Why Mindfulness Matters—and Why It Might Matter to You!

According to a report released by the American Psychiatric Association in May 2018, levels of anxiety among American adults have exploded in the last two years. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, the APA noted a five percent increase in anxious behaviors.

But what’s driving this flare-up of anxious people, and how can we deal with it?

“At this particular juncture in time, there’s a real sense of uncertainty about where humanity is going,” says Jon Kabat-Zinn, cofounder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

After 40 years of treating stress disorders with mindfulness-based techniques, he is a premier authority on this increasingly pressing subject.

In the following FREE video, “Why Mindfulness Matters—and Why It Might Matter to You!” Jon explains his techniques and how they can help you deal more skillfully with a rapidly changing world:

How Living in the Present Moment Can Change Your Life

How present are you right now? Are you really here? Or is your mind off somewhere else, caught up in thinking and emotions, the past and the future, without being fully aware of that fact? It is all too easy to live focused on the next item on our never-ending to-do list, hoping to get it checked off and feel good for however long that feeling will last. But when, if ever, do we allow ourselves to simply drop into the present moment as it is—to practice residing in awareness, in the domain of being, or if you will, in the domain of “non-doing”? This rotation in consciousness can catalyze an entirely different way of being and acting in the world.

The miracle of mindfulness is that it reconnects us to the inherent richness of life inwardly and outwardly—a richness of embodied wakefulness and possibilities that can only be found and inhabited in this timeless moment we call “now.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he founded the world-renowned MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) Clinic in 1979. He also founded the medical school’s Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society. He is the author of 14 books in print in over 40 languages, including the bestsellers Full Catastrophe Living; Wherever You Go, There You Are; Coming to Our Senses; and Mindfulness for Beginners. His work has contributed to a growing movement of mindfulness into mainstream institutions such as medicine, psychology, health care, neuroscience, K-12 schools, higher education, business, social justice, criminal justice, prisons, the law, technology, government, and professional sports.

Sounds True was founded in 1985 by Tami Simon with a clear mission: to disseminate spiritual wisdom.

In more than three decades of growth, change, and evolution, Sounds True has maintained its focus on its overriding purpose, as summed up in our Mission Statement: To Wake Up the World

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What You Practice Grows Stronger

How do we change? In this pioneering talk, Dr. Shauna Shapiro draws on modern neuroscience and ancient wisdom to demonstrate how mindfulness can help us make positive changes in our brains and our lives.

The Power of Mindfulness: What You Practice Grows Stronger

SHAUNA SHAPIRO, PhD, is a professor at Santa Clara University, a clinical psychologist, and an internationally recognized expert in mindfulness. Dr. Shapiro is the recipient of the American Council of Learned Societies teaching award, acknowledging her outstanding contributions to education; and is a fellow of the Mind and Life Institute co-founded by the Dalai Lama. Dr. Shapiro lectures and leads mindfulness programs internationally, serves on the Advisory Board of Axialent a leader on Conscious Business, and has brought mindfulness to pioneering companies including Cisco Systems and Google. She has published over 150 articles and book chapters and is co-author of The Art and Science of Mindfulness and Mindful Discipline: A loving approach to raising an emotionally intelligent child. drshaunashapiro.com

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

Good Morning, I Love You

Shauna Shapiro is delighted to share with you my new book, Good Morning, I Love You: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Practices to Rewire Your Brain for Calm, Clarity, and Joy.

The roots of this book began when I was 17 and had spinal fusion surgery. This seemingly tragic event propelled me into a lifelong journey into mindfulness. I studied at monasteries in Thailand and Nepal, completed a PhD program, and became a professor researching the effects of mindfulness using rigorous scientific methodology.

One of my biggest discoveries about mindfulness was that kindness is the secret sauce. Mindfulness is not just about paying attention, it is about how we pay attention, with an attitude of kindness. If we pay attention in a critical, judgmental way, we actually shut down the learning centers of the brain and rob ourselves of the resources we need to change. Learning to welcome all of our experience with kindness turns on the learning centers of the brain and gives us the power to face our suffering and transform our lives.

In Good Morning, I Love You, you’ll learn practices of mindfulness and self-compassion that science has proven can rewire your brain and bring about lasting change. Through stories, research, and real-world applications, it provides a roadmap to cultivate your deepest wisdom, clarity, and joy. I invite you to try the practice below from my book.

Compassionate Letter to Myself

  • To begin practicing self-compassion, it can be helpful to write a letter to yourself about a current struggle in your life, or an area where you feel inadequate and want to motivate yourself to change.
  • In this letter, write as if you were talking to a dear friend facing the same concerns as you. How might you respond to your friend? What might you say? How might you support her? Feel the genuine care you have for your friend, and see if you can feel this same care for yourself. Even if you can only let in five percent more kindness toward yourself, it is a start. The key is to begin the shift from being your inner enemy to your inner ally.
  • When you are finished, place the letter in an envelope and mail it to yourself. When you find it in the mail, see if you can receive your own wisdom and kindness, allowing it to both soothe and strengthen you.

Good Morning, I Love You is the fruition of decades of personal meditation practice and rigorous scientific study. These teachings and practices have transformed thousands of lives, including my own. I know they can transform yours.

Sounds True was founded in 1985 by Tami Simon with a clear mission: to disseminate spiritual wisdom.

In more than three decades of growth, change, and evolution, Sounds True has maintained its focus on its overriding purpose, as summed up in our Mission Statement: To Wake Up the World

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A Meditation for Prosperous Living

The Center for Spiritual Living Asheville has developed a class called the Summer Prosperity Series which it offers annually during the summer. The 2019 class is currently in progress and can be accessed for free from their website www.cslasheville.org.

An integral part of this class is what they call “My Treatment For Prosperity,” an affirmative prayer to attract Prosperity into your life.

Prosperity Builder Meditation

We have adapted this prayer into a mediation that you can repeat regularly. The prayer is repeated three times and you are encouraged to participate by saying the words along with the recording.

Inspired by https://cslasheville.org
Music: https://www.purple-planet.com

Prosperity Prayer

We have also created this one minute recording of the Prosperity Prayer which can be repeated throughout the day.

Inspired by https://cslasheville.org
Music: https://www.purple-planet.com

We recommend beginning and ending each day by reading the prayer aloud.

I know that God is the source of all supply
and that money is God in action.

I know that my good is here now.

I am so rich and so full that I have an abundance
of money to spare and to share, today and always.

I know that true Prosperity includes perfect health,
perfect wealth and perfect happiness.

These words which I speak in faith,
now activates Universal Law,
and I accept the results!

I bless all that I have now and I bless the increase.

I bless everyone in my life that supports me in this journey
and I know that we now prosper together

in every way.

I give thanks for this Good.

And so it is!

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Have the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have

In a world that lives like a fist, mercy is no more than waking with your hands open.

So much can happen with our hands open. In fact, closing and stubbornly maintaining our grip is often what keeps us stuck, though we want to blame everything and everyone else, especially what we’re holding on to.

There is an ancient story from China that makes all this very clear. It stems from the ways traps were set for monkeys. A coconut was hollowed out through an opening that was cut to the size of a monkey’s open hand. Rice was then placed in the carved-out fruit which was left in the path of the monkeys. Sooner or later, a hungry monkey would smell the rice and reach its hand it. But once fisting the rice, its hand could no longer fit back out through the opening. The monkeys that were caught were those who would not let go of the rice.

As long as the monkey maintained its grip on the rice, it was a prisoner of its own making. The trap worked because the monkey’s hunger was the master of its reach. The lesson for us is profound. We need to always ask ourselves, What is our rice and what is keeping us from opening our grip and letting it go?

The truth is that food is everywhere. Though the stubborn monkey believes in its moment of hunger that there is no other food, it only has to let go for its life to unfold. Our journey to love is no different. For though we stubbornly cling, believing in our moment of hunger that there is no other possibility of love, we only have to let go of what we want so badly and our life will unfold. For love is everywhere.

Philosopher-poet and cancer survivor, Mark Nepo opens a new season of freedom and joy–an escape from deadening, asleep-at-the wheel sameness–that is both profound and clarifying. His spiritual daybook is a summons to reclaim aliveness, liberate the self, take each day one at a time, and to savor the beauty offered by life’s unfolding.

Reading his poetic prose is like being given second sight, exposing the reader to life’s multiple dimensions, each one drawn with awe and affection.

The Book of Awakening is the result of his journey of the soul and will inspire others to embark on their own. Nepo speaks of spirit and friendship, urging readers to stay vital and in love with this life, no matter the hardships.

Encompassing many traditions and voices, Nepo’s words offer insight on pain, wonder, and love. Each entry is accompanied by an exercise that will surprise and delight the reader in its mind-waking ability.

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Six Ways to be Mindful Each Day

By definition, being mindful is a state of awareness focusing on the present moment. When we are present, we are able to live in a beautiful state.

Making small, mindful shifts in your day-to-day life can lead to big shifts in the overall quality of life you live.


Have you had any experience with Eastern philosophy? Or have you ever been to a yoga class? Actually, have you ever just browsed through Instagram? Then chances are you’ve heard the word “mindful,” perhaps many times. It’s use has grown tremendously over the past decade, with a sharper increase starting about 4-5 years ago. But what exactly does it mean to be mindful?

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Like many definitions, it all depends on who you ask. For some, it’s about living in a meditative state, that is, one that is thoughtful and calm. For others, it’s more about being present and not judging others in the world around you. But the common thread that runs through every definition is that mindfulness is an ideology.

For me, the importance is about putting that ideology into action, and doing so in a way that is practical. Because ethos and ideology are the perfect backdrop to living in a beautiful state, but if you don’t have conventional ways to apply it to everyday life, then it’s all for naught.

So what is the conventional wisdom for practicing mindfulness? How do you apply it to everyday life? Try asking yourself these simple questions, and you’ll begin to see how making such small shifts in your life can lead to big results:


Open your medicine cabinet and take a look at the products you use on a daily basis. Do you know what their ingredient list is? Do you know where they come from or how they were made?


It’s easy to shop blindly – to purchase a product based on the prominence of the brand or the appeal of the label. But so many of the sprays, makeup, gels, lotions and formulas we are putting on our bodies on a regular basis may actually be doing more harm than good.

Toxins and chemicals are a big part of the problem. From parabens to phthalates and aluminum, the chemicals used in a number of common health products are leeching into our bodies and wreaking havoc. Know what is in your shampoo. Find out what your shower gel and shaving cream are made out of. That lotion you use to moisturize – does it have any harmful chemicals? What about your deodorant, or your lipstick or aftershave?

You can also be mindful by asking what went into developing the product you are using. Sadly, despite the big steps we’ve made in the past 20 years to reduce animal-testing, an inhumane practice that perpetuates suffering, a number of companies still use it. I, personally, do not want to purchase a product that in any way supports this cruelty. I want to live in a world that chooses compassion and kindness over anything else. So I choose brands that are in alignment with those values as well. You can find out which companies do not use animal testing here.


This part of mindfulness isn’t about restriction or reduction. And it’s not about saying “be mindful of that piece of cake you are eating, ask yourself if you are really hungry or are trying to comfort yourself.” While I can appreciate the ideology behind that, sometimes you just want to indulge. Everything in moderation, right?
This is about knowing what is in your food and where it comes from. Are you eating processed food loaded with additives and preservatives? Or are you nourishing your body with whole foods that are truly clean? Are you buying organic and local? Or are your foods treated with pesticides?

Make it a point to read the ingredients label and take note of what you are putting into your body. This will make you more in-tuned with your habits and patterns, and help you make better decisions when it comes to how you fuel and energize your body.


Exercise should be a vital part of your day, even if only for 20 minutes. It not only has a number of well-known physical benefits, it can also enhance your mental and emotional state. But being mindful doesn’t mean pushing yourself to go all-out on the treadmill, or pressuring yourself to bike 50 miles when you are exhausted. It means paying attention to your body and asking yourself what you really need.

When I need to energize myself, I opt for a brisk run outside. If cardio sounds like too much for my body that day, but I still have energy, I’ll choose a challenging yoga class. Or when I’m feeling a little more subdued, and my body is asking for a recovery day, I’ll take a walk. Then there are still some other days where stress and restlessness beg to be released with a really intense cardio session.

Being mindful isn’t about forcing yourself to work out every day. It’s about taking note of how your body feels and giving it what it needs. Make it a point to assess your physical state every morning. Not only will you become more in tune with your needs, you will be able to take care of yourself in an entirely new way.


Do you get news updates on your phone? How often do you stream live news coverage on your computer? Does morning and evening news bookend your day?


While it’s important to be aware of what’s happening in the world around you, it’s also important to be mindful of what type of news you are consuming. Odds are, the news you are reading and listening to revolves around death, destruction and devastation. After all, there’s a phrase about the news – “if it bleeds, it leads.” Because bad news sells.

But it’s important to take note of what this constant exposure to violence and negativity is doing to your mental and emotional state.

British psychologist, Dr. Graham Davey, told the Huffington Post that exposure to negative and violent media could actually have long-lasting psychological effects. In fact, Davey maintains that “viewing negative news means that you’re likely to see your own personal worries as more threatening and severe, and when you do start worrying about them, you’re more likely to find your worry difficult to control and more distressing than it would normally be.”

Tony tells us to constantly strive to feed our minds. He tells us that every single day, we must stand guard at the doors to our mind and take a proactive approach to what we allow in.

What’s wrong is always available, but so is what’s right – educational podcasts, biographies of great men and women, personal development programs. Every opportunity you have, whether it’s in the car on the way to work, or unplugging 30 minutes before sleep, opt to feed your mind with something that empowers, educates and enlightens. You will be amazed at what a difference it can make in the long run.


Be gentle with yourself.

There are enough external forces in the world that are simply out of our control. And there is enough negativity to overcome without bringing it on ourselves. Yet so many of us are our own worst critics. We see flaws when we look in the mirror. We beat ourselves up for not having accomplished enough. We get down on ourselves for not performing as well as we believe we should have.


But by focusing on the negative we only exacerbate the problem. And by compounding the issue at hand, we disempower ourselves. Take note of what you say to yourself when you look in the mirror. Take a moment to reflect on how hard you are on yourself. And when you find yourself becoming your own worst enemy, stop, and make the mental shift. Immediately change your words, thoughts and patterns into something positive and empowering. By finding a new direction that is more productive, you will find new opportunities for growth.

Take care of yourself. Be gentle, with your words, your thoughts and your actions.

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Throughout the day, be mindful of where your thoughts, feelings, words and actions are coming from. Ask yourself, is this coming from my ego? That is, my need to be special, better and unique? Or is it coming from a place of love? If it is coming from a place of love, then this is your authentic self.

Is it love, or is it ego? This question can be applied for everything from why you want to pursue a certain goal, to how you react when your partner does something you don’t agree with. Either way, it will help you shed the layers that mask your authentic self, and help you understand who you truly are on a more intimate level.

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