Mental Health

Mindfulness—There’s More to the Practice Than Self-Indulgence

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It’s certainly no panacea, but research shows that mindfulness does do good things for the mind—and the body too! Derived from an ancient Buddhist meditation technique, mindfulness today primarily takes the form of secular guided practices focusing on awareness in the present moment and letting thoughts and feelings come and go.

Now I know we’re all busy people, and sometimes it’s hard to find even a moment to grab a bite to eat, much less spend time on what seems like self-indulgent exercises in, well, nothingness. However, according to this Harvard Business Review article, spending just ten minutes a day on mindfulness can improve decision-making and increase work performance. Moreover, mindfulness is a cornerstone of self-compassion (more on that here) which ultimately affects your interactions and relationships with other people.

So for the price of two Buzzfeed quizzes or four cat videos, you too can improve the quality of your daily life, even by just a little bit. Now, if you’re interested in dipping your toes into this thousand-year-old practice, here are some suggestions:

Yoga With Adriene. My personal favorite YouTube yogi offers a handful of meditation videos on her channel. And if you’re not already familiar with Adriene Mishler and her lovely, encouraging, and highly entertaining series of free yoga videos (hint: there’s sometimes a dog involved), please check her out immediately!

UCLA Health. If you’re looking for some no-frills, bare-boned meditation tracks, UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center offers free downloads in both English and Spanish.

Potential Project. This company offers guided mindfulness training geared specifically for organizations and leadership, including the corporate sector. On their site, you can find a 10-minute guided mindfulness training program, a short mindfulness training manual, and a link to a free downloadable mindfulness app.

Headspace. If you listen to a lot of podcasts, you probably already know about Headspace, a meditation app for your phone. They offer a free Basics pack, which includes a 10-day beginner’s course that guides you through the essentials of meditation and mindfulness. After that, the app costs either $12.99/month for a month-to-month subscription or $7.99/month for a yearly subscription.

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