Learn About Mindfulness
"It’s not a luxury to actually cultivate mindfulness. It’s becoming an absolute necessity.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
You can choose from a number of ways to learn mindfulness – including in person and via books, audio and online apps. The strongest evidence base to date is for Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), which is traditionally taught in eight week classes, but is also available online.
The Be Mindful Directory lists mindfulness teachers who follow the Good Practice Guidelines as developed by the UK Network of Mindfulness-based Teacher Training organisations. Teachers are flagged who have applied to the UK Network directly and have been able to demonstrate via an assessment process that they meet the guidelines.
This module on Mindfulness is from the free online course The Science of Happiness exploring the roots of a happy, meaningful life. Co-taught by Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas from GGSC University of California, Berkeley.
1. How paying attention can make you happier
You may have heard a lot about mindfulness recently, as it has gone from a somewhat esoteric term to a mainstream one, fueled in part by a wave of scientific research documenting a host of benefits.
So what is mindfulness? For starters, simply put, the term "mindfulness" refers to a moment-by-moment, non-judgmental awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. We'll tease out what that definition means over the next two sequences of videos and readings. In this next video, Emiliana provides a roadmap for our week on mindfulness, in which we'll survey a wide range of mindfulness studies, explore how mindfulness is linked to happiness, and identify ways to build mindfulness.
As Emiliana suggested in the previous video, mindfulness is fundamentally about paying attention to what you're doing and sensing in the present moment. So does sharpening our focus on the present moment actually make us happier?
In the next video, researcher Matt Killingsworth explains how he addressed that question using some innovative methods. Though he never uses the term "mindfulness" in this video, the phenomenon he describes--the challenge of keeping our minds focused on what we're experiencing in the present moment--is central to the concept of mindfulness.
As you watch, consider: How frequently are you truly focused on what you're doing in the present moment? How frequently does your mind wander away? Do you notice it wandering even as you watch this video? If so, that's OK--just re-focus your attention on the video, then move on to the reading beneath it by Dr. Killingsworth, which draws on his talk. You can also learn more about his research by reading the original study, "A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind," that he describes in this video.