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Self-help Mood Disorders

The Mindfulness-Based Emotional Balance Workbook

An Eight-Week Program for Improved Emotion Regulation and Resilience

by (author) Margaret Cullen & Gonzalo Brito Pons

foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn

New Harbinger Publications
Initial publish date
Sep 2015
Mood Disorders
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2015
    List Price

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Experiencing emotions is a part of the richness of life. But sometimes emotions can get in the way of our health and happiness. Suppressing strong feelings like fear, anger, and resentment isn’t the answer—in fact, doing so can lead to a host of physical problems, from a weakened immune system to heart disease. On the other hand, overreacting in the heat of the moment can be detrimental to relationships. So, how can you ride even the strongest waves of emotion without causing harm to yourself or others?

This workbook offers a breakthrough, eight-week program using emotion theory and mindfulness-based techniques to help you manage the overwhelming thoughts and feelings that cause you pain. You’ll learn to approach your emotions without judgment, understand their source, and foster forgiveness and kindness toward both yourself and others. Instead of trying to bury feelings or lashing out and hurting relationships, you'll learn how to cultivate emotional balance using this powerful program.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Margaret Cullen, MA, MFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) teacher. She has also trained with Zindel Segal in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. For over twenty years she has been teaching and pioneering mindfulness programs in a variety of settings, including cancer support, HIV support, physician groups, executive groups, and obesity support. For ten years she has been involved in teaching and writing curricula for several research programs at the University of California, San Francisco, including “Cultivating Emotional Balance,” designed for teachers, and “Craving and Lifestyle Management with Meditation,” for overweight women. In 2008 she launched a mindfulness-based emotional balance program for teachers and school administrators that has been piloted in Denver, CO; Boulder, CO; Ann Arbor, MI; Berkeley, CA; Portland, OR; and Vancouver, BC. She has also been a facilitator of support groups for cancer patients and their loved ones for twenty-five years at the Cancer Support Community, and is currently a senior teacher at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, where she contributed to the Compassion Cultivation training manual. A longtime contributor to Inquiring Mind, Margaret has been a meditation practitioner for 35 years.
Gonzalo Brito Pons, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who has worked with diverse populations in Chile, Peru, and Spain, integrating Western psychological approaches with traditional medicine and contemplative practices. As a certified yoga teacher and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) instructor, he has included these practices in his clinical work and workshops for health care professionals and educators over the last decade. Gonzalo is a certified instructor of the Compassion Cultivation Training Program and serves as a supervisor for Spanish-speaking teachers in training at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. He obtained his PhD doing experimental research on the individual and relational effects of compassion cultivation training and mindfulness-based stress reduction. Currently living in Granada, Spain, Gonzalo combines his therapeutic work with ongoing compassion-based and mindfulness-based programs, collaborating regularly with several educational and health organizations. In 2014, he coauthored the book Presencia plena: Reflexiones y prácticas para cultivar mindfulness en la vida diaria (Full presence: Reflections and practices to cultivate mindfulness in daily life).
Foreword writer Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, is internationally known for his work as a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher engaged in bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine and society. He is professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and author of numerous books, including Full Catastrophe Living, Arriving at Your Own Door, and Coming to Our Senses.

Editorial Reviews

“Practical, hands-on, and clear, The Mindfulness-Based Emotional Balance Workbook lays out a full set of tools for cultivating well-being. Everyone from newcomers to meditation to experienced clinicians and teachers may find something of value here.”
Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness

“It is the nature of the human condition to suffer. For many their suffering is worsened by negative emotional states. Using not only their extensive experience as mindfulness teachers but also the knowledge gained by working with leading emotion researchers, the authors give a step-by-step road map to improve one’s resilience and create emotional balance that is accessible to all. For anyone living in today’s rushed and stressful world, this book is a must-read.”
James R. Doty, MD, professor of neurosurgery and founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University School of Medicine

“Like other animals, humans evolved with a range of complex emotions that can be sources of joy but also pain and suffering. Unlike other animals though, humans have a capacity for being aware of, observing, and mindfully choosing how to work with these passions of the mind. In this beautifully accessible and carefully crafted book two leading mindfulness teachers have come together to guide us through the sometimes stormy terrain of our emotions. This step-by-step eight-week course is rich in insights and skillfully organized practices for working with and cultivating our minds. Based on the most up-to-date research, this book is a gift for all those seeking emotional balance in the hustle-bustle of modern-day life.”
Paul Gilbert, PhD, FBPsS, OBE, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Mental Health Research Unit, Kingsway Hospital

“In an increasingly topsy-turvy world, finding emotional balance is more important than ever—and Margaret Cullen and Gonzalo Brito Pons show you how, walking with you step-by-step, drawing on brain science, ancient wisdom, and the power of mindfulness. Comforting and powerful, down-to-earth and profound, this book is a clear path from stress, frustration, and irritation to calm strength, happiness, and inner peace.”
Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Buddha’s Brain

“This is an extraordinary book that brings together science, Dharma, and psychology in an accessible, actionable, practical, and inspiring way. Not only is this book a must-read but also a ‘must-use’ in a time on our planet where there is so much stress and suffering. Margaret and Gonzalo have done a great service in crafting approaches to emotional balance based on the work of Drs. Paul Ekman and Alan Wallace, as well as their years of practice and study.”
Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center

The Mindfulness-Based Emotional Balance Workbook combines the wisdom of reflection, the beauty of compassion, and the rigor of science. It guides its readers into the capacity of mindfulness to reduce emotional reactivity and cultivate kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. The wealth of ideas and practices in this illuminating work will be of benefit and has the potential to transform our individual and collective lives.”
Shauna Shapiro, PhD, professor at Santa Clara University and author of The Art and Science of Mindfulness and Mindful Discipline

“At last! A truly useful application of mindfulness to managing the emotional storms of everyday life. This eight-step program helps readers steadily change their relationship to their emotions, becoming less reactive and more flexible. The authors unpack the deep wisdom of Buddhist practices into an eminently usable progression of experiential exercises, meditations, observations, and links to audio recordings and other resources. This one book can make one’s entire life enterprise more workable. Deep bows.”
Linda Graham, MFT, experienced psychotherapist and author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being

“Seamlessly integrating the twin curricula of mindfulness meditation and emotion science, this pragmatic and wise workbook provides readers with clear-sighted guidance for self-care when distressing effects loom.”
Zindel V. Segal, PhD, distinguished professor of psychology in mood disorders, University of Toronto Scarborough

“Bravo to The Mindfulness-Based Emotional Balance Workbook! This is a very wise and compassionate book that shows how you can transform difficult emotions by acknowledging and embracing them as a path to greater freedom and peace.”
Bob Stahl, PhD, coauthor of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Living with Your Heart Wide Open, Calming the Rush of Panic, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook for Anxiety, and MBSR Every Day

“This wise and practical book is filled with wonderful practices that can regulate your emotions and change your life.”
Jack Kornfield, PhD, author of The Wise Heart

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