Mindful Choices for Well-Being
Mindful Choices for Well-Being offers a holistic, action-oriented process of choosing and creating well-being using proven methods for transformational change. The Shearers developed Mindful Choices Therapy during three decades of clinical practice. A cornerstone of their method is the systematic mastery of 10 interrelated Mindful Choices:
- Breath awareness and retraining
- Begin and end days peacefully
- Mindful eating
- Cultivating mindfulness
- Living your values
- Intentional relating
- Mindful movement
- Mindful Choices tools
- Acceptance & compassion
Bill and Robin Shearer come from diverse backgrounds. Bill started out as a United States history teacher and went on to an Air Force career, retiring as a Lt. Col. Robin began her career as a school nurse and neonatal intensive care nurse.. Long on education (the shearers have seven graduate degrees between them), the couple has spent decades not only providing treatment in a mental health setting, but living their values in real life. They engage in a variety of balancing and revitalizing practices such as yoga, meditation and being surrounded by nature. Robin is an avid equestrian. In short, they practice what they preach. While specializing in providing treatment for addictions, eating disorders, problem relationships, and stress and anxiety disorders––problems characterized by a lack of balance and resilience, they cultivate mindfulness, mindfulness meditation, self and other compassion and effective self-care .
Their how-to manual for life planning features fictional characters going through real-life struggles and changes, providing examples of a powerful therapy that blends neuroscience, Buddhist psychology, contemplative traditions, and mindfulness-based behavioral therapies. The tools described in the book will help you move from a life of too much stress and anxiety (what the authors call “dis-ease”) to a life of well-being, balance, and a deep sense of purpose. Instead of acting on autopilot, falling back on habits learned over a lifetime, you can can learn how to mindfully make clear choices aimed at creating the life you truly want.
Mindful awareness is the starting point for making great choices. Mindful Choices Therapy provides the tools for transforming those great choices into powerful and effective habits..
Welcome to “Life Choices.”
Are you struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, food and weight issues, addictive or compulsive behaviors, or relationship problems? Perhaps you’re simply feeling overwhelmed by daily frustrations and tensions, not having much fun and not having the life you wanted to have.
Today you are one step closer to a new you where you feel empowered and on a positive path to growth and well-being. It's all about choices
This book has two purposes. First, we will introduce you to tools and choices for reducing anxiety, managing stress, and overcoming depression. In this regard, what we offer is very consistent with the goals of traditional psychotherapy – reducing the distress stemming from a variety of psychological disorders and problems. Our second purpose is promoting your ability to thrive, moving beyond your dis-ease and achieving a high level of well-being.
Consider the following continuum: From Dis-ease To Well-being. For most of three decades in private practice, we focused on helping our clients move from -5 to 0, the state that is usually considered “normal.” This is what our clients and their insurance companies expected us to do, what we were trained to do, and what we saw as our mission – helping people recover from stress, anxiety, and depression. We refer to these conditions collectively as “dis-ease.”
We borrowed the term “dis-ease” from wellness professionals and the addiction treatment community and we use the term to refer to the complaints of typical clients who exhibit disabling stress, anxiety, and depression. In wellness language, it’s a catchall term indicating the natural state of “ease” being imbalanced or disrupted. When there is significant impairment, psychological or psychiatric treatment is warranted , and we assign a mental health diagnosis such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or dysthymic disorder (moderate depression).
Once our client has reached a point in treatment where they are no longer diagnosable with a mental health diagnosis, insurance coverage ceases. At that point, they are “normal.” They blend in with the general population, no longer meeting the criteria for an anxiety or depressive “disorder,” or stress and anxiety so severe that it is disruptive of normal functioning. They have become indistinguishable from the general population, a population made up of people who often experience significant stress in daily life and often don’t like their lives very much.
Being free of a clinically definable psychological problem doesn’t necessarily mean you are thriving or have made significant and enduring improvements to your life situation. “Normal” doesn’t mean that you are free of stress. It doesn’t mean you’re having fun. It doesn’t mean that you have a deep sense that your life is going well, or that you like the path you’re on.
We don’t think “normal” is enough. We certainly don’t think the journey should stop when a clinical diagnosis goes away. There is much more to a high quality life than the absence of distress and disorders.
The other end of the continuum is “well-being.” Moving well beyond alleviating moderate to severe anxiety, depression, and stress, well-being is about finding meaning, balance and optimism, developing as a person, and feeling that your life is fulfilling and worthwhile
So, this is a book about a systematic and measurable pathway from -5 to +5. No matter where you’re at on the pathway, there are choices for improving your sense of well-being and your overall satisfaction with the life you’re living. Our assessment process provides you with a way of knowing where you’re at along the pathway, a compass for establishing direction, and a roadmap for helping you clearly see the path before you. Our “Life Choices” are actually 10 major choice areas, encompassing literally thousands of choices, large and small, for achieving well-being.
Yes, you can make choices that will empower you to overcome stress, anxiety, and depression. Did you know that you can also choose happiness? You can make choices today that will contribute to your happiness tomorrow – and the day after. You can practice new choices until they become solidly a part of a new and fulfilling life. It’s a matter of having a vision, making good choices and continuing to grow along the continuum “from dis-ease to well-being.
This is your guidebook for your journey from dis-ease to well-being, from a medical model focus on reducing distress to a focus on well-being and balance. It’s not a typical self-help book. It’s a guided step-by-step process where you actively work on developing mindful awareness, corrective self-talk, and self-calming and centering skills. Self-assessment of present choices and a look at possible choices will sharpen your awareness and focus. Ongoing focused practice in implementing healthy choices will lead you in time to a lasting personal transformation.
Everything we discuss is doable by following a simple to understand step-by-step plan. We've kept it down-to-earth with an easily implemented action plan for increasing your awareness, empowering you to make many large and small choices, and guiding you to follow through to achieving the life you want – and deserve.
Our Core Assumptions
1. Stress, anxiety, and depression largely result from a life out of balance.
2. We often disturb ourselves and create or amplify our own problems.
3. We are often unaware that our difficulties stemmed largely from our own choices.
4. The quality of our lives is the sum total of all of our choices.
5. Happiness and well-being are largely about choices, and those choices can be conscious and intentional..
6. We have vast potential for positive growth and change based upon our choices, yet most people are unaware that they have choices at all.
7. Well-being and happiness are not accidental.
8. Well-being and happiness are not the result of a single decision or choice.
9. Well-being and happiness are not part of a destination or station you arrive at, but are the byproducts of how you are traveling.
10. Well-being and happiness result from our choices and are usually the result of many small choices.
11. Mindful awareness, openness to feedback, and a feedback rich environment form the foundation for healthy and positive choices.
12. Mindful choices grow out of the systematic cultivation of mindful awareness.
13. Well-being and happiness, result from a definite structure: mindful awareness, conscious choices, regular feedback, and consistent practice.