Mindfulness has received a great deal of media attention in the last few years. Time Magazine says, it makes your mind happy. The New York Times reveals that being mindful can help guide a decision. Anderson Cooper on CNN says that, mindfulness is actually a very easy way for you to live longer. Sometimes it seems that mindfulness is the cure all. So, what do you think about all of this? Let's take a poll before we begin. It doesn't matter whether you were curious, tired of hype, eager or skeptical. All of these are good perspectives to bring to an exploration of mindfulness. More than anything, it is useful for you to be aware of your own attitudes before you begin. We'll see that attitude is a key part of mindfulness. As your instructors, we want to acknowledge our own perspective which is that we teach mindfulness because we believe it is helpful and we have personally experienced benefits. Alex has found mindfulness essential for managing his own chronic whole body pain for more than a decade, and it was invaluable in dealing with the fear and anxiety of having his newborn daughter in the [inaudible] for a month. Without my mindfulness practice, I could not have gotten through the anxiety, uncertainty and losses dealing with my 26 year-old daughters long treatment for bile duct cancer and her eventual death. We give you those examples to demonstrate that mindfulness is useful for patients and families, but we want to emphasize, we are not here to make you believe in mindfulness. In fact, we recommend that you bring your questions and skepticism. There's nothing in this course to believe, just information and evidence to consider and experiences to try. In this video, we want to explain what mindfulness is and what it is not. Later on we will share some of the research evidence as well as some more personal examples, then you can decide if mindfulness is relevant in your work with patients or clients and if it might be useful for you personally. So, what is mindfulness? This is a definition that we like some mindfulness teacher and researcher Diana Winston, Mindfulness is paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is. Paying attention means you are aware of your immediate environment and what you are sensing, feeling or thinking moment to moment. So, if you're sitting, you know you're sitting, if you're hearing birds, you know you're hearing, if you're intrigued with his presentation or alternatively frustrated already, you know you're intrigued or frustrated. Importantly, you are paying attention with openness, a willingness to allow whatever is happening. This means that whether it is a wonderful experience or a difficult one, you are willing to observe and feel what is happening in the present moment in a non reactive and non evaluative way. It might be helpful to notice the three core elements of mindfulness shown here. As we said, mindfulness is just paying attention to what is happening within and around you, with curiosity and without judgment, this reflects the attention and attitude elements. The third element is that you set an intention to pay attention and start again each time your mind wanders which brings us back to attitude. You do so with patients, simply beginning again without judgment or criticism. So, here's a personal example, is perhaps a bit intense as we start but it demonstrates the three elements and shows how mindfulness can be useful even in deep pain. My daughter was really ill and in pain, and I was sitting with her in the hospital just locked in fear. I noticed the tightness of my body and how I was lost in my fear and not really there for Bree, I turned my attention to that fear, yes this is fear, this is what is right now and it's really sad and scary. Bringing compassion for myself and Bree in that situation, letting it be and keeping the intention to stay with it and the fear seem to soften and I could see the deep love behind a fear which allowed me then to be really there for Bree. Mindfulness is different from our normal state of mind where we're often lost in thought, ruminating, worrying about the future or regretting the past. Does this sound familiar at all? We spent a large parts of our lives unaware of what we're experiencing, missing out on all the sights and sounds and joys we could appreciate. So, mindfulness is not our normal mode, mindfulness is choosing direct experience versus the virtual reality of our thoughts. For example, sensing the posture of your body while you're listening to this presentation instead of daydreaming about what you're going to do when this presentation is over. But mindfulness is an inherent trait. While our habits of mind or often to be lost in thoughts, we all have a natural ability to be mindful. See if you can notice that. As you explore mindfulness in this course, you might start to notice where spontaneous and natural mindful awareness already arises in your life. This might be a moments with your children or loved ones or perhaps when you're out walking in nature in all the grandeur. These are the moments where we are truly present to what is happening right then, we just have to remind ourselves to notice. So, let's look a little bit about what mindfulness is not. A common mis-perception is that mindfulness is about trying to achieve a particular state where you're relaxed, have no thoughts and are calm or blissful. Mindfulness is not about trying to become more calm. You might become more calm by practicing mindfulness, it can be an outcome but it's only the byproduct of practice and it doesn't happen because you're trying to make it happen. Mindfulness is not about trying to create or get rid of anything, it is just allowing what is happening. I have a little phrase that I say to myself often, ''Be aware and allow.'' On the other hand, sometimes people think mindfulness is a passive and emotionless response and it isn't. In fact, mindfulness investigates emotions, puts you right in the midst of them so you experiencing them and respond wisely. So, let's take a moment to check your understanding. Remember these key points.