Test Driving Mindfulness

mindfulness I’m determined to THRIVE in this frantic world.  On my latest mission as Agent 0013 I’ve decided that my first trip to the eye of this frantic storm is going to be a cruise to discover more about mindfulness

You know what it’s like when you’re focused on something, it seems to pop up everywhere.  Just like when you’re going to buy a new car.  And perhaps you’ve decided the make, model and colour of the car you’d like to buy.  Perhaps it could be a white Peugeot 508.  Suddenly you’re aware that almost every other car you see is a white Peugeot 508!

Well it’s a bit like that for me when it comes to mindfulness right now.  Everywhere I turn I seem to trip over articles, blog posts, YouTube videos, books, CDs and even TV shows related to the benefits of mindfulness, the neuroscience of mindfulness, reducing stress with mindfulness, working with mindfulness and even laughing your way to mindfulness!

Put mindfulness in to Google and you will get 17,200,000 results in 0.29 seconds.  So perhaps it’s no surprise I keep tripping over it.

It’s claimed that mindfulness helps people change the way they think, feel and act.  Sound familiar?

In the space of a week this month Huffington Post posted at least 3 articles on mindfulness:

It lowers stress — literally. Research published just last month in the journal Health Psychology shows that mindfulness is not only associated with feeling less stressed, it’s also linked with decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”

“While mindfulness is in many ways a simple practice, it benefits are numerous. Physically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce cortisol and blood pressure, and to improve the immune system. Cognitively, mindfulness has been shown to decrease rumination and boost attention. Emotionally, mindfulness reduces emotional reactivity and improves resilience. While many of these studies are preliminary, they nonetheless begin to paint a powerful picture of the overall health benefits of mindfulness.”

“If mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present, what is more mindful than laughter? Something strikes you as funny and you laugh. If you analyze it, it’s just not funny anymore. For that moment, the laughter and the joy of being in the moment are all you are about. You’re like a child again, able to enjoy the moment without quantifying or analyzing your reaction.”

“Practicing mindfulness at work is an advance technique for sure, but one worth mastering. There are unlimited distractions at work – new emails, phone calls, and co-workers stopping by. All these distractions limit our productivity and drain our energy. Each time we flip from one task to another, we slow ourselves down and then we wonder why we can’t leave the office at 5. Practicing mindfulness while working will help you stay focused and complete tasks quicker and easier.”

Even Harvard Business Review is talking about it:

“In recent years, medical studies have found evidence of meditation’s many benefits, including protecting against health problems from high blood pressure and arthritis to infertility, reducing stress, improving attention and sensory processing; and physically altering parts of the brain associated with learning and memory, emotional regulation, and perspective-taking — critical cognitive skills for leaders attempting to maintain their equilibrium under constant pressure.”

So it sounds like something worth learning more about.  I’ve decided to take a test drive over the next 8 to 12 weeks.

I’m going to be starting out with an audio version of this book from Jon Kabat-Zinn: Mindfulness for Beginners.

Right now I’m not sure if meditation is for me.  My brain runs at 100 miles an hour at the best of times and I have had some challenges slowing it down.  But that’s the point.  I want to learn.  And right now the potential benefits of mindfulness and meditation seem to far outweigh my concerns.  So let’s give it a whirl.

If you want to follow along with me then I’m already planning to move on from my beginners book to this book by Prof Mark Williams in the UK:

Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World

As the Amazon description says:

“MINDFULNESS reveals a set of simple yet powerful practices that you can incorporate into daily life to help break the cycle of anxiety, stress, unhappiness, and exhaustion. It promotes the kind of happiness and peace that gets into your bones. It seeps into everything you do and helps you meet the worst that life throws at you with new courage.

The book is based on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). MBCT revolves around a straightforward form of mindfulness meditation which takes just a few minutes a day for the full benefits to be revealed. MBCT has been clinically proven to be at least as effective as drugs for depression and is widely recommended by US physicians and the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence – in other words, it works. More importantly it also works for people who are not depressed but who are struggling to keep up with the constant demands of the modern world.

MBCT was developed by the book’s author, Oxford professor Mark Williams, and his colleagues at the Universities of Cambridge and Toronto. By investing just 10 to 20 minutes each day, you can learn the simple mindfulness meditations at the heart of MBCT and fully reap their benefits…”

I’ll be back with regular posts along the way over the next few weeks.

As Buzz Lightyear would say – “To infinity and beyond!”

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6 responses to “Test Driving Mindfulness

  1. Hi Jacqui,It is nice to see are back doing your blog. You have a talent for engaging the reader (at least I am engaged!). Keep writing, blogging! I hope things are going well for you these days!

    Best,Tom Tom French 203-451-0737

    Date: Sun, 26 May 2013 10:00:46 +0000 To: tomfrench14@hotmail.com

    • Hej Tom – so lovely to hear from you! Things are great here – hope they are with you too? I’ve missed writing so much and this mindfulness journey is so fascinating. I feel more relaxed this weekend (afer the hardest couple of weeks I can remember) than I have in ages. So I’m doing something right. My only issue is that Jon Kabat-Zinn’s voice is almost as hypnotic as Tads, so I’m having a hard time staying awake in the guided meditations!

  2. Reblogged this on Minding the Soul: The Blog and commented:
    A great article on Mindfulness!

  3. Pingback: Mindfulness for Beginners: Week #1 | NLP THIRTEEN

  4. Pingback: Preparing for Mindfulness: Week #2 and a Half | NLP THIRTEEN

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