Dr. Pamm Honored By Who’s Who

Dr. Pamm is once again honored to be included in the Who’s Who of Professional Women for 2020.

Getting Your Kids Unhooked from Their Smart Phones

“Setting guidelines around kids’ tech use starts with the habits and conscious choices of parents,” says Mark Bertin in his recent article on Mindful.org. His tips will help you and your family to be mindful with your tech.

Why We’re Concerned about Too Much Tech Time

Parents intuitively know that they’d like to spend more device-free time with their families, but many of them find it difficult to enforce limited-screen-time policies. Research confirms parent’s concerns, showing that children spend on average seven hours a day looking at screens. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero time for children younger than 18 months, only 1 hour for kids ages 2 – 5, and 2 hours total time for older kids.

Developing Executive Brain Function

Only 2 hours of screen time daily may seem like a draconian punishment for many children, but parents will do well to remember that their kids lack the developmental wisdom to self limit. As Bertin reminds us,

Kids don’t want to hear that outside of homework too much screen time actually impacts healthy development. However, since children lack mature executive function, cognitive skills required to manage life like a grown up,  wise decision-making around screens remains limited until they learn better. As strong a pull as children feel, healthy technology use relies on parents.

Just think of how easy it is to “get lost” in our own devices with our fully-developed adult brains. Then, think of our young people, whose executive functions for managing attention, prioritizing, planning, controlling impulses, and considering the future are not fully developed. It’s easy to see that limiting their own device usage might be nearly impossible. 

Some Negative Effects of Phone Addiction

Bertin is quick to point out that “well-moderated phone activities may augment learning, but hundreds of studies show that when devices drive their own use, consequences follow.” Examples include:

  • Short- and long-term attention and executive function suffer. 
  • Sleep becomes disrupted.
  • Screen time can interfere with language, communication, and other forms of social engagement. 
  • Screen time breeds behavioral difficulties. 

Ways to Be Mindful with Your Tech as a Family

Consider Bertin’s observation that “wherever technology helps, educates, or entertains in a balanced way, that’s perfect. When its use is driven by boredom, fear, or compulsion, mindfulness means pausing and redirecting our behavior.”

Tips for Mindful Screen Time:

  • Start with yourselfchildren learn an awful lot just from watching their parents.
  • Parents decide how muchwhat percentage of unscheduled down time goes directly to a screen?
  • Parents decide when.
  • Parents monitor content. 
  • Remember that screens are a privilege, not a right. 
  • Make active choices – awareness is the core of mindfulness, stepping from autopilot into active decision-making.

Mindfully yours,

Dr. Pamm

How to Teach Your Kids about Their Inner Critic

Dr. Hazel Harrison has good advice for you to help your child explore and overcome self-critical thoughts. I pondered her idea of “The Critical Critter” as a fun way for children to handle the difficult subject of negative self-talk, and realized that this method could also work for adults who need a gentle way to address their own negative thinking. I encourage you to read her entire article, but here are the points I find especially helpful:

  1. Exploring self-critical thoughts can often feel like heavy, exhausting work, so using a playful approach can help children bring a certain amount of lightness to balance out the heavy work of noticing unhelpful habits and challenging them or approaching them differently.
  2. Referring to our inner critic as “The Critical Critter” helps children understand when they’re being too hard on themselves and also the crucial lesson that thoughts are not facts. Just because we think we’re rubbish at something doesn’t make it true.
  3. Think of some age-appropriate examples to share with your child about what the Critical Critter does. For example:
    • At age seven, our internal critic bursts into fits of self-incriminating giggles when we trip during a race.
    • Aged 16, it hides under the exam desk and repeatedly whispers “You’re gonna fail at this!”
  4. Teach them ways to shrink the Critical Critter, such as
    • Name their Critter. It will help them to notice when it’s at work and give them power to tame the harsh words.
    • Take the BFF test. Ask your child, “Would you speak like this to your best friend?” If the answer is “no,” it’s time to squash that negative self-talk, encourage them to be their own BFF (Best Friends Forever). Ask them to think about what they would say to a friend in a similar position, and also HOW they would say it.
    • Answer back. When it comes to the Critter, kids need to boss them back with statements like ““That’s enough out of you, Critter — I’m doing my best.”
    • Call for Backup. If your child is trying to master something new, the Critter may pop up. Encourage them to prove the Critter wrong by seeking the advice and support of people who have done it before — people who will say “You can do it.”
    • Create a positive moments practice. To cope with the Critter’s relentless criticism, it’s important that kids find things about themselves that they like. Each day, help your child find time to notice the things — no matter how small they are — that went well because of them. Encouraging a regular gratitude practice is a great way to build resilience, self-compassion, and to keep the Critter quiet!

Mindfully yours,

Dr. Pamm

10 Ways Mindfulness Is Driving Real Change

Barry Boyce, editor of Mindful magazine, has written an excellent article describing ways that mindfulness practice is helping us in these anxious and divisive times. My own experiences and those of my clients affirm his observations that mindfulness is “being used to cultivate a more deeply connected, content, and compassionate world.” Here are the 10 ways that Mr. Boyce observes, with links for further reading, if you’re as intrigued as I am:

  1. In hospitals and doctors’ offices, mindfulness training is making doctors better listeners, lowering their stress, and improving patients’ health with methods that complement traditional medicine.
  2. In classrooms, teachers are using mindfulness methods to foster learning environments with more emotional intelligence—teaching the whole student, mind and body together.
  3. First responders and soldiers are using mindfulness techniques to become more resilient, and trauma sufferers are using it to heal.
  4. In businesses in sector after sector, mindfulness and awareness—and yes, kindness and compassion—are increasing job performance and satisfaction.
  5. Neuroscientists and other researchers are putting mindfulness under the microscope, and learning more each day about what we’re capable of when our minds are more in tune.
  6. Tech innovators find that a little bit of mindfulness gives them the space to look at the bigger picture and try to solve real problems, not just create more distraction.
  7. Lawyers and judges are using mindfulness to avoid the burnout that leads to increased conflict and bad decision-making.
  8. Teen mindfulness programs are helping young people navigate the perils and pitfalls that come with starting out in life, empowering them to find their own sense of purpose.
  9. Marginalized youth are getting chances they might not have had without the opportunity to learn mindfulness skills that synchronize their bodies and minds.
  10. Politicians and public servants at the municipal, state, and federal level—in many different countries—are seeing how mindfulness can bring civility and clarity in the midst of chaotic, challenging times.

Mindfully yours,

Dr. Pamm

Using Mindfulness to Treat Depression and Anxiety

Tools to Recognize and Talk Back to Negative Thoughts

I’ve seen wonderful results for my clients who embrace mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy (MCBT). As psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman says, “If MCBT were a drug, some pharmaceutical company would be making billions of dollars.”

Goleman does a masterful job explaining the science behind MCBT in this post’s featured video. In short, it works by

  1. taking the power away from depressing thoughts
  2. shifting our focus to evidence of positive things in our lives
  3. lowering anxiety

Put another way, mindfulness draws attention to our thoughts and feelings. Cognitive therapy helps us to work through them.

Watch what Dr. Goleman has to say about areas of the brain that are affected by MCBT and the results of major studies on its effectiveness:


Mindfully yours,


Dr. Pamm

Mindfullness Workshop for Teachers

More Effective Teacher-Student Connections in the Classroom

Mindfullness practice can help teachers to engage more effectively with students.

Mindfullness practice can help teachers to engage more effectively with students.


“On Monday, WMS Faculty and Staff members attended a Mindfulness workshop led by Dr. Pamela Cappetta. Dr. Pamm is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She is also a mindfulness practitioner and teacher. In the workshop, tools were given to help teachers and staff practice daily applications of mindfulness in living and teaching. Attendees were also taught how to recognize unproductive patterns, both within themselves and in students and learned how to respond more effectively. All of our faculty and staff members are excited to share and engage their students in the practice of mindfulness.”

– Khalilah Davis, Williamsburg Montessori School

Invite Dr. Pamm to Your Event

Dr. Pamm is a popular speaker and teacher of Mindfulness Practice. Contact her to learn how she can enrich your next event.


Happiness Begins with Gratitude

New neuroscience reveals 4 rituals that will make you happy

Best-selling author Eric Barker recently shared some insights about happiness on Ladders.com. What makes Barker’s points so interesting is the neuroscience behind them. For example, did you know that gratitude affects your brain at the biological level? Scientists have shown that feelings of gratitude boost the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is the same way that some antidepressant medications work.

Want to know more? I encourage you to read Barker’s entire article, but here’s a summary of what brain research says will make you happy:

  1. Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.
  2. Label those negative emotions. Give them a name and your brain isn’t so bothered by them.
  3. Decide. Go for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
  4. Give and get hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch.

Once you’re on the gratitude path, it will lead to an upward spiral of happiness, the author explains. To get started, it could be as simple as sending someone a thank you email or text message.

Is gratitude really that powerful? Barker thinks so. He concludes with these observations from UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb:

Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier.


Mindfully yours,


Dr. Pamm

When Work Stress Keeps You Awake, Try Mindfulness

Even short meditation training brings relief from stress

We now have years of research showing the negative effects of stress on our wellbeing. Happily, we also have years of research on mindfulness practice and its proven ability to bring calmness to our mind and body.

Not surprisingly, workplace stress is a common cause of sleeplessness. As Adam Hoffman’s excellent article in Mindful magazine notes, about 85% of American workers report losing sleep due to job stress. Lack of sleep decreases our coping abilities, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed by stress.  

When we’re stressed, the smallest task may seem huge, but de-stressing can be very simple. Studies show that even a small amount of mindfulness meditation will help calm our hyperactive minds and grant us restorative sleep.

For example, Hoffman describes a study done in the Netherlands in which people  with no formal meditation training read some basic tenets of mindfulness and listened to a few recorded guided meditations over the course of two workweeks. Using these tools for only 10 minutes before and after work each day, these participants experienced steady improvements in sleep quality, sleep duration, and mindfulness.

The researchers did not see improved ability for the participants to detach psychologically from work, but it’s likely they would see improvement with more intense mindfulness practice or if they practiced for longer periods of time.

Making mindfulness practice part if your life on a regular and ongoing basis has real benefits. As these studies show, you may notice the first improvement in your sleep, because sleep quality seems to be highly sensitive to the practice. As you continue mindfulness practice, you’re likely to see its positive effects in many aspects of your mental, emotional,  and physical health.

Mindfully yours,


Dr. Pamm

Can Mindfulness Help You to Stop Drinking?

Regain Freedom with Mindfulness Practice 

Whether you’ve been struggling with addiction or are just wondering if you have a drinking problem, consider mindfulness practice as a way to free yourself from dependence on alcohol.

I’ve long believed and taught my clients that it’s possible to develop and bring mindfulness into all activities of daily life, both internal and external. Keri Wiginton’s recent article in The Washington Post reveals how she learned to focus more on the present moment and was able to break her unwanted drinking habit.

Keri credits mindfulness techniques with identifying what triggered her cravings. By observing those behaviors in a non-judging way and being in the moment with those cravings, she was able to stop “pairing stress-relief with Shiraz” and felt fewer urges to use alcohol.

Benefits she experienced from mindfulness practice include

  • fewer urges to use alcohol
  • feeling more present in the evenings
  • uninterrupted sleep
  • no morning mood swings

Her results are not unique, but have been duplicated in controlled studies. As she notes,

Practicing just 11 minutes of mindfulness — like paying attention to your breath — helped heavy drinkers cut back, according to a study out of University College London. Brewer showed that using awareness techniques were more effective than the gold-standard behavioral treatment at getting people to quit smoking.

Drinking too much isn’t the only habit that can be relieved with these techniques. Any behavior that gets in the way of your happiest life could benefit from mindfulness practice.

Mindfully yours,

Dr. Pamm

Lifetime Achievement Award for Dr. Pamm

The Marquis Who’s Who has presented Pamela Cappetta, Ed.D., with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Dr. Cappetta celebrates many years’ experience in her professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes she has accrued in her field. Read more about Dr. Pamm’s achievements and recent honor.

When Teachers Learn Mindfulness, Students Win

UVA Study: Mindfulness Improves Classroom Climate

It’s no secret that many teachers suffer stress from being overworked, devalued, and underpaid. And teachers aren’t the only ones feeling stressed-out in the classroom today: When teachers feel pressured, students can easily become stressed themselves, impacting their well-being and their academic achievement, as well. 

New evidence strongly indicates, however, that mindfulness training for teachers can create a classroom environment that’s more emotionally positive, says a new study from University of Virginia researchers. The study was reported in “Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life,” from the University of California, Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.

“If you’re a teacher, you can’t walk out while you’re teaching; and if you’re a student, you can’t walk out, either—it puts a level of pressure on teachers that I don’t think many people recognize,” said Patricia Jennings, the lead author of the study, which involved 224 teachers from 36 elementary schools.

Teachers in the study were given instruction through CARE (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education), a mindfulness-based program designed to teach awareness, stress reduction, and emotional skills. And results indicate that the training improved teachers’ mindfulness, increased their ability to manage difficult emotions, and lowered their psychological distress.

“I had a very strong suspicion that emotional reactivity was interfering with  teachers’ ability to be their best, and that the solution wasn’t just a matter of teaching more skills,” Jennings said. “It was really a matter of teaching them to self-regulate so they could be their best.” 

This latest study is just one in a growing body of research strongly suggesting that mindfulness training increases teacher well-being and improves the emotional climate of their classrooms—an important link with students’ academic achievement. I encourage you to read more about this study, be aware of what’s going on in your children’s classrooms, and do whatever you can to support the well-being of teachers, in whose care our children spend most of their young lives. 

As Jennings says, “If we don’t turn the corner on how we’re helping our teachers, we’re not going to have enough teachers to do the job.”

View the article at Greater Good


Mindfully yours,

Dr. Pamm

Good Relationships Make a Good Life

Long-Term Studies Reveal Keys to Happiness

Want to be happy? Develop and maintain close relationships with people you can count on. Be your true self with them. Those are the keys according to two long-term studies conducted by Harvard University.

“It’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship. It’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.”

So says Robert Waldinger, current director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest longitudinal studies ever conducted on our physical and emotional well-being.

As author Melanie Curtin points out in her summary[1] of this study, one thing surpasses all the rest in terms of importance:

“Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period. Not how much is in your 401(k). Not how many conferences you spoke at … or how much power you wielded … No, the biggest predictor of your happiness and fulfillment overall in life is, basically, love.”[2]

Note that “love” doesn’t necessarily mean a romantic relationship. It’s more about having someone to rely on.

In quality relationships we

  • feel more relaxed
  • enjoy better brain health
  • feel less emotional and physical pain
  • avoid loneliness, which keeps us healthier longer[3]

What makes quality relationships?

  • how much vulnerability and depth exists within them
  • how safe we feel sharing with one another
  • the extent to which we can relax and be seen for who we truly are, and truly see another
  • being able to cope with trauma in ways that don’t push love away

I encourage you to read more of the author’s tips to prioritize your connections and your capacity to process emotions and stress. As she so aptly states, “… the data is clear that, in the end, you could have all the money you’ve ever wanted, a successful career, and be in good physical health, but without loving relationships, you won’t be happy.”[4]

Peace and happiness,


Dr. Pamm

[1] Melanie Curtin, “This 75-Year Harvard Study Found the 1 Secret to Leading a Fulfilling Life,” Inc., Feb. 27, 2017.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

A 10 Minute Guided Meditation to Foster Forgiveness

Forgiveness Helps Us Let Go of Whatever Holds Us Back

I often work with clients who are weighed down by feelings of anger and resentment over old hurts. Sometimes they’re burdened by guilt caused by their own actions. Either way, peace comes through forgiving others and ourselves.

If there’s someone you’d like to forgive, but don’t know how to do it, I encourage you to listen Dr. Mark Bertin’s guided meditation below. Through the simple story of two monks who encounter a rude woman, he gently illustrates the way that we add to our negative experiences by fostering anger and resentment. Then, he leads us through a mindful release into a state of forgiveness. A transcript of the meditation is available on Mindful.org as well.



Dr. Pamm

Stuck in Therapy? 3 Ways to Make the Progress You Want

How to Make Progress in Therapy

Therapy has the power to transform our lives. So why does research shows that it’s effective only 50 percent of the time? Author Jon Frederickson explains in his article “Stuck in Therapy?”[1] that although therapist effectiveness varies, the main variable in successful therapy is the patient. That’s right, if you’re feeling stuck in therapy, it might be time to consider these ideas:

First, decide on a clear internal problem to resolve in therapy.

If you want to fix a problem, it helps to be clear with yourself and your therapist about the nature of the problem you want to resolve. It’s crucial to make sure that it’s a problem you have and not someone else. No therapist can fix a problem for someone she’s not seen … besides, blaming others doesn’t help you to grow.

Second, face what you usually avoid.

Talking alone doesn’t resolve problems. Facing the truths we’ve avoided and discussing them with a skilled therapist does. When your therapist points out something that’s painful, try not to argue or dismiss the concept. Be present to the idea and consider that the therapist may be helping you face what’s difficult. That’s where change and healing begin.

Finally, go toward what makes you anxious.

It can be hard, but therapy is the best place to face the things that make us anxious so they can stop taking control of our lives. By facing them, we take charge. As Mr. Frederickson so aptly states,

“If we avoid what makes us anxious, we don’t become stronger; we just get better at avoiding. Meanwhile, life goes by and our therapy money goes down the drain. If you are not somewhat anxious in therapy, chances are you are not facing what you need to face.”[2]

I’ve seen these truths with so many patients over the years. I agree that you’ll reach your goals and get the most out of therapy if you’re clear about the problem you want to resolve, you’re willing to face what you usually avoid, and you move toward what makes you anxious. Trust the process – it works!



Dr. Pamm

[1] Jon Frederickson, “Stuck in Therapy?”, LinkedIn, Jan. 11, 2017

[2] Ibid.

Self Love Is Key to Getting the Love We Want

Lack of Self Love Sabotages Relationships

Many relationship problems come from our subconscious belief that we aren’t worthy of love. If self-love is a problem for us, we’ll seek love, respect, and acceptance from others, but feel disappointed when they don’t provide the kind we want. Even more frustrating, we’ll sabotage a potentially loving relationship because our inner voice tells us we don’t deserve love and happiness.

Marriage counselors Katie and Gay Hendricks have analyzed this common problem and share excellent advice on their Hearts in Harmony website. I encourage you to learn the telltale behaviors caused by this subconscious problem. They also explain that

Loving yourself isn’t about being conceited. It’s about accepting yourself and your feelings and not needing to look to outside sources to feel like you’re worthy of love and consideration.[1]

What Does Self-Love Feel Like?

Once we understand where this lack of self love comes from, we can begin to heal and welcome love into our lives. How do we know what self love feels like if we’ve never had it? The Hendricks offer this helpful list:

  • Loving yourself means you don’t hide who you really are. You share your feelings – even the messy ones – and own up the truth of your life and your mistakes.
  • You don’t need to prove anything to anyone, because you know the only opinion that matters about your self-worth is your own.
  • You don’t accept bad treatment, or social pressure, or feel compelled to do things you don’t want to do just because you are “supposed to.”
  • You can fully accept and enjoy being loved by someone else. You aren’t doubtful of their feelings. You never worry if their love will end, or if you aren’t good enough, or unworthy.
  • You aren’t afraid of getting hurt. You don’t push love away, or run away, or subconsciously create reasons why your relationship will let you down.
  • You are at peace with yourself, and can channel your energy into CREATING what you want, not PROTECTING what you don’t want to lose.
  • You feel giddy, light… free.[2]



Dr. Pamm

[1] Katie and Gay Hendricks, “Why Constantly Complaining About How Others Treat You Could Be A Sign Of A Much Deeper Truth… About Yourself,” Hearts in Harmony,

[2] Ibid.