Last month I was focused on deepening my knowledge regarding mediation – especially mindfulness. As many of you know, this is a powerful tool/technique to be more focused, more present and in general – have a better life. In today’s post, I’d like to recommend my last favorite book and podcasts regarding this topic.
Mindfulness without the Bells and Beads by Clif Smith
Let’s start with the book. There are many good publications, for example, those written by John Kabat-Zinn but this time I’d like to recommend something published this year.
Clif Smith, who is working as EY’s Americas Mindfulness Leader and Global Mindfulness Network Leader, shares the practical way to take from mindfulness as much as it is possible. He also proposes the 8-week program, to begin with, your journey with mindfulness.
- The author presented 3 skills that changed his life. I found the most useful this one which is titled as “catch and release” technique. This one should be used for noticing and letting go of unnecessary, fear-driven thoughts. I believe that everyone had that situation where internal dialogue stopped in you in realizing your plans. If you experience something like that, notice and let it go – it is so simple but so powerful.
- Multitasking is a myth – I think that this is a common statement in the books regarding mindfulness. We are not able to fully focus on two or more tasks at the same time. If we try to do that we just doing what is called “switch tasking” which wastes a lot of our time and energy. Being focused on one thing is also hard these days where we are bombarded by multiply types of notifications (from smartphones for example). The author also there pointed out that this is helpful in being more productive is an effective break for your brain like a short walk outside after working for some time.
- Amygdala is the part of the brain responsible for many functions but it is recognizable as this one which is protecting us from danger – by generating automatic reactions like flight, fight or freeze. Mindfulness helps in the reduction of the size and activity of it which correlates with a lower number of reactive reactions. This benefit gives us the ability to react better to situations that don’t go as we wish.
- Author provided the simple, brilliant, definition of mindfulness as “an ability to keep attention on one’s present moment experience without getting too caught up in automatic thoughts and judgments.”
- There are many types of meditation but the most basic one is focused attention meditation. This one is to make you more focused and concentrated on one object. The object might be something around you, situation, or, as this is the most popular method – breath, and that type of meditation is called Awareness of Breath meditation. This is a great starting point because if you learn how to control and be aware of your breath the practice of meditation will be much easier.
YouTube and Meditation
YouTube is also a great source of knowledge. Earlier I mentioned John Kabat – Zinn. To understand the power of mindfulness you can watch one of his lectures:
Of course, the best way to learn how to do something is actually doing that. The YouTube channel of Headspace offers many short sessions that you can do anytime you want.
Smartphones and Meditation
In my last post, I wrote about Smartphones and personal development. The mobile device might be a good friend in terms of practicing meditation. What can help you?
- Calendar reminders – to remind you about your upcoming time for meditation. Regularity is important to see the results.
- Headspace app – very popoular application, avaliable on majority of the devices, to practice meditation and mindfulness. It will help you learn solid basics and find useful practice for any purpose.
- Notes application – to note down all of your thoughts after practices.
- Timer – to measure the time of your practice. I found this very useful when I’m not using any guide like youtube video or podcast – believe – time pass by completely different when you are not disturbed by other things.
And the last things on my list of recommendations are podcasts.
The Mindful Minute
If you don’t know how to start with mindfulness you need to check Meryl Arnett’s podcast called “The Mindful Minute”. You can find there guided meditation practices that will learn you, for example, how to live in the present moment.
The Daily Meditation
This podcast learned to be consistent in my practice. Mary Meckley encourages us to explore new meditation techniques every day. The majority of the episodes are short so it is a great option for busy people because everyone is able to find around 10 spare minutes during the day.
Morgan Dix, yoga teacher, meditation guru, and host of The OneMind podcast presents different ways to apply meditation and mindfulness into different aspects of life.
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