Mindfulness

Fall programming is here!

New! Mindfully Managing Uncertainty - November 4, 10 AM

Ten Percent Happier App

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

 

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- or 90-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 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

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; Pre-Requisite: None; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

Mindfully Managing Uncertainty 2.0

The second 60-minute segment will largely be focused on discussion: now that participants have been using the exercises learned in the first segment in their daily lives, what have they found to be useful, and what have they found to be challenging? The instructor will offer additional ways to understand and make the best use of these practices. Pre-requisite: Mindfully Managing Uncertainty; Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

Mindful Movement: Yoga for the Office
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; Pre-Requisite: None; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course

Ten Percent Happier
This multi-session course will provide participants with the opportunity to learn about mindfulness and build their own personal practices using a combination of live and app-based supports.

The app is 10% Happier, a best-in-class program hosted by Dan Harris, a best-selling author, ABC news personality and self-described “fidgety skeptic,” alongside Joseph Goldstein, one of the most renowned meditation teachers in the world. This app is now available for free to all benefits-eligible faculty and staff. Live instruction is provided by teachers from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s Mind the Moment mindfulness program, which has been training individuals to incorporate mindfulness into their personal and professional lives for over 10 years.

The course is built around four, one-hour, live sessions. Between these Zoom sessions, participants will complete one of the many 10% Happier courses on their mobile devices. A mindfulness coach will also be available to participants by text or by phone, to answer additional questions that may arise between the in-person sessions.

This course will have special appeal for individuals who prefer a more self-directed approach to learning, and who may require more flexibility in terms of the amount of time they are able to commit. Additionally, those who have studied mindfulness in the past but whose practices have lapsed – or who are simply looking to take advantage of this new free app – will find this course to be an attractive option.  This course will count as a pre-requisite to the more advanced mindfulness courses offered. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Pre-Requisite: None; Length: 60 minutes session, 4 weeks. All participants must be able to commit to attending all of the sessions. 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 are able to 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 pre-requisite to the more advanced mindfulness courses offered. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Pre-Requisite: None; 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 increase 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; Pre-Requisite: 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  2.0
Participants of Mindful Parenting are invited back for a deeper dive into the learnings, an opportunity to ask questions and a mindful meditation practice. This follow-up session is held within a month of the first session. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Pre-Requisite: Mindful Parenting; 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;  Pre-Requisite: 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 2.0
Participants of Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence are invited back for a deeper dive into the learnings, an opportunity to ask questions and a mindful meditation practice. This follow-up session is held within a month of the first session. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Pre-Requisite: Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

Mindful Eating
How often do we go to the market and end up purchasing groceries we didn’t intend to purchase? Plan to eat healthfully but find that we did not? Look in our refrigerator for a snack to meet an emotional need? Avoid food altogether for any number of reasons? Completely miss the taste and nourishment of a special meal because distracting thoughts carried us away from the moment? These all-too-common experiences happen to us when we feel distanced from our bodies, our thoughts, and our emotions.

This session delves into how a consistent practice of mindfulness can help participants close those gaps, and further manage the unconscious, reactive habits that can build up around food. As a result, participants will learn to become more aware of when they are truly hungry when they are not, and when they are sated. Participants will learn to better appreciate all aspects of their relationship with food, from purchasing to consuming, and from nourishing themselves to connecting with others.  Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Pre-Requisite: 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 Eating 2.0
Participants of Mindful Eating are invited back for a deeper dive into the learnings, an opportunity to ask questions and a mindful meditation practice. This follow-up session is held within a month of the first session. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Pre-Requisite: Mindful Eating; 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; Pre-Requisite: 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 2.0
Participants of Mindful Communication: Speaking and Listening with Awareness are invited back for a deeper dive into the learnings, an opportunity to ask questions and a mindful meditation practice. This follow-up session is held within a month of the first session. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Pre-Requisite: MindfulCommunication: Speaking and Listening with Awareness; 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; Pre-Requisite: 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 2.0
Participants of Mindfulness and Anxiety are invited back for a deeper dive into the learnings, an opportunity to ask questions and a mindful meditation practice. This follow-up session is held within a month of the first session. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Pre-Requisite: Mindfulness and Anxiety; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

Mindfulness and Compassion
Compassion is sometime described as the state of “suffering together,” but what does it mean to suffer productively, without becoming overwhelmed or burned out by the needs of others…and ourselves? Mindfulness practice is focused on observing internal and external experience with a heightened sense of clarity. It is an essential element in preparing the heart and intellect to navigate the demands of compassion in sincere and effective ways. In this workshop, we will explore compassion as it is regarded in the mindfulness tradition, as a “quivering of the heart in the face of suffering,” and study how this prepares us to lend support to ourselves and those around us.
Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Pre-Requisite: 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 Compassion  2.0
Participants of Mindfulness and Compassion are invited back for a deeper dive into the learnings, an opportunity to ask questions and a mindful meditation practice. This follow-up session is held within a month of the first session. Audience: All Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff; Pre-Requisite: Mindfulness and Compassion; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course

Mindful Strategies for Cyber Safety 
Have you ever had a sinking feeling that you may have been hacked after clicking on a suspicious link in an email? Applying mindfulness can help protect you—and Harvard—from clicking impulsively on links in phishing emails. Come learn about the state of mind that’s most easily exploited by hackers and how mindfulness can help you defend against it. Through cyber safety tips and brief meditation practices, participants will learn simple techniques to help manage the distractions and potential threats that creep into their day-to-day work – and to regulate their state of mind to remain focused, creative and resilient for the long run.  Audience: All; Pre-Requisite: None; Length: 60 minutes. Click here for dates, times and a link to register for the course.

Mindfulness and Meditation Resources Available at the University