• Can Mindfulness Help Us Navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

    Last week saw a gathering of over 4000 politicians, private sector leaders, policymakers, and experts for the fifth annual World Government Summit in Dubai. The speakers, who included Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, the new Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres, and visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk, covered 114 different topics that will shape future governments. Amongst the core themes were familiar anxieties about inequality, extremism and climate change, but also
  • Mindfulness for Cancer Recovery: Living—and Healing—in the Moment

    Twenty-five years ago, Linda Carlson was a graduate student in a clinical psychology class at McGill University when she met a classmate who would become her meditation teacher. He had just returned from seven years at a Thai monastery and offered to lead a small group of students in a weekly sitting meditation. Carlson immediately joined him, along with Kirk Brown, author of the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, the first measure developed to self-report mindfulness. Brown knew Jon Kabat-Zinn,
  • How to Be Mindful With Your Cravings

    When it comes to the universally-not-so-fun experience of craving, it goes something like this: my old job gave me an iPhone to keep me in the loop, which soon led to the intense pleasure of flicking through the app store and downloading my first version of the game “Angry Birds,” which then sparked more cravings of app-related things. My phone and I became fast friends—though I was a jealous, needy friend, and kept my iPhone clamped tight to my hip in a pouch, not unlike an ol
  • Remembering the Japanese American Internment

    How do we act when life gives us a situation that we feel is beyond our control? Humans repeatedly are forced to deal with such conditions. If we are mindful at these moments, wisdom may emerge that will help us to know if we should accept what is happening or try to change it.
    On February 19, 75 years ago, an executive order from President Roosevelt lead to the mass incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans. This moment in history is particularly resonant this year because of the recent execu
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  • Your Breath is Your Brain’s Remote Control

    We have all heard this simple saying during times of trouble: “Take a deep breath in.” Science being science, however, indicates that we may now have to update this old adage to read “Take a deep breath in it will help you be more emotionally aware but only if you inhale specifically through your nostrils and not your mouth—good luck.”While this may seem a lengthy tip to recall in the midst of uh-oh moments, the power of active breathing—voluntarily inhaling a
  • Mindfulness for Anxiety: Research and Practice

    The science of mindfulness-based interventions into anxiety and depression
    In 1992, Zindel Segal, John Teasdale, and Mark Williams collaborated to create an eight-week program modeled on MBSR. Jon Kabat-Zinn—who developed MBSR—had some initial misgivings about the program, fearing the curriculum might insufficiently emphasize how important it is for instructors to have a deep personal relationship with mindfulness practice. Once he got to know the founders better, he became a champio
  • The Science and Practice of Staying Present Through Difficult Times

    The Science of Staying Present
    Research into mindfulness has shown the benefits of staying present, and of gently turning towards difficulty. Mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) trains people with addictive habits to manage their cravings mindfully by staying present to the sensations of craving, rather than trying to distract from them, avoid them or defeat them. In a large trial of MBRP, mindfulness-trained patients drank and used drugs significantly less than those who were treated wi
  • What You Can Learn from Polyamory

    Do you hope to love one person for the rest of your life?
    As romantic as that goal may sound, not everyone shares it. With economic, social, and health changes leading to much longer lifespans—and more control over fertility and childbearing—our attitudes towards monogamy have changed significantly. Divorce has become commonplace, and many people have embraced serial monogamy, forming one relationship at a time, falling in love and splitting up, and then doing it all over again.
    But
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  • Passion Rules: Two Practices for Discovering Your Life’s Passion

    One morning in early May of 2006, I sat drinking strong coffee on the patio of the Maison Dupuy in New Orleans. Feeling the sun on my skin and listening to the sound of a nearby piano, I read from Andrei Codrescu, “This is the time when the part of you that is music overcomes the part of you that is silence.”
    Indeed. Sun and jazz and water falling from a fountain of stone dolphins ridden by small naked water children. Cupids with harps. Wrought iron balconies, like fine Indian filigr
  • How to Wake Up Your Body for Morning Meditation

    When you win the morning, you win the day. But there are days when my body isn’t quite ready to wake up when I am. And if I want to meditate in the morning, and my body’s not awake, my practice won’t be as invigorating as it could be—Which why I start every morning with mindful movement. It promotes healing, increases energy, enhances awareness, and sets you up to thrive. With that in mind, I developed a simple 5-minute mindful movement practice that you can do as soon as
  • When Your Meditation Practice Feels Boring: Is It All in Your Head?

    When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford. —Samuel Johnson, English writer
    Like Dr. Johnson’s summation of the cosmopolitan life of 18th century London, mindfulness offers us full and open access to every experience. So does that mean if we’re bored in meditation, we’re also bored by our lives? And if so, what can be done about it?
    If we can stay with our mindfulness practice, we start to reverse the old habits of
  • A 10-Minute Meditation to Help You Solve Conflicts at Work

    There are few things at work as stressful as feeling that you can’t communicate with someone who has an impact on how well you do your job and on the quality of your experience at work. How many times have you thought carefully about something you want to communicate to your boss, a colleague, or subordinate, only to find yourself leaving the conversation feeling angry or frustrated by how it went?
    Karen (not her real name), a program officer for a nonprofit organization, had an experience
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  • Finding Mastery: A Conversation with Michael Gervais and Jewel

    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.
    This week he sat down with singer-songwriter Jewel, and Wisdom 2.0 founder Soren Gordhamer, for an hour-long conversation about the hard work it takes to figure out who you truly are, what forgiveness means, and why perfectionism can be
  • A 10-Minute Guided Mindfulness Meditation to Foster Forgiveness

    Two monks are walking down the road. They arrive at a muddy stream crossing, and a well dressed woman declares without introduction, “Don’t just stand there. Someone carry me across this mess.“
    Without pause, the older monk lifts her across. She says nothing, not even a thank you.
    The two monks walk all day. The whole time, the younger one stews in his mind—How could he pick her up? We’re not supposed to touch women, or even talk to them. And she was so rude, someo
  • Three Things We Still Don’t Know About Meditation

    During the past two decades, we’ve discovered a lot about mindfulness—and specifically meditation, which is one of the best ways to cultivate moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and our environment.
    Research has suggested that in a few short weeks, mindfulness meditation practice can bring about physiological, psychological, and social benefits in our lives. From increases in gray matter in the brain to alleviating physical ailments such as migraines and fibromyalgia, the benefit
  • How to Fight Stress with Intentional Breathing

    Taking a deep breath or two to relax in and of itself isn’t new. Many people take a few deep breaths when they’ve feeling overcome by stress, and the adage, “just breathe” appears on everything from billboards to t-shirts. Deep breathing, often referred to as “belly or diaphragmatic breathing,” is incorporated in many different mind–body therapies. There is one fundamental problem with breath modification techniques, however. The majority of people are n
  • 3 Simple Ways to Switch Out of Autopilot

    When you’re not paying attention to anything in particular, what’s going on in the brain? Turns out, it continues quietly whirring away, re-charting old pathways. Our default mode doesn’t have to be suffering, replaying old narratives in our mind. With mindfulness, we can insert ourselves back into the present moment. And when we inevitably slide back into autopilot, our mindfulness practice can kick in, too. Research suggests that the brains of experienced meditators
  • How Mindfulness Benefits Students, Police Officers, and Married Couples

    Meditation Replaces Detention
    After 15 years of bringing yoga and mindfulness to Baltimore schools, the Holistic Life Foundation—founded by brothers Ali and Atman Smith and Andy Gonzalez—has garnered nationwide attention, on CBS, CNN, Huffington Post, and others, for its Mindful Moment Room at Robert W. Coleman Elementary. Instead of detention, children take a moment to breathe and assess what’s going on in body and mind. Suspensions dropped to zero.
    The publicity helps, Gonzal
  • Can Compassion Training Help Physicians Avoid Burnout?

    All of us want our doctors to treat us with care. But the rigorous, high-stress training provided by medical schools seems to zap students of empathy for patients and well-being, making it less likely that these students will morph into compassionate caregivers later on.
    Now, a new study suggests a potential remedy for overly stressed medical students: compassion training.
    Caregivers Learn Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT)
    Researcher Jennifer Mascaro and colleagues from Emory Universi
  • Why Listening is the Most Radical Act

    Pain and suffering may often seem to be calling us to jump in and fix things, but perhaps they are asking us first to be still enough to hear what can really help, what can truly get to the cause of this suffering, what will not only eliminate it now but prevent it from returning. So, before we act, we need to listen. When we do become quiet enough and “listen up,” the way opens, and we see the possibilities for action.
    We give very little attention to learning to listen, learning to
  • Stress Impacts the Brain Increasing Risk for Heart Disease

    Chronic stress has long been linked to cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke. New research published in The Lancet suggests that heightened activity in the amygdala, the brain’s emotion processing center, may increase cardiovascular disease risk. This opens the door for new studies of alternative therapies including mindfulness meditation that are known to increase relaxation and stress resilience, and decrease known modifiable heart disease risk factors like hypertension, hig
  • 3 Simple Ways to Strengthen Your Relationships

    Having strong relationships is one of the single greatest predictors of wellness, happiness, and longevity. And our connections flourish when we take time to get to know ourselves, and others, better. Here are three ways to strengthen the relationships you have, and nourish the ones that might need some work:
    1) Be kind
    Kindness is like a magnet. People like to be around others who are kind because they feel cared about and safe with them. The age-old Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you wo
  • How to Disarm Your Biggest Critic

    Some years ago I was teaching a course in a hospital in Sheffield, England. There was a psychiatrist in the course who was in his fifties and who, although cordial on the surface, could be quite vicious in his attacks on others in the group. Out of the blue, he would issue scathing judgments about their errors. What was challenging for his colleagues was that they could never be sure when to expect one of his barbed attacks.
    Later I came to work with him, in a coaching format. I discovered his l
  • Why Mindfulness Belongs in the Classroom

    Four-year-old Faith already believes in the power of breathing to help her do her best learning. “I was trying to match some letters and I got really frustrated,” says Faith. “And I needed to take a deep breath and I almost got it. I almost got it by myself and I felt just a little happy.”
    Faith knows that the simple act of breathing can help her focus to complete the task at hand. She attends the Momentous School, a program of the Momentous Institute, a 97-year-old
  • Why Do Dictators and Bullies Gain Power?

    You might be wondering: Don’t totalitarian dictators and bullies successfully wield power for long periods of time and do a lot of damage? How does that line up with this notion of survival of the kindest?
    It’s true: The coercive, bullying, Machiavellian style can lead to gains in power. Although studies show that bullies are not respected by their peers, are often isolated, and don’t have much sustained influence, the sixth-grade bully can get a lot of attention and influence
  • A Simple Strategy for Halting Old Habits

    It’s that time of year when the majority of us break our New Year’s resolutions. But there are ways we can make it past February with our goals still in tact. The key to breaking old habits and forming new ones is building a strong foundation for your willpower to thrive on, and that means creating healthy habits that serve our very basic biological needs. I’ve come up with a simple acronym for when you find your willpower slipping and temptation winning the day.
  • Are Your Happiness Goals Too High?

    In our competitive culture, we usually think “more is better.” Being Number One, winning at all costs, and “having the most” is deeply ingrained in our psyche as real success. This model of going for the max is often erroneously applied to our own well-being. People mistakenly think intense delight is a sign that their attempt at awakening joy is truly successful.
    However, when we look for bells and whistles as indications of true happiness we’re misunderstanding a
  • Mindful Activist’s Toolkit for The Women’s March

    Women are about to connect with each other on a massive scale at women’s marches across the globe. It will be an epic mingling of ideas and subcultures, addressing everything from family health and security, power and gender, worker’s rights and civil rights, environmental justice and personal freedom, and more. Hopefully marchers, and those supporting them, will come away from this moment with a greater understanding of their own work in the world, and a deeper sense of how all of t
  • A Meditation in Honor of The Women’s March

    Maybe you’re getting ready to March on Saturday or maybe you’re supporting others by cheering them on or perhaps you’re reading this after the March and trying to process all that has happened. Marching with others (literally and figuratively) reminds us that we’re part of a bigger community and that our individual voice matters. Some people march because they want to be surrounded by the energy of others who share their feelings. Some are angry or frustrated and want the
  • How to Be Mindful With a Snack

    1) Choose a time when you would normally eat a meal or a snack. Practice bringing kindness to yourself, mindful openness and curiosity to the practice of mindful eating.
    2) Before eating, bring awareness to your body and your breathing. Let your belly be soft and full. Take three full deep breaths. Let the breath relax you and help you settle into the present moment. Start by checking in to see how hungry you are. Explore what hunger feels like in the belly, noticing its pleasant and unpleasant
  • What to Do When You Feel Stuck in Negative Emotions

    We’ve all been there: A strong emotion like anger or fear sucks us in and suddenly we can’t seem to control the things we say or do, hurting ourselves and those around us.
    “We act like wind-up toys, repeatedly bumping into the same walls, never realizing there may be an open door just to our left or our right,” writes Susan David, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, in Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life.
    Negative emotions can
  • How Prisoners Practice Mindfulness Amidst Chaos

    A maximum security prison isn’t the most supportive place to take up mindfulness practice. The places are always noisy with ambient sounds that include talking, yelling, chains rattling, doors banging…even through the night. In addition, prison schedules don’t adapt to the needs of individual inmates, and cellmates might belittle the practice, making it difficult for an inmate to find 20 undisturbed minutes to sit and follow the breath.
    At Folsom Prison in California
  • 5 Questions to Keep Your Meditation Practice Going

    Elisha Goldstein spoke with Patricia Karpas on the Untangle podcast. Below is an abbreviated transcription of their conversation. 
    1) Why is it so difficult to keep a meditation practice going?
    Elisha Goldstein: That’s a perennial question that has to do with all of the things, whether it’s exercise, eating right, or not being a rage-aholic on the freeway, or a meditation practice, or any of this. The thing is, years ago, we all lived in clans—some cultures stil
  • A 20-Minute Body Scan to Cultivate Attention

    When doing this meditation, remember that, as always, there’s no need to strive to make anything happen. Simply observe what you find and practice letting things be for a while. When something uncomfortable grabs your attention, like pain or an itch, observe it first and see if it changes. If you find you need to address it, that’s fine. Noticing that, pause and make an adjustment. In this way, the body scan provides an opportunity to practice responsiveness.1) Begin by lying do
  • The Power and Pleasure of Intention

    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    —Henry David Thoreau
    Happy New Year!
    Traditional New Year’s resolutions—losing weight, finding a relationship, or quitting a bad habit—are often ungrounded wishes that originate from our beliefs about what we think we should do, should have, or should be.
    This year, consider setting intentions by focusing
  • 3 Ways to Get Better at Dealing With Change

    Between a stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. —Viktor Frankl
    How you respond to the issue…is the issue. —Frankie Perez
    When I worked in the Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco, I would park my car in Golden Gate Park and walk the two blocks to my office, something I could easily do on automatic pilot.
    One day, more distracted than usual by mulling over something I was worri
  • How to Fight Stress with Empathy

    How many times have you been concerned about a friend or other loved one and asked if everything’s all right only to be told, “Oh, I’m just stressed,” as if there’s nothing to worry about?
    We often use the words “I’m stressed” casually in our everyday conversations, with little acknowledgment of the adverse effects of stress in our lives. But evidence suggests that we should be much more concerned about our stress levels than we are.
    The Center for
  • How to Be Mindful When Life is in Flux

    “If you let go completely, you will be completely happy.”
    Stress reduction, helping with depression, coping with illness and adversity, improved relational skills, and an ability to make better, less bias-prone decisions—all of these benefits can flow from mindfulness training. But they might all be seen like by-products of travelling along a path to deeper awakening, which flows from the recognition that nothing in life, including ourselves, is stuck in the way we habitu
  • Getting Kids Unhooked from Their Smartphones

    Kids and screen time cause considerable parental angst these days—and for good reason. Research shows children spend on average seven hours a day glued to computer, tablet, smartphone, or television screens. This reality has created such a stir that in the fall, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated its decade-old recommendation on childhood screen time.
    Far from a radical revision, the guideline newly suggests a little well-chosen time is fine starting near eighteen months, whe
  • Mindfulness—an Alternative to Jailtime for Repeat Drunk Drivers

    Some of Michelle DuVal’s students don’t want to be there.
    As the instructor of a mindfulness meditation training that’s part of a yearlong program in Albuquerque for repeat offenders arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), she faces a wall of resistance—arms folded across chests, bodies slouched low in chairs, eyes averted.
    At first. And then, something shifts.
    “Oh, I can almost cry thinking about it,” DuVal says. “That first week, they sit as far
  • How Mindfulness Training Helps Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders

    Some of Michelle DuVal’s students don’t want to be there.
    As the instructor of a mindfulness meditation training that’s part of a yearlong program in Albuquerque for repeat offenders arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), she faces a wall of resistance—arms folded across chests, bodies slouched low in chairs, eyes averted.
    At first. And then, something shifts.
    “Oh, I can almost cry thinking about it,” DuVal says. “That first week, they sit as far
  • Beyond the Comfort Zone

    “We are not enemies, but friends… Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection,” Abraham Lincoln said. “The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
    When he spoke these words in his first inaugural, Lincoln was stunningly optimistic. He assumed office with only 40% of the vote after an election that saw him ridiculed as much as admired. Only weeks before, he had
  • The Top 3 Benefits of Meditating

    My mother wants to know why I’m meditating. What do you think are the top three benefits?
    Anyone paying attention to mindfulness in the news knows a fresh set of benefits is being discovered daily. (Secretly, we’re looking forward to the day when all the major benefits have already been discovered, so that we can really start drilling down: “Mindfulness will help you chew your gum faster!” “Mindfulness will keep you from falling asleep at the opera!”)
    In light
  • Forget Me, Forget Me Not…

    You and your significant other are charging through your morning routine, exchanging last-minute chit-chat:
    “I’ll make the vet appointment.”
    “Are we out of sugar already?!”
    “I have to meet with that intern and might be late tonight.”
    “I love that dress on you.”
    “Did you notice the car is making that funny noise again?”
    If you’re like most people, only a tiny fraction of such an exchange will stay with you. According to neuro
  • The Mindful Survey: How Blue Are You?

    Are you more susceptible to sadness in the day or at night?How do you react to sadness?Do you ever feel sad for no reason?
    50% Say they rarely feel sad for no reason, and 39% feel inexplicable sadness somewhat often. 8% say they are never sad for no reason, while 3% are all the time.
    Do you believe life is inherently sad?What’s one thing you won’t do because it makes you too sad?
    23% Say contemplating the fate of the world is too difficult, while 9% can’t read or watch the
  • 4 Ways to Follow Your Inner Compass

    As a child I spent several years living in the Philippines, where I learned to speak Tagalog. The language contains a beautiful expression for work,  hanapbuhay, which literally translates to “the search for life.” I’ve always liked thinking about work this way: an inward journey to discover the things that make you feel most alive, and making those your work.
    At some point during childhood, a well-meaning adult asks, “So, what do you want to be when you grow
  • Survival of the Kindest

    Compassion is the feeling that naturally arises when you learn of the suffering of another, and that motivates you to want to do something to help. Far from being just a social nicety, compassion has a great evolutionary purpose: Human offspring are the most dependent and vulnerable of any species, and need the most care from others to survive. This total dependence is why Charles Darwin said that sympathy is humanity’s strongest instinct. Simply put: Without compassion we wouldn’t s
  • Mindful’s Top 12 Posts of 2016

    Here are the top 12 most popular stories from Mindful.org in 2016:Free Mindfulness Apps Worthy of Your Attention
    Mindfulness apps are trending in a big way. Here are three we’re happy we downloaded.
     Feeling Overwhelmed? Remember “RAIN”
    Four steps to stop being so hard on ourselves.
     Five Steps to Mindfulness
    You can learn how to create a moment of joy at any time of the day. Explore these 5 simple steps to enjoy more mindfulness.
     How to Teach Your Kids about th
  • 3 Ways Mindfulness Can Help You Survive Family Occasions

    If you think you’re mindful, go to a family reunion, says Google’s mindfulness mentor, Chade Meng-Tan. The stress and tension can put our skills to the test.
    Meng shares 3 tips to stay sane over the holidays:
    1) Self honesty: Acknowledge to yourself, this is hard. Even people with 10,000 hours of meditation practice find themselves ruminating over fights with relatives, replaying past hurts in their minds, and trying not to get caught up in their triggers. Knowing this, don’t g

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