Top 5 Mindfulness Resources

Top 5 Mindfulness Resources

The science of mindfulness is a very hot topic these days.  In agreement with the research, we find mindfulness to be a very helpful skill to have that is effective for a variety of problems that come with everyday life, such as distractibility, emotional reactivity, and impulsive decision making.

If you’d like to learn this skill, we have one one simple piece of advice – practice!  Any skill that you want to get better at (gardening, sports, playing an instrument) requires practice, and plenty of it.

In order to help you to learn how to train your mind in this way, we’ve put together a list of our top 5 resources for learning mindfulness. Some of these applications and websites are also helpful for providing a sense of community around mindfulness, which helps with both accountability and feelings of connection. For example, the insight timer shows you how many other people across the world are using the insight timer at the same time.

2 Minute Beginner’s Guide Animation

Free

Why We Like It: Having a very quick, to-the-point, and accurate explanation can often be more helpful than a big, comprehensive tool.  We also like this explanation because it clarifies some of the common misperceptions of what mindfulness practice is.

Headspace

iPhone

Android

10 day free trial, subscription following trial

Why We Like It: This is a great app because the creators paid lots of attention to the interface.  This is the current industry leader, and it shows in the quality.  When you first begin to use it, the app has you watch a series of short and fun animations to quickly orient you to what mindfulness is and what it is not (the videos are worth watching).

Another reason why this app made our list is because the developers made it in a way that will have a higher likelihood of keeping you engaged over time.  Instead of moving on to something else once the initial motivation has passed, there is a greater chance you’ll stick with Headspace because each day has a different guided file, it gives you clear goals, and you get to choose to practice on specific issues (a series on anxiety, depression, pain, etc).

Insight Timer

iPhone

Android

iPad

Free for iPhone and Android with option of purchasing upgrades, $2.99 for iPad

Why We Like It: This app is worth acquiring for the Tibetan bells alone, but in the past year or so, the app has expanded to include a wide variety of meditation practices of varying lengths.

Stop, Breathe & Think

Web

iPhone

Android

Free

Why We Like It: This is a great app that works either on the computer or a smartphone.  It provides a great introduction and resources for taking your practice deeper, as well.  One thing it also does that the others don’t do is offer a check-in that will ask you questions about how you are feeling in order to suggest some useful types of mindfulness practice.

Tara Brach’s Guided Meditations

Free

Why We Like It: Tara Brach is most widely known for her book Radical Acceptance.  On her website she regularly posts guided meditations to follow along with.  Every meditation instructor has their own style, and Tara has an easy style that many people tend to like.  Additionally, we’d highly recommend listening to her her 2-part introduction to meditation talk:

Part 1 – Do You Make Regular Visits to Yourself (57 min)

Part 2 – Do You Make Regular Visits to Yourself? (55 min)

If you’d like to see our full list, please visit

Resources for Learning Mindfulness Meditation in Portland, Oregon

Book Review: Self-Help That Works

Book Review: Self-Help That Works

Even as a professional psychologist, I feel overwhelmed browsing  the self-help shelves of the average book store. There’s a glut of titles, many written by people with no relevant credentials. I sometimes wonder how people wade through them all!

In the past few years I have developed an interest in the effectiveness of self-help books. Even when self-help books are based on well-researched principles, it’s rare for researchers to study the effectiveness of specific books as a standalone treatment. Given this situation, I was pleased to come across the new edition of  Self-Help That Works (2013; 4th ed.). This book rates a staggering number of self-help books and client resources, including websites and movies about mental illness. The authors solicited the involvement of nearly 5,000 professionals across several research studies. These professionals rated resources on which they felt familiar, and these ratings were aggregated into averages.

The rating system features 5 stars and a “dagger” (†) symbol urging people to stay away from a particular resource.  Most—but not all—of the entries have some text describing it and why it received its rating. Chapters are divided across 41 different issues. Sometimes the chapter layout seemed a bit confusing in that particular books were not always listed where I expected to find them; overall, though,  the layout is pretty sensible, and the titles and authors are all listed in the index, so that you can look up any particular books or authors with ease.

Given the massive scope of this sort of project, there’s no sense quibbling over ratings with which I agreed or disagreed. I do wish the range of possible scores were more limited, though. Given the incredible number of choices, I think the authors could have championed the ones they liked, noted what they thought were okay, and warned people against the sketchy ones. However, a tremendous amount of work has gone into this, and there are probably good reasons for the system they used.

I think this book is worth having in any professional library. It’s a thorough book, with more than 2,000 entries according to the authors. With this book, you’ll always have a handy and thoughtful resource you can consult when a client or colleague asks for recommendations about a particular mental health topic. This alone makes it worth having it around

UPCOMING TRAINING EVENTS