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One Big Idea: The OPEN Method

Sometimes an idea comes along and it sticks in your brain, starts to shift how you think and act, and eventually settles in as ONE BIG IDEA that becomes a regular part of life.

Every now and then, we’ll drop a big idea here related to one of our Thrive Pillars. We promise to always break these ideas down into easy, digestible, and actionable chunks that parents can use.

Let’s get started!

What is the OPEN Method?

It’s a 4-step mindfulness practice that stands for:

  • O - Observe your embodied emotions
  • P - Process your emotions
  • E - Express your emotions
  • N - Nurture the connection with your Inner Wisdom/True Self

The goal of OPEN is to get us more in touch with what we’re actually feeling so that we can express those feelings, move them through the body (by talking, stretching, deep breathing, or even crying) and then release the feelings so that we can relax back into who we truly are, full of compassion, connectedness, courage, and calm.

Doing this OPEN Method allows us to reconnect in a deep and authentic way with our kids, partner, and other loved ones.

O - Observe means slowing down and becoming aware of the emotions and feelings that happen in our body, below our everyday consciousness. As we go about our day, our focus is on our to-do lists, the latest distraction, or random thoughts. But when we slow down and direct our awareness to the body, we start to experience feelings that were being held beneath the surface.

P - Process means coming to understand what we’re actually feeling through curiosity. Maybe we start by observing tension in our belly or tightness in our shoulders. But when we become curious by asking deeper questions about these feelings, we come to understand ourselves in a deeper, more compassionate way.

E - Express means bringing core feelings to the surface by moving them through the body. This can take the form of talking about the feelings, stretching, shaking out the body, deep breaths, making sounds, or sometimes crying. There’s no wrong way to express—we just listen to what the body wants.

N - Nurture means re-connecting with who we truly are. We can use any words that feel right to describe who we truly are, from ‘True Self’ to ‘Inner Wisdom’ to ‘Spirit.’ When we have unprocessed emotions—that is, emotions that we have ignored, resisted, or avoided—then we can’t be in full connection with who we truly are. When we observe, process, and express these emotions, then we can relax back into this deeper self and live through its boundless love, wisdom, courage, and connection.

Where did the OPEN Method come from?

The OPEN Method was created by Justin Wilford, PhD, co-founder of The Family Thrive and MaxLove Project, after developing several mindfulness programs for childhood cancer families over many years. The programs were partnered with clinical psychologists and researchers and offered families free meditation apps, education, and peer support. And, according to Justin, they all failed.

Parents found it difficult to maintain mindful meditation and didn’t find a lot of benefit in it, regardless of the approach he and his colleagues took. Parents reported having high levels of stress and wanting more help with emotional distress. Justin spent a year researching therapeutic approaches to emotional distress like this and this, and combined the most useful and effective ones into the OPEN Method.

The aim in creating the OPEN Method was to take the best approaches and blend them in a way that could be as light or deep as parents need, parents could do on their own, and could work for a wide range of situations.

Why should parents care about the OPEN Method?

The OPEN Method helps parents process all the challenging emotions (stress, frustration, uncertainty, fear, anger, etc.) that are a normal part of parenting, so that they can easily tap into the love and care they have for their family, and reconnect with them in a deep and authentic way. The OPEN Method allows parents to show up fully, in all the ways that matter most.

How can parents use the OPEN Method in their daily lives?

Join Justin each Wednesday for the Wednesday Wind-Down as he takes parents through the basics of OPEN. It’s a relaxed, no-pressure session that shows parents how to observe, process, and express their feelings, and then nurture the connection with their True Selves. Each session will be recorded and posted in the group so parents can practice it anytime, anywhere.

If you liked this article, be sure to join us every Wednesday for Wednesday Wind-Down. And if you’re a father or know one, be sure to check out our four-week workshop, OPEN-Hearted Fatherhood: An Emotion-Focused Method for Showing Up as the Father Your Truly Are.

One Big Idea: The OPEN Method

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One Big Idea: The OPEN Method

The OPEN Method is a 4-step mindfulness practice that helps parents understand, accept, and heal their emotional inner worlds so that they can be more present, engaged, and connected with their family.

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Sometimes an idea comes along and it sticks in your brain, starts to shift how you think and act, and eventually settles in as ONE BIG IDEA that becomes a regular part of life.

Every now and then, we’ll drop a big idea here related to one of our Thrive Pillars. We promise to always break these ideas down into easy, digestible, and actionable chunks that parents can use.

Let’s get started!

What is the OPEN Method?

It’s a 4-step mindfulness practice that stands for:

  • O - Observe your embodied emotions
  • P - Process your emotions
  • E - Express your emotions
  • N - Nurture the connection with your Inner Wisdom/True Self

The goal of OPEN is to get us more in touch with what we’re actually feeling so that we can express those feelings, move them through the body (by talking, stretching, deep breathing, or even crying) and then release the feelings so that we can relax back into who we truly are, full of compassion, connectedness, courage, and calm.

Doing this OPEN Method allows us to reconnect in a deep and authentic way with our kids, partner, and other loved ones.

O - Observe means slowing down and becoming aware of the emotions and feelings that happen in our body, below our everyday consciousness. As we go about our day, our focus is on our to-do lists, the latest distraction, or random thoughts. But when we slow down and direct our awareness to the body, we start to experience feelings that were being held beneath the surface.

P - Process means coming to understand what we’re actually feeling through curiosity. Maybe we start by observing tension in our belly or tightness in our shoulders. But when we become curious by asking deeper questions about these feelings, we come to understand ourselves in a deeper, more compassionate way.

E - Express means bringing core feelings to the surface by moving them through the body. This can take the form of talking about the feelings, stretching, shaking out the body, deep breaths, making sounds, or sometimes crying. There’s no wrong way to express—we just listen to what the body wants.

N - Nurture means re-connecting with who we truly are. We can use any words that feel right to describe who we truly are, from ‘True Self’ to ‘Inner Wisdom’ to ‘Spirit.’ When we have unprocessed emotions—that is, emotions that we have ignored, resisted, or avoided—then we can’t be in full connection with who we truly are. When we observe, process, and express these emotions, then we can relax back into this deeper self and live through its boundless love, wisdom, courage, and connection.

Where did the OPEN Method come from?

The OPEN Method was created by Justin Wilford, PhD, co-founder of The Family Thrive and MaxLove Project, after developing several mindfulness programs for childhood cancer families over many years. The programs were partnered with clinical psychologists and researchers and offered families free meditation apps, education, and peer support. And, according to Justin, they all failed.

Parents found it difficult to maintain mindful meditation and didn’t find a lot of benefit in it, regardless of the approach he and his colleagues took. Parents reported having high levels of stress and wanting more help with emotional distress. Justin spent a year researching therapeutic approaches to emotional distress like this and this, and combined the most useful and effective ones into the OPEN Method.

The aim in creating the OPEN Method was to take the best approaches and blend them in a way that could be as light or deep as parents need, parents could do on their own, and could work for a wide range of situations.

Why should parents care about the OPEN Method?

The OPEN Method helps parents process all the challenging emotions (stress, frustration, uncertainty, fear, anger, etc.) that are a normal part of parenting, so that they can easily tap into the love and care they have for their family, and reconnect with them in a deep and authentic way. The OPEN Method allows parents to show up fully, in all the ways that matter most.

How can parents use the OPEN Method in their daily lives?

Join Justin each Wednesday for the Wednesday Wind-Down as he takes parents through the basics of OPEN. It’s a relaxed, no-pressure session that shows parents how to observe, process, and express their feelings, and then nurture the connection with their True Selves. Each session will be recorded and posted in the group so parents can practice it anytime, anywhere.

If you liked this article, be sure to join us every Wednesday for Wednesday Wind-Down. And if you’re a father or know one, be sure to check out our four-week workshop, OPEN-Hearted Fatherhood: An Emotion-Focused Method for Showing Up as the Father Your Truly Are.

Sometimes an idea comes along and it sticks in your brain, starts to shift how you think and act, and eventually settles in as ONE BIG IDEA that becomes a regular part of life.

Every now and then, we’ll drop a big idea here related to one of our Thrive Pillars. We promise to always break these ideas down into easy, digestible, and actionable chunks that parents can use.

Let’s get started!

What is the OPEN Method?

It’s a 4-step mindfulness practice that stands for:

  • O - Observe your embodied emotions
  • P - Process your emotions
  • E - Express your emotions
  • N - Nurture the connection with your Inner Wisdom/True Self

The goal of OPEN is to get us more in touch with what we’re actually feeling so that we can express those feelings, move them through the body (by talking, stretching, deep breathing, or even crying) and then release the feelings so that we can relax back into who we truly are, full of compassion, connectedness, courage, and calm.

Doing this OPEN Method allows us to reconnect in a deep and authentic way with our kids, partner, and other loved ones.

O - Observe means slowing down and becoming aware of the emotions and feelings that happen in our body, below our everyday consciousness. As we go about our day, our focus is on our to-do lists, the latest distraction, or random thoughts. But when we slow down and direct our awareness to the body, we start to experience feelings that were being held beneath the surface.

P - Process means coming to understand what we’re actually feeling through curiosity. Maybe we start by observing tension in our belly or tightness in our shoulders. But when we become curious by asking deeper questions about these feelings, we come to understand ourselves in a deeper, more compassionate way.

E - Express means bringing core feelings to the surface by moving them through the body. This can take the form of talking about the feelings, stretching, shaking out the body, deep breaths, making sounds, or sometimes crying. There’s no wrong way to express—we just listen to what the body wants.

N - Nurture means re-connecting with who we truly are. We can use any words that feel right to describe who we truly are, from ‘True Self’ to ‘Inner Wisdom’ to ‘Spirit.’ When we have unprocessed emotions—that is, emotions that we have ignored, resisted, or avoided—then we can’t be in full connection with who we truly are. When we observe, process, and express these emotions, then we can relax back into this deeper self and live through its boundless love, wisdom, courage, and connection.

Where did the OPEN Method come from?

The OPEN Method was created by Justin Wilford, PhD, co-founder of The Family Thrive and MaxLove Project, after developing several mindfulness programs for childhood cancer families over many years. The programs were partnered with clinical psychologists and researchers and offered families free meditation apps, education, and peer support. And, according to Justin, they all failed.

Parents found it difficult to maintain mindful meditation and didn’t find a lot of benefit in it, regardless of the approach he and his colleagues took. Parents reported having high levels of stress and wanting more help with emotional distress. Justin spent a year researching therapeutic approaches to emotional distress like this and this, and combined the most useful and effective ones into the OPEN Method.

The aim in creating the OPEN Method was to take the best approaches and blend them in a way that could be as light or deep as parents need, parents could do on their own, and could work for a wide range of situations.

Why should parents care about the OPEN Method?

The OPEN Method helps parents process all the challenging emotions (stress, frustration, uncertainty, fear, anger, etc.) that are a normal part of parenting, so that they can easily tap into the love and care they have for their family, and reconnect with them in a deep and authentic way. The OPEN Method allows parents to show up fully, in all the ways that matter most.

How can parents use the OPEN Method in their daily lives?

Join Justin each Wednesday for the Wednesday Wind-Down as he takes parents through the basics of OPEN. It’s a relaxed, no-pressure session that shows parents how to observe, process, and express their feelings, and then nurture the connection with their True Selves. Each session will be recorded and posted in the group so parents can practice it anytime, anywhere.

If you liked this article, be sure to join us every Wednesday for Wednesday Wind-Down. And if you’re a father or know one, be sure to check out our four-week workshop, OPEN-Hearted Fatherhood: An Emotion-Focused Method for Showing Up as the Father Your Truly Are.

Sometimes an idea comes along and it sticks in your brain, starts to shift how you think and act, and eventually settles in as ONE BIG IDEA that becomes a regular part of life.

Every now and then, we’ll drop a big idea here related to one of our Thrive Pillars. We promise to always break these ideas down into easy, digestible, and actionable chunks that parents can use.

Let’s get started!

What is the OPEN Method?

It’s a 4-step mindfulness practice that stands for:

  • O - Observe your embodied emotions
  • P - Process your emotions
  • E - Express your emotions
  • N - Nurture the connection with your Inner Wisdom/True Self

The goal of OPEN is to get us more in touch with what we’re actually feeling so that we can express those feelings, move them through the body (by talking, stretching, deep breathing, or even crying) and then release the feelings so that we can relax back into who we truly are, full of compassion, connectedness, courage, and calm.

Doing this OPEN Method allows us to reconnect in a deep and authentic way with our kids, partner, and other loved ones.

O - Observe means slowing down and becoming aware of the emotions and feelings that happen in our body, below our everyday consciousness. As we go about our day, our focus is on our to-do lists, the latest distraction, or random thoughts. But when we slow down and direct our awareness to the body, we start to experience feelings that were being held beneath the surface.

P - Process means coming to understand what we’re actually feeling through curiosity. Maybe we start by observing tension in our belly or tightness in our shoulders. But when we become curious by asking deeper questions about these feelings, we come to understand ourselves in a deeper, more compassionate way.

E - Express means bringing core feelings to the surface by moving them through the body. This can take the form of talking about the feelings, stretching, shaking out the body, deep breaths, making sounds, or sometimes crying. There’s no wrong way to express—we just listen to what the body wants.

N - Nurture means re-connecting with who we truly are. We can use any words that feel right to describe who we truly are, from ‘True Self’ to ‘Inner Wisdom’ to ‘Spirit.’ When we have unprocessed emotions—that is, emotions that we have ignored, resisted, or avoided—then we can’t be in full connection with who we truly are. When we observe, process, and express these emotions, then we can relax back into this deeper self and live through its boundless love, wisdom, courage, and connection.

Where did the OPEN Method come from?

The OPEN Method was created by Justin Wilford, PhD, co-founder of The Family Thrive and MaxLove Project, after developing several mindfulness programs for childhood cancer families over many years. The programs were partnered with clinical psychologists and researchers and offered families free meditation apps, education, and peer support. And, according to Justin, they all failed.

Parents found it difficult to maintain mindful meditation and didn’t find a lot of benefit in it, regardless of the approach he and his colleagues took. Parents reported having high levels of stress and wanting more help with emotional distress. Justin spent a year researching therapeutic approaches to emotional distress like this and this, and combined the most useful and effective ones into the OPEN Method.

The aim in creating the OPEN Method was to take the best approaches and blend them in a way that could be as light or deep as parents need, parents could do on their own, and could work for a wide range of situations.

Why should parents care about the OPEN Method?

The OPEN Method helps parents process all the challenging emotions (stress, frustration, uncertainty, fear, anger, etc.) that are a normal part of parenting, so that they can easily tap into the love and care they have for their family, and reconnect with them in a deep and authentic way. The OPEN Method allows parents to show up fully, in all the ways that matter most.

How can parents use the OPEN Method in their daily lives?

Join Justin each Wednesday for the Wednesday Wind-Down as he takes parents through the basics of OPEN. It’s a relaxed, no-pressure session that shows parents how to observe, process, and express their feelings, and then nurture the connection with their True Selves. Each session will be recorded and posted in the group so parents can practice it anytime, anywhere.

If you liked this article, be sure to join us every Wednesday for Wednesday Wind-Down. And if you’re a father or know one, be sure to check out our four-week workshop, OPEN-Hearted Fatherhood: An Emotion-Focused Method for Showing Up as the Father Your Truly Are.

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