mindfulness is the new black by valerie driscoll

MIndfulness is a brain-training practice of sorts that is simple, secular, and science. It teaches us to recognize when our mind has wandered and to return our attention to the present moment, which when you think about it, is the only moment in which we can effect change in our lives. Most importantly, it shows us how to do this with curiosity and self-compassion rather than judgement and criticism. It is the new black with good reason: the development of sophisticated brain-imaging technology over the last 15 years has allowed researchers to study brain function in spectacular detail. This research has lead to hundreds of studies showing mindfulness provides some level of relief from conditions as varied as the following:

  • elevated blood pressure
  • chronic pain
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • chemotherapy side effects
  • anger management
  • behavioral issues
  • addiction

Mindfulness teaches how to stay both with experiences that are pleasant or not so pleasant; by doing so we learn to come to an easier relationship with whatever comes our way. The practice helps to give us the choice of how and who we want to be at any moment in our lives. Living in this place of choice is true freedom. 

As a coach who specializes in habit change around eating and clutter, I successfully use mindfulness as a tool to help clients realize how often autopilot mode causes a knee-jerk reaction (chocolate-chip cookies) to a trigger (stress), and how choosing mindfully(an apple) keeps them more in line with a desired goal (healthful eating). It is anti-willpower, or perhaps a new definition of it.

Mindfulness is an easy, practical and inexpensive way to work with brains that are often glitchy and overtaxed. Personally, it has allowed me the space to examine, with more wonder and less bludgeon, the workings of my difficult brain. By doing this, she and I have developed a more productive, compassionate, and easier friendship.

Join Valerie for a workshop on bringing Mindfulness practices into your daily life to foster a healthy lifestyle. Saturday, March 18 from 12:30-4:30 at dig yoga. Register here: http://www.digyoga.com/workshops/

If interested in learning more about Mindfulness, visit: 

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/mindfulness/definition#what_is