• 3 Things I Learned from Teaching Happiness

    Since 2014, I have been co-instructing the Greater Good Science Center’s free massive open online course called GG101x: The Science of Happiness. To our humbling surprise, upwards of 450,000 people from all over the world have enrolled since we began. It consistently ranks amongst the top ten courses on edX.
    I also speak about happiness science to audiences in business, health care, academia, government, and other sectors around the world. Everyone wants to know how to use scientific
  • Underachiever? Overachiever? Find the Right Balance

    Evan puzzled many of his coworkers at the web services company. Although very friendly and clearly quite smart, Evan didn’t seem to care about getting ahead and moving up to a better-paying position. Several of Evan’s coworkers who had started at the company when he did had been promoted to jobs with more responsibility and bigger salaries. When they urged Evan to try harder, he laughed.
    In contrast, consider Selene. She felt her head starting to droop over the spreadsheet she was r
  • Daily Meditation Can Keep Athletes Primed for Training

    Plenty of research suggests mindfulness meditation may improve attention and emotional well-being. This is particularly useful during high-demand, high-stress periods, when both are vulnerable due to taxed cognitive function.
    Now a new study out of the University of Miami finds that that meditation not only provides protection from a natural decline in attention during high-demand times, but that the more you practice, the greater that protection is.
    “We had a strong hunch that pract
  • A Daily Mindful Walking Practice

    Before you begin your meditation, find a quiet space to walk. It could be outdoors, or in a hallway, or even a large room, walking back and forth.
    Walking meditation can be a formal practice, like watching the breath. Or it can be informal, bringing awareness to this everyday activity, whenever you need to travel from point A to point B. Walking meditation gives us an opportunity to gather our awareness which so often becomes distracted or even stuck when the mind is left to its own device
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  • 3 Ways to Build a Sustainable Meditation Practice

    Establishing a daily practice does not have to be a struggle. The most important thing to do is to just start. You don’t have to be a marathon meditator right away. As Joseph Goldstein suggests: “Pick an amount of time that you can really commit to doing every day. It is the everydayness that is going to build the practice.” Taking this attitude can help motivate you and provide the inspiration needed to carry your practice forward.
    There is no magic number for how long you sh
  • Mindfulness in Schools Can Provide a Lifeline for Teens

    Stress, anxiety, drugs, murder, suicide—and teens. It’s the stuff of front-page news, viral YouTube videos, and TV dramas. Yet for Fiona Jensen in Cotuit, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, it hit way too close to home.
    “What’s going on with these teenagers? They’re constantly in crisis mode—reacting, not responding.”
    Jensen certainly didn’t need to read the latest study about the impact of stress on teens: her daughter and her friends were a living, brea
  • How Creativity Frees the Mind

    “I think I’m going to shoot myself,” I screamed in exasperation.
    “Why?” asked art teacher Barbara Kaufman in a soft, melodic voice.
    “Look at what I’ve done with that blue paint!” I replied, pointing to my sad painting of a Buddha looking like an emaciated Project Runway model. “It’s a disaster!”
    I thought I knew something about painting when I signed up for this retreat on creativity and mindfulness at the Spirit Rock meditation
  • How to Overcome Stress by Seeing Other People’s Joy

    One evening when I walked into a classroom to teach my Science of Stress course, I found a newspaper waiting for me on the lectern. A student had brought in an article called “Stress: It’s Contagious.” The report claimed that stress is “as contagious as any airborne pathogen” and compared its toxicity to secondhand smoke.
    As someone who studies both stress and empathy, I get asked about this research a lot. Does it mean that empathy is a liability, increasing
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  • Food as Medicine: Gardening for Health

    Kathie Madonna Swift explores how getting your hands dirty can boost the health and well-being of your mind, body, mood, and gut.
    The post Food as Medicine: Gardening for Health appeared first on Mindful.
  • Disarming the Narcissist

    Dr. Michael Gervais has a podcast series called Finding Mastery built around a central goal: unpacking and decoding how the greatest performers in the world use their minds to create amazing journeys while they pursue the boundaries of human potential.
    He recently sat down with Wendy Behary, a founding fellow and consulting supervisor for The Academy of Cognitive Therapy (Aaron T. Beck Institute). Wendy has a specialty in treating narcissists and the people who live wit
  • How Awe Brings People Together

    Many of us know the pleasures of feeling awe. Whether hiking majestic peaks, admiring great art, or watching the birth of a child, experiences like these fill us with a sense of wonder, challenging our understanding of the world and our place in it.
    Now a new study sheds some light on awe’s unique function. Through a series of experiments, an international team of researchers were able to show that experiences of awe diminish our sense of self-importance, creating a “small
  • Go Toward What Hurts

    Editor’s note: In the following piece, adapted from Frank Ostaseski’s book The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully, he shares some of his experiences from the decades he has been working with dying people and those who are dealing with the death of loved ones. On a regular basis, Frank has gone courageously to places of deep pain and suffering few of us ever have to go to. As you are about to read this account, it might help you to know that
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  • How Compassion Gives Us the Stability to Take Wise Action

    Barry: Hello everyone. I’m Barry Boyce, editor-in-chief of Mindful Magazine and Mindful.org and this is the Point of View podcast. We’re here today with my very good friend Frank Ostaseski who in 1987 co-founded Zen Hospice in San Francisco and then in 2005 co-founded Metta Institute. And he’s just come out with a book detailing his work with people who are dying. It’s called The Five Invitations, Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully. And Frank is here
  • 7 Mindful Books Worth Reading This Summer

    1) ATTENDING
    Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity
    Ronald Epstein, MD • Scribner
    A family physician and a professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, Ron Epstein has been working to improve how doctors treat others for decades. Together with colleague Mick Krasner, he has encouraged caregivers to pay attention to what’s happening in their own minds and bodies as they interact with patients—with particular attention to how they communicate and the quality of the t
  • 7 Mindful Books Worth Reading This Month

    1) ATTENDING
    Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity
    Ronald Epstein, MD • Scribner
    A family physician and a professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, Ron Epstein has been working to improve how doctors treat others for decades. Together with colleague Mick Krasner, he has encouraged caregivers to pay attention to what’s happening in their own minds and bodies as they interact with patients—with particular attention to how they communicate and the quality of the t
  • Mindful Movement to Ease into Sleep

    If you’re one of the 80 million Americans having a hard time falling asleep, count yourself among the ranks of those more likely to suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression (As if being tired all the time wasn’t bad enough).
    Recently there have been some studies looking into whether or not mindfulness, and other meditative movements like those found in yoga, tai chi, and qi gong, can improve sleep quality. According to one review of studies taking a few
  • The Mindful Survey: Technically Speaking

    Of the following, which personal tech devices do you use on a daily basis:
    MP3 Player 4%
    Desktop Computer 37%
    Tablet 38%
    Laptop Computer 50%
    TV 51%
    Smartphone 91%
     
    Of the following, what do you most often use a smartphone for:
    Gaming 1%
    Other 7%
    Phone calls 12%
    Social media 18%
    Browsing the internet 19%
    Texting 44%
    What role does technology play in your life?
    30% Say it’s crucial, while 26% say technology is a “necessary evil.” Another 21% admit it’s an impressive
  • School’s Out for the Summer. Why Aren’t Teens More Chill?

    Courage is not the absence of fear; rather, it is skillful action to live with the fear.—Theo Koffler
    School’s out for the summer. While students are taking a break, it’s still a time of transition: Whether middle school students are gearing up for high school, or high school seniors are preparing to enter into the adult world, each transition carries an element of uncertainty. Although changes like these can mark exciting times, they are often accompanied by feelings of appre
  • How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain

    With the rise of managed health care, which emphasizes cost-efficiency and brevity, mental health professionals have had to confront this burning question: How can they help clients derive the greatest possible benefit from treatment in the shortest amount of time?
    Recent evidence suggests that a promising approach is to complement psychological counseling with additional activities that are not too taxing for clients but yield high results. In our own research, we have zeroed in on one such ac
  • How to Handle Big Emotions During Group Meditation

    When sitting with others, I become afraid of making a scene if I get emotional. What should I do?
    Have you ever gotten the giggles during a very grave or serious situation? Have you ever tried to stop giggling in that situation? Pressing your fingers to your lips to stop the smile? Stifling the inappropriate but deeply physical urge to guffaw wildly? How’d that work out? How often did a singularly embarrassing and remarkably loud snort escape from you in a moment like that? The old saying
  • Smart Phone, Lazy Brain

    You probably know the Google Effect: the first rigorous finding in the booming research into how digital technology affects cognition. It’s also known as digital amnesia, and it works like this: When we know where to find a piece of information, and when it takes little effort to do so, we are less likely to remember that information. First discovered by psychologist Betsy Sparrow of Columbia University and her colleagues, the Google Effect causes our brains to take a pass on retaining or
  • Find a Moment of Awe—in the Forest

    Each day as I come home from work, I walk on a tree-lined street that’s like a small forest. Some days I’m utterly lost in thought, but when possible I try to drink it all in. It’s so much more nourishing than looking at a screen. If I had to choose between a tree and a newsfeed—including a newsfeed about beautiful trees—I would choose the tree. Every time.
    If I had to choose between a tree and a newsfeed—including a newsfeed about beautiful trees—I wou
  • How to Avoid Confirmation Bias at Work

    Where do you get information about the issues you care about?
    Do your most common sources confirm or challenge your perspective?
    How much time do you spend listening to or reading opposing points of view?
    When you make decisions, are you likely to choose the option that the people closest to you will affirm?
    In my recent Mindful article, I talked about the importance of adaptability as an essential emotional intelligence competency for leaders. Part of being adaptable is seeking out and being a
  • A 10-Minute Meditation to Work with Difficult Emotions

    ​​Can you feel the heat?
    Life feels a little more intense these days: at home, work, out in the world. When life begins to feel more intense than normal, it’s important to remember to slow down, turn toward these bigger feelings, and see the bigger picture. Take each day at a time.
    Life is always in flux. Every thought, feeling, and moment is quickly changing into the next. In the moment, when something feels difficult, it seems like it will never pass. The practice is learnin
  • “Adult” Better with Meditation

    A lot of us avoid meditation because it doesn’t seem accessible. But meditation doesn’t need to be an exotic retreat—although some of our neighbors are quite literally retreating to exotic places this time of year to partake in various mindfulness and yoga programs. Additionally, you don’t need a zafu (a round meditation cushion) and mindfulness apps are optional.
    The creators of the How to Adult Youtube channel created a five-minute primer on how
  • Does Anxiety Make It Hard for You to Focus? Take a Meditation Break

    A wandering mind is a familiar foe to anyone who has a job to do but just. can’t. seem. to. focus. When you’re anxious, the train of worries and fears running through your head makes concentrating that much more difficult.
    A small study conducted at the University of Waterloo suggests that just 10 minutes of mindfulness helps. In the study, 82 participants who experience anxiety were given a computer task to complete, but were regularly disrupted. They were then split into two group
  • Celebrate the Life You Have

    Last week, my wife and I sat in a doctor’s office in Boston, waiting for news about her latest round of scans. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer almost 2 years ago, not long after our son’s second birthday. Since that time, we’ve been through multiple surgeries, recurrences, chemotherapy, and dozens of late night trips to the Emergency Room.
    After scans, it seems like we always have to wait at least 20 minutes for the doctor. I don’t mind waiting in the lobby,
  • Unhook From the News and Stay Informed

    When it comes to news and public affairs, we live in wild times. It doesn’t matter who you voted for last November or which party you affiliate with. The fact is that this moment in history places a unique set of challenges on those of us seeking to cultivate mindfulness.
    Consider our story. Following the 2016 Presidential Election, Nate noticed that tracking the news became a near addiction: “I woke up each morning with an irresistible urge to view the latest headlines. During shor
  • The Science of Taming the Wandering Mind

    Consider the following statement: Human beings only use 10 percent of their brain capacity. Well, as a neuroscientist I can tell you that, while Morgan Freeman delivered this line with the gravitas that makes him a great actor, this statement is entirely false. The truth is human beings use 100% of their brain capacity.
    The brain is a highly efficient energy demanding organ that gets fully utilized and, even though it is at full capacity being used, it suffers from a problem of information overl
  • 5 Rituals of Highly Creative People

    One of the big myths about creativity is that you have to wait for the muse to whisper in your ear. But most prominent writers and artists prefer not to leave anything up to chance. “Inspiration is for amateurs,” said painter Chuck Close in Mason Currey’s book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. “The rest of us just show up and get to work.” Or as Jack London famously put it, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Her
  • Mindful Running: Two Ways to Plan Your Route

    One of the great joys of running is the time and space it gives you to just be with yourself. There’s nothing else to do, or really, to even think about. Of course, you can load running, like anything else, with all sorts of goals and other busyness. But to truly experience mindfulness while running, the most important thing is to let running itself be the goal without any other needs attached to it.
    There are two fun ways to practice this.
    1) Just…Run!
    Truly give yourself over to
  • Does Meditation Boost Creativity?

    What style of meditation is best for stimulating creativity? One of the most definitive studies on this subject was conducted in 2012 by Lorenza Colzato, a Dutch cognitive psychologist. Her research team had a small group of novices practice two forms of mindfulness meditation: 1) open-monitoring, which involves observing and noting phenomena in the present moment and keeping attention flexible and unrestricted, and 2) focused attention, which stresses concentrating on a single object, such as
  • Quiz: Do You Feel Empowered at Work?

    1) True or False: “I have a feeling of clear direction and connectedness to the goings-on around me and understand how my work connects to the mission/purpose of my organization.”
    If you answered True: You are likely on the path to feeling a sense of overall empowerment.
    If you answered False: It might be time to reexamine the mission/purpose of your organization and explore more deeply where you feel connected or disconnected and begin to seek where there are paths f
  • Mindful Policing: The Future of Force

    With police violence—and public scrutiny— on the rise, cities turn to mindfulness to help officers deal with the stress of the job.
    You guys ready for a technique?” the trainer asks. “Everybody, sit up straight. Uncross your legs. Just look straight ahead.”
    Eric White gathers his 6-foot-8 frame and straightens his back in the conference-room chair. Instead of his usual police uniform, he wears a blue polo shirt and jeans. The trainer, Don Chartrand, is visiting Emer
  • The New Greenwashing?

    Five years ago, James Tjan started Mindful Snacks as a service to deliver healthier snack foods to offices around Toronto. Last year, Earthtone Construction, a sustainable building contractor in Sonoma County, CA, trademarked the term “Mindful Building.” Earlier this year, Mindful Brewing opened its brewpub in the South Hills neighborhood in Pittsburgh. And you’ve been able for a few years now to go to Chicago area Epic Burger for “a more mindful burger,” and if you
  • Feeling Separate When You’re Anxious: Two Mindfulness Practices to Reconnect

    Feelings of being separate, disconnected, or, worse, unsupported, can all too easily snowball into anxiety, complete with all of the unpleasant symptoms anxiety can bring. A participant in an MBSR class once described this as feeling like she was in a bubble while the rest of the world was connected. She said she felt invisible, removed, and alone, and that it was gradually deepening her despair and a sense that she was different from everyone else and could never fit in. Perhaps you also have e
  • 3 Breathing Techniques for Mindful Running

    “In addition to keeping the body relaxed and tall (imagine your head being pulled gently aloft by a sky-high rope), and letting deep, controlled nasal breaths dictate the pace, the mechanics of mindful running are largely indistinguishable from running as we know it,” Alan Green writes in the June issue of Mindful. “What’s different is that this approach to navigating the trails and the tracks is done in a way that both approximates and complements seated meditation.&rdqu
  • How to Care Deeply Without Burning Out

    Mindfulness teaches us to be aware of and responsive to the emotions of others. But when we face the suffering of others without equanimity, our empathetic response can overwhelm us. “I think it’s almost inevitable that we get burnt out, at least from time to time,” says meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg. Part of the reason that happens is that we respond to the suffering of others without recognizing the difference between empathy and compassion.
    You can acknowledge the pain,
  • The Flighty Nature of Attention

    Many people wonder, “What exactly do you do on a meditation retreat?” It’s pretty simple. Let me give you a basic description: You decide to take a few days off to meditate with some other people. On day one, you sit and pay attention to your body and breath for 30 or 45 minutes. Then you walk back and forth, back and forth. When it’s time to eat, you eat in silence. Then, you sit and pay attention to your body and your breath and walk around some more, eat in silence, an
  • The Science of Fidget Spinners: Mindful or Mindless?

    Those ubiquitous “fidget spinners” that have invaded classrooms and dinner tables across the world have been spinning controversy since they first swirled onto the scene a few months ago. Some defend them as “smart fidget toys” helpful for kids with anxiety, ADHD, and other attention disorders, while others decry them as a nuisance that do more to distract than calm. Some schools have even banned them outright. But what’s the real story: mindful or mindless?
    If you
  • How to Practice Mindfulness

    Mindfulness is a natural quality that we all have. It’s available to us in every moment if we take the time to appreciate it. When we practice mindfulness we’re practicing the art of creating space for ourselves, space to think, space to breathe, space between ourselves and our reactions.
    How to practice mindfulness:
    Create some time. You can practice anywhere, there’s no need to go out and buy a special cushion or bench—all you need is to devote a little t
  • A Better Version of Yourself

    Scott Shute may be VP of Customer Relations at LinkedIn, managing the customer experience for the nearly 500 million people, but his second title at the company might be even more impressive: Chief Mindfulness Officer. He’s spent the last few years on a passion project, building momentum and creating space for LinkedIn’s mindfulness program, while brainstorming best practices with like-minded mindfulness leaders at places like Google, Ebay, and Inte
  • 3 Simple Steps to Stop Mental Time Traveling

    What do standing in line at Starbucks, stop signs, and stairs have in common?
    The answer – each are opportunities to integrate the experience of awareness into your everyday life.  The trick is to develop the habit of transforming these everyday experiences of modern life into opportunities to skillfully direct your attention to what is happening right here, right now.
    If you’re reading this article, you may have already experienced this acute state of present moment awaren
  • Editorial Assistant

    Join a small team of media specialists who are establishing the most trusted voice and go-to brand in secular mindfulness today. Collaborate with us by bringing your training and journalistic aspirations to our multi-media platforms, Mindful magazine and mindful.org, as well as other newly emerging offerings, in this entry level position. Mindful’s parent organization, The Foundation for a Mindful Society, is an independent not-for-profit registered in the U.S., with central business and e
  • Does Gender Affect Mindfulness?

    Men are from mars, women are from Venus: Whether you subscribe to this classic title coined by author John Gray or whether you firmly believe we are actually from the same planet and live to conform to social gender norms, one thing is undeniable: here on planet earth, the topic of sex and gender are receiving more attention in our socio-economic, political, and mental well-being landscape.
    Just as different populations (meditators vs non-meditators; clinical vs community populations) use facets
  • Meditate at Your Desk

    Most of us spend a great deal of time sitting behind our desks, or in conference rooms or colleagues’ offices, so having a short practice that helps you relax while at work can be beneficial. What I call the desk chair meditation gives you a way to incorporate a short mindfulness practice into your day.
    You may need to be creative to find the quiet place. The desk chair part need not be taken literally. This meditation can be done anywhere you are able to sit quietly and practice, eve
  • How to (Mindfully) Have an Awkward Conversation at Work

    I’ve developed a theory that the biggest driver of mindlessness at work comes from lack of communication. Most times, this is connected to the conversations we’re not having about our values, or about the boundaries we set (or don’t set) around how we live, honor, or uphold these values at work. You know the type of conversation I am talking about: the really uncomfortable one, where you know what you need to say is going to be awkward and might displease or disappoint another
  • How Humor Builds Empathy

    Humor begets more than LOLs—Scott Aukerman, creator of the podcast Comedy Bang Bang! talks to BigThink about how it’s a life skill that can help us navigate uncertain social waters and garner more authentic interactions.
    3 Ways Humor is a Skill that Builds Empathy
    1) Humor disarms. Aukerman says some of the most powerful people throughout history brag and make fun of people—it’s an easy and popular way to get laughs, but it doesn’t invite empathy.
    The kind of
  • Mindfulness: The Antidote to Anti-Aging

    Aging has been around for as long as we have—so you’d think we might have accepted it by now. By the same token, you’d think we’d also had enough of cats on the internet, but they’re just so darn cute.
    The past 20 years has given birth to a booming “anti-aging” industry, replete with creams, pills, diets, and even anti-aging clinics. So, a few bucks and a little extra work can keep me young forever? Sounds like a beautiful fantasy! Oh right, that’s
  • Goodbye, Things: Find Peace of Mind By Letting Go of Your Stuff

    Fumio Sasaki is a 35-year-old man living in Tokyo. Tired of the materialist society he grew up in, Fumio moved to a studio flat in a new neighbourhood and discarded nearly all his possessions. His new book Goodbye, Things tells the story of how getting rid of his stuff transformed his life. He spoke with writer Kate Bermingham about how his life has changed.
    Kate Bermingham: What possessions do you still own?
    Fumio Sasaki: I have about 20 pieces of clothing, including underwear. My ele

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