In 1979, Jon Kabat-Zinn recruited chronically ill patients not responding well to traditional treatments to participate in his newly formed eight-week stress-reduction program, which we now call Mindfulness-Based Stress Reducation (MBSR). Now, people can receive MBSR training in more than 500 locations across 42 of the 50 United States.
Kabat-Zinn appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday” last week to talk about the growing popularity of mindfulness meditation (watch the full episode). He offered an introduction to mindfulness and its everyday benefits—including his own morning routine.
“There’s waking up—dragging yourself around—and then there’s waking up,” Kabat-Zinn says. Brushing your teeth, being in the bathroom—it’s all part of developing awareness, and you can build mindful habits around those morning tasks. Kabat-Zinn begins his morning with 40 minutes to an hour of mindful yoga before he settles into meditation—preferably cross-legged on the floor (but you can also sit in a chair). His main advice? Rest in awareness, and drop in on yourself. “Drop in on yourself and rest for a strech of time,” he says. “And then as you go about your daily life, check in. Once an hour, once a minute. Once a day. You decide.”