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How to Meaningfully Connect, Build Character and Unlock the Potential of Every Child
Learn how skillfully prizing kids (rather than mindlessly praising) can be a game changer in your relationship as a parent, teacher, or helper.
Our culture is addicted to "good job!"--our all-purpose, feel-good, non-specific, or high-bar-setting verbal praise--especially when we talk to our kids. However, research shows that generic praise is insufficient and sometimes even backfires in nudging them toward their potential or helping kids navigate challenging moments. Praise can put too much emphasis on controlling results, and kids can experience it as pressure and learn to fear failing in adults’ eyes.
By contrast, prizing is a game-changing mindset and set of specific skills that can help kids convert moments of emotional pain or stuckness into opportunities and possibilities for healthy change and growth. Prizing brings kids and adults together into a shared space in the present moment where conflict can dissolve, connection can thrive, and needed changes arise.
In Prizeworthy, clinical psychologist Mitch Abblett introduces us to the skills of prizing and shows us what it looks like and how to do it in real-life situations. For example, techniques like "SNAPPing Out of Delusions of Outcome Control with Your Children" or "Light-Touch Goal-Setting with Your Kids" add an important layer of validation, compassionate presence, and skillful action to your relationships. Abblett also shares stories of how prizing has made a real difference in the lives of young people, parents, and professionals. He offers a host of scientifically-sound mindfulness and positive psychology-based practices for cultivating prizing at home, and in educational and therapeutic settings.
“If there were only one skill you could learn as a parent, let it be prizing. It’s the basis of all the others. Your kids will be forever grateful, and so will you.”—Christopher Germer, PhD, author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion
“A powerful, practical guide for parents and professionals alike to cultivate true attunement, regulation, and connection.”—Chris Willard, PsyD, author of Raising Resilience and Growing Up Mindful
“Our world has gotten us caught up in the praise paradigm, which distracts us from the greater reward that comes with kindness, compassion, and connection. Mitch Abblett has helped us get back on course, not only to unlock our children’s potential, but in the process, to help us heal and grow ourselves.”—Judson Brewer MD, PhD, author of Unwinding Anxiety and The Craving Mind
“In his excellent new book Prizeworthy, Mitch Abblett takes central, time-tested themes woven through contemplative practice and transforms them into relatable, targeted methods to support children's feelings of connection, resilience, and belonging. Perhaps the biggest surprise in the book, though, will be that prizing children builds parents’ and teachers' feelings of connection, resilience, and belonging, too.”—Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of Mindful Games and The Mindful Child
“In the Zulu tradition a person meeting another will first say ‘Sawbanu’ which means ‘I see you.’ The person being greeted responds, ‘Ngikhona,’ meaning ‘I am here.’ This book beautifully shows how to fulfill this deep and essential wish for every child...to be seen by the people who are truly present in their lives, and to connect to the core of their own being as they grow and develop. What Mitch has created here is nothing less than an embodiment of the spirit of Sawbanu.”—Kim John Payne M.ED, author of Being at Your Best When Your Kids Are at Their Worst, Simplicity Parenting, and The Soul of Discipline
“Children need loving support more than ever as they navigate the challenges of the twenty-first century. In Prizeworthy, Mitch Abblett offers powerful tools for supporting kids with genuine presence. I highly recommend this book for parents, teachers, therapists, coaches, and anyone else with a passion for bringing out the best in young people—by inviting the best from themselves.” —Seth J. Gillihan, PhD, author of the CBT Deck for Kids & Teens
“In the midst of uncertain and challenging times, how can we reassure ourselves we're doing all we can to raise resilient, happy children? In Prizeworthy, Dr. Mitch Abblett offers a straightforward path that any parent can follow, providing understandable tools for staying present, emotionally supportive and engaged so our children will be independent, resilient, and able to thrive.”—Mark Bertin, MD, author of Mindful Parenting for ADHD and Mindfulness and Self-Compassion for Teen ADHD
“Mitch Abblett shares his experience, wisdom, and practical application to help us raise our kids to be the kind of humans that will ensure a better world.”—Elisha Goldstein, PhD, author of Uncovering Happiness
The Unwinding Anxiety Card Deck
Based on Dr. Brewer’s New York Times best-selling book Unwinding Anxiety, Mitch Abblett and Jud Brewer's deck features 60 research-based practices to help you identify and overcome unhelpful anxiety responses, or habits, that prevent you from living life to the fullest.
Grounded in the science of mindfulness, each exercise harnesses your brain’s innate power to create new responses to anxiety triggers, so you can:
- Form new habits that interrupt your anxious cycles
- Focus on what works instead of trying to control your anxiety
- Explore the misleading “payoff” of anxious habits
- Step out of worry and rumination and into healthy, fulfilling experiences
- Create bigger, better habits that build kindness, curiosity, and gratitude
Train Your Mind Like a Ninja:
30 Secret Skills for Fun, Focus and Resilience
Become a ninja with 30 mindfulness practices to help kids ages 5–9 increase their focus, compassion, emotional balance, and body awareness--from experts in Japanese martial arts and mindfulness.
Are you ready to unlock the ninja within?
Train Your Mind Like a Ninja draws from martial arts concepts to explore how you can train the mind and body to act from a place of awareness and deliberate action to reach your full potential. While ninjas of the past may have been warriors, modern ninjas train their minds and bodies for peaceful purposes only, uncovering ways to become happier, healthier, and more confident in everything they do.
Each of the 30 cards is categorized to reflect the ninja values of Community/Connection, Body Awareness and Agility, Mental Awareness and Focus, Calm and Balance, Perspective and Perseverance, and Mental Flexibility and Agility. The deck is arranged in order of overall difficulty, from introductory mental focus and physical training at the start to more challenging emotional training to defeat your inner enemies. Master each of the cards to unlock your inner ninja and become a better student, athlete, family member, and friend.
If a ninja got stuck on unhelpful thoughts during a mission, things could go very wrong. As a ninja-in-training, it’s important to quickly sniff out rigid, dark, or failure-filled thoughts. You, too, can detect these thoughts and shift to clearly seeing the situations, friends, and people.
The Five Hurdles to Happiness
And the Mindful Path to Overcoming Them
Five obstacles stand in between you and true happiness. What are they and how can you overcome them? Buddhist traditions teach that there are five negative qualities, or hindrances, that inhibit people from living an awakened life. Here, Mitch Abblett gives this teaching a modern, secular interpretation and helps you identify the hurdles that are blocking your contentment—desire, hostility, sluggishness, worry, and doubt—and how you can take your first steps to overcoming them. Combining traditional wisdom with contemporary psychology and using examples from his psychotherapy practice, Abblett uses the hurdles as a frame for engaging you in a process of contemplating your own life and learning to lean into your experience rather than merely repeating bad habits. By doing this, you can break free from the hurdles and live more mindfully, effectively, and compassionately.
Praise for the Book:
"This is a lovely, profound book. It takes the Buddha’s ancient teachings about the five primary blocks to happiness and inner peace and applies them to our modern, busy, stressful lives. Grounded in science, informed by the penetrating insights of an experienced therapist, and practical on every page, this heartfelt book will help change many lives for the better." —Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness
"Full of engaging, provocative insights based on years of both psychological and spiritual practice, Dr. Abblett brings to life the Buddha’s insights into how our minds create suffering and how we can transform this suffering into wisdom and compassion. Written with unusual honesty and wit, and full of practical examples and exercises, this book helps us let go of the self-protective habits that make us unhappy, and cultivate instead open, awakened hearts and minds." —Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD, author of The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems
"An honest and compassionate manual for relaxing the grip of our conditioned reactions. With humor and practical clarity, Mitch Abblett illuminates the painful responses we reinforce every day and offers kinder practices in return—ones that support the gradual, skillful process of opening our hearts." —Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Love
From Anger to Action
Powerful Mindfulness Tools to Help Teens Harness Anger for Positive Change
A comprehensive mindfulness program to help teens understand and channel anger into healthy expressions of creativity, advocacy, and empowerment.
Sometimes you just feel pissed off, and that’s okay. Maybe you missed a deadline in school, flunked a test, didn’t get invited to a party, or feel angry about something you saw on the news or online. We’ve all been there. It’s impossible to go through life never feeling angry. But what if, instead of letting your anger take control, you were able to harness it in constructive ways? This book will show you how.
With this guide, you’ll find powerful mindfulness tools to help you listen to your anger, connect with your core values and goals, and make positive changes that will truly empower you. Instead of resorting to outbursts, you’ll learn to channel the incredible energy of your anger into self-advocacy, social action, and productivity. You’ll also find stories from other teens just like you who’ve successfully redirected their anger into creating positive change.
If you’re ready to change your relationship with anger and transform it into fuel for change and creative possibility, this book will guide you, every step of the way.
The Challenging Child Toolbox
Working with resistant, oppositional, emotionally dysregulated, and angry kids can be exhausting, frustrating and leave clinicians feeling burnt out.
Dr. Mitch Abblett has created the remedy with a new guide that will take you step-by-step through mindfulness-based principles, pointers and best practices to ease your work and dramatically improve the lives of kids and their families.
- Build trust with tough-to-connect with kids
- Improve distress tolerance, emotion regulation and relaxation skills
- Heal the anxiety, trauma reactivity and depression-related issues which cause behavioral issues
- Strategies to make every intervention more effective and impactful
- Scientifically-grounded mindfulness and positive psychology-focused tools
The Mindfulness Skills
Activity Book for Children
The Mindfulness Activity Book for Children gives you the resources to help the children in your classroom, office or home learn and hone the crucial skills of mindfulness - for getting on top of stress and doing their daily best!
Inside this book you'll find dozens of activities, games, exercises, and puzzles to help the kids in your life:
- Increase focus and concentration
- Build calm and beat stress
- Come together as a group
- Learn to hang in with challenges
- Get excited about what's happening right here and right now!
Written by two psychologists with decades of experience working with kids, families and mindfulness, these fun, easy-to-learn and creative activities are awesome for all school-aged kids, whether they are newbies to mindfulness or not!
Helping Your Angry Teen
How to Reduce Anger and Build Connection Using Mindfulness and Positive Psychology
From the jacket cover:
Is your teen angry all the time? Do they shut down, lash out, or blame others - namely, you - when life's challenges arise? Parenting an angry teen can be extremely difficult. You may even have trouble keeping your own cool, or worry that your relationship with your teen is doomed. The good news is that there are solid strategies you can use to stay grounded when the drama rises, put an end to angry outbursts and re-establish a healthy, lasting connection.
Helping Your Angry Teen offers in-the-moment techniques based in mindfulness, compassion, and positive psychology to help you navigate your teen's explosive anger and restore peace to your household. You'll gain a better understanding of the psychological conditions that can contribute to teen anger, learn important skills for improving communication, and discover go-to mindfulness tips for staying calm and collected yourself. If you're ready to take control of your own reactions and start reconnecting with your angry teen, this guide will show you how.
Praise for the book:
"A compassionate, easy-to-read book providing practical guidelines while supporting parents who are almost certainly suffering along with their struggling teens."
--Mark Bertin, MD, author of Mindful Parenting for ADHD
“Helping Your Angry Teen offers clear, useful tools for parents, therapists and other caregivers to help the angry teenagers in their lives."
--Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of The Mindful Child
Growing Mindful: A Deck of Mindfulness Practices for All Ages
A deck of simple, effective mindfulness practices.
Some cards in this unique deck teach awareness, others help you make present moment contact, still others cultivate kindness and curiosity, and many do a combination.This deck can be used in any number of ways. Perhaps drawing a card as a morning check in for yourself, perhaps as a settling practice between transitions in your classroom, at the start of a therapy session or end of a yoga class, or in a moment of pause before a meal or another time of the day. Whether in classrooms or living rooms, kids and adults can use the deck to develop their mindfulness skills together, deepening awareness and connecting. However you decide to use the deck, the idea is to have fun in the process of fully engaging in the present moment.
-- "I’m a busy mom and professional and it’s really challenging to carve out enough time to just sit on a cushion and meditate on a regular basis. While I meditate “formally” when I am able, I also find these cards helpful to keep myself centered in the midst of my hectic daily life. To me, that is the point of meditation- to get more “in the moment” at all times of the day. These cards are a valuable resource!"
The Self-Compassion Card Deck:
50 Mindfulness Based Practices
The Self-Compassion Deck offers 50 mindfulness-based practices for use at home, in the classroom, or therapy office. Commit to these easy, yet meaningful exercises in kindheartedness and gain a deeper appreciation for yourself and your life.
The practice of self-compassion has been proven to:
- Improve well-being
- Regulate emotions
- Reduce depression and anxiety
-- "I received these cards as a gift and I am so happy I did! These cards are simple, yet powerful and are great for a quick self-esteem and self-compassion check. I have also used them with clients - kids, teens and adults suffering with low self-esteem, depression and anxiety and they have been well received by all. It's a nice little boost throughout the day and I really think everyone would benefit from using them in their day to day life!"
Growing Happy Card Deck:
Positive Psychology Practices for Teens & Adults
Teaching and incorporating positive psychology into your home, classroom and therapy session is easy with the Growing Happy card deck. Grounded in the modern scientific findings of positive psychology, the card deck features 50 unique positive practices that will leave you feeling happier, present and resilient. Perfect for teens and adults.
-- "Awesome tool to use with adolescents!"
--"Perfect for counseling."
Mindful Reminders Card Deck:
52 Powerful Practices for Teens & Adults
Live your life more fully, reduce stress and remove distractions with the Mindful Reminders Card Deck. These 50 simple, yet powerful practices will help you build skills of awareness, compassion and presence for what matters in your daily life. Whether you are new to mindfulness practice, or whether you've been meditating for years, this deck offers fun, accessible reminders for bringing more mindfulness into your life.
-- "Great cards for introducing mindfulness to everyday life. I've used these cards in my own life, as well as with clients, and people have really found them applicable and easy to use."
Mindfulness for Teen Depression
A Workbook for Improving Your Mood
In Mindfulness for Teen Depression, Dr. Chris Willard and I offer powerful tools based in mindfulness and positive psychology to help teens ease symptoms, work through troubling thoughts and feelings, and thrive in all aspects of life.
If you’re a teen with depression, you may often feel sad, lonely, and unmotivated. And it can be especially difficult to do well in school, make friends, and take those important steps toward adulthood. But it’s important for you to know that your depression is not your fault, and that it doesn’t have to define you. Most importantly, there are steps you can take to feel better.
With this powerful workbook, you’ll learn effective skills based in mindfulness and positive psychology to help you manage difficult emotions, gain distance from negative thoughts, and enhance your awareness of the present moment. You’ll also discover tons of activities and exercises—such as mindful meditations, walking, yoga, healthy eating and sleeping tips, and more—to help you care for your body as well as your mind.
Depression can make it seem like you're viewing the world through dark or distorted glasses. When you're depressed, it’s even hard to see yourself clearly. This book will empower you to feel better, more energized, and start reaching for your goals—one step at a time.
-- “If you are a teen living with depression and ongoing negative internal chatter, this book is for you. It offers simple, straightforward, doable suggestions and practices for taming your internal critic, and moving from feeling down and out to being up and in—in touch with your best self, and engaged in a meaningful, satisfying life.” —Amy Saltzman, MD, author of A Still Quiet Place for Teens
The Heat of the Moment in Treatment
Mindful Management of Difficult Clients
How to warm up to the clients that stop you cold.
Have you experienced the anger, fear, doubt, and frustration that most clinicians feel but rarely put words to? Have you ever overreacted to a client in session or found yourself overwhelmed by the work with that client in your caseload? Are you looking for tools to manage your most “difficult” clients? Chances are, you’re like all other clinicians: At times you play “tug-of-war” with those in your care.
The Heat of the Moment in Treatment is for clinicians looking to explore, reassess, and transform the way they treat their most difficult clients. With carefully designed mindfulness-based exercises, self-assessments, and skill development activities, this workbook helps clinicians understand their own role in therapeutic interactions, as well as how to proactively respond to tough client behavior in ways that improve the prospects for successful treatment.
Author Mitch Abblett acts as a sensitive, expert guide, laying out a roadmap for the toughest of clinical encounters that almost all therapists face, whether seasoned or just starting out. His use of relatable metaphors, rhetorical questions, and stories from his own experience allows readers to reflect upon their own psychotherapy practice without feeling like there is one right way to deal with challenging clients.
The Heat of the Moment in Treatment will help clinicians move beyond assumptions and reactive impulses to their “difficult” clients. Readers will gain proactive clinical leadership skills, while learning how to expand mindful awareness of self and others to access compassion and empathy for any client―even when the “heat” of moment-to-moment interaction in session is hard to tolerate.
-- “Written in a disarmingly genuine, humorous, and self-disclosing style, The Heat of the Moment in Treatment explores the barriers to effective communication that clinicians carry and how we can carry them in a lighter way. It is packed full of practical and highly revealing self-exploratory exercises, case examples, and easy-to-follow clinical guidelines for working with difficult clients in difficult situations. This book should be required reading in every graduate program for mental health and addiction training. Destined to become a classic!”
- Kirk Strosahl, PhD, author of Brief Interventions for Radical Change