There are numerous definitions offered by scholars, Buddhist practitioners and mindfulness teachers. This one by Diana Winston of UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center suggests, “Mindful awareness is paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is occurring.”
There are quite a few reasons why mindfulness is such a hot topic these days. The main ones are due to mounting scientific evidence that mindfulness practice benefits our mental well-being, increases our ability to concentrate, bolsters our resilience, can successfully treat chronic pain, and enables us to become more compassionate.
People have been practicing mindfulness for thousands of years. Somewhat recently, it has been adapted from it’s roots in Eastern Religions — such as Buddhism and Hinduism — into Western cultures. All of the Mind EQ Facilitators have teacher training certifications from the world’s top institutions in what’s called “secular mindfulness.” Here, the focus is not on a set of beliefs, but working with evidence based methods that can enhance well-being.
These relatively new mobile apps to hit the market can be very useful ways to develop a meditation practice. I look at these as excellent tools and should be used if you’re good about using them! This said, nothing beats practicing together. Mindfulness practice within a group or even 1:1 is where all scientific research lies, and also has a built-in accountability component. If you have an appointment with someone or a group, you’re much more likely to practice. To add, practicing in person gives you the opportunity to have specific questions answered that apps aren’t able to do. You can think of this like yoga practice. You can use an app or a video to practice yoga, and certainly have a great workout, but there’s much to be said and learned from practicing together in a studio.
Many of the Mind EQ Teachers have been fortunate and excited to notice results in relatively short periods of time. We noticed we were becoming less reactive, and were enjoying day to day activities more. We felt more attentive in conversations with people, and the incessant mental activity many of us experienced prior to practicing began to lessen. Most scientific research has shown that in only 8 weeks, positive structural changes begin in the brain. For more on the science of mindfulness, see the Resources section below.
In the beginning, it’s important to set an appointment with yourself each day first thing in the morning, and commit to 5-10 minutes. From there, you can experiment with adding a few minutes each week until you’ve reached a period of 25-40 minutes. Free guided meditations can be found on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes and on various mobile apps. Try a variety, keep at it, and be kind to yourself!
Do you offer MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) or MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy)?
We do offer MBSR – Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. A few of the Mind EQ teachers have teacher training certifications in MBSR. MBCT is something we will be offering in 2021.