Photo: Dallas CTC
Mindfulness has become the new buzzword of late, touted by Fortune 500 companies, parents, the US military, and schools (just to name a few) as the answer to burnout, behavior problems, and anxiety. But the thing is – it’s more than a buzzword or the latest trend. On top of thousands of years of history, we now have thousands of pages of research proving that mindfulness actually is a solution to many of the woes of modern day society. And while it's obviously not the only solution – and nor should it be – it's definitely not one to be ignored in light of all we now know. With 18 million people meditating in the United States, there must be something to it.
So what is mindfulness? There are a number of definitions, but perhaps one of the most famous comes from the “grandfather” of mindfulness in the US, Jon Kabat Zinn who says “mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally." In short, mindfulness is the act of being objectively aware of each moment (e.g. feelings, sensations, images, etc.) as it arises and falls away. Sounds simple in theory, but in practice…not so much.
So how do you reap the benefits of this practice? There are a number of ways to get your feet wet, ranging from online and in-person courses to books and retreats. You can also travel to one of Forbes “top ten cities for meditation” and explore a variety of opportunities. But if travel seems like too much of a commitment and funds are tight, below are a few easy and inexpensive options:
There are a myriad of other resources on mindfulness in the world – these are just a small sample based on our experiences. If you are interested in exploring the world of meditation, it’s worth taking some time to browse online and your local bookstore to find programs or resources that resonate best with you. Mindfulness is, at its core, a very personal and exploratory practice that manifests differently for everyone.
* We cannot vouch for every MBSR instructor out there, so it is highly recommended that you vet potential teachers by asking about their background and training, and request references, before making a decision.
Many view mindfulness as an important form of alternative medicine.
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