Julie Potiker

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SNAP! From Chaos to Calm

In her new book, mindfulness expert Julie Potiker shares simple, powerful methods to snap out of stress and into calm


Life is full of potential stressors, from those at home like strained communication with family members to those that can catch us off guard out in the world – everything from a traffic jam to big things like actual disasters. We can’t control what other people bring to the table or what the world will throw at us, but we can learn to stay calm and practice equanimity through the tools of mindfulness, says Julie Potiker, author of the new book “SNAP! From Chaos to Calm.”

A former attorney, Julie is a certified Mindful Self-Compassion teacher and founder of the Balanced Mind Meditation Center in La Jolla, California. She built Mindful Methods for Life, her self-compassion program, on proven research, psychological systems, and positive neuroplasticity techniques to rewire the brain for less stress, more happiness, and greater resilience. Her work has been featured by The Oprah Magazine, Costco Connection, AARP, Mindfulness Journal, SoulSpring, AP News, NBC, CBS, Fox, The CW, and many more.

In her new book, Julie shares the SNAP system — evidence-based mindfulness practices that are easy to learn, remember, and do anywhere, even in the heat of the moment. She created SNAP for busy people who desperately need new ways to respond to life stressors even while juggling the daily demands of family, work, relationships, health, and home. The easy-to-remember acronym stands for:

S: Soothing Touch — When you feel stress, place your hands on your heart, face, arms, belly, or in your other hand to find your body’s soothing touch location. The release of oxytocin and endorphins will help calm your nervous system.
N: Name the Emotion — Name it to tame it, so that you can feel it to heal it. Naming the emotion engages your thinking brain to help you calm down when you are feeling overwhelmed. Then you can apply one of the many appropriate mindful methods to help you feel better.
A: Act — Ask the ultimate Mindful Self-Compassion question: “What do I need right now?” Then do what can reasonably be done with what you’ve got in the moment. There will be more than a dozen techniques unique to you in your toolbox to help you shift your mood. For example:
• Control your breathing, making your exhale longer than your inhale to lower your blood pressure and slow your heart rate.
• Drop your attention to the soles of your feet as you control your breathing to slow the whole show down.
• Breathe in compassion for yourself because it’s so difficult, and breathe out compassion for them because they are suffering (even if their behavior might be disturbing).
• Take a walk.
• Call a friend.
• Listen to music that moves you.
• Pop in a guided meditation.
• Journal.
• Take a bath.
P: Praise — Thank your practice for helping you manage the stress! Thank yourself for showing up day after day, trying to do your best. Thank the universe or your spirit of choice for giving you the strength and courage to keep on keeping on.

“The SNAP method is brilliant,” says psychologist Rick Hanson, senior fellow at UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center and New York Times bestselling author. “In one simple practice, Julie Potiker integrates brain science, mindfulness, compassion, and other effective tools for lifting your mood, easing anxiety, calming stress, and opening your heart.”

Julie’s Story


A mindfulness expert with extensive teacher training in a variety of tools and methods, Julie began her in-depth study of mindfulness after undergoing a serious health scare. In 2006, she began exhibiting speech problems consistent with a brain tumor.

“The wrong words kept coming out of my mouth,” she shares. “I’d say ‘captino’ instead of ‘cappuccino,’ ‘maginal’ instead of ‘magical,’ ‘bunkey burvey’ instead of ‘topsy turvy.’ I went to a neurologist fearing the worst. After a thorough exam, the doctor asked me about my life — what my days consisted of, my family constellation, my schedule and volunteer work. I was a typical baby boomer, sandwiched between three adolescent kids (including identical twin daughters) and aging parents. He asked me whether I had ever heard of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction; I hadn’t. He suggested that mindfulness training was what I needed in order to improve my health.”

On her doctor’s recommendation, Julie signed up for her first MBSR course at the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness. After that initial eight-week class, she became deeply interested in the way our thought patterns can train our brains to act and feel differently.

“In short,” says Julie, “what you think changes your brain. And it doesn’t stop until you’re dead.”

She dove head first into full-blown mindfulness training, taking more than a dozen courses and exploring multiple avenues of study over the next several years, including the groundbreaking new practice of Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC).

“Mindful Self-Compassion was MBSR with the extra component of compassion practice,” Julie says. “Adding a self-compassion practice was just what I needed to take healing to the next level. MBSR was instructive in learning how to locate emotions in my body, but not as helpful to me as MSC in handling the difficult emotions once I found them. I learned skills to soothe myself when times turn rough. My depression vanished, and I managed my issues with anger much better and in a completely new way.”

In 2014, Julie was in the first small group of people trained to teach Mindful Self-Compassion. Now, she shares these and other mindfulness techniques with the world through her SNAP book and methodology, her Mindful Methods for Life trainings, and her first book, “Life Falls Apart, but You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm in the Midst of Chaos,” coming soon on audiobook.

Making Mindfulness Easy as SNAP!


Julie brings her years of experience integrating multiple trainings to her Mindful Methods For Life courses and workshops, to help others bring more peace and wellness into their lives. She teaches her programs in a style that is easy, fun, accessible, and applicable to everyday life. Her unique, often irreverent approach earns consistent praise from students — from stressed-out moms to corporate moguls.

During COVID-19 shelter-in-place, Julie completed additional teacher trainings and certifications including David Treleaven’s Advanced Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness, the Mindful Self-Compassion Adaptation for Healthcare Communities, and the Mindful Self-Compassion short course online. Since then she has added David Kessler’s Grief Educator Training to her extensive continuing education. Her Balanced Mind With Julie Potiker podcast includes more than 100 free guided meditations for any situation.

“SNAP! From Chaos to Calm” includes methods for coping with:

• Anger
• Anxiety (yours and other people’s)
• Grief (personal, global, upon losing a loved one or pet)
• Your inner critic
• Sadness and depression, shame, and guilt
• Political strife and disaster

The book also covers strategies for parenting and for cultivating equanimity, gratitude, and other positive states. Julie shares 25 of her favorite mindful methods plus tips for deepening your mindfulness practice and snapping into self-compassion when life gets tough.

“Mindfulness is the first step in emotional healing,” says Julie. “It’s being able to turn toward and acknowledge our difficult thoughts and feelings — such as inadequacy, sadness, anger, or confusion — with a spirit of openness and curiosity. Self-compassion involves responding to these difficult thoughts and feelings with kindness, sympathy, and understanding so that we soothe and comfort ourselves when we’re hurting. Being both mindful and compassionate leads to greater ease and well-being in our daily lives.”

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Learn more at MindfulMethodsForLife.com.
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