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Julia Galef: Why you think you’re right — even if you’re wrong

From TED: Perspective is everything, especially when it comes to examining your beliefs. Are you a soldier, prone to defending your viewpoint at all costs — or a scout, spurred by curiosity? Julia Galef examines the motivations behind these two mindsets and how they shape the way we interpret information, interweaved with a compelling history lesson from 19th-century France. When your steadfast opinions are tested, Galef asks: "What do you most yearn for? Do you yearn to defend your own beliefs or do you yearn to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?" · Go to Julia Galef: Why you think you’re right — even if you’re wrong →

How to tame your inner enemy

From Big Think: The greatest enemy we face — one that is indeed greater than any external threat — is the uncontrolled mind. This is the wisdom of the Buddhist master Shantideva, author of the 700 AD Sanskrit text Bodhisattvacharyāvatāra, or Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life.

What is the uncontrolled mind? It is the mental habit that makes you timid when it comes to dealing with certain difficult situations and also allows oppressive and frustrated feelings to build up inside you. As a result, you might "freak out" or "blow up," becoming your own worst enemy. · Go to How to tame your inner enemy →

Culinary mindfulness and windowfarms: 5 ways to increase well-being

From FastCompany: As background, culinary mindfulness includes mindful eating along with mindful cooking, shopping, sharing, remembering, and even talking about food. The purpose is to build awareness of increasing well-being in all the food choices one makes, to accrue mental wealth from every aspect of one’s calories. Adapting a model of flourishing developed by positive psychology, most specifically by Seligman in his recent book Flourish, culinary mindfulness looks to 5 routes for developing well-being: positive emotions and pleasures, relationships, play and fun, meaning, and achievement. · Go to Culinary mindfulness and windowfarms: 5 ways to increase well-being →

Positive Psychology: Harnessing the power of happiness, mindfulness, and personal strength

Excerpts from Harvard Health Publications: "In 2002, the Corporate Leadership Council compiled a survey of almost 20,000 employees at 34 companies.  Their findings showed a dramatic link between job performance and attention to strengths: when performance reviews emphasized what a person was doing right in the job, it led to a 36% improvement in performance, while emphasizing performance weaknesses led to a 27% decline in performance."

"Certain strengths have been found to be the most closely linked to happiness.  They are gratitude, hope, vitality, curiosity, and love.  These strengths are so important that they're worth cultivating and applying in your daily life, whether or not they come naturally to you…"

"Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), which combines mindfulness practice with cognitive behavioral techniques, has been successfully used to treat depression and anxiety….  In a randomized clinical trial published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, people with recurrent depression who participated in an eight-week group course of MBCT were significantly less likely to become depressed again than people who continued on antidepressants without therapy.  During the study, people in the mindfulness group reported greater physical well-being and enjoyment in daily life, and 75% were able to discontinue their antidepressant medication."

"Aspects of mindfulness meditation tend to be dose-related– the more you do, the more effect it usually has.  Most people find that it takes at least 20 minutes for the mind to begin to settle, so this is a reasonable way to start.  If you're ready for a more serious commitment, Jon Kabat-Zinn recommends 45 minutes of meditation at least six days a week.  But you can get started by practicing the techniques described here for shorter periods."

"Your temperament also influences how you handle choice and how it influences your happiness.  'I never settle for second best.'  Does that sound like you?  Psychologists would call you a maximizer: in your quest for the best deal or product, you need to evaluate all the choices before making a decision.  Other people are satisficers: they have standards for what they want in a given circumstance, but as soon as something meets those standards (which can be high or low) they make the decision.  Judged by measurable criteria, maximizers may make the best choices.  In research at Columbia University and Swarthmore College, students were rated on their tendency toward maximizing or satisficing and were followed for a year as they searched for jobs.  By the criterion of starting salary, maximizers found the best jobs, making 20% more.  However, going through the process they experienced many more negative emotions, and after being hired they were less happy with their jobs than their classmates who looked for the good-enough option.  Who made the best decision: those with the higher salary or those with greater happiness?" · Go to Positive Psychology: Harnessing the power of happiness, mindfulness, and personal strength →

Is suffering necessary for the spiritual life?

From Derek Beres at Big Think: One of my first yoga instructors used to say, ‘Suffering is optional.’ In the immediate he was referencing the struggle to remain in challenging postures—our mindset could shift from one of struggle to that of acceptance. Underlying the asana was the notion that we choose to view existence as laced with suffering…or not.

That life could be filled with contentment instead of constant anguish was a revelation. Essentially raised agnostic, even I felt the heavy weight of guilt that pervades those of my generation, a hard reality to escape in America. · Go to Is suffering necessary for the spiritual life? →

Why mindfulness and meditation are good for business

From Knowledge@Wharton: In a world focused on increased productivity and instant gratification, it's hard to imagine that businesspeople have much time for meditation. But huge corporations — including Google, Monsanto, Hearst and National Grid –have discovered the benefits of meditation at work, including improved teamwork, more effective decision-making and lower levels of employee stress. In this interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Mirabai Bush, co-founder of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, spoke with Katherine Klein, vice dean of Wharton's Social Impact Initiative, about the benefits of contemplative thinking. · Go to Why mindfulness and meditation are good for business →

The power of concentration

From NY Times: Meditation and mindfulness: the words conjure images of yoga retreats and Buddhist monks. But perhaps they should evoke a very different picture: a man in a deerstalker, puffing away at a curved pipe, Mr. Sherlock Holmes himself. The world’s greatest fictional detective is someone who knows the value of concentration, of “throwing his brain out of action,” as Dr. Watson puts it. He is the quintessential unitasker in a multitasking world. · Go to The power of concentration →

Free meditations from Mindfulness

Find peace in a frantic world with these five meditations, including The Chocolate Meditation. Connecting with your senses is one of the core benefits of Mindfulness meditation. Many traditions use nuts or fruit as the focus for a meditation on the senses of taste, smell and touch. But you can use any food at all so we developed a meditation based on chocolate. · Go to Free meditations from Mindfulness →

Three keys to mindful leadership coaching

From Douglas Riddle at Forbes: There are countless executive coaches I would never hire for myself, no matter how wise, insightful, dynamic or experienced. Admittedly, I’m a hard guy to please, so what I require might not be a good guide for others. However, if a coach can’t create an environment that dissolves the limitations of history, expectation, and assumption, I’m not interested.

How does a coach do that? By creating in the conversation with the coachee a sense of open, reflective exploration. The coaches who expand my mind, emotions and performance come to the coaching relationship from a place of inner calm. They have quiet minds. They are not beguiled by fancy techniques or elegant coaching models. They are midwives for the narrow, messy emergence into a larger world – and they rely on habits of mindfulness to accomplish that. · Go to Three keys to mindful leadership coaching →

Mindfulness meditation for adults & teens with ADHD

From SharpBrains: Dr. David Rabiner shares an excel­lent review of a new study that ana­lyzes the ben­e­fits of mind­ful­ness for ado­les­cents and adults with atten­tion deficits. He writes that “although this is clearly a pre­lim­i­nary study, the results are both inter­est­ing and encouraging.” · Go to Mindfulness meditation for adults & teens with ADHD →