Welcome to Kindermind Center (kaɪnder-maɪnd)!
A social purpose organization, Kindermind aims to transform minds, promote compassion and resilience, and reduce suffering. This is accomplished through accessible, evidence-based mindfulness training rooted in rigorous standards of teaching, and contribution to research and contemplative dialogue.
I specialize in teaching the 8-Week Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) program that integrates mindfulness practices and cognitive therapy principles as a skilful response to distress namely stress, burnout, low moods, depression and anxiety.
While MBCT was originally designed for people with depression, it is also useful for a general population seeking to cultivate mental wellbeing. Like coding, wellbeing is a skill that can be learnt.
What does it mean to practice mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about coming into the “being” mode ie to feel alive, to consciously exist, to fully embrace the moment, what Thoreau calls to be in “the bloom of the present”, instead of being stuck in the cycle of zombie-ness (autopilot) or in constant “driven-doing” mode ie needlessly thinking, judging, doing and striving.
We intentionally wake up from being lost in our head to pay attention, with our whole being, to the present moment as it is, without judgment.
As you are reading this, pausing for a moment, closing your eyes, and noticing how it feels when you are just acknowledging your breath and body. Just noticing.
This steadiness allows us to stay more focused and keep an open mind, which increases our capacity to lean in, to be calm, compassionate, grateful and resilient. On the other hand, notice what happens when the mind wanders aimlessly and gets lost in the jungle of our thoughts. Does it lead to a sense of emptiness and discontent?
Why practice mindfulness? Who are invested in mindfulness?
Life is increasingly uncertain and complex—it easily throws us off-balance, leaving us vulnerable to symptoms like depression, now a leading illness, according to WHO (World Health Organization). Living with changes brought about by Covid-19 does not help.
Studies show the efficacy of mindfulness in dealing with a range of conditions such as depression and anxiety, and in boosting productivity and work satisfaction. This is because mindfulness activates different parts of the brain, boosts neuroplasticity, and reduces the size of the amygdala (“reaction”, emotional center).
Emerging evidence also suggests that mindfulness could delay cognitive impairment such as dementia.
Universities like Harvard, Brown and Stanford, and companies such as Google, Microsoft, SAP and Aetna are invested in mindfulness programs.
What’s the history of MBCT?
MBCT was developed by three professors, Zindel Segal (Toronto), Mark Williams (now Oxford) and John Teasdale (Cambridge) in the 90s to reduce depression relapses.
MBCT practices are adapted from Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. MBSR was introduced in the US healthcare system in the 1970s as a way to help patients respond to chronic pain.
MBCT adds cognitive therapy principles to appreciate how thoughts, emotions and physical sensations compel us to act in a certain way. We also observe these inner experiences as merely transient physiological events, and come to appreciate that we do not have to be a slave to our emotions. We can therefore choose our response instead of rising to the bait of reactions.
Why choose MBCT?
MBCT is secular and therefore useful if you are seeking for a non-faith based approach to wellbeing. When you join this program, you are free to continue practicing your faith.
MBCT is backed by evidence, and approved by the National Health Service (NHS) in England as primary care treatment for depression, and potentially complements treatment of conditions like addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bipolar disorder. The UK National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) also recommends MBCT as an alternative primary care treatment.
MBCT teachers go through rigorous and supervised training and are obliged to observe good practice guidelines.
Why is MBCT also suitable for a non-clinical population?
The underlying cause of mental health conditions is similar to what holds people back. It is our deep-seated attachments and aversions, leading to reactions such as grasping (striving), ruminating and avoiding. These impulses to act or not act may provide immediate relief but may be maladaptive and hold us back from living fully. MBCT helps us see our automatic tendencies, and offers new ways to flourish.
Life begins and ends with the mind. Join me on this journey of mindful growth!
Noelle Lim, Founder & Facilitator
Header image credit: Krista Mangulsone, Unsplash