Mindfulness

Spring Program Calendar is here

Ten Percent Happier App

Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff - get free access to the meditation app 

 

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a quality of alert, open awareness. In contrast to a multitasking mind, mindfulness is a state of mind that has the ability to pay attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment.

Mindfulness meditation is one of a variety of meditation practices that trains the mind through a conscious and deliberate focus on the breath, a bodily sensation, a sound or a word. Meditation steadies the mind so we can see with greater clarity how things actually are.

Benefits of meditation include increases in concentration, productivity, physical and psychological resilience and the ability to respond skillfully to stressful situations. Meditation is also effective in decreasing depression, physical pain, emotional reactivity, and the reliance on unhealthy coping behaviors.

Mindfulness at Work

Mindfulness at Work is a series of courses and programs that range from one-hour introductions to in-depth, multi-week long courses and from topic-focused sessions to managers-only programs. Available for free to benefits-eligible faculty and staff, these courses and programs are designed to bring the benefits of mindfulness to people in all corners of the university.

Mindfulness at Work Programs

Mindfulness at Work is a series of courses and programs that range from one-hour introductions to in-depth, multi-week courses to topic-focused sessions to managers-only programs. Descriptions of offerings can be found below. Please note the following:

  • Eligibility: All courses and programs are open only to benefits-eligible faculty and staff unless otherwise specified. You must register using your Harvard email address to verify eligibility. 
  • Cost: All courses and programs are free of charge to benefits-eligible staff and faculty members.
  • Audience: Some programs are aimed at particular segments of the Harvard population (such as managers).
  • Prerequisites: All classes have a prerequisite of Introduction to Mindfulness or an existing mindfulness practice. You can attend a course or complete the Basics course in the Ten Percent Happier app.
  • Frequency and Duration: Some programs are 60-minute one-time offerings, and others are multi-week courses.
  • Location: All sessions will be delivered through Zoom until further notice.
  • Registration: Links to individual Zoom course registration pages are found within the Work/Life Program Calendar (HarvardKey required).
  • Cancellation Fee: None. Please help us with class size planning and waitlist management by dropping the course if you find you are unable to attend.  
  • If you would like accessibility assistance with any of our programming, please email: worklife@harvard.edu

Mindful Movement: Yoga for the Office - Mondays at 10 AM  As every office worker knows, sitting for long periods can result in stiffness and discomfort. The gentle stretches and postures taught in this program are designed to increase flexibility at the joints—thereby improving one’s range of motion – and also aid in relaxing the hips and lower portions of the body to increase one’s ability to sit with ease. Because this practice blends movement in the body with the breath, it is an ideal extension of mindfulness practice.  No previous knowledge of yoga is necessary. This class does not require special clothing or equipment. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Prerequisite: None; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course

Introduction to Mindfulness: How the Science and Practice of Awareness Supports Well-Being and Performance This program introduces the basic principles and practices of mindfulness, a concentrated state of awareness that helps people see and respond to situations with clarity. Individuals and groups who regularly employ the techniques of mindfulness in their work can monitor moment-to-moment effectiveness, respond promptly and appropriately to difficulties as they arise, and remain open to new ideas and perspectives. Participants will be introduced to meditation practices that will teach them how to be more focused, creative and resilient in all aspects of their lives.  This course will count as a prerequisite to the more advanced mindfulness courses offered.   Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Prerequisite: None; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.  

Reopening to Life: Approaching the “Latest Normal” with Ease and Grace In recent years, we’ve had to adapt to managing our work lives and personal relationships in new and often difficult ways. As we consider what it means “to return”—to the office, social events, and routines—we may feel some anxiety, even panic. Every person will have a different list of concerns, but we can all benefit from how mindfulness renegotiates our responses to whatever the “latest normal” happens to be. We will identify the circumstances which give rise to difficult emotions; address those emotions in purposeful and practical ways; all in the service of feeling more steady in the face of persistently turbulent times. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Prerequisite: Introduction to Mindfulness, Ten Percent Happier, or a current mindfulness practice; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

 Mindfully Managing Uncertainty  If there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s that things in life are never certain—or at least never as certain as we’d like them to be. And while we can typically handle uncertainty when it comes along in small doses, exceptionally disruptive events can leave us feeling isolated, anxious, and overwhelmed. This program begins with an exploration of the basic principles and practices of mindfulness. Using techniques of mindfulness, participants will learn to effectively examine and regulate fast-moving streams of information from without—such as news reports, work demands, and our interactions with others—as well as equally fast-moving streams of information from within, such as our own thoughts, feelings, worries, and hopes. In doing so, we will establish an attitude of ease and stability, even in the most uncertain times. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Prerequisite: None; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

Mindfulness Practices for Burnout Relief The literal definition of “burnout” is this: “The reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing, through use or combustion.” However, as every individual knows, burnout is not just a scientific phenomenon—it’s what happens when inner resources become depleted, and no spark is left to start them up again. It’s no surprise this should sometimes be the case when daily work life and family life collide in what feels like a persistent energy burn, and the path towards refilling one’s supply of resilience is not always clear. In this training, we will explore how the essential foundations of mindfulness practice can lend us energy while simultaneously allowing us to cultivate and sustain a sense of calm. We will investigate the capacity to choose responses to challenges in a conscious, empowered way, instead of being swept off into a pattern that contributes to stress and reactivity. In service of these goals, participants will learn guided meditation practices applicable to their daily lives. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Prerequisite: Introduction to Mindfulness, Ten Percent Happier, or a current mindfulness practice; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

Facing and Feeling Grief with Mindful Awareness Losing a loved one, a job or a relationship can leave us feeling aimless, confused and heartbroken—to the point where it becomes difficult to focus on daily needs. It is possible, however, to learn to face grief by allowing ourselves to feel it—instead of turning away. Mindfulness practice provides the steady footing needed to explore how grief shows up in our lives, and experiment with letting it go when our focus needs to be elsewhere. We will strengthen the ability to make room for difficult feelings, without becoming consumed by them. As a result, the natural process of grieving will not leave us depleted, but instead more confident in the value of all the moments of our lives. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Prerequisite: Introduction to Mindfulness, Ten Percent Happier, or a current mindfulness practice; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

Managing Difficult Emotions at Work Resisting or suppressing difficult emotions does not make them go away—instead, it can lead to increased stress, decreased focus, and the unmistakable feeling of overwhelm. Mindfulness, on the other hand, offers us the ability to recognize and understand our own moods and tendencies. In doing so, we recognize complex emotional states and challenging thoughts when they arise, and come to understand why they might have arisen in the first place. This specialized quality of awareness prepares one to move through the world feeling empowered to make wise choices in every situation. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Prerequisite: Introduction to Mindfulness, Ten Percent Happier, or a current mindfulness practice; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

Mindfully Resolving Conflicts in the Workplace There’s no way to avoid every conflict in the workplace—personality clashes and differences of opinion are inevitable, even if we’re working towards a common goal. But how do we stop disagreements from spiraling into larger disputes—the kind that produce rifts, instability, and disrupt the ability to get work done? Mindfulness teaches us to grasp the thoughts, feelings, and impulses which influence every interaction—thereby offering an essential tool to build more effective channels of communication; identify the true source of problems; and engage in problem-solving without coming away feeling drained and over-extended. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Prerequisite: Introduction to Mindfulness, Ten Percent Happier, or a current mindfulness practice; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

Mindfully Caring for Elders Our parents, older relatives, and other elders in our lives provide a rich source of wisdom, comfort, companionship, and connectedness with our history. But there are also times when the challenges of caring for an individual entering the later stages of life can seem anything but joyous. And if we are simultaneously caring for our own children—especially in exceptional circumstances, when resources are limited, routines are disrupted, and uncertainty abounds—then the strain may become difficult to manage. Tara Healey teaches us mindfulness practice to respond to the challenges of caring for elders and others with a special steadiness of mind, so caregiving demands do not overwhelm us. Participants will also be exploring techniques focusing on self-care, thereby ensuring that their storehouses of compassion do not become depleted when needed the most. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Prerequisite: Introduction to Mindfulness, Ten Percent Happier, or a current mindfulness practice; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

Mindful Parenting Bringing mindful attention to our skills as parents increases our capacity to form strong bonds with all the members of the family. This is because the practice of mindfulness cultivates the conditions of openness and receptivity in which communication and emotional connection naturally flourish. In this workshop, participants will learn about becoming more mindful people as well as more mindful parents, able to navigate the inevitable waves of joy and frustration that accompany every parent’s experience with a greater sense of ease. Classes focusing on age groups 0-10 and 11-18 will be held separately.  Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Prerequisite: Introduction to Mindfulness, Ten Percent Happier, or a current mindfulness practice; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence Success at work and fulfillment in life may be enhanced when we naturally tap into our emotional intelligence: the ability to monitor one’s own feelings and those of others and to allow this knowledge to guide our speech and actions. Self-awareness, the ability to recognize and work with difficult emotions, and the cultivation of empathy for others are all skills critical for high performance in life’s various arenas. The good news is that we have the capacity to train the mind to engage in ways that are more patient, alert, and productive.  This session will present a brief introduction to mindfulness, demonstrate how awareness supports the development of emotional intelligence, and involve participants in mindfulness meditation exercises that support the cultivation of these important skills. Location:  Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and  Staff;  Prerequisite: Introduction to Mindfulness, Ten Percent Happier, or a current mindfulness practice; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

Managing Daily Stresses: A Mindful Approach to Work Everyone experiences stressful days at work, but how we respond to stress makes a significant difference in work performance, the quality of our interactions, and how we feel both physically and mentally. In this program, participants are taught to recognize the early signs of stress as well as the sources of stress. They will also learn how regular mindfulness practice can enable them to respond to stressful situations in a calm, clear, and thoughtful manner.  Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Prerequisite: Introduction to Mindfulness, Ten Percent Happier, or a current mindfulness practice; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

Mindfulness and Anxiety  Occasional anxiety is a natural human experience, but for many people, anxiety can become a source of ongoing distress, capable of interfering with everyday life. Efforts to avoid anxiety may involve distraction or avoidance, but these efforts provide only temporary relief. Mindfulness, on the other hand, offers a pathway to meet the experience of anxiety, and in doing so, restore valued activity, rather than allowing ourselves to be dominated by fear and avoidance. This free workshop will introduce the use of mindfulness as a way to understand and respond to the experience of anxiety. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Prerequisite: Introduction to Mindfulness, Ten Percent Happier, or a current mindfulness practice; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course

Mindful Communication: Speaking and Listening with Awareness Daily conversations can become automatic, pressured, and careless. With the right mindset, however, even ordinary interactions can become rich territory for effectively expressing our deepest values. This program demonstrates how conversation provides an opportunity to practice a special kind of attentiveness, transforming our encounters with colleagues into meaningful moments of genuine exchange. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Prerequisite: Introduction to Mindfulness, Ten Percent Happier, or a current mindfulness practice; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course

Other Mindfulness and Meditation Resources Available at the University