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          These links will take you to short, basic instructions for the mindful/heartful cognitive behavioral techniques we describe at greater length in the Techniques section of this site. Where applicable, we provide a link to the more detailed description. 

          You may find these brief written instructions are all you need. However, most people find it easier to be guided verbally.  Audios of guided instructions will be available in our Store.

Contents of this Page:

Basic CBT
Basic Mindful/Heartful CBT

* Basic CBT *

Basic Instructions:

  1. Choose a particular moment that triggered a negative emotion in you. Be as specific as you can about the time and place where it happened.
  2. Name the negative emotion(s).
  3. Notice negative (reactive, irrational) thoughts that seem related to, or which triggered the negative emotion.
  4. Identify any core beliefs or assumptions about yourself and the world that make you inclined to have the negative thoughts and emotions you experienced in that moment.
  5. Challenge the irrational thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions and replace them with more rational, constructive, and positive views. 

* Mindful/Heartful CBT *
For more detailed instructions click here.

What we mean by "Mindful/Heartful CBT" is going through the basic CBT process (see above) while "remembering to breathe" - that is, while having the intention to remain in contact with your core.


Prepare by using a simple breathing, relaxation, mindfulness, or heart-centering technique to help you get in touch with your core.  If at any point during the CBT process you notice that the negative emotion is intensifying, stop immediately. Take a few deep breaths or use a technique to re-establish contact with your core.  Do not continue the process until you’re able to be at least somewhat at the hub of your wheel of awareness, calmly relating to the event and the thoughts and emotions related to it.

Basic Instructions:

  1. Develop a Neutral Attitude:

            Choose a particular moment of an event that triggered a negative  
            emotional reaction in you. Be as specific as you can about the time
            and place where it happened. 

            Recognize that it is, for the most part, your interpretation of the event 
            (your story about the event) that is responsible for your reaction, 
            not the event itself.

            While maintaining contact with your core (the hub of your wheel of awareness)
            be calmly mindful of the feelings and thoughts that come into your awareness.

  2. Identify the Negative Emotion ( anger, sadness, fear, craving, etc.):
            View the emotion(s) calmly, while centered in your core. 

  3. Identify the “Automatic” (or “Mechanical”) Thoughts that Come to Mind in Relation to the Event: 

            Try to pay special attention to the thoughts that seem to trigger or intensify
            negative emotions. 

            View these thoughts calmly, while centered in your core. 

  4. Identify the “Hidden Assumptions” or Underlying Beliefs that Support the Automatic Thoughts: 

            One of the easiest ways to get at these hidden beliefs and assumptions
            is to take each thought, and ask: 

                            a.   What does this thought say about who I am?  
                            b.   What does it say about who I take the other person
                                  or people to be (negative emotions usually involve other people)?
                            c.   What does it say about how I view the whole situation?

            View these beliefs and assumptions calmly, while centered in your core.

  5. Challenge the Assumptions and Beliefs:

            Do your best to view the beliefs and assumptions mindfully, and
            with a heart that is soft and open.

            Remind yourself again and again that your negative thoughts and
            emotions are not caused by the event or by other people – that ultimately,
            our irrational fears, cravings, anger, and other irrational reactions are the
            result of one thing – not being in contact with our core.

            Ask yourself:

                          a.   Is the belief or assumption absolutely true about me,
                                about the other person, about the event?  
                          b.   Am I absolutely compelled to have the feeling I had?  
                          c.   Is it possible there could be another way of looking at the
                                event that would lead to my feeling differently about it?

            Allow for the possibility that insights will arise spontaneously as you
            calmly view the beliefs and assumptions from your core.

  6. Come up with a More Constructive, Reasonable, and Positive View of the Event

            Initially, in order to come up with a more constructive view,  you may
            need to look back and analyze your reactions to the event, your beliefs,
            assumptions, etc. As you get more practice in being mindful and heartful 
            and with staying centered in your core, you’ll find that a more constructive,
            reasonable, positive view of the event may arise in a more spontaneous,
            intuitive, and less effortful way. 

Links to All Bare Bones Techniques:

Abdominal Breathing
Ocean Breathing
Spinal Breathing
Alternate Nostril Breathing
3-Part Breath w/ Breath Holding
Alternate Nostril w/ Breath Holding
Fast Belly Breathing
Breath Watching

Tense-Release for the Face
Tense-Release for the Whole Body
Body Scan
1-Minute Mindful Relaxation, Whole Body

Creative Visualization: Preview of Day
Creative Visualization: Review of Day
Light Imagery
Imagery for Relaxation
Ocean Imagery

Breath Counting
Breath Watching
Breathing with Words
Thought Counting
Thought Noting and Labeling
31 Points

Basic Practice
Heart-Centering with Light Imagery

Wheel of Awareness Meditation
Beginner 1-Minute Mindfulness
Intermediate Mindfulness
Advanced Mindfulness
Space of Awareness

Mindful/Heartful CBT:
Basic CBT
Basic Mindful/Heartful CBT