Episode 1: Learning the Basics of Mindfulness

 Learning the Basics of Mindfulness 

With Maggie Crowley, PsyD

It seems like everyone is talking about mindfulness these days. From magazine covers, podcasts and advertisements mindfulness and meditation seems to be staring me in the face. At first I thought it wasn't for me, but after an eye-opening graduate course I decided I needed to reevaluate how my thoughts were affecting my life. I am extremely motivated to be more mindful but I have found myself constantly faced with the feeling that I am just not getting it, that I’m not doing it right or that I haven't advanced far enough in my practice. I’ve realized that I can’t be the only person (hopefully) struggling with this, and so I created Kindly to shed some light on these topics. I'll be interviewing experts to help provide some clarity and help us all infuse a little mindfulness into our everyday lives. 

For episode one, I am talking with Dr. Maggie Crowley, a psychologist at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University.  Maggie teaches a 6-week Mindful Meditation course at Northwestern. She is an expert on the subject and was kind enough to walk us through questions like: What is mindfulness? How is it practiced? She also gives advice for getting started. Tune in to hear Maggie's expertise! 

Maggie's class schedule: http://classes.nmh.org/

Show Notes 

“It’s really talking about awareness. A couple of the buzz words are: paying attention, to the present moment in a nonjudgemental way. That is very hard to do because just the way that our brains are wired, it hard for us to pay attention.” (2:52)

“For most of us, we are paying attention to one part of our experience almost all of the time and that’s our thoughts, what we are thinking. And we get really kind of lost in the story we are telling ourselves in our heads.” (3:34)

“… when we are reacting from that place where we are most stressed, we’re usually not aligned with our values, with what’s important to us.” (4:26)

“I think one of the really important things is it connects us with ourselves, with our own experience and how to ride these really tough waves and tornados that may be going on internally.” (5:25)

“…it can also feel strange to not know how we are doing at something: Am I good at this? Am I not good? Am I following the rules? Am I not following the rules? And Mindfulness isn't that clear, where you are doing this correctly and you’re getting the green light all the time, it’s a little more of an experience. (9:03)

App recommendations — Stop, Breathe & Think / Headspace /  Calm / Buddhify (11:50)

“This is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, and you’re not actually doing anything. But that’s why it’s so hard because we are so used to doing, and we know how to do. We know that we can get serious about our doing and take steps to do. This is about being, and that we struggle with.” (13:12)

“One of the things that I say over and over in my class is that many people stop meditating these practices whenever they feel like they are doing it wrong, whenever they get distracted… that’s part of the practice, there’s not a doing it wrong.” (15:27)