Note from Kate:
Welcome to the first of our recurring blog topics! This week, we’re having Mindfulness Monday, which is all about ideas for implementing mindfulness practice into your life. If you like this topic, make sure to click on the Mindfulness Monday tag at the end. All of the posts we write on this topic will appear under this tag.
The research on mindfulness is pretty clear. A short list of the health benefits that result from the practice includes less anxiety, lowered heart rate, lowered blood pressure, increased immune function, and the increased ability to cope with pain. Mindfulness practice also can increase our clarity in thinking and perception as well as improve our attention and focus (1).
Add to those benefits the fact that mindfulness practice is free and easily accessible wherever we are, we have to ask why everyone is not practicing.
I think part of the reason is that mindfulness practice is simple, but not easy. Beginning practices are available all over the internet through videos and apps. There has never been a time in human history where the information has been so freely available. We can choose many options for a guided practice in almost any length of time. What makes it not easy, is finding time, making a commitment to practice, and following through with practice.
In the Mindfulness Workshops we offer at the Network, we discuss strategy as well as techniques. Without a plan and a strategy for including mindfulness in our lives, it will remain just a good idea we’ve heard about. If you are new to the practice, it is helpful to make a commitment to yourself to practice at a specific time of day for a specific amount of time. Also, picking ONE practice and sticking with it for a few weeks (minimum) will give you the opportunity to get used to the practice and assess if it is right for you.
One of my favorite mindfulness educators, and the person credited with bringing mindfulness to the West, is Jon Kabat-Zinn. You can check out his website here, where you will find background information as well as CDs and MP3s to download. You can also try out Kabat-Zinn’s guided Lake and Mountain meditation here. And check out his two-minute video on Exercising your Mindfulness Muscle here. There are many other free resources online. Find someone or something that works for you and jump in and get started.
Also, it can be helpful to take a class or workshop. The Network offers a three-week Mindfulness class and a two-hour Mindfulness 101 workshop. If you would like to attend an upcoming workshop or would like to schedule one for your organization, contact Joann Calabrese.
- Firestone, Lisa; Benefits of Mindfulness, posted in Psychology Today blog, March 6, 2013 https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/benefits-of-mindfulness/