This podcast discussion with Dan Huston is part of a series by Brett Hill on the topic of ” the Language of Mindfulness”.
Dan Huston created and teaches the college class “Communicating Mindfully: Mindfulness-Based Communication and Emotional Intelligence” at NHTI. Over time, the faculty has noted that Dan’s students have been more engaged, better communicators, and simply better students overall!
Listen and learn more about how the NHTI staff has started to include mindfulness content in their own courses and recommend Dan’s class, leading to expanding the mindfulness curriculum and creating a mindful communication certificate. It’s even a required course for some degree programs including IT!
Visit the Language of Mindfulness website and listen to the podcast now!
Our world is in in the midst of unprecedented upheaval on a variety of fronts. Recent events have presented us with new challenges and revealed old ones, leaving us to accept that certain uncomfortable realities within our community, our society, and perhaps ourselves exist.
To make significant change, we need to see things clearly without being blinded by fear, defensiveness, or anger. Mindfulness is a powerful tool for doing just that. Through careful observation during these tumultuous times, we can find insight to build a more equitable, healthy, and just society for everyone.
NHTI is proud to be running our upcoming speaker series, “Mindfulness in Society: Moving from Stress Reduction to Transformation.” Each Monday of October will offer a talk or workshop by a mindfulness professional who has been working for decades to help people develop an increased ability to practice awareness, acceptance, and compassion that can be translated into understanding and action.
October 5: After a meditation led by renowned mindfulness teacher Sharon Salzberg, Mark Leonard, who helped found the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, will discuss his work with social mindfulness as a form of organizational transformation.
October 12: Mirabai Bush, founder of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, will lead a workshop on compassion, focusing on its importance in connecting with others and building a society in which all are cared for and respected.
October 19: Richard Goerling, founder of the Mindful Badge Initiative, will share his experiences bringing mindfulness training to police officers throughout the U.S. and Canada as a means of personal and cultural transformation.
October 26: Stephanie Briggs, a retired professor and founder of Be.Still.Move, will explore how our lives intertwine and converge, emphasizing the importance of mindful presence, speech, thought, and listening.
As our speakers will emphasize, mindfulness is often misunderstood as the equivalent of meditation, which is seen as a stress reduction activity along the lines of taking a bath or listening to soothing music. While meditation does help nurture mindfulness, the two are not one and the same. And while meditating can sometimes decrease anxiety or anger, it’s much more than a stress reduction tool. Sometimes we encounter unsettling thoughts or emotions when we meditate. Sometimes we come face to face our judgments, assumptions, and unproductive habitual ways of thinking. And that’s a good thing. That’s good knowledge to have. We can use that awareness to make change.
In these days of economic uncertainty, social unrest, political discord, and climate challenges, if all meditation and mindfulness had to offer were an opportunity to bury our head in the sand and feel better, it would not be a very powerful tool. Instead, it offers us a way to see ourselves, others, and situations clearly, not just what’s pleasant but also what’s not. It gives us a way to see things as they are—and that helps us improve our lives, on an individual and societal level. Please join us as we explore these all-important issues: https://www.nhti.edu/campus-life/events/mindfulness-in-society/
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Professor Huston teaches mindful communication and writing in the English Department at NHTI—Concord’s Community College. He has been incorporating mindfulness, meditation, and emotional intelligence in his communication curriculum for 20+ years and was awarded NHTI’s 2008 Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Huston is the author of the textbook Communicating Mindfully: Mindfulness-Based Communication and Emotional Intelligence, which has been adopted at numerous colleges and universities, as well as other publications on mindful communication. His Communicating Mindfully course is required for students in several degree programs at NHTI and strongly recommended for others. The course doubles as a form of professional development for faculty and serves as the foundation of NHTI’s Mindful Communication Certificate.
The second study conducted on the Communicating Mindfully course found that students increased in mindfulness, communication skills, emotion regulation, and emotional intelligence.
There was a direct correlation between increases in mindfulness and emotion regulation, suggesting mindfulness helps increase one’s ability to handle stressful/threatening situations productively.
“In all of the studies I have conducted on mindful communication, I have never seen such consistent results across all mindfulness factors.”
–Dr. Valerie Manusov University of Washington
Manusov, V. & Huston, D. C. (2018). Mindfulness training in the communication classroom: Effects on communication competence, emotion regulation, and emotional intelligence. In D. Grimes, Q. Wang, & H. Lin (Eds.), (pp. 207-234). Hauppauge, NY. Nova Science. Empirical studies of contemplative practices.
With the spread of mindfulness, I am finding the misconceptions have shifted a bit (maybe some of you have noticed the same thing), and I think it’s important to address them if mindfulness is to fulfill its potential.
That’s what my latest TEDx Talk is about, essentially pointing out that mindfulness and meditation are not one and the same, and neither of them is a “quick fix” stress reduction activity.
Background of the Mindful Communication Certificate:
This certificate is the culmination of twenty years of work that began with a course I developed called Communicating Mindfully. During that time, “CM” doubled as a form of professional development that benefited faculty members personally and professionally. As a result, they became advocates for the course and recommended or required it of students in a variety of degree programs. As demand increased, I trained others to teach the course. We now run approximately nine sections each semester, and those of us who teach these sections are receiving training and consulting services from CFM, Margaret Fletcher, in particular.
Many faculty members say they can see a difference between students who have taken the Communicating Mindfully course and those who haven’t, finding the former are more invested in their work, more respectful of others, and more thoughtful in their responses during class discussions. Several years ago, the information technology department recruited me to co-teach their internship course in order to help their students succeed in the workplace. This gave rise to co-teaching similar courses in a variety of departments, including human services, early childhood education, and orthopedics.
Along the way, the Mindful TLC (teaching, learning, and curricula) Team was established to discuss ways to expand mindful communication on our campus. This work spurred curriculum development such that we found ourselves with four courses that infuse mindful communication into the core content:
• Communication • Composition • Literature • Succeeding in the Workplace
These courses now make up the mindful communication certificate and can easily fit into nearly any degree program at our college. These courses are required of information technology students and may soon be required of students studying human services, addiction counseling, and orthopedics, as well.