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Use Technology Mindfully And Proactively Instead Of Reactively: Dr Shauna Shapiro, Mindfulness Expert

"Mindfulness allows us to see clearly so we can respond wisely and effectively. Mindfulness has been shown to have a wide range of benefits including decreased stress and anxiety, reduced depression, stronger immune functioning and improved sleep quality," said Shauna Shapiro

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“What you practice grows stronger,” says Dr. Shauna Shapiro - a professor, author, and internationally established expert in mindfulness. Shapiro believes that mindfulness is one of the most effective vehicles of transformation.

Her research and clinical work focus on the applications of mindfulness to developing better health and overall wellbeing. Through her work she has addressed the effects of mindfulness at all levels- individual, work and its implications at the global level. 

Shapiro draws on modern neuroscience and ancient wisdom to demonstrate how mindfulness can help us make positive changes in our brains and our lives.

She has extensively investigated the effects of mindfulness training across a wide array of people, examining the impact of mindfulness in varied fields from medicine to psychology, education, and business to law.

Her journey to mindfulness actually began at 17 after a severe spinal surgery crippled her with pain. The quest for wellbeing took her to Thailand, where her tryst with the “M” word began. 

Some twenty years later she has a significant body of work on mindfulness, a product of studying in both the East and West. To which the scientific aspect lends great credibility to the repository.

Shapiro has published over 100 journal articles and chapters, and co-authored the critically acclaimed texts, The Art and Science of Mindfulness, and Mindful Discipline: A loving approach to setting limits and raising an emotionally intelligent child. 

Amongst many other accolades, Dr. Shapiro has also been bestowed "Contemplative Practice Fellow" of the Mind and Life Institute, co-founded by the Dalai Lama. She has been invited to present her work to the King of Thailand, the Danish government, and the World Council for Psychotherapy in Beijing, China, as well as to Fortune 100 Companies.

In a conversation with BW Businessworld, she shared her thoughts on mindfulness.

How do you think mindfulness impacts people and what implications does this have at an organizational and global level?

Mindfulness allows us to see clearly so we can respond wisely and effectively. Mindfulness has been shown to have a wide range of benefits including decreased stress and anxiety, reduced depression, stronger immune functioning and improved sleep quality. Most importantly, however, mindfulness has been shown to reduce cultural bias, increase compassion and ethical decision making. In a world of increasing complexity, mindfulness is a powerful tool.

How do you view society today in terms of device disease and disconnection, i.e. people are constantly connected, phubbing and distracted. What are your thoughts on technology in this light?

We are simultaneously more connected and disconnected due to technology. I believe the key is to use technology mindfully and proactively instead of reactively. Reflect on your intention for why you are using it and set up parameters for how to use technology that keeps you aligned with your intentions and values.  

You have your own model of mindfulness, could you share how it functions?

Mindfulness is often narrowly defined as present moment attention, "be here now." However, it is much more multifaceted than this. If mindfulness was only about attention then a sniper could be the most mindful person in the world.

Thus, my colleagues and I developed a three-part model including Intention, Attention, and Attitude.

Intention = Why you pay attention, your deepest values and goals

Attention = Stabilizing our attention in the present moment

Attitude = How you pay attention, with an attitude of kindness and curiosity

In your book Mindful Discipline: A loving approach to setting limits and raising an emotionally intelligent child, you talk about raising emotionally intelligent children. Please elaborate on that.

I believe that parents are like gardeners, creating the conditions that best support growth and development in our children. A key to healthy emotional intelligent children is mindfulness in the parents. Mindfulness supports the capacity to see clearly, and to respond with wisdom and compassion. Mindfulness supports our ability as parents to stay connected to our intentions and values. And mindfulness helps us live with fully awake and present. The best way to teach our children is through our own lived example. 


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