Chances are you have heard something about the benefits of mindfulness. When you imagine the word ‘mindfulness,’ what images come to mind? Do you imagine sitting cross-legged on top of a mountain? Meditating at a secluded retreat center? Undergoing years of intense practice? Sitting in silence for hours on end? While these can be components of a mindfulness practice, mindfulness is really a tool that is accessible to everyone on a daily basis.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where you are and what you’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you. Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful.
Mindfulness can be defined as a mental state that involves being fully focused on “the now” so you can acknowledge and accept your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. Mindfulness meditation is a mental training practice that teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body.
Why be mindful?
Mindfulness practices can help you increase your ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, anxiety and depression. It can also help you to focus your attention, as well as to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. As you become more present in your life and in relation to others, it can help you to make better decisions, to manage your emotions and to be more fully engaged in life. And there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain.
Start a Mindfulness Daily Practice
Sign up for a free 40-day online training in mindfulness meditation with highly regarded meditation teachers, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. Each 10-15 minute audio session includes a short talk and a guided meditation delivered one per day.
The course includes modules that cover:
- Mindful Basics
- Emotional Intelligence
- Resilience, Healing, and Inner Freedom
- Mindful Living
Here’s the sign up link. Click the “Login to Enroll” button to get started.
The Library also has many resources on mindfulness. Here are a few to get started, including one by Tara Brach.
- Radical Compassion by Tara Brach
- Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves by Sharon Salzberg
- Be Mighty: A Woman’s Guide to Liberation from Anxiety, Worry & Stress Using Mindfulness and Acceptance by Jill A. Stoddard
- My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem
- Mindfulness and Meditation: Handling Life with a Calm Focused Mind by Whitney Stewart
- Rewire Your Anxious Brain for Teens by Debra Kissen