- Mindfulness means bringing conscious, nonjudging attention to whatever is arising in both your internal and external world.
- It means being fully aware of what is happening in each moment without any effort to change the experience.
- It implies bringing a fresh or “beginners mind” to your moment-to-moment experience, and cultivating an attitude of acceptance.
- When you rest in mindful awareness, you are showing up to your life without expectation, without effort to change anything, with an attitude of openness and curiosity to the richness of your own life as it unfolds in each moment.
What is Mindlessness?
- Rushing through activities without paying full attention to what you are doing.
- Failing to notice tension or discomfort in your body.
- Snacking without being aware of eating.
- Driving to a destination without any real recollection of the journey.
- Listening to a conversation without really hearing what is being said.
- Zoning out in front of the TV.
Sound familiar? I think many of us would recognize mindlessness in our everyday lives!
Why is Mindfulness Helpful?
- We live in very stressful times and accumulate a lot of tension
- Our lives have accelerated and become increasingly complex.
- We are bombarded with -information – ever evolving technology- constant access to world news – demands to communicate with ever-increasing numbers of people through multiple networks.
- Recent events have brought financial collapse and job loss to many-exacerbating stress levels.
- Many have become overwhelmed by the pace and complexity of our lives, and lost a sense of balance and simplicity in life.
- Stress and anxiety have increased to the point where the National Institute of Mental Health reports that approximately 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders.
- There is an increasing demand for medications to help ease our agitation, anxiety and tension, and many resort to self-medicating and unhealthy ways of life to cope.
- Tension and stress have serious negative effects on our physical and mental health, and on our capacity to enjoy our lives fully,
How Does Living in the Present Moment Help?
- We are usually distracted from living in the present moment by our unconscious preoccupation with the past and the future.
- Until we really pay attention, we often do not realize we are reliving-rethinking-reenacting the past; and planning-fantasizing- strategizing our future most of the time.
- Much of our energy is exhausted in a push- pull struggle of trying to attain what we want, and trying to avoid what we do not want, so that we are rarely living in the present moment.
- Bringing conscious attention to what is arising in the present moment nurtures greater awareness, clarity and acceptance.
- We come to realize we are only fully alive and fully present in each moment of our lives.
What are the Benefits of Mindfulness?
- Mindfulness offers you an opportunity to slow down, and to examine your life and take a fresh look at who you are and how you are choosing to live.
- As awareness grows, you can begin to see how stress and anxiety affects so many areas of your life.
- Learning how to respond to stress mindfully can transform old engrained reactive patterns, allowing you to respond with increased openness and acceptance.
- Quieting the negative self-talk and judgments about what is happening moment to moment frees up the possibility to be fully in your experience.
- Cultivating mindfulness allows you to experiences a full range of emotions, including difficult feelings, with more equanimity.
- Transforming negative ways of handling stress has a profound effect on your physical and mental health.
- Practicing mindfulness is a powerful way to be responsible your own self-care and improve your health and sense of wellness.
We could say that the word mindfulness is pointing to being one with our experience,
not dissociating, being right there when our hand touches the doorknob or the telephone rings.
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
- Mindfulness meditation is an effective way to deeply relax both body and mind,
- You bring kind awareness and acknowledgement to whatever is arising in your body and mind, and simply allow it to be.
- Deep-seated tensions in the body are released by progressively relaxing each area of the body and allowing tension to dissolve.
- When the tensions of body and mind are eased, an inner calm can be found.
- Mindfulness meditation offers a way to quiet your busy mind and bring full awareness to each moment by using the awareness of the breath as an anchor.
- It gives you a way to come home to your more centered, aware self at any moment during your day.
- It is a place of refuge to return to in the hectic busyness of life.
- As you become more familiar with mindfulness meditation you develop a sense of well-being and serenity, and it becomes possible to rest in your natural state of stillness and tranquility.
Mindfulness meditation is not about spacing out or being in a sort of trance, it is the opposite, it is about being fully present. As Thich Nhat Hahn says it, “is to be aware of what’s going on- in our bodies, in our feelings, in our minds, and in the world.”
Mindfulness meditation is helpful for anyone wanting to live more mindfully, with a deeper experience of being fully alive in each moment.
Mindful attention to any experience is liberating.
Mindfulness brings perspective, balance, and freedom.
Guided Mindfulness Meditations For Stressful Times
My CD is helping many people discover Mindfulness Meditation- read more…
MINDFULNESS-BASED STRESS REDUCTION
“In this very moment, no matter what your condition or situation, you have within you all the resources you need for growing, healing, and working with stress, pain, illness, and the everyday challenges you are facing.
A growing body of scientific evidence supports the reality of a profound mind-body connection and now recognizes that learning and practicing mindfulness can positively affect your sense of health and wellbeing physically, mentally, and emotionally, while simultaneously offering you a means of discovering a deeper sense of ease and peace of mind.”
Saki F. Santorelli, EdD MA, Director, Center for Mindfulness and Stress Reduction Program,
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Mass. Medical School
What is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction?
Since 1979, more than 18,000 people have completed the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. It is a course that helps participants draw on their own inner resources and actively engage in caring for themselves and finding greater balance, ease, and peace of mind.
The program was founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD at the Stress Reduction Clinic of UMass Medical School. The technique was originally developed for use in hospitals with patients suffering from painful, chronic, or disabling conditions. It was found that following participation in an MBSR program, participant’s levels of anxiety and depression decreased and their sense of wellbeing increased. Extensive research had shown that the Stress Reduction Program can be beneficial for anyone, regardless of state of health.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in the Media
MBSR has been featured in PBS in Bill Moyers’ documentary, Healing and the Mind, which was seen by more than 40 million people; on NBC’s Dateline; on ABC’s Evening News and Chronicle programs; on The Oprah Winfrey Show; and in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.
8-Week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course
In a safe supportive atmosphere participants meet in a closed group every week with their instructor to-
- Investigate the nature of stress- how habitual reactions increase it, and how it affects your life.
- Learn mindfulness approaches to manage physical, emotional, or psychological stress and difficulty in an effective way
- Connect with your body’s own wisdom and learn to relax tension
- Develop tools to work with and transform stressful situations and reactions
- Discover how to address depression and anxiety more skillfully.
- Overcome old habits of reaction-forge new pathways of responding mindfully
- Re-establish balance in your life
- Restore a sense of well-being and ease to your life
- Have more control over your own health and fitness, and feel empowered to live with more joy and equanimity.
Take a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course!
Thousands of people of all ages, from all walks of life and lifestyles have now benefited the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program-and you can too! This program is suitable for anyone who is interested in living a less stressful and more rewarding life.
“Please note: Erica is taking a sabbatical from teaching the 8 week MBSR program while she is completing her book. Check for further updates here and in the Mindfulness Matters Newsletter. “
Read what past participants say about the MBSR Class