Updated: Jul 13, 2022
I am a big believer in mindfulness. A large portion of my research focuses on mindfulness. I meditate daily. I use it in my work with my clients. This hasn't always been the case - I used to be a skeptic. I hated the idea of spending any time doing nothing. And then I gave mindfulness a fair shot and found that it improved my life - as Dan Harris put it, it made me (at least) 10% happier. It made me more focused, less anxious, allowed me to slept better than I ever had, improved my relationships. So much so that a large portion of my research now focuses on mindfulness-based treatment development.
So what is mindfulness? Mindfulness involves two pieces: (1) awareness and (2) acceptance. Mindfulness is about being fully aware of what is going on in the present moment - our thoughts, emotions, experiences. Mindfulness is also about being aware in a certain way – with acceptance. That is, we pay attention to our experiences with a sense of curiosity and openness.
How do we cultivate mindfulness? We cultivate mindfulness through meditation practice. I encourage you to commit to practicing 5-10 minutes a day. It is often easier if you do it at the same time every day to help you build a habit. Try it for 30 days. If, after a month, you find that it doesn't do much of anything for you - you can always stop.
Why meditate? Research has shown that mindfulness meditation training can:
Improve sleep and reduce insomnia
Prevent depression relapse
Help with recovery from alcohol abuse
Reduce psychological distress
Reduces pain and its inhibition of everyday life activities
Improves well-being (e.g., functional status, well-being, physical symptoms)
Improve creativity and productivity
Improve your relationships
Promote mental flexibility and emotional stability
What are some resources to help you get started? Some great resources to help you get started with meditation are: