Mindful voices

Wednesday, November 30 2011

I recently had the honor of interviewing Susan Kaiser Greenland, who had the courage to leave a well-paying law career to embrace a calling to teach mindfulness meditation to children as young as four years old.

She is author of the upcoming book The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate. She also developed the website Mindfulness Together and the Inner Kids program, designed to teach young kids vital skills toward a more peaceful and compassionate world.

Susan will be speaking at the Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth Conference in San Diego on February 4 – 5, 2012.

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posted by Elisha Goldstein, 12:00 am
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Friday, November 25 2011

When did you first start practicing mindfulness and why were you motivated to do so?

I first started practicing mindfulness in high school through a yoga class. However, I did not practice it with any regularity.  I was motivated by a general interest to see if it was something I would like.  I got really into the meditative practice after taking a contemplative lawyering class in law school.  After developing a routine practice, I now am able to incorporate it into my day-to-day activities.

Did you take a class? If so, what sort of a class did you take?

I took a contemplative lawyering class which exposed me to various types of contemplative practice and also urged me to select one for myself.

How has mindfulness made a difference in your life?

It has had quite a noticeable effect. I feel less stressed than before and also now have learned to deal with stressful situations through mindfulness and compassion.  I have become more forward-looking and less likely to dwell on mistakes in the past.  I have been able to concentrate more and now am not afraid to take time out for myself to de-stress.

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posted by Mindful readers..., 1:59 pm
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Monday, November 21 2011

Can you tell who is compassionate just by looking at them?

According to a new study, yes.

Imagine this: you walk into the laboratory, and are a shown a series of 20-second video clips. In each clip, a different person is shown listening to another person. You can’t hear what the speaker is saying; there is no sound to the clip. But you’re told that the speaker is talking about a time when they suffered.

The researchers ask you to rate how compassionate the listener is, just by what you can see: his or her body language and facial expressions.

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posted by Kelly McGonigal, 12:00 am
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Thursday, November 17 2011

When did you first start practicing mindfulness and why were you motivated to do so?

I think mindfulness is part of our nature. In my teens I had some exposure to meditation and eastern thought. Members of my family were interested in that as well, but I didn’t really start a practice. I developed some skills in mindfulness by doing art, and by studying tai chi, just after college, though I wasn’t calling it mindfulness. I learned to meditate in my late 20s in response to a personal loss.

Did you take a class? If so, what sort of a class did you take?

I learned to meditate at a retreat. Later, I took a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. I was in a period of great stress in my life, and wanted to learn multiple techniques for meditation, since it was hard for me to just sit at the time. I learned mindful movement (yoga, stretching, walking), and other techniques there, that were very helpful. Later I took several graduate courses in MBSR. I have met a lot of other people who practice mindfulness through a nonsectarian sitting group. The more experienced people teach the less experienced people about practice and techniques, but in reality, we all teach each other.

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posted by Mindful readers..., 3:07 pm
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Tuesday, November 15 2011

Imagine that you and a stranger are participating in a psychology study. The experimenter gives the stranger $20. "Divide this money between you and your partner," the experimenter tells the stranger. "You can keep any amount for yourself, and give any amount to your partner. But your partner gets to decide whether or not to accept the deal. If your partner refuses the offer, nobody gets any money, and the game is over."

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posted by Kelly McGonigal, 7:39 am
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