Elise Bialyew on the science of mindfulness
One of the most incredible parts of our trip so far has been the constant opportunity to dive deep in to time. Finding those little moments of mindfulness has been important (vital, actually) to me and my mental health since I started recovering from post natal depression back in 2011, but removing some of the additional layers of life over the past few months has opened my eyes to just how many chances we have to pay attention – every day.
Despite increasing research in to the benefits of mindfulness, it still sometimes suffers from an aura of woo, and while I’ve known and experienced the impact of it for years, a lot of people are still looking for proof.
So if you’re a skeptic, or even mildly curious about the science behind mindfulness, today’s poggie guest has got you.
Dr Elise Bialylew is the founder of Mindful in May and author of a brand new book, The Happiness Plan, which is about all things mindfulness, meditation and the science behind it. Coming from a background in psychiatry, as well as being a parent of a 2 year-old, Elise offers a blend of deep understanding of the science behind why mindfulness works with a real-world approach to practicing it in your daily life. Her passion for the topic shines through this conversation and her work, which is such a delight to hear.
Elise talks about how and why she started meditating, and how interaction with scientists like Richie Davidson (doing groundbreaking work on mindfulness and its impact on the brain) as well as her own personal experience at a silent meditation retreat really flicked the switch for her. As a doctor, she felt like mindfulness was the missing piece in the well-being and brain health puzzle, and it’s been her life’s work to educate people about the nature of the mind ever since. She and I go on to talk about her own personal practice (and how that’s changed since becoming a mother), the connection between mindfulness and compassion, the developments in brain science, how much meditation is enough and more.
If you’re feeling inspired and excited to try creating or continuing with your own meditation or mindfulness practice, be sure to check out Elise’s Mindful in May program. It’s a wonderful way to dip your toe in and start (and stick to) a healthy habit, with a real sense of community, accountability and support as well as inspiration and experimentation. The science behind the practice is made accessible, and daily emails, guided meditations and interviews with experts will provide you with all the tools you need to find a practice that suits you and your life, as well as an understanding of what’s going on and why it’s so valuable.
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