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3 Simple Mindfulness Recordings to Help You Flourish
Mindfulness has ignited an explosion of interest and research in recent decades.
Although mindfulness has roared onto the scene these days, its basic practices are ancient and have flourished over time. Today’s research sheds light on the benefits of mindfulness for well-being, physical and emotional health, learning, and dealing more effectively with life’s stresses.
Mindfulness can impact our lives in simple ways and at deep levels.
In my own life, moments of mindful awareness have been absolutely transformative in how I see myself and relate to the world. As I navigate the gifts and challenges of daily life, practicing mindfulness helps me find my way with improved inner balance and effectiveness.
Try this simple mindfulness exercise (Willard 2016):
Step 1: Tighten your fists as hard as you can and hold them firmly for a few seconds. Notice how you feel.
Step 2: Relax your hands. Rest them comfortably, perhaps on your lap, while you notice your next few breaths. How do you feel?
Step 3: Now put your hands on your heart and take a few breaths. Notice how you feel.
Step 4: Take a moment to reflect on your experiences of each of the three steps. What did you notice?
Tightened fists tend to activate the flight-or-fright response (Willard, 2016). When confronted with dangerous situations, our stress response helps us react quickly to keep us safe. However, in everyday life situations, this response is not helpful, causing our bodies and minds to become tense any time we feel threatened – at the dentist’s office, in a social situation, anticipating a meeting, presentation or exam, or simply waking up in the morning.
How can we train our minds to react with greater ease and calm?
The term “mindfulness” is thrown around a lot, so here’s a basic definition. “Mindfulness is awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn, 2012).
Practicing mindfulness is a powerful strategy – simple, easy to learn, and a skill we can develop through practice. Mindfulness teaches us how to pay attention. This is significant. Throughout our lives, we’re told “pay attention,” but how do we do that? How do we pay attention and how can we get better at it? Paying attention – in the moment – we can empower ourselves to build more positive emotions, function more effectively, feel more satisfied with life, and generally feel better.
Just slowing down our breathing can calm our bodies and minds. We’re not talking about deep breathing here – just simply paying attention to the breath, which also tends to slow it down.
I see that mindfulness can be helpful, but I don’t have time for it.
What are some simple ways to include mindfulness in my life?
Life is so busy. Typically, we want to keep moving, get things done, have fun. Remarkably, including just a few moments of mindfulness each day can empower us toward our objectives – and there’s good evidence to show that we can perform more effectively, calmly, and compassionately when we offer ourselves a few mindful moments (Goleman & Davidson, 2017).
To partner with you in building your mindfulness practice, I’ve developed three brief mindfulness recordings posted on my website. I hope you’ll find them useful and I welcome your feedback.
Short Talk – Setting the Stage for Mindfulness (1:56 min.)
A concise, user-friendly introduction to practicing mindfulness.
Brief Guided Breath Awareness Meditation – Just Beginning to Notice Your Breath (3:09 min.)
A brief, three minute guided meditation offering a welcoming practice for the beginner to simply notice the breath.
Guided Mindfulness Meditation – Resting Your Attention on Your Breath (6:51 min.)
We breathe every moment of our lives. This guided meditation invites you to rest your attention on something you do naturally – breathing.
In previous newsletters I’ve shared other simple, accessible mindfulness practices. You can find links to some of those offerings and others in the resources below.
Lastly, if you’d like to partner with a coach to develop greater mindfulness or achieve important objectives, let’s have a conversation. The best way to determine if coaching is right for you is try it out. I’m happy to offer a free coaching consultation to discuss a plan to help you take action toward your desired goals.
Resources and References:
- Berns-Zare, I. (2019) Lessons from kindergarten and life: Recognizing strengths, resilience and emotional intelligence.
- Berns-Zare, I. (2018). Mindful adults, mindful kids: Five mindfulness strategies to help kids (and adults) flourish. PsychologyToday.com
- Berns-Zare, I. (2019). Guided Mindfulness Recordings.
- Berns-Zare, I. (2018). Leading with supportive, mindful communication: A foundation for high-performing relationships and teams.
- Berns-Zare, I. (2017). Kindness and mindfulness: It starts with one.
- Goleman D. & Davidson, R.J. (2017). Altered Traits: Science reveals how meditation changes your mind, brain, and body. New York, NY: Avery.
- Kabat-Zinn (2012). Mindfulness for beginners: reclaiming the present moment – and your life. Sounds True. CO.
- Willard, C. (2016). Growing up mindful. Essential practices to help children, teens, and families find balance, calm, and resilience. Boulder, CO: Sounds True.
Ilene is a Featured Author on PsychologyToday!
Read her blog series Flourish and Thrive: Navigating transitions with mindfulness and resilience.
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Ilene Berns-Zare, PsyD is a life and leadership coach, psychologist, and educator. Ilene has dedicated much of her career to the personal and professional development and integrative well-being of others. As a life and leadership coach, psychologist, and educator, she inspires others to find fresh perspectives and access their full potential as creative, resourceful, whole persons. Find Ilene online and access free resources at http://ileneberns-zare.com.
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