Good news: We have all the answers to your mindfulness FAQs.
For the second event in our Social Good Series, we hosted a livestreamed panel on the power of mindfulness (especially during a pandemic). The six-month series highlights a different topic each month; August’s focus is on mental health.
Rebecca Ruiz, our senior Social Good reporter, moderated a live conversation with Dan Harris, an ABC News anchor and the co-founder of Ten Percent Happier, Dr. Shauna Shapiro, a clinical psychologist with expertise in mindfulness, and Dianne Bondy, a yogi, social justice activist, and author.
Ruiz acknowledged that we all could use some mindfulness guidance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Everyone, right now, could use a little bit of a boost when it comes to how we’re coping day to day. These are tough times,” Ruiz said. “There’s no easy way to get around that, and there’s lots of [mindfulness] options out there for us to explore.”
The conversation, video of which is embedded above, kicked off with a fundamental question that Ruiz described as both “simple and hard at the same time:” What is mindfulness, anyway?
The concept has ancient roots and many definitions, Harris conceded, but offered one that he’s found useful: It’s simply “the ability to know what’s happening in your mind at any given moment without getting carried away by it.”
The panel went on to discuss other potentially tricky-to-understand aspects of mindfulness, such as the misconception that mindfulness is somehow akin to inaction. Ruiz noted there’s actually a connection between being in touch with yourself and your deepest feelings, and then being able to effectively take action, whether politically or otherwise.
They also talked about how to find useful mindfulness content and products. Bondy suggested casting a wide net, and actively seeking out diverse perspectives. “It’s going to be different for each of us,” Bondy said of our mindfulness needs.
If you’ve struggled with meditation and mindfulness in the past, the panel also offered some words of wisdom. Bondy mentioned how her mindfulness practice is sometimes as simple as going to Costco and existing in her body and the moment, watching people slowly put their groceries on the conveyor belt without losing her cool.
“Any little thing that you do that allows you to be in the present moment and to acknowledge that present moment is helpful,” Bondy said. “No effort is ever wasted in this practice. “