- Mindfulness: East to West
- Benefits of Mindfulness
- How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation
- Mindfulness Exercises & Resources
In today’s world, busyness is synonymous with daily life.
We grew up being taught that we need to strive for our dreams and desires and the happiness that ultimately results from accomplishing and acquiring them.
For many of us, we seem to thrive in the chaos and almost enjoy the busyness. However, we also acknowledge that we’ve lost something in the chaos.
While it’s enjoyable to strive for our goals and dreams and even to have a busy and eventful life, most of us do it while neglecting our own well-being and never stopping to really enjoy the journey, all the while being fixated on “tomorrow”, when everything perfectly aligns and we finally accomplish all of our goals.
However, this day never comes because we’ve conditioned ourselves to always look to the future. Even if we accomplish our initial goals, we create new goals to replace the old ones and never find ourselves capable of stopping and appreciating this moment of our life.
This is where mindfulness can help. Mindfulness can be described as a moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness of present events.
In mindfulness, we learn to be with each moment fully without judging it, without wanting something different than what’s going on now, and without layering the story we tell ourselves, about ourselves ("you’re not good enough”, etc.), over the real experience, which so often leads us into trouble.
Mindfulness teaches us how to be fully present to this moment of our life, both on a surface level, “As I breathe, I know that I am breathing” and on a much deeper level such as fully noticing the precious gift of being here, truly present, for our loved ones.
In this way, it counteracts our conditioned, habitual, tendency to rush around on autopilot and fixate on tomorrow. We can continue to work towards our goals, look towards tomorrow, and live our life while being able to enjoy ourselves more fully in each moment along the way, truly enjoying the journey and appreciating our life now, without needing it to be any different than it is.
Mindfulness: East to West
Mindfulness is an originally Eastern principle and practice, most notably existing prominently in Buddhist practice. However, mindfulness, both as a quality to cultivate and as a practice, has now begun to gain “mainstream” acceptance in the West with an avalanche of research supporting numerous benefits of the practice.
Northern Arizona University noted as a part of its Buddhist healthy study, where they studied 866 Buddhist practitioners to find out how significantly people are able to have a positive impact on their well-being, both physical and psychological, by what they do:
"Meditative mindfulness practices have been shown to positively alter the structure and neural patterns in the brain and strengthen the brain regions associated with heightened sensory processing and empathetic response (ibid,, 576) Therefore, individuals who regularly practices mindfulness training are quite literally reforming the structure of their brains to achieve desired outcomes. 'We are finding more and more that the human brain is quite adaptable, as we have learnt that the brain reroutes information through new neuropathways, so in addition to the mind being adaptable, the brain too has this quality,' Sullivan explains. Individuals who said they meditated even once a day reported greater psychological mindfulness.” 1
It’s important to note that when we talk about mindfulness, we're talking about both the practice of mindfulness and the quality of mindfulness, which is developed through practice:
"Psychological mindfulness is a trait-like quality in which the individual maintains an open, accepting, present focus or attention during day-to-day life whereas mindfulness-based meditative practices include a type of mindfulness-based meditation that includes focusing on something specific, such as the individual’s breath or an object to bring awareness and concentration to the present moment (ibid., 567).” 1
Over the past three decades, research has begun to mount in support of mindfulness practice as a tool for greater mental and physical health and overall well-being.
The list below includes not only the benefits of cultivating the quality of mindfulness but also the benefits of the practice as a tool as well.
Benefits of Mindfulness
7 Key Benefits of Mindfulness Training:
- A healthier mind- Including reduced stress, anxiety, and depression and the ability to better handle said conditions.
- A healthier body- Including strengthened physiological responses to stress and negative emotions, improved immune system, and the ability to better cope with chronic physical pain.
- A more resilient mind- Including the ability to better cope with difficult thoughts and emotions without becoming overwhelmed, also leading to greater contentment.
- A more open and stable state of mind- Including greater conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience.
- A healthier social life and improved relationships- Including improved social relationships with both friends and strangers and greater empathy and compassion.
- Greater mindfulness (as a psychological trait or quality)- Which includes an improved level of awareness which is clearer and more grounded in reality as well as greater attention to one’s mental processes (including consciousness itself) and the physical body.
- A path to insight- Including the ability to cultivate key insights into the nature of phenomena (including oneself), which can lead to greater peace and happiness.
The benefits listed below are separated based on the above key benefits (or major categories):
1. A Healthier Mind
Reduced Stress and Anxiety (and the Ability to Better Cope with Said Conditions)
Of all the benefits of mindfulness training, this is perhaps the most talked about. This is likely the case for two reasons, the first being how severe a problem stress is currently in the U.S. and abroad:
"30% Percent of U.S. adults say stress strongly impacts their physical health; 33 percent say it strongly impacts their mental health” 7
Numerous studies have shown that mindfulness training reduces stress and anxiety along with other conditions. As the American Psychological Association reports:
"In one study, participants randomly assigned to an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction group were compared with controls on self-reported measures of depression, anxiety and psychopathology, and on neural reactivity as measured by fMRI after watching sad films (Farb et al., 2010). The researchers found that the participants who experienced mindfulness-based stress reduction had significantly less anxiety, depression and somatic distress compared with the control group."
The same report goes on to mention:
"In 2010, Hoffman et al. conducted a meta-analysis of 39 studies that explored the use of mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. The researchers concluded that mindfulness-based therapy may be useful in altering affective and cognitive processes that underlie multiple clinical issues."
Stress and anxiety are generally accompanied by a loss of perspective. By becoming more mindful, we can gain clarity about our experiences and see that our thoughts and feelings don’t define us and that we ultimately control the situation.
However, there’s more to mindfulness training than simply understanding our thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness practice brings us in touch with our body in a way that few of us have ever experienced.
By doing so, we learn that our mind and body are connected in an intimate way, the body affecting the mind and the mind affecting the body. Through this, we learn to use mindful breathing, as well as other mindfulness practices that deal with the physical body, to calm the mind.
Depression is a serious disorder which will reportedly affect 10% of all adults at some point in their life. On top of that, the number of patients diagnosed with depression reportedly increases about 20% every year.
Mark Williams, author, researcher, and co-creator of the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy program, which has successfully treated conditions such as depression, reports this in his book Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World:
“Depression is taking a staggering toll on the modern world. Around 10 percent of the population can expect to become clinically depressed over the coming year. And things are likely to become worse. The World health Organization estimates that depression will impose the second-biggest health burden globally by 2020. Think about that for a moment. Depression will impose a bigger burden than heart disease, arthritis and many forms of cancer on both individuals and society in less than a decade.”
Another staggering statistic is that as much as 80% of people who have symptoms of clinical depression aren’t receiving any form of treatment.6
Traditionally, antidepressants have been the go-to prescription for clinical depression. However, mindfulness training and continued practice has now shown to be potentially as effective as antidepressants in dealing with the symptoms of depression:
"Participants in remission from depression after eight months of taking antidepressants were split into three groups: They either continued taking antidepressants, participated in a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) program, or were given a placebo treatment. Participants in the MBCT group attended eight weekly two-hour meetings in which they learned how to monitor their thought patterns when they felt depressed, how to avoid ruminating on negative thoughts, and how to engage in more reasoned reflection on their thoughts and situation instead. For those patients who had experienced depressive symptoms during the remission phase prior to the study, MBCT training was as effective as antidepressants at protecting them from a relapse of depression, and more effective than a placebo treatment.”7
The American Psychological Association also reports:
"In one study, for example, Chambers et al. (2008) asked 20 novice meditators to participate in a 10-day intensive mindfulness meditation retreat. After the retreat, the meditation group had significantly higher self-reported mindfulness and a decreased negative affect compared with a control group. They also experienced fewer depressive symptoms and less rumination."
Other Benefits Contributing to a Healthy Mind:
Mindfulness helps us with more than just stress, anxiety, and depression, though. Mindfulness has been shown to:
- Boost working memory
- Improve focus
- Increase positive emotions and decrease negative emotions,
- And even reduce the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in soldiers.
- Mindfulness has also be shown to increase the density of grey matter in our brains, which is linked to empathy, emotion regulation, learning, and memory.
2. A Healthier Body
Mindfulness’ ability to help us manage chronic pain is now well-documented. How does it do this? There are a few reasons, however, it primarily comes down to one principle:
The story we tell ourselves about the pain vs. the actual pain itself
When we experience physical pain (especially chronic pain), we don’t just experience the pain alone, we experience the mind- thoughts and feelings- layered over that pain.
“I can’t do it.”, “I’m so tired of this.”, and feelings of exhaustion and disappointment are all things we experience alongside chronic pain. These thoughts and feelings, however, aren’t the pain itself and rather make the pain feel more intense.
This is why mindfulness is so powerful for chronic pain. One of the things mindfulness does best is to help us separate the story we tell ourselves about a situation from reality itself by giving us clarity of awareness.
And as mentioned, this isn’t just personal opinion. Mindfulness ability to help us manage chronic pain has been validated by recent scientific research. As Michael Hogan Ph.D. of Psychology Today reports:
"Schutze, Rees, Preece, and Schutze carried out a cross-sectional study of 104 chronic pain patients attending a pain clinic with a view to assessing how mindfulness interacted with pain, fear, avoidance, and disability. They found that lower levels of mindfulness significantly predicted pain intensity, negative affect, pain catastrophising, pain related fear, pain hyper-vigilance, and functional disability, contributing 17 to 41 percent of the variance of each. The results also showed that mindfulness uniquely predicted pain catastrophising and moderated the relationship between pain intensity and pain catastrophising. The authors argued that the extent to which a person engages in negative ruminations and catastrophic thinking about their pain may depend on their ability to be mindful.”
Surprisingly, mindfulness training also helps you lose weight and encourages healthier eating habits. Jill Suttie of Greatergood.berkeley.edu reports:
"Researchers are learning that teaching obese individuals mindful eating skills—like paying closer attention to their bodies’ hunger cues and learning to savor their food—can help them change unhealthy eating patterns and lose weight. And, unlike other forms of treatment, mindfulness may get at the underlying causes of overeating—like craving, stress, and emotional eating—which make it so hard to defeat."
Another surprising benefit of mindfulness training is that it may boost our immune system’s ability to fight off illness.
In one study, changes were observed in both the brain and the body’s immune function with mindfulness meditation training.15
Another benefit uncovered by a recent University of Utah study suggests that mindfulness may help improve your sleep quality:
“'People who reported higher levels of mindfulness described better control over their emotions and behaviors during the day. In addition, higher mindfulness was associated with lower activation at bedtime, which could have benefits for sleep quality and future ability to manage stress,' study researcher Holly Rau said in a statement."16
3. A More Resilient Mind
Coping with Difficult Thoughts and Emotions
In the same way that mindfulness allows us to cultivate a healthier mind by helping us better cope with stress, mindfulness helps us cope with difficult thoughts and emotions in a more skillful way.
Greater resilience has been one of the most well-documented benefits of mindfulness training to date. Researchers Badri Bajaj and Neerja Pande studied the effects of mindfulness training on resiliency and related qualities. In a recent report in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, they noted:
“Individuals with higher mindfulness have greater resilience, thereby increasing their life satisfaction.”
They went on to mention:
“Mindful people ... can better cope with difficult thoughts and emotions without becoming overwhelmed or shutting down (emotionally)...Pausing and observing the mind may (help us) resist getting drawn into wallowing in a setback.”
It's due to findings such as this, along with the findings on mindfulness' ability to help reduce the effects of PTSD noted earlier, that even the United States military has begun utilizing mindfulness programs to help soldiers better handle the stresses of service before and after their deployments.
Less Emotional Reactivity
Along with greater resiliency, mindfulness also helps decrease our emotional reactivity.
Emotional reactivity is often described as "involuntary and usually overly intense reaction to an external emotional stimulus, which often leads to feeling victimized by your emotions".
The sense of spaciousness that mindfulness practice cultivates in us allows us to respond more skillfully to all kinds of stimulus, including emotions.
In a study of mindfulness meditation practitioners, researchers discovered that the practice helped participants disengage from emotionally upsetting pictures and allowed them to focus better when compared with those who saw the pictures but did not meditate.
More Cognitive Flexibility
In Buddhist practice, the word insight is used for a collection of "discoveries" which can be made about yourself, the world around you, and the relationship between the two.
Until recently, mindfulness' role in this process was only documented in Buddhist literature. However, recently, many of these various "insights" and their causes have begun to be validated by scientific research.
One key to these insights arising is breaking the old psychological patterns with which we're used to looking at, and seeing, the world with so that we can observe reality more "clearly".
The example I often give is that we're all walking around with a set of color-tinted glasses. Through practice, we can gradually begin to lift these many tinted lenses, until the point that we can observe our mind or "reality" clearly without obstruction.
As the American Psychological Association reports:
"One study found that people who practice mindfulness meditation appear to develop the skill of self-observation, which neurologically disengages the automatic pathways that were created by prior learning and enables present-moment input to be integrated in a new way (Siegel, 2007a).
The same report goes on to say:
"Meditation also activates the brain region associated with more adaptive responses to stressful or negative situations (Cahn & Polich, 2006; Davidson et al., 2003). Activation of this region corresponds with faster recovery to baseline after being negatively provoked (Davidson, 2000; Davidson, Jackson, & Kalin, 2000)."
Other Benefits to a Strong and More Resilient Mind:
Studies have found that mindfulness not only improves resilience, it also improves:
- Mental and physical stamina
- Working memory
- Creativity and working memory
- Attention span
- Reaction speeds
- and emotional intelligence 17
4. A More Open and Stable State of Mind
By a more open and stable state of mind, this point refers to mindfulness' ability to stabilize us emotionally and overall open us psychologically to both other people and experience itself.
This includes a number of benefits including greater openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and a negative relation to neuroticism.
In Everyday mindfulness and mindfulness meditation: Overlapping constructs or not? Brian Thompson and Jennifer Waltz report:
"Relationships between mindfulness and personality characteristics found in this study support Brown and Ryan’s (2003) findings that everyday mindfulness is negatively correlated with neuroticism. As Brown and Ryan suggest, being mindful may lower neurotic tendencies, or neuroticism may interfere with mindfulness."
The report goes on:
"Results do indicate a positive relationship between everyday mindfulness and agreeableness and conscientiousness. This makes intuitive sense. As conscientiousness refers to a degree of organization and motivation in carrying out goals, it would seem that one would need to be mindful to be conscientious. Agreeableness is characterized by compassion, humility, and a concern for others. As these are all very Buddhist virtues (although not exclusive to Buddhism), this finding supports the traditional notion of a relationship between the cultivation of mindfulness and the development of greater compassion."20
This point is in direct correlation with the next collection of benefits, A Healthier Social Life and Improved Relationships, because it's these qualities such as agreeableness, in part, that allow us to cultivate stronger and healthier relationships with others both within our own mind (how we relate to others) and in our real life.
5. A Healthier Social Life and Improved Relationships
Compassion (and Empathy)
Over the past two decades, research has begun to document evidence of the connection between mindfulness and compassion. Specifically, that mindfulness increases empathy and compassion for others and for oneself.20
Empathy is often separated from compassion. However, it's important to note that empathy, at least from the Buddhist perspective, is really just a piece of compassion.
Empathy without compassion is incomplete. Compassion isn't just the ability to feel what the other person feels, it's also to have the desire to relieve that person's suffering. Hence, why compassion and empathy are combined into one category.
As the American Psychological Association reports:
"Several studies suggest that mindfulness promotes empathy. One study, for example, looked at premedical and medical students who participated in an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction training. It found that the mindfulness group had significantly higher self-reported empathy than a control group (Shapiro, Schwartz, & Bonner, 1998)."
The report goes on to say that:
"Mindfulness-based stress reduction training has also been found to enhance self-compassion among health-care professionals (Shapiro, Astin, Bishop, & Cordova, 2005) and therapist trainees (Shapiro, Brown, & Biegel, 2007). In 2009, Kingsbury investigated the role of self-compassion in relation to mindfulness. Two components of mindfulness — nonjudging and nonreacting — were strongly correlated with self-compassion, as were two dimensions of empathy — taking on others' perspectives (i.e., perspective taking) and reacting to others' affective experiences with discomfort. Self-compassion fully mediated the relationship between perspective taking and mindfulness."2
Those that practice mindfulness on an even semi-regular basis (or who have at some point, whether they were able to keep up a consistent practice or not), know first-hand that mindfulness can have a significant impact on one's relationships.
From greater patience, to reduced stress (and the ability to better handle stress from conflict), to the sense of "spaciousness" that's cultivated in mindfulness meditation practice which allows us to better respond to challenges, mindfulness helps us cultivate critical skills that make a noticeable difference in the quality of our relationships.
There's now research to back this up as well. Studies have shown that mindfulness can help predict relationship satisfaction, partly due to its ability to help us manage the stress that arises from relationship conflicts and help improve our ability to communicate our emotions to another.2
Mindfulness also makes us better parents. Mindfulness improves our relationships with children, makes us happier with our parenting skills and improves the social skills of those children who practice it with their parents.22
6. Greater Mindfulness
This is a relatively different category which is less about direct benefits and more about an improvement in our general abilities which can then lead to a number of associated benefits.
Mindfulness, as a quality, is an incredibly useful "life skill" which can help us better navigate our daily lives.
For this reason, mindfulness practice is about more than direct benefits, it's also about cultivating this quality of mindfulness which we can then take with us everywhere we go.
This includes an improved level of awareness which is clearer and more grounded in reality as well as greater attention to one’s mental processes (including consciousness itself) and the physical body.
These abilities, when cultivated, are invaluable for keeping us stable, grounded, and better prepared to navigate the constant challenges of everyday life.
7. A Path to Insight
This collection of benefits can be more obscure than the rest and begins to get into more specifically Buddhist practice. However, this has also begun to be studied, as noted by Davis and Hayes:
“Insight, the conscious process of making novel connections (Hill & Castonguay, 2007), can be construed as a beneficial outcome of mindfulness practice. Siegel (2007b, 2009) has proposed a neurological basis for the connection between mindfulness and insight…” 2
These “novel connections” made from mindfulness practice are countless and varied. However, it all centralizes around one major "sub-benefit": the clarity of mind that comes with mindfulness practice.
Working Through the Inner Dialogue
Clarity is beneficial for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is the ability to detect what's often called the "internal dialogue", or alternatively, our "negative self-talk".
The internal dialogue is exactly what it sounds like, it's a recurring dialogue within the mind. Noticing this dialogue is important because, more often than not, it's filled with messages that cut us down and discourage us such as:
"I can't do this."
"I'm not good enough."
"I'll never be able to do that."
"There I go, messing things up again...as always."
Getting to the heart of this inner dialogue and identifying the specific messages you're playing (and replaying) to yourself is important in the process of healing long-term conditioning such as this. Mindfulness is the ideal partner for "clearing away the fog" that keeps us from observing this inner dialogue with clarity.
More Accurate Self-Knowledge
Similarly, there's now growing support for mindfulness' ability to increase our self-knowledge. A recent study in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science highlighted the problem with how we perceive ourselves and the potential for blind spots:
"People’s beliefs about their personality, or how they typically think, feel, and behave, correspond somewhat to objective accuracy criteria. Yet recent research has highlighted the fact that there are many blind spots in self-knowledge and that these blind spots can have fairly negative consequences."
How can mindfulness help with this? Carlson goes on:
"Specifically, mindfulness appears to directly address the two major barriers to self-knowledge: informational barriers (i.e., the quantity and quality of information people have about themselves) and motivational barriers (i.e., ego-protective motives that affect how people process information about themselves)."23
Mindfulness practice as a tool for insight isn't anything new, though. Mindfulness and its companion qualities and practices of concentration and meditation have been a cornerstone of Buddhist practice since the time of the Buddha.
How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness isn't exclusive to meditation. However, meditation is the most common technique which has historically been used to develop the quality of mindfulness, as far back as the Buddha over 2,600 years ago.
Mindfulness meditation is a simple exercise which has 4 steps:
1. Become Aware of the Breath
Simply turn your attention to your breath. Place a firm, but soft, concentration on the breath by focusing on the sensation of the breath either at the nostrils or on the expanding and contracting of the belly or chest as you breathe.
Do not attempt to control your breath, simply observe it. Your observation will slowly begin to calm your breathing naturally. This may be easier said than done in the beginning, however, make your best effort.
2. Count Each In-Breath and Out-Breath
Inhale…one. Exhale...two. Inhale...three. Count to ten in this way.
If you become distracted and lose your concentration on the breath (and you will, constantly), start the ten count over from one. When you get to ten, start over and attempt to count to ten again.
If you never get there, don’t worry. In the beginning, this will seem altogether impossible (and perhaps it is). The point isn’t to get to ten, but rather to work on improving your concentration by counting the breath.
Meditation isn’t a competition and there’s no way to lose or fail. Just do your best and you’ll make your way.
3. Acknowledge Thoughts, Feelings, and Sensations Non-Judgmentally
Understand in advance that various thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations will arise while meditating and make you lose your concentration on the breath.
In the mindfulness practice, you’re lightly and loosely concentrating on something (such as your breath) while being mindful of everything which arises within your field of awareness, which in particular means our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations.
Of course, that sounds nice, but the practice rarely looks so "pretty" in the beginning. It looks something like this:
1. Count the breath →
2. Three seconds later...lose concentration: "I need to take out the trash....What am I going to make for dinner?...I need to prepare for X next week..." →
3. “Wake up” 2 minutes later (“what happened?”)...return to the breath and start count over from one →
4. Three seconds later...lose concentration again: "I hope everything turns out OK with X...*ANGER*...*FEAR*...I should have known better than to X" →
5. Wake up 1 minute later...return to the breath and start count over from one →
6. (repeat until session has ended)
In the beginning, you’ll likely be interrupted constantly and feel as if you’re doing something wrong. However, this is perfectly normal. You’re not doing anything wrong, you're not adverse to meditation, and it really is like that for everyone.
This is a part of the practice. Each"interruption", be it a thought, feeling, or bodily sensation, should be acknowledged nonjudgmentally in a spirit of open acceptance, as opposed to being critical and judgmental.
4. Return to the Breath (Repeat Steps 1-3)
Once you've acknowledged the thought, feeling, and/or sensation, simply repeat the process over by returning to the breath and beginning your count again from one.
In the beginning, you’ll lose focus on your breath constantly. Your job is simply to acknowledge any thoughts, feelings, and sensations that arise and return to the breath as many times as is necessary until your meditation session has ended.
Use the guided meditation below to be walked through the practice of mindfulness meditation:
Listen & Download: Mindfulness Meditation (Mindful Breathing) Guided Meditation
Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Mindfulness can be practiced in many different ways. In mindfulness practice, formal practice (sitting "on the cushion") is mindfulness meditation.
However, there's also informal practice ("off the cushion"), which is mindfulness in your daily life. This includes mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful driving, and really anything else including the simple act of paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations as you go about your day.
Each activity is done a little differently, however, the idea stays the same: find a point of concentration, count or simply follow the (typically physical) action and acknowledge whatever thoughts, feelings, and sensations arise. Then, turn your attention back to your object of concentration.
Anything can be done mindfully. However, certain activities are more suited for mindfulness practice than others. See the next section for ideal "everyday" mindfulness practices.
Listed below are resources (either a written guide, guided meditation, or both) for many of the most common mindfulness practices to help get you started.
Everything listed below is made freely available for your use:
- *Mindfulness Meditation (Mindful Breathing): Guided Meditation, Written Guide
- Mindful Walking (formal practice): Guided Meditation, Written Guide
- Mindful Walking (informal, mindfulness in daily life): Guided Meditation, Written Guide
- Mindful Eating: Guided Meditation (Coming Soon), Written Guide
- Mindful Body Scan: Guided Meditation, Written Guide (Physical Healing, Practice #1)
- Mindful Driving: Guided Meditation
- Mindful Cleaning: Guided Meditation
- Mindfulness of Strong Emotions: Guided Meditation
Free Mindfulness eBook
The Little Book of Mindfulness, is an A-to-Z introduction to the practice of mindfulness that was written and designed as a free resource for those interested in learning more about this powerful and nourishing practice. The book will teach you:
- The origins of mindfulness- I'll go into detail on where mindfulness came from and how it's traveled from ancient India to the offices of Twitter and other Silicon Valley giants, major hospitals and medical centers, and classrooms around the United States.
- What mindfulness is- I explain in simple English how mindfulness works, what it is, what it isn't, and ways to help you make sure you're practicing correctly.
- The benefits of practicing mindfulness- It takes me two full chapters to explain all the reasons you need to start practicing mindfulness.
- How to practice mindfulness- Detailed yet simple and clear instruction on how to actually practice mindfulness in a variety of ways.
- How to develop mindfulness- How to bring mindfulness into your everyday life as a daily practice and habit which nourishes your mind and body and helps you cultivate true peace and happiness.
- My 11 Best Tips and Tricks for Beginning with Mindfulness
- The 9 Most Frequently Asked Questions on Mindfulness and Meditation
Get The Little Book of Mindfulness by becoming a member of the Buddhaimonia newsletter. You'll receive weekly posts and podcast episodes along with other new resources to help you walk the mindful path:
The conscious ability to transform your mind is the greatest tool you have to improve the quality of your life and positively affect the lives of others around you.
Mindfulness training, and continued daily practice, allows you to cultivate a skill that will serve you in almost countless ways for the rest of your life.
Add on top of that the fact that it helps us even when we’re not actively practicing it and you've got one of the wisest investments to your physical and mental well-being you could ever make.
- Mindfulness Training Has Positive Health Benefits (Kelly Zarcone, Northern Arizona University) - nau.edu/research/feature-stories/mindfulness-training-has-positive-health-benefits/
- What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness? A Practice Review of Psychotherapy-Related Research (Daphne M. Davis and Jeffrey A. Hayes, Counseling Psychology Proram, Pennsylvania State University, APA journal Psychotherapy Vol. 48, No. 2) - traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/Benefits_of_Mindfulness.pdf
- What is Mindfulness? (GGSC, U.C. Berkeley) greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/mindfulness/definition
- Stress Statistic: Popular Science, March 2015: popsci.com/chronic-stress-it-could-be-killing-you
- Stress: Mindfulness from meditation associated with lower stress hormone (Andy Fell) - ucdavis.edu/news/mindfulness-meditation-associated-lower-stress-hormone
- Depression statistics: Did you know 80% of individuals affected by depression do not receive any treatment? Learn more depression statistics & facts (HealthLine) - healthline.com/health/depression/statistics-infographic
- Depression: Is Mindfulness as Good as Antidepressants? (Neha John-Henderson) - greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/research_digest/is_mindfulness_as_good_as_antidepressants#mindfulness_and_antidepressants
- Working memory: Investigating the impact of mindfulness meditation training on working memory: A mathematical modeling approach (Marieke K. van Vugt and Amishi P. Jha) - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3145089/
- Focus: Regular, brief mindfulness meditation practice improves electrophysiological markers of attentional control (Moore A., Gruber T., Derose J., Malinowski P.) - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22363278
- Positive and Negative Emotion: A multi-method examination of the effects of mindfulness on stress attribution, coping, and emotional well-being (Netta Weinstein, Kirk W. Brown, Richard M. Ryan) - greatergood.berkeley.edu/images/uploads/Weinstein-MindfulnessStress.pdf
- PTSD: Treating the Wounds of War (Barbara L. Niles, Amy K. Silberbogen, Julie Klunk-Gillis) - greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/treating_the_wounds_of_war/
- Chronic Pain: Mindfulness for Chronic Pain (Michael Hogan Ph.D) psychologytoday.com/blog/in-one-lifespan/201502/mindfulness-chronic-pain
- Chronic Pain 2: Low mindfulness predicts pain catastrophizing in a fear-avoidance model of chronic pain (Schütze R., Rees C., Preece M, Schütze M.) - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19944534
- Eating: Better Eating Through Mindfulness (Jill Suttie) - greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/better_eating_through_mindfulness
- Immune system: Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation (Davidson R.J., Kabat-Zinn J., Schumacher J., Rosenkranz M., Muller D., Santorelli S.F., Urbanowski F., Harrington A., Bonus K., Sheridan J.F.) - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12883106
- Sleep: Better living through mindfulness - archive.unews.utah.edu/news_releases/better-living-through-mindfulness/
- Resilience: Evidence Mounts that Mindfulness Breeds Resilience (GGSC, U.C. Berkeley) greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/evidence_mounts_that_mindfulness_breeds_resilience
- Resilience, mental and physical stamina, working memory, creativity, attention span, reaction speeds: Mindfulness training modifies subsystems of attention (Jha A.P., Krompinger J., Baime M.J.) - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17672382, Short-term meditation training improves attention and self-regulation. (Tang Y.Y., Ma Y., Wang J., Fan Y., Feng S., Lu Q., Yu Q., Sui D., Rothbart M.K., Fan M., Posner M.I.) - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17940025, A contextual cognitive-behavioral analysis of rehabilitation workers' health and well-being: Influences of acceptance, mindfulness, and values-based action. (McCracken, Lance M.; Yang, Su-Yin, Rehabilitation Psychology, Vol 53(4), Nov 2008, 479-485.) - psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2008-17022-007, Mindfulness meditation and reduced emotional interference on a cognitive task (Catherine N. M. Ortner, Sachne J. Kilner, Philip David Zelazo) - self-compassion.org/wp-content/uploads/publications/zelazo.pdf, Neural correlates of attentional expertise in long-term meditation practitioners. (Brefczynski-Lewis J.A., Lutz A., Schaefer H.S., Levinson D.B., Davidson R.J.) - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17596341
- Emotional intelligence: Psychological Functioning in a Sample of Long-Term Practitioners of Mindfulness Meditation (Emily L. B. Lykins, MS Ruth A. Baer , Ph.D - University of Kentucky, Lexington) - self-compassion.org/wp-content/uploads/publications/baermeditators.pdf
- Negative Relation to Neuroticism, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness: Everyday mindfulness and mindfulness meditation: Overlapping constructs or not? (Brian L. Thompson, Jennifer Waltz, Personality and Individual Differences 43 (2007) 1875–1885, Sciencedirect.com) - mindfulness.worldsecuresystems.com/publications/pdfs/Peer-reviewed-articles/mindfulness-informal-vs-formal-practice.pdf , Doing and Being: Mindfulness, Health, and Quiet Ego Characteristics Among Buddhist Practitioners (Heidi A. Wayment, Bill Wiist, Bruce M. Sullivan, Meghan A. Warren, Journal of Happiness Studies, , Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 575-589) - link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10902-010-9218-6
- Compassion and Empathy: Does Mindfulness Make You More Compassionate? (Shauna Shapiro, Greater Good Berkeley) greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/does_mindfulness_make_you_compassionate
- Mindfulness Makes Us Better Parents: Losing My Mindfulness (Christine Carter Ph.D) - greatergood.berkeley.edu/raising_happiness/post/losing_my_mindfulness
- Self-Knowledge (Insight): Overcoming the Barriers to Self-Knowledge: Mindfulness as a Path to Seeing Yourself as You Really Are (Erika N. Carlson, Perspectives on Psychological Science March 2013 vol. 8 no. 2 173-186) - pps.sagepub.com/content/8/2/173.abstract