Dr Sherelle Connaughton

Dr Sherelle Connaughton

Sherelle has worked in education and healthcare for over 25 years.
Since completing a PhD in Psychology in 2007 she has specialised in teaching mindfulness and health enhancement at Monash University.

Location Melbourne, Australia

Activity

  • Welcome!
    Whether you are a beginner, a repeat learner or have studied mindfulness elsewhere before, the Monash Mindfulness team are delighted you are here and we wish you well with the course.
    As course mentor, I have pinned many comments throughout the course that we hope you find helpful. However, due to changes at FutureLearn and Monash University, I will...

  • Congratulations on completing the course!
    Having witnessed a great many learners progress through both this and our introductory course, since it first began in September 2015, it really is a pleasure to be part of this mindful community. It is always heartening to see learners gain new insights and share examples of positive changes they have experienced...

  • Having mentored every run of this course since it first began in September 2015, I feel fortunate to be part of this mindful community, which comprises a lovely mix of new and repeat learners - some of whom have been studying with Monash Mindfulness for several years. I appreciate how kind and supportive learners usually are to one another in these comment...

  • @Suleimanaljayusi We have downloadable transcripts for each fo the audio files in the course - but for the videos you can click on View Transcript at the bottom left of the video and copy and paste this if you wish to save a copy.

  • Thanks again everyone and good luck with the rest of the course.

  • @BenC Thank you for your kind words about past mentoring. The Monash Mindfulness team do not know yet how the course will run in the future, as this is still to be determined. But we appreciate your feedback and will share this with key university staff.

  • Although I am keen to steer this discussion back towards our main topic of mindfulness, I do wish to thank everyone for sharing your thoughts here. Although staff and budget changes at Monash University, plus a shift at FutureLearn towards more courses being open for an extended period, mean that I have been asked not to actively mentor this run of the course...

  • Just confirming that your feedback is being read and shared with the team. Also, I note that enrolment numbers are much lower this run than previously - which is part of the reason that there are fewer comments being posted so far this run.

  • Having read the posts below, I would like to confirm that a difficult decision was made to not provide active mentoring, nor new weekly feedback videos, while this course runs under FutureLearn's 'always on' mode. But the Monash Mindfulness team hope the mentor comments I have pinned in each step of the course are helpful and the links provided each week to...

  • Thanks everyone for sharing your feedback here, which I have passed on to the rest of the Monash team. Although I am sorry to confirm that a difficult decision was made to not provide active mentoring, nor new weekly feedback videos while this course runs under FutureLearn's 'always on' mode, we do hope that the comments I have pinned in each step of the...

  • Thanks everyone. Although a difficult decision was made to not provide active mentoring while this course runs under FutureLearn's new 'always on' mode, I just wanted to acknowledge the replies here and thank you for your kind words about previous mentoring. I have also added some more detail to my reply to the pinned post above - and I sincerely wish you well...

  • Thanks for your kind words everyone! Although a difficult decision was made to not provide active mentoring while this course runs under FutureLearn's new 'always on' mode, I just wanted to acknowledge the replies here and thank you for your understanding. Good luck and best wishes!

  • Congratulations on completing the course!
    Having witnessed a great many learners progress through both this and our introductory course, since it first began in September 2015, it really is a pleasure to be part of this mindful community. It is always heartening to see learners gain new insights and share examples of positive changes they have experienced...

  • Welcome to our final Reflect and Connect step!
    As well as reflecting on the feedback video, this step is primarily intended as a place to share your course gems, or highlights, and we hope these discussions will help inspire you to keep going with your mindfulness practice post course. You can also offer feedback about the course, which will be taken into...

  • Please note this step is intended to publicly acknowledge those who work behind the scenes on the course. So although you are welcome to express your gratitude to those people here, please save any general thoughts, appreciation and feedback about the course in general for the next step, which is our final Reflect and Connect step for the course.

  • Another key resource is our introductory course Mindfulness for Peak Performance and Wellbeing - and we strongly encourage anyone who is yet to complete this course to consider enrolling: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/mindfulness-wellbeing-performance
    Reviewing this current course now and/or at a later time can also be useful - as many repeat learners...

  • This list of recommended resources is really just a starting point and there are so many great mindfulness books, websites and online videos available. And for learners who have recently completed our introductory course, Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance, please note that this list is very similar but does contain some additional resources.
    For...

  • This 20 minute practice is the longest in the course (and is similar, but a little different to the 20 minute combined practice in the introductory Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance course). It focuses largely on the body, but also incorporates some breath awareness and mindful listening - hence can be a great practice to help ground us and...

  • In this step, Craig offers many great tips that may help us gain more clarity regarding the goals we set in our lives and how we work towards them.
    Here are some key points to consider:
    1. Stop before you start and consider taking some time to meditate or reflect before you set goals.
    2. Break goals down into small, achievable steps.
    3. Be clear about the...

  • In this step, you are invited to identify your core values, as detailed in the main text above. We understand that this kind of exercise can take some time, so please note you are more than welcome to skip, skim through or revisit this step at a later date.
    We also note that the Values Map pdf (under Downloads) is very small, so we hope that you can use the...

  • In this video, Richard explores the difference between values and goals and how these can interact to guide our decisions and behaviour. He also explains how being mindful can help us slow down, quiet the mind, tune in and really listen to our core values - encouraging us to shape a more satisfying and possibly happier life for ourselves.
    We will explore how...

  • The videos in this section of the course explore some important content regarding mindful ethics, values and goals.
    Many different ideas are presented in these videos and some run longer than others, so feel free to go slowly, to watch some videos more than once, and/or consider reading the transcripts to help consolidate your learning.
    Taking your time...

  • Given that this can be a sensitive topic, I ask that you focus any comments in this step on how mindfulness might help or has helped you with death and grief, rather than sharing too much personal information and details about loved ones you have lost.
    Although we acknowledge the importance of sharing stories about grief and loss, especially with other people...

  • This step is an opportunity to explore how mindfulness can help us better manage anxiety about death and cope with loss.
    As Craig observes, death can be a valuable teacher; it highlights that every thought, feeling, sensation and experience is temporary. Death helps us to not cling to what has occurred in the past, and it helps us to not grasp at what is...

  • This step seems particularly relevant while we face the COVID-19 pandemic. For although it is important to be informed about the situation and current recommendations, we also need to be careful about the frequency of news exposure and its impact on our mental health.
    So please consider your news sources carefully and mindfully manage any feelings that arise...

  • It is not uncommon for our sleep patterns to shift over time and be impacted on by various things, including changes in activity levels, stress, pain, medication, hormonal changes, caffeine, alcohol, snoring, shift work, technology use at night and caring for others (especially newborns).
    So for anyone experiencing ongoing sleep difficulties, the Sleep Health...

  • This step explores the importance of sleep and how mindfulness can help improve sleep quality and manage insomnia. There is also a fun reference to ‘beditation’ (i.e. practising meditation in a relaxed way, while lying in bed) which can be a good way to rest and reduce mind-wandering when we are having trouble getting to sleep and can sometimes even lead to...

  • Many of you will recall exploring mindful eating in detail in the introductory course, Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance, and the team hopes this is a useful reminder.
    Much of mindful eating relates to slowing down and savouring, which can increase our sense of happiness, as some of you noted in Week 3. Importantly, savouring is not only...

  • This step addresses some of the many questions raised in previous runs of the course about how teachers and parents can use mindfulness with children. Even if you do not have regular interaction with young people, you may find this video helps reinforce some principles which are applicable to all relationships and can be generalised to other contexts.
    Please...

  • This step aims to address questions from many past learners about how they can bring more mindfulness to their working life. But as mentioned above, the techniques are not specific to a standard office environment and can be applied in other work and non-work settings also.
    I would also like to note that the Harvard Business Review article (linked to above)...

  • I would also like to note that some learners settle into this style of practice very easily, while others find it challenging at first (but many report is starts to get easier after the second time through). So please remember it really is fine to skip this exercise, if you wish, and to keep practising any other meditations you prefer. But as with any skill,...

  • This exercise is quite different from many classic meditations that focus on the body, so please read all the guidance in the main text above.
    For in this meditation, we practise without trying to focus on anything in particular. Instead, we allow the awareness to be open and to simply receive our internal and external experience as it unfolds, moment by...

  • Welcome to Week 4!
    In this final week of the course we will explore how to further integrate mindfulness into our everyday life and we will also consider mindful ethics, values and goals. There are two meditation practices - a 7-minute choiceless awareness exercise, which involves letting go of “anchors” for the mind, and a 20 minute exercise focusing on the...

  • Having mentored every run of this course since it first began in September 2015, I feel fortunate to be part of this mindful community, which comprises a lovely mix of new and repeat learners - some of whom have been studying with Monash Mindfulness for several years. I appreciate how kind and supportive learners usually are to one another in these comment...

  • As well as reflecting on the feedback video, this step is primarily intended as a place to share your course gems, or highlights, and we hope these discussions will help inspire you to keep going with your mindfulness practice post course. You can also offer feedback about the course, which will be taken into consideration when it is next updated.
    If you...

  • After completing this course and taking some time to consolidate your understanding and practice of mindfulness, you might like to consider enrolling in our extension course, Maintaining a Mindful Life, which also opened this week for an extended period.
    Please note this optional course focuses on mindful communication, relationships, ethics and emotional...

  • Please note this step is intended to publicly acknowledge those who work behind the scenes on the course. So although you are welcome to express your gratitude to those people here, please save any general thoughts, appreciation and feedback about the course in the final Reflect and Connect step.

  • The Monash Mindfulness YouTube Channel is also a resource that can be accessed by learners and the general public at any time (i.e., not just when the course is running): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR19sWAiaXuJtNx7mp6gcxg/videos
    This page includes weekly feedback videos from all previous runs of our mindfulness courses, plus some Mindful Moments - a...

  • It should be noted that this list of recommended resources is really just a starting point and there are many great mindfulness books, websites and online videos available.
    For those of you who like to read, please see what might be available at your local library before purchasing any items, as many libraries now include a number of mindfulness titles in...

  • And for those who might like to explore the current course further, please note that you can access all course materials for six weeks from the time you registered (or from the official course start date of 17 January, if you registered before then) or indefinitely for those who choose to upgrade and obtain a digital Certificate of Achievement, as detailed...

  • Face-to-face meditation options include classes, courses, workshops, retreats and ongoing meditation groups where experienced practitioners can practice together with a guide. A key benefit of these sorts of sessions is the opportunity to ask questions and gain support from an experienced teacher, but it can also simply be nice to meet with a group of like...

  • Under the Downloads for this step you will find some tips for living mindfully which neatly summarises many key teachings from this course. This pdf is considered key course content and we strongly encourage all learners to read this document.
    I would also like to note that although learning online and through books and videos is easily accessible and suits...

  • Please also remember that being mindful can help us connect more fully with our physical and emotional experiences, including potentially uncomfortable sensations, feelings and states of mind which we were previously unaware of, ignoring or suppressing. It is sometimes as though mindfulness is like a torch of awareness being shone on a cluttered room/mind,...

  • In past runs of the course, many learners have really enjoyed delving deeper into their mindfulness practice with this optional 20-minute exercise. But in longer meditations it is very common to become more aware of mind-wandering, fidgeting, boredom, discomfort and fatigue. So please do not be concerned if/when these arise and consider reviewing Step 1.6 for...

  • As noted in the main text above, and like the productivity meditation in Week 3, this audio exercise also contains a preamble that introduces the topic of meditating on creativity. Again, you are not expected to listen to the preamble each time you practise this exercise, hence two versions of the audio file are included under Downloads for this step. But we...

  • In this video Craig discusses the relationship between mindfulness and creativity, and how reducing default mental activity can help us be discerning and creative. Considering our capacity to reflect, Craig uses the metaphor of a pond of water becoming still: “If the surface of the water is very agitated, then it doesn't reflect very clearly, so the image, as...

  • I would also like to note that many of us grew up labelling foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’, but it is now recommended to use the terms ‘everyday’ food and ‘occasional or sometimes’ food to untether that emotional overlay. For this simple technique (even if we’re just saying it to ourselves when we’re making a choice at a supermarket or cafe) can help us to develop...

  • Discretionary foods and drinks are defined as those that are not needed to meet nutritional requirements and do not fit into the five main food groups. Examples include chocolate, sweets, processed meats, commercially fried foods, sugar-sweetened drinks and alcohol - all of which tend to be very high in saturated fat, sugar and/or salt and low in fibre or...

  • For this mindful eating exercise, please go and choose a small piece of food before you watch the video. Then you can either join in with your own mindful eating during the guided exercise, or you may prefer to watch the video first, and then practise mindful eating afterwards.
    Although Melissa chose a dried blueberry for this exercise, you are welcome to...

  • I would also like to note that being mindful about what, when and how we eat can help reduce emotional eating - which has become increasingly common during the pandemic (due to stress, boredom, sadness and/or exhaustion). But there are also non-food alternatives which can be helpful, from HelpGuide: www.helpguide.org/articles/diets/emotional-eating.htm
    If...

  • In addition to the pdf under Downloads for this step, here are some extra tips about mindful eating:
    - Start to notice whether there are thought patterns that occur just prior to finding yourself in front of the fridge or pantry, looking for a “little something” to make you feel happy, safe and/or comfortable. Tune in and see what you notice as much as...

  • But of course if anyone is frequently feeling overwhelmed by strong emotions and/or has significant mental health concerns, then seeking appropriate support from a local health professional is definitely recommended. I also hope the following articles might be...

  • When exploring strong emotions, we need to remember that all emotions serve their purpose and are an important part of being human. For as Dr Susan David says in her TED Talk on emotional agility (which I previously mentioned in Step 4.2) “tough emotions are part of life ... you don’t leave the world a better place without facing discomfort.”...

  • This 5-minute Full Stop meditation can be thought of as an extension to the Comma practice for those times when you would like to punctuate your day with a slightly longer practice.
    If we think of a day as being like a book, if it isn’t punctuated, it becomes a blur and makes little sense. These ‘punctuation marks’ are times of consciously and kindly...

  • For more on managing strong emotions, I highly recommend the following article from mindfulness teacher Melissa “Melli” O'Brien:
    https://www.everyday-mindfulness.org/how-to-use-mindfulness-to-work-with-difficult-emotions-a-six-step-process/
    But I also wish to emphasise that we are all human and experiencing a full range of emotions is an important part of...

  • In the video Craig mentioned expressing anger in a mindful way, and here is an excerpt from his book, Know Thyself: The Stress Release Program, about this.
    "Each emotion can have its place, even something like anger. It is not always negative. Sometimes anger may be appropriate in a given situation and to suppress it would be harmful. Appropriate anger,...

  • Please note the many See Also links in this step are all optional reading, mostly intended to support claims made in the course, and only intended for those who wish to explore certain topics in more detail. So please do not feel it is expected to read any or all of these in full.
    I would also like to note that it is perfectly normal and natural to experience...

  • Welcome to Week 4, which explores managing emotions, mindful eating, creativity, and three new meditation exercises, plus recommended resources to support your ongoing exploration of mindfulness beyond this course - including our extension course Maintaining a Mindful LIfe, as detailed further in Step 4.15.
    I note that in previous runs of the course, many...

  • Congratulations on reaching the final step of Week 3!
    Before progressing to next week’s content, the Monash team encourage you to ponder the reflection points listed in the main text above; review key Week 3 videos, articles and the discussion forums; and practise this week’s mindfulness exercises regularly for at least a few days before moving on to Week 4....

  • If you have any thoughts about the feedback video in the main text above, please feel free to share these in this discussion forum. The team also invite you to consider the Talking Points detailed in the main text above and to share any other reflections about the Week 3 course content - preferably as single comment in the main comments area (by scrolling up...

  • As noted in the previous step, the Monash team recognises that most learners do not have ongoing issues with chronic pain. However, given that we all experience physical and emotional pain at some points in our life, this can be a really useful meditation exercise to experiment with. Craig says at the start of this meditation exercise that this particular...

  • I would also like to note that the team strongly encourages anyone living with or caring for someone with significant pain to ensure they follow appropriate medical advice, specific to their case. But for some more general ideas on this topic, the following books and online resources might be helpful:
    Mindfulness for Health: A practical guide to relieving...