Vajra Blue

Mindfulness and Compassion. Understanding trauma in young people.


Mindfulness and the future

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Many of us live by other peoples’ rules. We are afraid to act in our own interests.  There is always someone else whose opinion carries more weight than our own. Someone to whom we have given the power to veto the decisions that we make about how we live our lives. These are often internalised figures from our past.

We wait for the right moment to act; when we have the right job, when we have enough money, when we meet Mr or Ms Right.  If we retrain for a different job it might be years before we are ready, so we choose not to. We decide to stay with the status quo and miss out on opportunities to have a richer life.

Where our future is are concerned we have to act, otherwise we will be at the mercy of everything else that is happening. As the Nike advertisement said “Just do it.”

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Mindful living for young people

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Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different, enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t) James Baraz

The benefits of mindfulness in adults are being well researched, and the available evidence about this practice shows many positive benefits across several domains of human functioning.  Research into the benefits for young people has lagged behind the work in adults but is starting to demonstrate very similar effects.

Several studies which have used brain scans and other neuroscientific assessments, have demonstrated both structural and functional changes in the brain following mindfulness practice. These changes are directly related to improvements in both the clarity of our thinking as well as our awareness and control over our feelings.

This means that we can act out of what is happening in the present moment rather than allowing past events and scripts to dictate our current choices and behaviours.

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Mindfulness and the brain.

Freedom is about having choice.  If I am aware of my automatic reactions to experience as they arise, then I can take a breath, creating a space for something new.  I can choose a response in that moment, one that reflects the version of me that I aspire to be.

Stacie Smith

The brain is a highly complex organ that makes a contribution to nearly every aspect of the body’s functioning; from awareness of where we are in space, to highly complex thought, to consciousness itself.

It contains about seventy-five billion nerve cells, each of which can make roughly a thousand connections with other neurons. There are about the same number of support cells as well.

Because it is so vital to human functioning the brain is well protected inside the skull.

The evolution of the brain that has occurred over the last several million years has enabled the human species to go from being prey animals to the top predator on the planet.
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The eyes have it where depression is concerned?

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The eyes are the windows to the soul.
William Shakespeare

Depression can vary from a mild annoyance to a life threatening illness.  Those of us who have been in it’s clutches, would gladly escape any further experiences of Churchill’s Black Dog, and much time and effort has been spent in searching for ways to effectively treat the first episode  of the disorder and hopefully to prevent recurrence.
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How to start the move from depression to happiness.

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I’m sure many of us care about how we will look back on our lives on our deathbed, but the value of our lives comes from the experiences of pleasure and purpose over our lifetimes and not from a judgement we might make at an arbitrarily chosen moment in time.

Paul Dolan.

Most of us want to avoid depression and to be happy. Happiness is something that we pursue with varying degrees of intensity. There are even greater variations in the success that we have in pursuing this Holy Grail of the emotional world. Much of the time we do not even seem to be aware of what we mean by happiness, and seem to have even less idea of how we might possess it. Continue reading


5 ways to make your resolutions stick

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It is that time of year when we all usually decide that we need to change something about ourselves. We drink too much, we are killing ourselves through smoking or eating too much chocolate. We were going to exercise more, cycle to work or get better at being organised.

Somehow we usually seem to find something that we can use to beat ourselves up. We are not good enough, so we must stop doing something in order to make ourselves better people. Very occasionally we meet people who do not make negative resolutions, but instead make resolutions that are positive. They choose to take up more sensible ways of behaving or decide to do something new.

Somehow, these people seem to be able to carry through on their decisions much more effectively, whatever new habit they have decided to adopt.
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Transition is not death

Something to think about at the time of year when generosity is celebrated.
Please walk in someone else’s moccasins for a while.
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a gentleman and a scholar

We need a better way to talk about trans children.

Christmas is the hardest time of the year for me. Not for the reasons why it’s so hard for so many trans people – their reasons first, and then mine.

This time of year brings it home – in mundane, everyday little ways – that trans people are so often people without families. Or, rather, without families of origin – by necessity, we’ve become adept at building our families of choice.  A facebook status asking for a donation to help homeless trans teenagers, or a recommendation for a trans-friendly shelter for victims of domestic violence – overwhelming numbers of empathetic responses rooted in experience. Invitations to alternative festive events, on days when most people are expected to find themselves with parents, grandparents, the in-laws. Survival guide blog posts for those trying to face their family of origin – knowing that…

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