292 The Kindness Cure With Author Tara Cousineau

February 1, 2018

Tara Cousineau, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, meditation teacher, well-being researcher, and social entrepreneur. Tara founded www.bodimojo.com, and develops digital wellness tools for youth. She is affiliated with the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion at Cambridge Health Alliance in Somerville, MA. She is a mindfulness trainer and chief science officer at Whil, a digital mindfulness company, and serves as a scientific advisor to www.kindness.org. Her upcoming book, The Kindness Cure will be released in February 2018. It is a peerless book on kindness that exceeds any existing work on the subject.

Contact Info

Most Influential Person

Effect on Emotions

  • If we had longer, I would tell you what a temper tantrum kid I was. I had a very chaotic household. I think that when I came to yoga and mindfulness in my twenties, that it absolutely changed, in my emotional life, how I react, in the world, in my relationships. It fundamentally changed them.

Thoughts on Breathing

  • Breathing is essential. A definition of breath is spirit of life and I feel that's very true. So, for me, the breath is spiritual nurturing; taking that sacred pause. And that's what Tara Brock calls it; that's why I like her so much. Essentially, we are living, breathing human beings and we're all connected to each other by the very virtue that we live and breathe in the world. So let's really attend to our breath.

Suggested Resources

Bullying Story

  • Like I mentioned, I wrote the book based on a bullying situation. It was a situation with my daughter actually.
  • The incident was the night before senior year of high school. The kids were congregating in the woods. They’re not supposed to, but that’s where they do. It was early in the evening, 9:00 at night or something and my daughter was leaving the gathering and another girl just comes out from behind a tree and attacks my daughter.
  • It was like a girl-on-girl fight. My daughter, Sophie had no idea where this was coming from. Then the guys got called in and it was one of those weird teenage scenes. And here’s the thing; my daughter didn’t tell me until a day later. Partly because I had actually been in my office the night before and I didn’t see her come home.
  • The next day she came to my home office and said, mom, I have something to tell you. I was like, Oh my god; she crashed the car, she’s pregnant. What is a teenager going to tell you, you know?
  • She sat down and she said, I know I was not supposed to be at the woods, but that’s where all the kids were just to celebrate and she named a former friend from middle school who had physically attacked her. I was just like, Oh, my god are you ok? And she showed me the cat scratches and the fingernail scratches and the whole thing.
  • She had a picture that her friend took of her bloody nose. I said I don’t want to see the picture because I know too much about how these things get imprinted in your brain. I said I believe you. Are you ok? Do you feel safe?
  • The next day was going to be the first day of school. I asked, are you going to be ok in the hallways, in the cafeteria. She said, yeah. And I said, why do you think this happened? She goes, I really don’t know. I think it might just be an old grudge and then she started going into this compassion mode. I’m looking at her shaking my head because I literally was going to go knock on her parents' door and really ream the mother out. I was really mad. I was really upset about it.
  • My daughter was saying, well, she’s really had a hard life. I said, honey, you were assaulted and that’s not ok, but you know what, let’s just think about it. I literally called on every ounce of mindfulness training that I’d had, not to go into this reactive, tiger-mom mode. I might have five or six years ago.
  • I might have gotten in my car, knocked on the door and the whole kit and caboodle. But my daughter actually really showed … I don’t know where she got this because I think she had wisdom and inner strength that I didn’t necessarily have at her age where she could see the situation from multiple angles.
  • She also felt in this case, that talking to the school could blow it up and make it worse. I said, let’s just put that on hold because I’m the parent here and it’s ultimately the parents’ responsibility to do something. So part b of this story is that I waited a week. Then I made a meeting with the school and I just said, I know that the woods are the satellite off-campus site for these kids and that as long as they’re not on the property, there’s nothing you can do about it.
  • I said, here’s my concern; that this is going to escalate and this could cause a rift that both girls are going to be in a sort of interpersonal war and that both of them could have an unpleasant year because what happened immediately is that a lot of the girls and guys sided with my daughter.
  • That was going to incense the situation more. That’s what kind of informed the book, was that very incident because I just had one of those wtf moments where I just said, what happened to kindness.
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