Dad Sense

>Be Mindful Daddy – Feel Calmer
By Dr. Lynne Kenney

Be mindful, feel better.

It may be time to change your relationship to your thoughts, feelings and sensations and guess what, no alcohol needed! Becoming mindful is the newest and most productive way to feel better, live more passionately and feel more fully.

Mindfulness is an activity in which a person becomes intentionally aware of his or her thoughts and actions in the present moment, non-judgmentally. Being mindful has been seen in research studies to help people cope better with stress. Research through The Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts Medical Center by Jon Kabat-Zinn and his colleagues has shown the benefits of mindfulness (non-judgmental sustained attention) on reducing pain, distress, anxiety and the effects of rumination in depression.

Think without judgment

Think for a moment, when you feel distressed, angry or disappointed, what comes first the judgmental thought or the feeling? What might surprise you is that most often, each feeling you experience is preceded by a thought. That’s right. Most people believe that you feel and then think but really you think and then you feel. Your thoughts guide your feelings. You think “I am fat”, then you feel sad. You think, “He really loves me”, then you feel happy. You think, “My children should behave”, then you feel angry. You think, “That dog might bite”, then you feel scared.

If your thoughts are causing you to criticize yourself, to feel angry toward your children or interfere with your relationships at work, it may be time to step-back and recognize that your thought are just that, only thoughts. They are reflections, observations, and opinions. They are not immutable all-powerful determiners of feelings or behavior.

Thoughts can be altered

Thoughts can be altered, transformed and changed in order to help you feel better, more positive and more hopeful. In fact, the impact of positive and negative thoughts on our health is explored by Dr. Bruce Lipton in his recent book, The Biology of Belief.

It’s helpful to know that a thought is a biological process of communication between neurotransmitters in the brain. What we think is influenced by our individual life experiences, genetics and neurobiological predispositions.

Practice positive thinking

Keep a journal of your thoughts for 72 hours and reflect on whether your thoughts benefit your well-being or distract from your health. Carry the journal in your pocket, when you drop your children off at school, order lunch, or interact with a colleague, write down what you are thinking on the left side of the page and how you are feeling on the right. In the following 72 hours do the same activity but make a third column for thought replacement, write down alternate positive thoughts to replace your negative thoughts.


Kabat-Zinn, J., Massion, A.O., Kristeller, J., Peterson, L.G., Fletcher, K., Pbert, L., Linderking, W., Santorelli, S.F. Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Am.J Psychiatry (1992) 149:936-943.

Kabat-Zinn, J. Meditation. In Moyers, B. Healing and the Mind, Doubleday, NY, 1993, pp. 115-143.

Lipton, B. (2005) The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles

About the Author:

Lynne Kenney, Psy.D., is a mother of two, a practicing pediatric psychologist in Scottsdale, AZ, and the author of The Family Coach Method. She has advanced fellowship training in forensic psychology and developmental pediatric psychology from Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Harbor-UCLA/UCLA Medical School. Dr. Kenney is currently a featured expert in Parents, Success and Working Mother magazine. Since 2006, she has co-produced three television shows and six DVDs with Baby First TV, and hosted the Baby First TV show Baby Basics. Dr. Kenney is a recognized mom social media expert, a featured contributor on and the host of The Family Coach Solution Studio on BlogTalk Radio. Her Better Living Content has appeared on ABC, the Montel Williams Show, and various child/family websites (including Ladies Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens ). Dr. Kenney is a sought-after speaker nationally, and a respected consultant to The International Nanny Association and The National Head Start Association, for whom she was National Ambassador, 2007. Look for Dr. Kenney on TV this Fall. Read more about Dr. Kenney at LawrenceDad SenseDad Sense >Be Mindful Daddy - Feel Calmer By Dr. Lynne Kenney Be mindful, feel better. It may be time to change your relationship to your thoughts, feelings and sensations and guess...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids