Benefits of the Mindful Pursuit of Values

Recent research in clinical psychology reveals three basic principles thathave relevance for all of us.  The first is that rather than trying to control troublesome thoughts and feelings it works better to accept them and not struggle with them. In dealing with most problems of human behavior we are hampered by thoughts and feelings that get in the way of change.  If you have ever tried to quit smoking, you may have found that cravings and difficulty concentrating drove you back to smoking.  If you have been depressed, your efforts to get moving (a well-established antidote to depression) might have been undermined by…

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Can Children Be Taught To Have Empathy?

How do we cultivate the skills and values that people need to deal patiently and effectively with others’ distressing behavior? If you look at how young children learn to be empathetic you can see the key skills they need. The first skill is simply having an awareness of their own emotional reactions.  Imagine that four-year-old preschooler Ryan opens the lunch his mom prepared for him and starts to cry. In a high quality preschool, one of the adults might join him and talk empathically about how he is feeling: “Oh are you feeling really sad?” In doing so, she is helping him…

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