Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about mindfulness and meditation

What is mindfulness?

There are numerous definitions offered by scholars, Buddhist practitioners, and mindfulness teachers. This one by Diana Winston of UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center suggests, “Mindful awareness is paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is occurring.”

Why is mindfulness such a popular topic right now?

There are quite a few reasons why mindfulness is such a hot topic these days. The main ones are due to mounting scientific evidence that mindfulness practice benefits our mental well-being, increases our ability to concentrate, bolsters our resilience, can successfully treat chronic pain, and enables us to become more compassionate. 

Is mindfulness related to Buddhism or any other religion?

People have been practicing mindfulness for thousands of years. Somewhat recently, it has been adapted from it’s roots in Eastern Religions — such as Buddhism and Hinduism — into Western cultures. All of the Mind EQ Facilitators have teacher training certifications from the world’s top institutions in what’s called “secular mindfulness.” Here, the focus is not on a set of beliefs, but working with evidence based methods that can enhance well-being. 

Besides meditating, what are other ways to learn and practice mindfulness?

You can practice mindfulness while eating, exercising or hiking, and in conversation, not to mention the dozens of specific exercises you can learn through one of Mind EQ’s numerous offerings.

Are apps like Calm, Headspace, and 10% Happier good? Should I use them?

We see them as tools, but they haven’t been around long enough to produce reliable scientific data regarding their benefits. We recommend apps only if you’re disciplined enough to head directly to the meditation app, and not be distracted by other apps. It’s useful to evaluate your relationship with your device before using a meditation app. Studies show that most people visit multiple apps each time they open their phone, and this could mean that the app meditation you planned is now compromised after seeing things in your email, texts, and on social media.

What kind of results can I expect?

Many of the Mind EQ facilitators and hundreds of our colleagues have been excited to notice results in relatively short periods of time. You may find yourself becoming less reactive and more attentive, enjoying day-to-day activities more, and becoming less bothered by incessant mental activity. Most scientific research has shown that in only 8 weeks, positive structural changes begin in the brain. For more on the science of mindfulness, see the Resources section below.

I’d like to start meditating. How often should I do it, and for how long each time?

In the beginning, it’s important to set an appointment with yourself each day first thing in the morning and commit to 5-10 minutes. From there, you can experiment with adding a few minutes each week until you’ve reached a period of 25-40 minutes. Free guided meditations can be found on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, and on various mobile apps. Try a variety, keep at it, and be kind to yourself!

Do you offer MBSR (Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction) or MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy)?

We do offer MBSR training along with ongoing support for those for have already participated in an MBSR course. We do not offer MBCT, but we do offer ongoing support for those who have done an MBCT course.

What is emotional intelligence (EI) training?

According to Daniel Goleman, PhD., emotional intelligence is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and adjust emotions to adapt to environments. Goleman defines EI as the array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance. Emotional intelligence training consists of improvement in self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

1) Self-Awareness: The ability to recognize and understand our own emotions and includes being aware of how your mood, actions and emotions may effect others.

2) Self-Management: This is the ability to recognize and regulate our own emotions and has four components. Emotional Balance is the ability to find ways to manage impulses and emotions, even in stressful situations. Adaptability is a skill that entails having the flexibility to handle change, balance multiple demands, and adapt to new situations with fresh ideas. Achievement is the third competency and means we strive to meet or exceed a standard of excellence and appreciate metrics for—and feedback on—our performance. Positivity refers to the ability to see the positive in people, situations, and events. It means persistence in pursuing goals, despite setbacks and obstacles. One can see the opportunity in situations where others would see a setback that would be devastating, at least for them. 

3) Social Awareness: This is the ability to interact well with others and has two components. Empathy, which is the ability to understand how others are feeling, but also includes how we respond when we perceive someone is feeling a certain way. This often means we try and mentally put ourselves in another persons situation. We can ask ourselves – "how would I feel if XYZ happened to me?" Empathy is one of the most critical skills in developing emotional intelligence. It involves more than understanding our own emotions but also those of others'. When our social skills are optimal, we're self-aware, we're able to self-regulate, and we're likely to have more positive interactions in any area of daily life. Organizational Awareness is the second component and refers to having the ability to read a group’s emotional currents and power relationships, and identify influencers, networks and dynamics within the organization.

4) Relationship Management: This consists of five components. Influence, refers to your ability to be persuasive and engaging, and you can build buy-in from key people. You can't order people to do what you want, but rather you persuade or inspire them to put forth their best efforts toward the clear objective you have defined. Coaching and Mentoring is the ability to foster the long-term learning or development of others by giving feedback and support. Leaders skilled at this competency have a genuine interest in helping others develop further strengths. Conflict Management involves having the ability to help others through tense situations, tactfully bringing disagreements into the open, and defining solutions that everyone can endorse. Leaders who take time to understand different perspectives work toward finding a common ground on which everyone can agree. Teamwork means having the ability to work with others toward a shared goal, participating actively, sharing responsibility and rewards, and contributing to the capability of the team as a whole. Inspirational Leadership means having the ability to inspire and guide others towards a common goal or vision, to get the job done, and to bring out their best qualities along the way.

HBR – How Meditation Benefits CEOs

Mindfulness is quickly following yoga in becoming a billion-dollar industry. It’s no surprise, then, that the popularity of meditation – one way to practice mindfulness – is also growing among CEOs and senior executives.

NLM – Well Being and Workplace Mindfulness

Mindfulness trainings are increasingly offered in workplace environments in order to improve health and productivity. Whilst promising, there is limited research on the effectiveness of mindfulness interventions in workplace settings

Business Insider – Silicon Valley is Obsessed With Meditation

By giving our bustling minds a dedicated break from day-to-day worries, meditation appears to empower the brain to run more efficiently, new research shows.

AETNA – Employees & Productivity

Personal wellness is a journey, one that can last a lifetime. My journey has led to a yoga routine where I perform asana, pranayama, meditation and Vedic chanting before work.

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