Mindfulness for a New Year

Like most folks, I generally look at the beginning of a new year as a chance to reset, hopefully shedding some of those old, bad habits and starting some healthier new ones. And, as I get older and ponder more deeply how I want to be living my life (rather than how I sometimes find myself living it), I have been searching for ways to be more intentional as I go through my day. Mindfulness meditation, also simply called mindfulness, is a practical way to accomplish this goal that requires surprisingly little time and effort.

While rooted in Buddhism, there are many mindfulness guides and methods that are decidedly modern and completely Western, but all focus on staying present in the moment with the aim of calming the mind. Here are some titles I have found particularly useful in learning the practice of mindfulness meditation:

Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming Your Present Moment – And Your Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Credited with introducing mindfulness meditation to Western audiences on a wide scale, Jon Kabat-Zinn is an author, professor and clinician who opened the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Clinic nearly 40 years ago, publishing several well-regarded books along the way.

The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day by Andy Puddicombe
Written by the creator of the popular Headspace app, this offers an appealing combination of the author’s personal experiences as a Buddhist monk and simple exercises to begin incorporating mindfulness into your day. Amusing anecdotes, whimsical illustrations and a friendly, inviting tone give this one a decidedly modern vibe.

Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams
This title focuses on the therapeutic benefits of mindfulness meditation as a way to combat stress and anxiety, using simple activities to integrate mindfulness into daily life. Co-written by a professor and a journalist, this is a straightforward, user-friendly guide that is as practical as it is readable.

Interested in learning how meditation fits into Buddhist practice? Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Buddhist monk and spiritual leader who has written many books for Western audiences. The Mindfulness Survival Kit: Five Essential Practices introduces five mindfulness trainings based in Buddhist ethics and morals. It’s a small book, but offers plenty of food for thought in how we choose to live our daily lives.

Hopefully we’ve given you some inspiration to find a quiet corner, get comfortable, and start 2018 on a mindful note!

~ posted by Summer H.

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