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5 Must Watch TED Talks on Mindfulness

Congratulations!

By taking the initiative to look into mindfulness, you’ve taken the first step towards creating a better life.

Maybe you have been practicing mindfulness but are yet to make it a daily habit.

Or, you have been thinking about mindfulness for some time now and are just waiting to get started.

Wherever you may be in your journey, a little bit of inspiration always helps.


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And what better way to receive an honest inspiration than a TED Talk.

If you didn’t know, TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. They organize independently run TEDx events to help share ideas in communities around the world.

It’s been more than 5 years that I’ve been hooked to TED for new ideas and inspiration.

I absolutely love the platform and would definitely recommend you check it out if you haven’t already. They feature talks by people whose ‘ideas are worth spreading’ with the world, in almost every important topic.

Mindfulness is definitely one of the important topics which more people need to become aware of.
Since you are already aware of mindfulness, I welcome you to watch these 5 TED talks to inspire yourself and reaffirm your faith in your choice to cultivate mindfulness for a better life.

1. How mindfulness changes the emotional life of our brains by Dr. Richard J. Davidson

This talk by Dr. Richard Davidson is absolutely eye-opening. 

His journey into researching how mindfulness changes the emotional life of our brains was inspired by a question, “Why is it that some people are more vulnerable to life’s slings and arrows and others more resilient?”

He is a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds. 

Dr. Davidson was named one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2006 by Time Magazine. He is a sought after expert figure in the mindfulness community and maintains a close friendship with The Dalai Lama. He is also the co-author of best-sellers like Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body‘ andThe Emotional Life of Your Brain.

Why You Should Watch the Talk:

  • To understand the adverse effects of operating in the default or reactive mind
  • To know about the four pillars of a healthy mind:
    Awareness, Connection, Insight, Purpose
  • To learn how practicing mindfulness can nourish and rewire our minds to make us better

2. The Power of Mindfulness: What You Practice Grows Stronger by Shauna Shapiro

I absolutely love this talk!

Dr. Shauna Shapiro takes us through her personal journey with mindfulness and how it became the focal point of her life, eventually transforming her. She shares how she identified that mindfulness is actually paying kind-attention to the present moment. After almost two decades of research, she discovered that mindfulness worked for psychological issues like anxiety and shame, and how those who practice it develop deep compassion.
Dr. Shapiro had formulated the definition of mindfulness through its three main objectives, which are intention, attention, and attitude.

She ends the talk with a very powerful mindful exercise to develop self-compassion, which I practice and have included in my post on Tips to Build a Mindful Morning Routine.

Dr. Shapiro is a professor at Santa Clara University, a clinical psychologist, a fellow of the Mind and Life Institute co-founded by the Dalai Lama, and an internationally recognized expert in mindfulness. She is the author of a best-selling book,  Good Morning! I Love You and has also co-authored The Art and Science of Mindfulness and Mindful Discipline: A loving approach to raising an emotionally intelligent child.

Why You Should Watch the Talk:

  • To learn about the meaning of mindfulness
  • To understand the benefits of mindfulness and why it works
  • To learn how mindfulness cultivates self-compassion

3. Paying Attention & Mindfulness by Sam Chase

Get totally absorbed into this powerful talk by Sam Chase, where he takes you through a thought-provoking journey about how our mind works, why multitaskers are worst in productivity, and how to protect your conscious attention using research studies and facts. 

He introduces the practice of mindfulness using its objectives, as a simple activity to improve ourselves. Towards the end, he engages you in a guided mindfulness practice which sums up the point of his talk very well.

Sam Chase is a popular teacher and designs programs in mindfulness, yoga, and resilience for organizations nationwide. He has also developed programs for world leaders at the United Nations, service members in the National Guard, medical students at Columbia University, educators at the New York City Department of Education, and the over 1000 yoga teachers he has trained throughout the last decade. He is the author of Yoga and the Pursuit of Happiness: A Guide to Finding Joy in Unexpected Places.

Why You Should Watch the Talk:

  • To learn about the science behind how our attention works
  • To become aware of the dangers of our ‘monkey mind’
  • To understand why is it important more than ever to cultivate a practice of mindfulness

4. Self-Transformation Through Mindfulness by Dr. David Vago

In this interesting talk, Dr. David Vago introduces the concept of activity-dependent neuroplasticity, which is basically the phenomenon of our brain re-designing itself through the activities we do on a consistent basis, and how it influences our sense of self. This can actually be summed up very aptly by one of Buddha’s sayings, quoted in the Dhammapada, which Dr. Vago refers to in this talk.

“Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think”

He shares the scientifically proven benefits of mindfulness practices and how meditation can help us transform our brain and consequently ourselves.

Dr. David Vago is a cognitive neuroscientist and an expert in the emerging field of contemplative neuroscience. He is also the research director at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a research associate in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

Why You Should Watch the Talk:

  • To learn about how we build our mind through what we do consistently
  • To understand how our thoughts shape our identity
  • To understand why mindfulness is a powerful tool to positively transform our mind and body

5. Don’t try to be mindful by Daron Larson

Don’t let the title mislead you.
This talk is highly recommended if you’re a beginner in mindfulness.

In this witty and powerful talk, Daron Larson shares a counter-intuitive approach to mindfulness.
He takes us through his own approach to the mindfulness practice and tells us how we can tap into our mindful mode by simply learning to observe through our senses and not get attached to them.

He demystifies the mindfulness techniques and asks anyone to begin mindfulness by simply noting experiences and stop judging how we practice.

Daron has been a consistent practitioner of mindfulness since 2002 and delivers mindful awareness coaching, teaching and speaking.

Why You Should Watch the Talk:

  • To remove any complexities regarding mindfulness practices and techniques
  • To learn how simple mindfulness actually is
  • To understand how you can practice mindfulness anytime throughout the day

I hope these five TED talks help to convince you to practice mindfulness and dedicate yourself to it for life. 

Mindfulness seems to be the easiest, yet most effective answer to most of the troubles that we face in today’s world.

These talks tell you that Mindfulness works and provides you with a choice to transform your life for the better. 

What will you choose?



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