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Mindfulness Moment #2

Mindful Exercise #2 Overview

Finding time to sit down and relax, even for a few minutes can be a challenge for most of us.  So instead of sitting down and wasting your time trying to relax, instead teach yourself a moment of mindfulness, give yourself the task of sitting quietly for just one minute and do the following practice.

Get yourself comfortable and bring your head into neutral position, meaning balanced, so that you are not straining to hold it from falling forward, backward or side to side.  Then close your eyes, still your body and take three controlled breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth, with these breaths elongate the exhale until all air has been released.

Now… letting the breath return to a natural rhythm, bring your attention to the support of the chair.  With your eyes closed scan through your body from the top of your head down to your toes and notice those parts of the body that are in contact with the chair.
Now… scan again; this time try and gauge where there is most support and where the support feels light, then notice if there is any difference in temperature between those areas supported and those not and if you are able to gauge how firm the support is.  If at any point you are distracted from the sensation of support of the chair;  allow your attention to fully focus on this distraction for 1-2 seconds, before then returning to the exercise.

From start to finish you can complete this exercise within 30-60 seconds.  This exercise helps you practice the conscious directing of your attention to the moment and your sense of touch, how we kinetically feel the world around us, your kinesthetic sense; but it also acknowledges other subtle or not so subtle sensations within us, or distractions, by consciously bringing full focus for a couple of seconds then returning to the exercise.

If you have any questions about this exercise then do let me know.

Little but often is key…

The very best of luck and enjoy.

Mindfulness Moment #1

A Short Mindfully Based Exercise:

Especially for coffee drinkers, the aroma of a good cup of coffee is part of the drinking experience; and if it is not, then it should be or even worst if you don’t like the aroma of coffee, then maybe ask yourself why are you drinking it?… This exercise however can be done with any drink, food or even item which have an aroma that you find pleasing to the nose.

Once you have this item in front of you, then you simply make a conscious effort to pause for a moment, pause your train of thought, relax the shoulders and over the next few breathes, focus your attention on the aroma.

From start to finish this exercise may take only 10 seconds, but this interruption of normal routine and redirection of your attention is a valuable mindfulness skill.  In this exercise you are engaging your olfactory sense and although your attention on the aroma may be short, before the mind jumps in with judgements such as “Oooh that smells nice”, or “Ahh that reminds me of ….”, or “OMG that is horrible..” in which case re-evaluate what you are using.  But either way, as you practise this more you will find it easier to hold your attention on the aroma; and as you give yourself permission to release any tension held in your mind and body, you will, if only subtly, get benefit from this simple exercise and build new more mindful habits.

Little but often is the key…

The very best of luck and enjoy.

Latest Research on Mindfulness

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/2665388/images/n-MEDITATION-large570.jpg

Huffington Post March 2015

In the past few decades, research on meditation and other mindfulness practices has flourished, shedding light on both the way that mindfulness affects the brain and its physical and mental health benefits.

Personality scientists are forging new insights about how mindfulness affects human motivation and behavior, alongside health and wellbeing. Last week, some of the world’s leading mindfulness researchers presented new studies highlighting outcomes of meditation at a symposium on mindfulness at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s annual conference in Long Beach.

Based on these new findings in social and personality psychology, here are five things you never knew mindfulness could do for you.

Full article at

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/05/surprising-mindfulness-be_n_6771374.html

Mindfulness: does it really live up to the hype?

Happier, healthier and better rested: that’s what 20 minutes a day of meditation has done for one writer. And as a resolute sceptic, she couldn’t be more surprised

It may be a little early for bold proclamations of this nature, but still: I would bet big money on “mindfulness” being the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of 2014. It was “selfie” in 2013, you’ll recall, and “omnishambles” the year before that. We will have to wait a couple of weeks for the OED to make its decision final, official and public, but still… I am confident.

The Buddhist discipline – which encourages focusing on the moment rather than being consumed by the pain of the past or anxiety over the future, a mental state achieved via regular meditation – is the most buzzed about and gushed over notion of the past 12 months.

Full article at:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-health/11161367/Mindfulness-does-it-really-live-up-to-the-hype.html

 

Interesting Article in the Telegraph by By Rupert Hawksley

Full Article at:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/wellbeing/11128030/Mindfulness-how-to-find-inner-peace-in-the-chaos-of-a-city.html

Mindfulness is all the rage right now, but what, if you don’t mind, does mindfulness actually mean?
The subtitle to a new book on the subject, How to find calm and contentment in the chaos of the city, gives us a hefty clue. Calm and contentment? Sounds good. So what better place to meet the author, Tessa Watt, than central London at rush hour, a time and location that is guaranteed to be chaotic?

Continue reading

Can Mindfulness Help Kids Learn Self-Control?

Interesting article by By Sarah Wheeler | April 28, 2014 and short supporting video
full article at http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/mindfulness_help_kids_learn_self_control

They’re referring to the “Marshmallow Test.” Researchers at Stanford presented preschoolers with one marshmallow, telling them that they could either eat it right away or wait for several minutes; if they waited, they’d receive a second marshmallow as a reward for their patience. The researcher then left the room and watched to see which kids could delay their sweet gratification and which could not.

When these children were followed into adolescence, it turned out that those who were able to wait had fewer behavior problems in school, engaged in less risky behaviors (such as drug use), and had better SAT scores. But what about the kids who couldn’t wait? Despite the wide reach of the Stanford study, it never answered the burning question that those of us who teach or parent young children have: What can we do to help the children who just can’t resist the marshmallows?

Ruby Wax Talks About Mindfulness

I think it is always useful to hear about how mindfulness can be applied to everyday life and how for many it is a life changing skill.

Online Mindfulness Courses can Reduce Stress, Anxiety and Depression

This is a great reminder that mindfulness is about self knowledge and so embarking on a programme that is managed by the individual can be just as effective as joining a group or attending a class.  This would be especially true for those who are a little unsure about mindfulness, or are in a situation where they would feel uncomfortable in the company of others, which can often be the case when going through a personal crisis, even for sociable individuals, where mindfulness practise would be an incredibly useful skill to have. Below is an article expanding on this By , www.naturalnews.com with a link to the full articles in the Epoch Times.

R5 reflection clouds

Online Mindfulness Courses can Reduce Stress, Anxiety and Depression

Online mindfulness instruction can provide just as much benefit as in-person courses in reducing stress, anxiety and even depression, according to a study conducted by researchers from Oxford University and the UK Mental Health Foundation, and published in the journal BMJ Open in November 2013

Read more: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/629050-online-mindfulness-courses-can-reduce-stress-anxiety-and-depression/#ixzz30GVaDzn5
Follow us: @EpochTimes on Twitter | epochtimes on Facebook

Mindfulness for People Who Are Too Busy to Meditate

This is the first part of an interesting article.  It really is great to see this type of research going mainstream. This article is taken from the Harvard business review website.  for the full article follow this link. http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/03/mindfulness-for-people-who-are-too-busy-to-meditate/

harvard mindfulness article

Mindfulness has become almost a buzz-word. But what is it, really? Mindfulness is, quite simply, the skill of being present and aware, moment by moment, regardless of circumstances.

For instance, researchers have found that mindfulness can reprogram the brain to be more rational and less emotional. When faced with a decision, meditators showed increased activity in the posterior insula of the brain, which has been linked to rational decision making. This allowed them to make decisions based more on fact than emotion. This is good news since other research has found that reasoning is actually suffused with emotion. Not only are the two inseparable, but our positive and negative feelings about people, things, and ideas arise much more rapidly than our conscious thoughts, in a matter of milliseconds. We push threatening information away and hold friendly information close. We apply fight-or-flight reflexes not only to predators but to data itself.

Mindfulness and Business (two articles worth reading)

What is it Doing in Boardrooms?

An extract from a recent article that might be of interest if you are an executive wondering how mindfulness can help you.

boardroom mountain M4aMW

Bill George, professor of management practice at Harvard Business School and former chair and CEO of Medtronic, writes, “The practice of mindful leadership gives you tools to manage your life. It teaches you to pay attention to the present moment, recognising your feelings and keeping them under control, especially in stressful situations.”

Ambiguity, pressure, accountability, and the need to continuously improve performance forces leaders to look inwards. The insight that the success of an intervention is directly proportional to the inner conditions of the intervener suddenly becomes apparent. Many CEOs I coach believe inner calm, emotional stability, greater self-awareness and resilience are traits that create more fulfilment in life. Indian organisations have yet to officially embrace the concept of mindfulness in mainstream business, but many provide stress management and emotional intelligence workshops for employees.

Dr Michael D. Yapko, a psychotherapist and mindfulness advocate, and author of the book Mindfulness and Hypnosis, emphasised how trance states can help raise awareness and aid personal transformation. Outside the worlds of glamour and business, too, therapists are using mindfulness tools to help patients recover faster.

Many leadership development programmes teach tools for reflection and self-awareness. Consulting firms such as McKinsey & Co have adopted meditation as a tool in leadership development initiatives. Gita Bellin, formerly secretary to Mahesh Yogi, taught meditation and personal transformation workshops for its employees.

Kate Pickert, writing in Time, notes that “we’re in the midst of a popular obsession with mindfulness as the secret to health and happiness ‘ and a growing body of evidence suggests it has clear benefits.” Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh perhaps summed up mindfulness the best when he wrote: “The biggest (and hardest) lesson I’ve learned… is that the external world is just a reflection of the world within.”

Steve Jobs was a strong believer in mindfulness. “If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is,” he told his biographer, Walter Isaacson. “If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things ‘ that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before.”

So would Indian leaders and organisations make mindfulness an integral part of leadership development initiatives? Will we see a conference where yogis and CEOs rub shoulders? It’s not a lot to ask one to be in touch with oneself. Is it? ~

For full article follow the link:  http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/santhosh-babu-on-indian-organisation/1/204549.html

Is Mindfulness being corrupted by business and Finance?

Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindfulness has become an increasingly popular topic among business leaders, with several key executives speaking publicly in recent months about how it helps them improve the bottom line.

Intermix CEO Khajak Keledjian last week shared his secrets to inner peace with The Wall Street Journal. Arianna Huffington, editor in chief of the Huffington Post, discussed mindfulness in Thrive, her new book released this week. Other business leaders who meditate include Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh, to name just a few.

In a blog post last month, Huffington wrote that “there’s nothing touchy-feely about increased profits. This is a tough economy. … Stress-reduction and mindfulness don’t just make us happier and healthier, they’re a proven competitive advantage for any business that wants one.”

For full article follow the link:  http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/thich-nhat-hanh-mindfulness-google-tech

How Mindfulness is making its way into the US Congress

This is pleasing to see the spread of the influence of Mindfulness as the benefits of it’s practise are being recognised and championed in new arean’s.

Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about Mindfulness

Talking about mindfulness as a way of being, where science meets meditation and the art of cultivating awareness through our bodies, this is a short but thought provoking piece.

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Awareness from a different perspective

This is a great example of how our conscious perception filters so much information, a reminder that there is far more going on in both our internal and external worlds.


4 Minute Mindfulness Exercise

A relatively short yet effective mindfulness exercise, great to listen to when you only have a few minutes to spare, useful at any point of your day. brought to you by the psychologists of the adult mental health service in Halifax, Canada (contact: andrew.starzomski@cdha.nshealth.ca)


The Power of Mindfulness

How modern science is shining light onto the effects on the mind of Mindfulness training and here specifically, how it can benefit those who suffer from depression and anxiety.


Artistic Video and Mindfulness Practice Combine

You don’t have to be interested in religious practice to appreciate the Mindful nature of this video. Very well shot and edited by Patrick Burke and you never know it may spark some interest for you, or at least provide a mindful 10 minutes in front of you.



Mindfulness and a Cup of Tea

This is a short animation explaining an aspect of Mindfulness, introducing the idea of being in the moment and that practising MIndfulness does not have to be about formal meditation or contemplation practise, but can be integrated into everyday activity, something as simple as drinking a cup of tea.


The 5 Senses: A designers point of veiw

It is through our five senses that we experience the world around us and in the practise of Mindfulness engaging with our senses is a powerful way to let go of the minds chatter, if only for a moment and engage with the moment.


A long lecture but an easy listen……

Mindfulness in a Modern World

This is a great short introduction to Mindfulness. A video posted by ‘Mindfulness Without Borders’, reinforcing the message that Mindfulness is not a religious practice, but a self development tool for everyone. Enjoy…..


A 20 minute ‘Guided Mindfulness Exercise’


Mindfulness…….Just Ten Minutes a Day

Mindfulness and a Cup of Tea.

A simple 2 minute 22 second, introduction to Mindfulness.

Mindfulness what is it useful for?

A brief overview of some of the studies around Mindfulness and how as a practise it helps individuals.