Mindfulness is defined as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally to the unfolding of experiences moment by moment” (Kabat-Zinn, 2003). When I was introduced to the concept of mindfulness in this Masters program, I was hesitant. I heard words like “meditation” and “focusing on your breath” and I wondered, “What have you gotten yourself into?” To explain, mindfulness is a process; ever becoming more and more aware through mindful attention. It focuses on the present, not the past or the future- it is here and now. One must be non judgmental and accepting of the thoughts and feelings that arise when practicing mindfulness. Which means the present experience is what it is; it is not classified as good or evil or right or wrong.  One needs to take in all the external sights, sounds, and smells, in addition to the internal sensations, thoughts and feelings. Then one observes them carefully, accepts them, and lets them go, in order to attend to another present experience.

By the second week of the course, I was engaged. I began to understand the key of mindfulness and how it offered the benefits of peace and self-control, and showed me that those things are not out of my reach. I began to wonder how I had lived without mindfulness up until now. I lost my mother roughly a month before I started this program and I began to realize that if I had known about mindfulness sooner, just a bit sooner, I would have had a tool, a friend, to help me manage the emotions that come with the loss of a loved one. Soon I started to practice mindfulness and my life became so much more manageable. Even during this program, going to school full-time, working full-time, being a mother and a wife and all that comes with those roles, I was able to manage my emotions in a more healthy manner by practicing mindfulness techniques. One of my favorite analogies and lessons learned, which I think about almost daily is that negative emotions are like uninvited guests. They show up unexpectedly and all I must do is embrace them, welcome them, knowing that they will soon be leaving.

The practice of meditation and focusing on my breath while clearing and calming my mind helps me to center myself, regulate my emotions, and get my head where it should be during the busy and demanding parts of my day. Mindful exercise and mindful eating have enhanced mundane, daily activities and chores, and I am now more open to joy and receiving joy in my heart, instead of merely “getting through the day.” But Mindfulness goes beyond stress-relief. Mindfulness practice can lead us to reach out and discover the deepest parts of what is means to be human. Nonjudgemental attention and relaxation are gateways to finding the stability, to examine with curiosity, our most challenging emotions, our deepest-held beliefs and the habits that launch us from one moment and one day to the next. Enter… compassion.

Practicing mindfulness has helped me to collaborate with others more effectively, thus, fortifying this project and bringing it to a successful close. When meetings get off track, when people disagree with my or others’ ideas or suggestions, I can feel the negative emotions being triggered and I lose focus. Mindfulness has not only taught me to self-regulate negative emotions but also to cultivate empathy, gratitude and generosity. These are the keys to working well with others. Listening is vital. Actively listening to others, and conveying interest and engagement vocally helps to better understand what another person is thinking, feeling and trying to communicate. This is empathy, this is compassion. Another way to integrate mindfulness into meetings is to take a moment to think about the person or people you will be with and what is happening in their lives. Mindfully listening and practicing empathy has helped me be a more compassionate person and has helped me to not only conduct this project more effectively but to become a more emotionally intelligent person.

Understand mindfulness as a phenomenon and practice

1) Discussion Board B Week 1 3
2)Assignment #1 Paper: Describe the origins of mindfulness as a practice. Assignment 1 scorpuz Mindfulness 012416 FINAL (1)

By way of the week’s (week 1) materials: The Art of Now https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200810/the-art-now-six-steps-living-in-the-moment; Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes; and Henepola Gunaratana, B. (2011). Mindfulness in Plain English. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, I am introduced to mindfulness and grasp enough of it to: describe the basic concepts of mindfulness; explore techniques to achieve mindfulness; demonstrate the application of a technique in mindfulness; Develop a personal plan to practice mindfulness everyday. You will see examples of these abilities in Discussion Board B Week 1 and Assignment #1; a paper on the origins of mindfulness.

I have focused on the Vipassana breathing basics. I’ve had to include counting as a way to keep my mind from wandering. I think about the past and the future a lot while meditating, and when I do I re-focus on breathing. I don’t think I’ve achieved a meditative state yet, but I have felt a serenity that spouts joy… I can’t stop smiling. Change My behavior, in terms of applying what I have learned, has definitely changed for the better, as I start my mindfulness journey. It’s only been a week and I am a much more joyful and positive person! I have hungered for these types of tools and never knew they existed. I have prayed as a way of meditating and calming/centering my emotions and it has worked well for me. Yet, the breath is such a simple tool I am finding myself aware, and using the breathing techniques several times daily. This experience is meeting my needs on many different levels: Intellectually, Socially, Spiritually, Creatively, Physically/Mentally and Emotionally! What more could anyone ask for. What a challenge and what a reward this is turning out to be. I am blessed.

Research the physiological and biological effects of mindful practice

Discussion Board B Week 3 and Week 5:  W3-Discussion about Impulses and how they are created/formed.  Examples can relate to impulse control in terms of the neurobiological aspects and behavior.


w5- Research the psychology of emotion and how that relates to mindfulness. Report to one another how you think emotion effects your ability to practice mindful behavior. Identify one or two emotional responses (triggers) that you have recognized in your own behavior. How can positive psychology assist in mindful behavior?


In week 3 we began to learn the Neuroscience of Mindfulness. We used the following resources: Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation (Web Link) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf6Q0G1iHBI ; Cortisol vs. Transmitter Substances, theory of neural nets, neuro plasticity, neural integration, neurogenesis http://www.powershow.com/view/3aec04NjFiZ/Learning_The_Brain_Notes_from_2_10_Conference_Lynn_Fishman_powerpoint_ppt_pr esentation; and Lazar, S., How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains. (2011). TEDTalk. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8rRzTtP7Tc. We also viewed Siegel’s Ted Talk. From the resources, as you will see in the artifact below, I was able to: clarify the definition of cognition vs. mindfulness; explore the biological framework for mindfulness; analyze the dynamics of neurotransmitters and how they relate to mindfulness; and evaluate the manifestation of Impulse Effects from neuro/biological perspective.

I tried mindfulness while driving to work and later during running. I focused on breath while I was listening to Dr. Kabat-Zinn serenely discuss the practice of mindfulness. I loved it, it created a tranquility in me that I have never experienced, especially when driving. I was thinking about those I love and don’t know if I achieved a meditative state, I don’t think so because I was driving/running and had to be somewhat aware of my environment while practicing mindfulness. But… I definitely felt jubilant and free, which is a first for me when driving to work. So baby steps, baby steps. Change I am interacting more and more with others via the discussion boards and though it is extremely time consuming, it is challenging me in other ways as well, such as thoughtfulness and focus. I have a new appreciation for my classmates and feel a stronger bond with each of them as a result of our communicating in such as supportive and positive manner. One can’t help but feel a kinship towards everyone when everyone is so kind and so helpful. I am blessed to be a part of this program with such intelligent, creative, kind hearted and amazing people! There is definitely a “loving kindness” being cultivated and experienced by all who are open to it. I am a more positive person, more educated and more mindful in almost every way.

Analyze the effects of the physical and social environment on mindful behavior

1) Discussion A Week Four
2) Discussion B Week Four and Week Seven

A4: Research on MRI – changes on behavior when mindful practice is implemented.  Provide at least two examples illustrating how mindful practice changed behavior.


B4: Create a case analysis of how practicing mindfulness changed someone’s biology.  Please use no more than one example of addiction.


B7: Apply a mindfulness technique to diffuse stress that you have learned and analyze how effective it was for you. Report back on how well it worked or didn’t work, and what you could have improved upon, etc.


We studied some great material: A spreading-activation theory of semantic processing, How Chronic stress disrupts neural coherence between cortico-limbic structures; positive psychology; and How can mindfulness change your life, a video on the Center for Mindfulness and what it embodies, just to name a few. After exploring and internalizing week four and week five’s materials, I was able to: analyze the effects of the environment on mindful behavior; explore evidence of the rise of mindfulness in society through psychology and organization behavior studies; research the connection between positive psychology as a science and mindfulness; and research the psychology of emotion and its relationship to mindfulness. Both of the discussion posts for week four are presented as artifacts. Discussion board A focuses on MRI research and discusses studies on how mindfulness can physically change your brain. Discussion B centers around a case analysis of how mindfulness changed someone’s biology. These two examples explain the knowledge gained concerning the positive effects of mindfulness on brain tissue and how some people have overcome stress related illnesses and physical pain using mindfulness practices.

I am still using prayer and a combo of prayer/meditation at night, in the morning, and as I drive or run or eat. It is centering, serene and joyful. I do not believe I have achieved a meditative state and don’t know that I will unless I put more time, more effort and more focus into it. I have heard about the meditative state, that it is like an out of body experience, or as one author referred to it: the buzz. I do experience a tranquility beyond explanation and a joyfulness that permeates my entire being. Change As I learn more about the brain, how it functions and how mindfulness practice can change the brain, I am fascinated and filled with hope. I believe my behavior has changed exponentially and continues as I learn more about this amazing mindfulness. If one compared my behavior now with what it was two months ago, it is a complete 180 degree change. I no longer: react immediately without listening and making certain I understand completely, jump to conclusions, get upset when life doesn’t go my way, spin endlessly on matters of the heart and mind that really do not matter, and there’s more. All I can say is thank you! Learning Objective 4 Develop strategies to identify personal stress-pattern responses and how to overcome them. Rationale After week five and week six I was able to: explore and articulate how one functions in stress; identify a personal stress pattern response; describe the function of the stress pattern; apply a technique to diffuse the stress pattern; demonstrate the ability to disrupt the stress 8 pattern. The artifact chosen discusses my own emotional triggers identified in personal and professional environments, and a plan mindfulness practices I can use to decrease stress.

Assignment # 2, paper: Detail what your triggers are and develop a plan of action to mitigate or decrease your stress reactions. https://claremont.instructure.com/courses/155/assignments/3056/submissions/365?download=6 985

My daughter and I have adopted mindful eating as a fun way to remind each other to be mindful. If she sees me getting emotional, she will hold up the invisible raisin and tell me to focus on it, to smell it, to hear it, to taste it. This reminds me to stop, detach, transition my focus, to re-center and move forward. It is a fun thing between us (she is 8) and when I see her becoming emotional I do the same thing and we instantly re-focus and laugh. Change Had a difficult time facing the fact that my wallet was stolen out of my purse while I was out with my husband and I was so disappointed in humanity! I tried my breathing focus but nothing seemed to work, I felt so saddened and violated… I couldn’t snap out of it. It took me two days to come to terms with it and let it go. The stress of having to cancel credit cards and get a new drivers license… is so overwhelming. I didn’t handle it as well as I could have BUT I didn’t cry or freak out; I faced the fact and did what I had to do. I handled it better than I would have two months ago, prior to my mindfulness journey. I think having my mindfulness tools was helpful, I just am not as mindful as I would like to be yet.

Apply a mindful practice in personal and professional settings.

Discussion Board B Week 9:What three techniques did you use this week in your personal relationships? Which three did you use in a professional setting? What were the results? Why were they successful or not?


By the end of week nine I was able to: apply three of the mindful techniques in a professional setting, and apply three of the mindful techniques in a personal setting. The artifact chosen discuses just that; how I used mindfulness techniques in a personal and professional setting.

I tried mindful breathing, mindful eating and mindful driving. I really enjoy all three techniques and am getting better at not letting my mind wander. If it does, I just bring it back. I think about everything in which I am grateful for while meditating such as the rain, the green grass, hot water, my children, etc. I rejoice in the blessings I have been given. I don’t think I have 10 achieved a meditative state, as I think that feels somewhat like flying but look forward to meditative yoga and experiencing the state soon. Also, I brought Appreciative Inquiry to our staff retreat; transitioning our focus from what we don’t do well to what we do well. It was an aha moment for the staff and they enjoyed the activities of defining AI and discovering our strengths. Change The way I interact with others and my behavior has definitely changed for the better! My thoughts are challenged in the discussions and my emotions are, at times, also challenged. I am proud to say I am much more thoughtful and reflective in the way I interact and respond to others. I am more at peace with myself even during chaotic times. I am grateful for this class and this program.


Henepola Gunaratana, B. (2011). Mindfulness in Plain English. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications. (ISBN-13: 978-0861719068)

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2012). Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment – and Your Life. Boulder, CO: Sounds True. (ISBN-13: 978-1604076585)

Merton, T. (1968). Zen and the Birds of Appetite. New York: New Directions. (ISBN-13: 978- 0811201049) The Art of Now https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200810/the-art-now-six-steps-livingin-the-moment

Lazar, S., How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains. (2011). TEDTalk. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8rRzTtP7Tc

Bertolini and Gordhamer. The Power of Mindfulness in the Workplace. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBjmH-JIJzQ Collins

A. M., & Loftus, E. F. (1975). A spreading-activation theory of semantic processing. Psychological Review 82(6), 407–428. Neural nets. [pdf]

Oliveira, J. F., et al. (2013, February). Chronic stress disrupts neural coherence between corticolimbic structures.

Frontiers in Neural Circuits 7(10), 1–12. [pdf] Center for Positive Psychology. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/

Jha, A. (2013, March). Mindfulness can improve you attention and health. Scientific American Mind. Web link

Spinella, M. Having kindness and compassion toward difficult persons. Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxtYX JjZWxsb3NwaW5lbGxhfGd4OmEyMTYxMjY5MzBmOGYzNg

Thurman, R. We can be Buddhas. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_508430&feature=iv&src_vid =qzR62JJCMBQ&v=h5cZITQDTrE

Imel Z., Baldwin, S., Bonus, K., & MacCoon, D., pp. 735–742. Retrieved from DOI:10.1080/10503300802326038. Published online: 15 Nov 2008.

Kitamura, M. (2012). Harvard Yoga Scientists Find Proof of Meditation Benefit. BloombergBusiness. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-11-22/harvard-yoga-scientists-find-proofof-meditation-benefit

Chris Ruane MP. (2013). At Awake in the World, Video: Mindfulness in political life. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AcAaUIRpzE.
Adyashanti. Is there a path to awakening? An interview with Adyashanti. Scienceandnonduality. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXl-BMUotwo.
Ricard, M. The art of meditation. RSA. Retreived from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZwnXj0Ck1k.
Ricard, M. The habits of happiness. RSA. Retreived from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_578951&fea

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