Mindfulness

Foundational Practice Icon

mindfulness –

the act of being mindful.

 

The Practice

Mindfulness as a practice is about personal intimacy. It’s about going inside and exploring your internal landscape as you let go and cultivate acceptance and self-compassion. It’s a pilgrimage you take inside as an act of devotion to your greater well-being.

The Research

  • Mindfulness increases overall well-being by helping people let go of their worries and make peace with their past.

 

  • Mindfulness also supports our well-being by increasing our ability to connect with others therefore increasing social support.

 

  • Research shows that mindfulness has a positive impact on our physical, emotional and mental health.

 

  • Studies have shown that a mindfulness practice can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.

 

  • Experts believe that mindfulness works by helping one accept their emotional experiences more fully rather than create resistance that can further intensify these feelings.

 

  • Research has led psychotherapists to recommend mindfulness practices to help people with complex conditions such as, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, couples’ conflicts, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

How To Start Practicing

Start small – If the idea of mindfulness or meditation is overwhelming start small. Begin by paying more attention to the sights, sounds, sensations, and smells in your life. Keep a journal and spend a little time each night reflecting on what you saw or felt each day.

Explore stillness: Start to identify how much stillness you have in your life and how much you stay in motion. Begin seeking out moments of stillness. Slowing down, taking a walk, being in nature, or sitting silently in the sunshine. Notice how often you talk yourself out of a moment of stillness because you feel the pressure to get things done and not fall behind. Experiment with this notion and see how even a few minutes of slowing down can enhance the rest of your day.

Take five: If you are new to mindfulness and meditation start by carving out five minutes a day to sit quietly and focus on your breath. Although longer sessions offer more long-term benefits, it is more important that you choose an amount of time that is achievable so you can create a sustainable practice. As you start to notice more benefits, you will naturally want to create more time for practice.

Retreat: If you are struggling to get started with your practice it can be helpful to go on retreat and leave your day-to-day life behind for a bit. A mindfulness retreat will teach you new skills, surround you with like-minded people, create some space from your daily responsibilities and give you focused time to jumpstart your practice.

Group meditation: Find a group to practice with on a regular basis. If you can’t find one, create one with a few other people. The group structure can help provide some integrity for your practice and the support from the other members of your group will help you be consistent.

Resources To Support Your Practice

Book

Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

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Book

The Mindful Brain by Daniel J. Siegel

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Book

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Workbook

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Magazine

Mindful Magazine

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Online Learning

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

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Articles

The Pema Chödrön Foundation

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Online Learning

Mindful Schools

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