In our coaching sessions and workshops at True Development, the topic of mindfulness often comes up.
Mindfulness is one of the most effective ways to manage energy, reduce stress, and maintain control over one’s emotions. It is one of the best ways to make sure you are at your best every day.
We often conduct “mindfulness moments” in our programs after lunch breaks when it is important for participants to clear their minds and prepare themselves for the afternoon learning activities.
Learning to be mindful and developing a meditation habit has been extremely helpful to me personally. My resting heart rate is low. I am calmer, more centered, and more able to deal with stress now than at any other time in my life.
Mindfulness is Not Complicated
Many people who have not studied mindfulness assume it is complicated when in fact, mindfulness is very simple.
Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn is a key figure in popularizing mindfulness. If you are interested in mindfulness and have not read his book, Full Catastrophe Living, I highly recommend it (the audio book version is my favorite, as Dr. Kabatt-Zinn narrates it himself in his gentle, insistent voice).
Here is Jon Kabat-Zin’s definition of mindfulness:
Paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.
He explains that paying attention is the way we navigate life so that our emotions do not decide what we will do. Paying attention is the pathway to making wise decisions. It is a recipe for staying calm and happy.
Understanding concepts such as these is easy compared the challenge of applying them consistently. It takes practice.
Dr. Jon Kabatt-Zin
“In the Present Moment”
Being present in the moment is the key to being mindful. Instead of letting your mind run wild, thinking of all the things you must do today or all of the things you are worried about, focus on the here and now.
A simple way to learn mindfulness is to have a Mindful Morning.
The technique is simple: As you go through your morning routine, focus only on what you are doing at the time. Think of nothing else. If someone in your family wants to talk, stop what you are doing and focus on the conversation. Be present. When you eat your breakfast, focus only on enjoying the food. If you find that difficult, play a little relaxing music while you eat. As you walk during the morning, focus on walking and on the sights and sounds you encounter as you walk.
At mid-morning, take five minutes to listen to a guided meditation on Youtube or on an app like Insight Timer. It will give you a little boost and a reminder. Keep your focus on what you are doing, slow down your pace a little, enjoy each moment.
I promise you that if you do this, you will have a very low stress morning, and probably a very low stress day!
To hear more about how I use mindful mornings in my busy schedule, listen to True Talk #10: Mindfulness
Build Up to Mastery
You will not learn to instantly enter a state of mindfulness without practice. For example, meditation is a core mindfulness practice, but the first time you meditate, you will probably feel nothing but boredom or frustration because you will find that it is difficult to stop your mind from racing, or to put aside what is worrying you at the time. It will be a little better the second time. The third time you try it, you should start to feel something. Enjoy your victory and keep going.
How to Learn More
Coursera.com has several excellent mindfulness courses.
Two of my favorites are De-Mystifying Mindfulness and Foundations of Mindfulness. Both are free.
If you want to learn from Jon Kabat-Zinn, you can watch his videos on Youtube, or you can pay for his course on Masterclass.com. Other great mindfulness teachers include Jack Kornfield, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sharon Salzburg, Tara Brach, and Joseph Goldstein. All of them have free videos and resources that are easily found online.
I personally use Insight Timer for quick, guided meditations. I also like to listen to the guided mindfulness meditations from Oren Jay Sofer (Go here to get a link to six free guided meditations from Oren: www.orenjaysofer.com).
I’d love to hear what you think about mindfulness and, if you are already on a learning journey like me, I’d love to know what you are experiencing.
Yours in mindfulness,
True Talk #10 Mindfulness