Tag: Health

Picture parade thirty-three.

The concluding photographs on the theme of why we have pets.

The first set may be seen here; the second set are here.



















As I mentioned in Picture parade thirty-one, all twenty-five photographs were sent to me by friend and follower in Australia, Amanda Smith.

Amanda will be delighted that her photographs have caused so much pleasure to so many, including Jean and me, of course.

Picture parade thirty-two.

The second set of why we have pets.

Thank you hugely for the response to last week’s first set of photographs sent to me from Australia by Amanda.  So without further ado, here is the next set.

















Come back in a week’s time for the final set of nine photographs on the theme of why we have pets.

Picture parade thirty-one

This is why we have pets!

Friend and follower, Amanda Smith from Australia, recently emailed me a set of twenty-five fabulous pictures.  I propose to offer eight of them today, and eight more next Sunday and, possibly, the final nine in two weeks time; that is if the response from you, dear reader, suggests you would like that.

















Thanks Amanda, and if anyone knows any of the names of the photographers who took these delightful photographs, do please say so in a comment.  Would be nice to acknowledge them.

The second set next Sunday – you all have a peaceful and untroubled week.

The spirit in all life.

There are things that are beyond rational explanation.

Warning – this post is rather more ‘touchy-feely’ than you are used to seeing on Learning from Dogs.  So if it wanders about in ways that you struggle to follow then just stifle your yawn and come back tomorrow!

It goes back to an earlier plan that I had in terms for a couple of posts.  Both focussing on the myriad of examples of the appalling decline in our world.  I had been collecting a number of essays to support the proposition that if we don’t learn from dogs the qualities of integrity and unconditional love then our world was doomed.  I had collected the essay from Ellen Cantaro over on TomDispatch about the incredible stupidity of fracking. Or the one from Tom’s own pen in an essay about climate change being the new ‘Anti-News’.  I had saved the recent essay from George Monbiot discussing the madness of the so-called dredging practices in the UK’s Somerset Levels.  I had fumed at another George Monbiot essay Bring It On that included this incredible statement:

It is hard to think of a more serious allegation. For six months an undercover officer working for the Metropolitan Police was instrumental in planning a major demonstration, which ended up causing injuries and serious damage to property. Yet the police appear to have failed to pass this intelligence to the City of London force, leaving the target of the protest unprotected.

I had many more examples but you get the message!

So what stopped me?

I was chatting to Jon Lavin on Monday about a variety of things.  Jon asked how the book was coming along.  I replied by saying that a recent NaNoWriMo webinar had persuaded me that the book wasn’t a novel and should be re-written as a non-fiction story.  Going on to add that I might include some of the appalling examples of what was going wrong in our society to strengthen the argument that we truly have much to learn from dogs.

Jon, who had read the first, very rough draft of the book that appeared on this blog, cautioned me against doing that.  He went on to say that in the world of solutions focussed therapy, the area that Jon practices in professionally, the way forward was always to focus “on what’s working“.  Jon continued by saying that while one would initially allow the problems to be voiced, this negativity would always be a tiny piece of the overall process, say less than 5% of the session.  That even if a client’s whole world seemed to be failing, there would always be something that was alright, always a 1% that was working, and that would be the place to start.  A quick web search endorsed that as the website of Good Therapy revealed, from where I read:

Solution focused brief therapy (SFBT) targets the desired outcome of therapy as a solution rather than focusing on the symptoms or issues that brought someone to therapy. This technique only gives attention to the present and the future desires of the client, rather than focusing on the past experiences. The therapist encourages the client to imagine their future as they want it to be and then the therapist and client collaborate on a series of steps to achieve that goal. This form of therapy involves reviewing and dissecting the client’s vision, and determining what skills, resources, and abilities the client will develop and use to attain his desired outcome. Solution focused therapy was developed by Steve De Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg, and their team at the Brief Family Therapy Family Center in Milwaukee, USA.

Thus coming back to the book rewrite, Jon said that people wanted to read ‘good news’ not negativity.  It was a key reminder for me and an incredibly inspiring call that in these challenging times, whether on this blog or in a potential book, I need to write about all the powerfully, positive lessons that dogs, and all warm-blooded creatures, offer mankind.  The lessons of integrity, love, trust, balance, loyalty, faithfulness, affection, forgiveness and more.

OK, moving on.

On the evening of February 7th Jean and I settled down to watch a YouTube video.  It had been featured in a post from LadyBlueRose that had been published on the 6th.  The post was called His Name is Spirit and it was the story of a woman, Anna Breytenbach, who has dedicated her life to what she calls interspecies communication.

We had reached the six-minute point in the film, already captivated by it, when the telephone rang.  I paused the film and answered the phone.  It was neighbour Dordie from next door ringing to say that when she had seen us earlier in the day she had forgotten to mention that there was this incredible film that we really had to watch …… yes, you guessed it!  The film that Jean and I were watching at that moment.

Here is that film.

Now here is Anna’s website Animal Spirit where one learns:


Welcome to an exploration of interspecies communication – a journey of discovering ways to restore a deep relationship with all of life.

Human and animal communication creates a valuable bridge between human and non-human animals. By connecting with our intuition, we can engage in meaningful dialogue and remember how to hear the subtle messages from those whose space we share in our lives and our natural environment. Coming from a place of respect and reverence for all life, we can learn to understand our wilder relatives, honour their truths and live in greater harmony.

and where one also can watch the short introductory film that is on her home page; as below.

A web search then came across a fascinating interview with Anna.

So where does this all end up?

Simply, that in a world dominated by media of all types that favour ‘doom and gloom’ it can be incredibly difficult to hang on to the message offered by Jon and by Anna, and by many others no doubt, the message that our individual health, and by implication the health of this planet, is afforded through staying positive.

Or put more basically, if you are feeling low go and hug a dog!  So I can do no better than to close with the same picture that closed Tuesday’s post Meet the dogs – Dhalia.

Love and Trust - Grandson Morten hugging Dhalia.
Love and Trust – Grandson Morten hugging Dhalia

Love over fear.

Do we chose love over fear?

On the 24th January this year, I published a post called 20:20 self-awareness.  To save you clicking the link and returning to that post, the essence was speaking clearly; not only to others but to ourselves.  I quoted George Bernard Shaw, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

Then went on to write:

Yet, what we hear and what we say are both modified, frequently unconsciously, by past events, experiences and trauma.  That being the case, then it is key, critically so, that we achieve the best possible self-awareness.  Because it is only through an understanding of our past that we come to learn of our sensitivities and our associated ‘tender spots’ and their potential for ‘pulling our strings’.

Closing the post by including a twenty-minute, documentary film about fear.  (Here it is again for those that missed it.)

One of the comments to that post was from Sue who writes the blog Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary. (It’s a beautiful blog, by the way.)

This was the comment left by Sue.

Fear is inherent in us all for that Flight or Fight mode.. But the F word has now been used and abused as it has been used as a useful tool .. Self awareness comes when we wake up to what our world is generating and we have a choice. We can allow ourselves to get embroiled within the Fear.. Or we can see it for what it is and who and what is creating that fear and why?…. Once that awareness kicks in we can see there is nothing to Fear but Fear itself… Living in the Now of a moment prevents us also from fearing the future, and fearing what has passed..

Easier said than done, I guarantee you .. But once you can get your head around it all… We breathe deeper and evenly and let all fear go… ( I am still working on this, I am not perfect by any means ) for as your video states its been ingrained within us for so long we know no other way, and we are a creature of habit!..

Thought provoking post, Paul thank you

Sue then pointed me to one of her essays, that I have the great pleasure of republishing today.


Do You Chose Love Over Fear?

One Love Heart.
One Love Heart.

Remember those Prophesies of “2012”? I posted many of my thoughts upon this timeline which I thought was to mark the end of one era and the beginning of the Next – Maybe those ancients teachers didn’t know whether we would rise or fall as they marked the end of their calendar.

Maybe that fate awaits us still depending upon our choices we make in the Now dependant upon our Next actions!  But as we read through those  teachings of ancient prophecy  you will see also they speak  of transformation. Transformation requires Change, and we are being urged now to Think! Think outside our boxes as our comfort zones are now being tweaked as we become ever more sensitive to the Energy Shifts within our World.

Whether we realise it or not we are incarnated with a ‘Soul Mission’ even though we caught amnesia after we were born.  But more and more of us are thankfully waking up as we begin to remember who we are. It may have taken many life times and lessons to align with our present purpose as we pass through various stages on our journey, often not understanding the reasons for painful events and experiences.  It isn’t until later that we look back and see the gifts and healing which were given to us and that through them we learn to grow, letting go of the past as we step into the Now.

Giving Birth is not without pain, and our new earth is only now going through her own birthing pains.  We see it in the spasms of conflict, the wars, hunger, poverty, displacement of refugees and the destruction through pollution of Mother nature.  Pains which are now being experienced which we humans have carried with us over many life times. Pains that emerge as a build-up of our Fear and Prejudices.

The choices are simple: we either choose Fear or Love.

Even while writing this a sense of peace has swept over me as I smile to myself. I recently read an article which said “…we incarnate with these wounds and at a soul-level choose to encounter those whose actions catalyse us to resolve and heal our soul wounding“. That made me smile even wider as I have long held the belief that our enemies are our greatest teachers helping serve our soul’s growth as we learn the various lessons such as patience, kindness, love, forgiveness, and compassion.

We are each of us now experiencing shifts in our emotions and lives, as we feel the ‘Shift’ in energy within our Mother Earth who is calling us to wake up and remember who we are; as our vibrations alter.

When I first started my blog back in 2007 I stumbled almost by accident to the opening post. But it was no accident! In fact my very first post was an experiment called Smile. I wanted to make a difference even if it was only through the words of a poem.

As we ‘Lighten Up’, letting go of what we no longer need, we lift our vibration higher; as we leave behind the wounds of the past. We are Energy Beings – and it’s time now to realise we each are a part of the Whole, that Oneness that permeates all things with the same Energy.

We are now ‘Shifting’ from duality to Unity Consciousness. This was brought home again to me on how many of us are thinking similar thoughts even here on WordPress. We see similar themes as we link into the Mass Consciousness, as we join together our thoughts, as we link subconsciously to the Cosmic web of thoughts.

We need to be aware of the Power of our thoughts and how we can assist in raising our planet’s vibration and our own collective Consciousness.

Much has been spoken upon The Ascension. First we need to ascend through our own layers as we climb ever higher, leaving behind the things that no longer serve us.

We do that by not getting swept up in conflict, by being more loving and tolerant, by being compassionate rather than being judgmental holding hate and anger.

We need to put the Care back in the world. If we embrace and choose Love over fear and stop looking who to blame but start to set examples of living in harmony and unity, then the true magnificence of who we really are can begin to manifest that ‘Golden Age’ that was once prophesied to bring about Peace.

It is up to each one of us to pledge to change our own lives, because only that way will those prophesies come to fruition.

The Choice is Ours

Choose Well..

Love and Gratitude

Sue Dreamwalker..


Unconditional Love.
Unconditional Love.

The most important thing we must learn from dogs.

How we feed our dogs?

An opportunity to learn about dog food.

I have a policy of not allowing Learning from Dogs to promote commercial interests.  I need those who visit this place to trust the integrity of what they find here.

Then back on the 19th December last, in came the following email.

Dear LearningfromDogs (I think Paul!),

Greetings from Florence, Tuscany!

We are sending you a piece that we hope will be considered for publication on your blog: we begin by talking about making pet food at home (and then go on to list some of the risks – essentially the message here is don’t do it!), we then talk about buying products off the shelf, and explain about food labeling and what different types of labeling will mean in terms of the meat content. I’ve also included some pictures that we purchased from DepositPhotos to help support with its publication. You can verify the usage terms on Deposit photos, but I can tell you that for your website they will be considered appropriate use.

Our shop first opened it doors in 1962 and we’ve just started an English website where we (wait for it!) are making dog beds, and collars to order. We’ve got the most amazing fabrics from a town in Tuscany that has been producing fabrics from the 13th Century. The quality is (as I hope you will take a look) of the highest standard.

Please take a read through the article and if you would like to publish it we would be thrilled.

Best regards from Tuscany,


The email offered me a potential conflict.  Glyn was clearly promoting his company and yet the information struck me as valuable to pet owners.  On balance, it seemed worthwhile to publish the article.


We only want what's best for our dogs.
We only want what’s best for our dogs.

There have been substantial changes in the market of pet foods over the last decade, and so this article sets out to demystify pet food labelling in layman’s terms. We also consider whether or not preparing the food your pet eats in your own home is really a viable option, if you want to have a healthy pet.

Preparing food at home

If you have decided to undertake the mission of preparing your pet’s food at home, it’s important that you take some time to look up what exactly is needed in your pet’s diet. You have to ensure that your pet gets all the nutrients it needs, and that you don’t provide it with too much of one food group or another as this could cause it serious health problems (Hypervitaminosis A, Hypervitaminosis D).

A short thought for the cat!

Cats require a varied diet, consisting mainly of meat. One of the most important amino acids for cats is Taurine which is only found in meat – a lack of this in a cat’s diet could cause cardiac dysfunction, blindness, etc. Other essential nutrients for our feline friend include: arginine (also important for dogs too), arachidonic acid, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E. You should not forget to provide the right amount of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Reading this you probably get the sense that taking on the task of being your pet’s personal cook is not as simple as it sounds. Our pets have very specific dietary needs, just like us, and you wouldn’t want to risk endangering them with the wrong food. The plate of scraps after a large meal is clearly not enough.

Purchasing food off the shelf

As the vast majority of consumers opt for buying their food from either the supermarket or their local pet store, it’s important to highlight that the range of dietary foods being produced today means that, if you don’t read the label carefully, you can really do harm to your pet feeding them food that is not matched to their actual dietary needs. We’ve seen dogs that look emaciated and thin simply because they have not been given the correct advice when feeding their dog (we then saw the same dog a few weeks later looking great!).

For example, ‘ash’ is often included in the ingredient list of pet foods. This refers to the inorganic component of the food, and it shouldn’t make up more than 6.5%-7% of dry foods and 1%-2% of wet foods. The lower the concentration of ash, the higher the quality of the food.

Labelling in pet food and what it means

Specifically regarding meat in packaged pet foods, there are a few things to keep an eye open for while studying the labels. The amount of meat included in pet food changes from brand to brand, but as a general rule the following serves as a guide:

– products that have the word ‘flavour’ or ‘aroma’ in their name contain under 4% of meat;

– when the product name declares ‘with meat’ it should contain over 4% of meat;

– when the name contains ‘rich in meat’ or ‘extra meat’ the percentage of meat is between 14% and 25%. Anything above 14% and 25% and the product takes on the name of the meat it’s made up of.

In dry foods, sometimes meat flour or fish flour are included. These sometimes contain offal and discarded meat so a better option is dehydrated meat.

Author Bi line

We hope that this article has provided you the reader with greater detail on some of the nuances involved in planning your pet’s diets. At ZEIPET in Florence, Tuscany, we have been serving customers in our little pet shop since 1962. We are most known for our luxury dog beds which are made to order and from some of the finest fabrics in Italy. So, after you pet has eaten and it’s time to stretch out, they are guaranteed to do so on a bed of doggie paradise.

Now what!
Now what!


Hope this has been helpful.  If you have any questions, leave them as comments and I’ll ask Glyn to reply.

A counter-intuitive view of the illegal drug trade.

An insight into drug cartels.

This was a recent talk shown on TED Talks by Rodrigo Canales under the title of ‘The deadly genius of drug cartels.’

As the TED page explained:

Up to 100,000 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico in the last 6 years. We might think this has nothing to do with us, but in fact we are all complicit, says Yale professor Rodrigo Canales in this unflinching talk that turns conventional wisdom about drug cartels on its head. The carnage is not about faceless, ignorant goons mindlessly killing each other but is rather the result of some seriously sophisticated brand management.

Rodrigo Canales wants to understand how individuals influence organizations or systems–even those as complex as the Mexican drug cartels.

It really is worth the viewing.

Food matters, and our lives matter.

Thought this might be of interest to some of you.

Now that's what I call a chew!
Now that’s what I call a chew!

Although not my usual type of post here on Learning from Dogs a forthcoming event regarding GMOs seemed worthy of greater promotion, especially as it includes concerns about possible ‘contaminated’ dog food.  The event was mentioned on the Permaculture News blog; a blog that I follow.

What was described was a free, 3-day online ‘summit’ about genetically modified organisms.  Let me quote from the blog post:

The scary truth about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is being deliberately kept from you….

Fact: Your food has been unnaturally changed. These changes have very serious consequences.

Your family’s health is at risk and you deserve the truth….

We’re going to share with you the true effects of genetically engineered food on human health and the environment. You’re invited to join our panel of experts, researchers and activists in an inspirational and free, 3-day GMO Summit — October 25-27, 2013.

This is a virtual event you can enjoy at no cost from the comfort and convenience of your own home.

If you want to know the truth about GMOs and the risks Monsanto, the government, their paid advisors and the media are deliberately hiding from you, then join in this unique, free summit.

There’s an impressive line-up of 10 main speakers and another 10 supplementary speakers.  And, as the blog post goes on to say:

We didn’t want to overwhelm you in just 3 days, so once the GMO Mini Summit is complete, you’ll get even more empowered by 10 more experts in interviews over the next 5 weeks (2 per week) who will share even more about this crucial topic. When you register for free you will gain access to all 20 speakers!

So you need to go here to sign up, after which you will be directed to a welcome page.  There you will learn more about the way that GMOs are affecting so many aspects of our lives and of the lives of our beloved dogs.


A guest post from Sue Dreamwalker.

Last Monday, the post on Learning from Dogs was called Growing old!!

The essence of that post was to report on the following:

That’s why a recent item on the BBC News website jumped off the page at me.  It was an article called: Health kick ‘reverses cell ageing’ written by Michelle Roberts, Health editor, BBC News online.  Here is how the article opened:

Going on a health kick reverses ageing at the cellular level, researchers say.

The University of California team says it has found the first evidence a strict regime of exercise, diet and meditation can have such an effect.

But experts say although the study in Lancet Oncology is intriguing, it is too early to draw any firm conclusions.

The study looked at just 35 men with prostate cancer. Those who changed their lifestyle had demonstrably younger cells in genetic terms.

The full article should be read, by the way, because it covers much more than this opening paragraph.

Anyway, one of the comments to that post was left by Sue, of Sue Dreamwalker, Here is what she wrote:

Great information and learning to Meditate even for a few minutes helps heal and relax.. Dogs have it right…. No stress!

I wrote a complete exercise I used a lot both for myself and within my circle I used to run… Hope you enjoy as you take your roots down into the earth after bringing in the Light….
you can find it here http://wp.me/p16xW7-37

Namaste! :-)

I then asked Sue if I could republish her guidance on meditation as a guest post.  Sue kindly agreed.  Here it is.


A Meditation For My Friends

by Sue Dreamwalker



Some Friends have been asking about Meditation and relaxation techniques, so I have put you a very simple little meditation here for starters.

You can buy books on meditation and read different techniques until your eyes pop out of your head, and you can find plenty about meditation on web sites too.  I always say there is no right or wrong way to Meditate. To meditate means finding that quiet place within your own mind, finding that peace and space to be at one with yourself.

When people say empty your mind, this is near enough impossible, as you will always have a train of thought that will pop in at times. So this is why we use the Breath.

The breath is used to bring your concentration back, so focusing on your breath may be one way in which you can stop the hum-drum of your thoughts that chatter away inside your head.

First you need to ensure you’re not going to be disturbed, so switch of the phone, find a comfortable chair, in a quiet room, and relax.  If you lie down you may find that you drift asleep, that’s ok also for that shows you have relaxed.  But preferably sit upright with your feet slightly apart and have them touching the ground. Take deep breaths breathing in and out through the nose, and close your eyes.

This is one of the meditations I do regularly.  It may seem long to read, but once you have it in your mind it will only take you 10 minutes to do. Read it through a couple of times until you have it clear in your mind, and then have a go.


Relax and take some nice deep breaths  breathing deeply and evenly, try to breath in to the count of five, hold for a few seconds and then breath out long and slow, Feel your breath rise from your solar plexus your stomach and feel your diaphragm rise and fall.

Do this for a few minutes until you feel comfortable with breathing this way. (Many of us do not breathe deep enough, so this may at first feel uncomfortable, but try not to force it, just try to get your breath into a natural rhythm).

One your breath is comfortable I want you to imagine a beautiful White light coming down in a column from up above  your head.  Almost like a search light in a darkened room.

As you breath in, I want you to breathe in this light. Imagine that it is flowing down inside your head through your crown, and it passes behind your eyes, relaxing your eyes. It then passes down over your throat, relaxing your throat.

You feel this Light which has healing properties cascading across your shoulders, relaxing your shoulders, taking all the burdens of the day with it.  You now see and feel this warm Light travel down your arms into your forearms relaxing your muscles as it goes, now it’s travelling into your finger tips, and your arms now feel heavy and relaxed.

You see the Light now travel through from your throat, down into your heart centre, feel the beat of your heart, and see the light now filling your heart and as it beats see the light dispersing throughout your veins into your whole being,

See the light travelling into your stomach relaxing your stomach muscles, down your thighs relaxing your thighs into your calves, relaxing your calves, and see the light now going into your feet relaxing your toes and feet.

And all the while you are breathing deeply and evenly, relaxing more and more.


Now you are relaxed and are full of healing light, I want you to now see that light coming out of the soles of your feet, as if they were roots from a tree. See these roots going down from your feet into Mother Earth, going down through the rocks, twisting and turning as they go deeper and deeper, and as they travel deeper so too you are feeling more and more relaxed.

You now see an underground cavern, with an underground pool, your roots of light emerge in the ceiling of this cavern, and illuminate it like the lights of a chandelier.

And as the light illuminates the Cavern you now see you are stood in a beautiful Crystal Cavern, The Light reflects the many luminous rainbow colours from the hundreds of giant crystals.. See the rainbow of pastel colours dance around the cavern reflection on the underground pool.

Now you can choose any colour you see, for whatever colour you choose this colour will intuitively be the right healing colour for your needs at this moment in time.

So once you see the colour you are attracted to, allow your roots to wrap themselves around that crystal, and as you breathe deeply in, see now that your roots have now turned into hollow straws, for you will now be able to breathe up that colour through your roots and as you do so, retract your roots back up through Mother Earth, breathe that  colour into your feet, feel the warmth of the healing.

Now draw it back up through your calves, up through your thighs, into your solar plexus. Breathing deeply and evenly. Feel the warmth of healing relax and heal all your worries and anxieties, breath it up into your lungs, into your heart, down your arms and into your fingers, see how relaxed and refreshed you now feel, see this colour cleansing your entire being taking with it all the debris that you have collected, all the negative thoughts, flushing you clean.

See this colour now rise and come up through your throat, see it helping you release all the words you have spoken in haste, and all the words you hold back, see them all now flow up past your eyes, helping you see that you are a Being of Light and whole and free, see that colour now rise out through the top of your head, see it cascading out into the Universe Like a fountain, and as it does so see it explode into a thousand stars, taking all your problems and negative debris with it, and know that God and the Universe will disperse this energy as it sees fit,

Give thanks to Mother Earth for her healing energy, and see the top of your head close and seal in your new vibration, and feel yourself glowing from within,

Slowly bring your awareness back to yourself sat in the chair, and open your eyes.

Sit for a moment or two and take a sip of water.

Know that you can go to your crystal cavern at any time for healing.


Hope you relax and Enjoy.

Dreamwalker x


And if you want any encouragement to find that deep, peaceful place, then just breath in this picture of young Cleo letting the world go by!


Looking at stress from a different perspective

Who doesn’t get stressed out!  Maybe not such an issue?

I have in my bookshelf a book called The Anxiety Epidemic.  On the back cover it explains this:

The Pain & Stress Center was founded in 1979, but the dream started long before that.  The goal is to help individuals realize their true potential and to support and conduct research in the areas of man’s greatest needs – natural alternatives.

I had seen the book in a second-hand bookshop and paid $1.99 for it!

Clearly I have some interest in the topic and like many others around me know that certain situations cause me stress.

Thus when recently there was a TED talk on the topic of ‘How to make stress your friend’ it seemed like a worthwhile thing to watch.  I was not wrong!

Published on Sep 4, 2013

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

It was an easy matter to find Kelly McGonigal’s website and discover a mine of advice and other good stuff.  For example, this:

Watch: How to Think Like a Psychologist

My fall 2011 Stanford University course “How to Think Like a Psychologist” is now available as a series of free, downloadable videos through iTunes university.

In this fun course, I invited my favorite psychology and neuroscience researchers at Stanford to talk about their work and what it means for everyday life and real-world problems. Each class starts with a 45-min lecture by the guest speaker, followed by about 30 minutes of Q&A from myself and course participants. I had a great time grilling these amazing scientists about everything from politics to education, parenting, shopping, and the scientific process. You’ll even hear a few personal stories they’ve never shared in public before!

Then there was this:

Learn: Mindfulness of Breathing.

I’m frequently asked questions about how to get started meditating, what is the best meditation for beginners, what is the best meditation for reducing stress (or training willpower, or cultivating self-compassion, or developing focus, etc.). Below is my favorite meditation for all these intentions.

You can listen to (or download) a version of these instructions and a 15-min guided practice here.

Mindfulness of Breathing

The intention of this practice is to turn your attention to the breath, notice when the mind wanders, and bring your attention back to the breath.

This meditation cultivates self-awareness, mindfulness, and the ability to make conscious choices about what you are doing. It also is good practice in not following every impulse or habit.

There are a few different ways to focus on the breath; choose the one that feels right to you.

There’s more to read here.

Of course, I couldn’t sign off without offering yet another thing to learn from dogs- relaxation.

Cleo dealing with stress!
Cleo dealing with stress!

So have a great week ahead: With or without stress!