Hello and Welcome!
Welcome to this course on Learning Mindfulness with Anchoring. Mindfulness is a long-standing method of relaxation that is increasingly used in health and medicine. Anchoring is a particular educational way to learn Mindfulness.
Mindfulness/Anchoring has many benefits. The method can help you manage stress, quiet your mind, increase your sense of well-being, enhance harmony with your social and physical surroundings, get a good night's sleep, improve performance on tasks, and become aware of how your mental processes affect your life.
Contrary to what some people think, mindfulness is not a cult, religion, or being hypnotized. It isn't being zoned out without thoughts, attaining an altered mental state to escape reality, or deadening your feelings. Instead, mindfulness is focusing on, paying attention to, and noticing what your mind is doing right in this moment.
A wise teacher said that you could read thousands of books about mindfulness but none is as good as a demonstration. So, do this:
Right now, notice the sensation of the bottoms of your feet touching the insides of the bottoms of your shoes.
That sensation is caused by the nerves in the bottoms of your feet signaling your brain that your feet are touching your shoes. That signaling has been going on the entire time you've been reading this web page, but you were unlikely to have noticed because your attention was focused on what you were reading -- or perhaps on other thoughts -- until you were asked to change the focus of your attention to the bottoms of your feet.
This brief demonstration shows that you can choose to focus your attention (also called your conscious awareness) on what you want to: your feet, signals of discomfort from your body, worries about your to-do list, or memories of a nice time you had with someone special. Mindfulness is being aware of what your mind is doing on a moment-to-moment basis and shifting the focus of your awareness if you wish to.
What's so good about being mindful? For one, it helps lessen stress. Instead of your mind being pushed and pulled this way and that by the busy-ness of your life, mindfulness allows you to notice that your mind is overly busy -- perhaps distressingly so -- and to shift your mental process to something that facilitates feeling stable, in control, flexible, and adaptive.
Stop now and read this story to see how being mindful of your mental state can affect your experience.
Like reading, playing a musical instrument or a sport, or doing any task, mindfulness is a skill that one learns and cultivates with practice. In this course you will use Anchoring to facilitate learning mindfulness, including receiving guided practice so that you can eventually continue with the method on your own.
Since mindfulness is not commonly practiced in our culture, it would be normal for you to be somewhat skeptical about it. Perhaps this story about being open to new ideas will encourage you to at least begin this class. If you do, you are unlikely to be sorry.