there really is no longer a threat.  So, we get stuck and have a hard time experiencing life with a fresh perspective where we can take in the good and live a healthy, content life.  Living as if the threat is still present also causes chronic stress on the body, and over time can lead to the development of illness.  Studies show we benefit from living a relatively relaxed life, where stress is kept to a reasonable amount and we experience positive emotions and experiences daily.

For more information about Susan Deane, visit her page on Agape Therapy Institute's website.

If you're interested in purchasing Thich Nhat Hanh's book, Reconciliation, here is a link to the book on Amazon.


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