In the first of six drop-in sessions for Everyday Mindfulness course members, we began this week by examining the concept of mindfulness.
In essence, mindfulness is a form of attention training. Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn, often described as the Godfather of mindfulness, explains that it is a particular way of paying attention: On purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally (with kindness to yourself).
In these chaotic times, living alongside hope and ongoing anxiety, it’s worth considering how mindfulness might be able to help us navigate emotionally choppy waters.
In the session this week, I shared some thoughts from mindfulness teacher Barry Boyce who encapsulates the essence of the practice when he explains the following:
“The practices of mindfulness are not magic talismans that transform you upon touch. They are ingredients that get added to all the other parts of our life. And one of the nice things about mindfulness is that in bringing attention to details...
Zoom details will be sent to Everyday Mindfulness course attendees. These sessions will run for the next 6-weeks from 8-8.30pm (UK time).
To find out more and to join the Everyday Mindfulness 8-week course, click here.
To access the course this month at the discounted price of £25 (RRP £99), click here.
This week, Audible launched Mindfulness at Work and Home, which I narrated during lockdown earlier this year. I am really pleased to be able to share my book in audio form, particularly given its inclusion of guided meditations.
You can find out more and listen to a sample here.
Last week, I was asked to name one of my personal heroes/heroines. Her name is Amishi Jha - she’s a neuroscientist and associate professor of psychology at the University of Miami.
Her work over the past decade has helped us to understand more about the brain’s ability to pay attention, the impact of stress and how to grow resilience. In particular, Professor Jha has spent years studying “the forces that degrade and weaken attention.”
In her recent article in Mindful magazine, Professor Jha explains that we are living in “Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous” times - a description she shortens to ‘VUCA‘. The pandemic has meant that we “are all living in VUCA conditions.” So if you have been feeling overwhelmed or unfocused, struggling with staying on task or overcome with emotion, she reassures us that we are not alone.
So what is attention? Jha explains that our attention system is like a flashlight....
Most of us have heard about mindfulness, but what exactly is it? And how could it help us to navigate troubled times? In this audio excerpt from Mindfulness at Work and Home, due for release later this month on Audible, I explain what it is and how to practise.
Take a few moments to tune in and find out more.
Click here to listen.
The Stop Practice
Stress is an inevitable part of life. But stress itself is not the problem - it’s how we relate to it that counts.
The stress response (‘fight, flight, freeze’) is critical to our survival. In days gone by, it might have saved us from the mouth of a sabre-toothed tiger. These days, while certain threats have disappeared, others are on the rise. Our stress response is triggered constantly. It may be triggered by an update on the news, the temporary loss of a mobile phone or the resounding ping of an incoming email. When we are worried, anxious or fretting about something, this is when the stress response activates. Over time, if we are not able to find a way of slowing down and normalising the bodily systems involved in stress, we can start to suffer from problems such as high blood pressure, muscle tension, anxiety, insomnia and digestive problems.
Creating space during the day to leave the worried mind behind and come into the present...
To celebrate the launch of the new 8-week Mindfulness online course, Everyday Mindfulness is offering a 75% discount code (£25, RRP £99.99) to law students, pupil barristers and trainee solicitors until the end of the month.
This brand new 8-week online course explains how to practise mindfulness and start experiencing its many benefits.
Ideal for beginners, the course is packed with weekly videos, audio-guided meditations, lectures, hints and tips on how to practise mindfulness. Each week, a new theme is explored to explain how mindfulness can make a difference to your daily life. From feeling less stressed to having more self-compassion, from managing your inner critical voice to improving your ability to focus – to name just a few.
In the lead up to the launch of the Everyday Mindfulness website, you can now watch my video seminars from the first two weeks of the new 8-week online course. Simply click here to take a look.
Each week, you will learn how mindfulness can help you to feel less stressed, reduce your anxiety, improve your focus, grow your self-compassion and enjoy a greater sense of well-being. You will explore different benefits of mindfulness from managing your inner critical voice to improving your ability to focus, from boosting your resilience to managing conflict.
To find out more about the course, visit the website and get in touch for corporate and personal discounts.
In his groundbreaking research, Judson Brewer explains how mindfulness can help us to get ‘up close and personal’ with our bad habits and how this approach can help us to break them.
To watch his TED Talk entitled “A Simple Way To Break a Bad Habit, click here.
In his article, Train Your Brain To Break Bad Habits, Elisha Goldstein explores how mindfulness can help us to get curious about our triggers and how to observe, rather than react to compulsions. Click here to read more.
To listen to a podcast on “Hack Your Brain’s Habit Loops” with Judson Brewer, click here.
When we start to meditate, there are many challenges. One of the greatest difficulties is finding the time to meditate, even if it's just for 5 or 10 minutes a day. Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn asks us to practice as though our lives depend upon it, such is the importance of the benefits of a regular mindfulness practice. Spending just a few minutes every day engaging our mindful way of being can make all the difference. Short pauses during the day create space to help us decide how to respond to situations, rather than react, perhaps out of old habits or entrenched ways of being..
This week, perhaps try using sound as an anchor to the present moment. Here’s a link to my 6-minute Tibetan Singing Bowl meditation on Insight Timer which invites the mind to focus on resonance and tone, calming the residual chatter.
For further reading, this selection of great articles and video clips will help you to keep your practice going over the next few weeks: