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

  • 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 tour 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...

  • Although the Monash Mindfulness team is aware that most of our learners do not have ongoing issues with chronic pain, we know from past runs of the course that many do have some challenges in this area. Furthermore, we all experience physical and/or emotional pain at some points in our life. Therefore, Craig gives us some important tips here about mindful pain...

  • If you’re curious about how self-compassion may impact your performance, I encourage you to try the self-reflective exercise above. But as noted in the main text above, if you share any comments or insights with other learners, please keep in mind that this self-reflective exercise is designed to help you consider how your attitude towards yourself impacts...

  • In this video Craig and Richard discuss what might initially seem to be a paradoxical method of using self-compassion to drive performance instead of common approaches such as self-criticism and being hard on ourselves. For research shows that self-compassion assists us to bounce back more quickly after a set-back and to continue trying, while harsh...

  • In this short video, neuroscientist Neil Bailey explains how practising mindfulness and self-compassion can ‘rewire’ our brain to support us in developing a less self-critical approach in our life (i.e., how we can forge new connections in the brain, rather than simply repeating old, well rehearsed patterns).
    If you are interested to learn more about research...

  • As we explore this we may notice a tendency to feel inadequate or unworthy, and rather than getting caught up with these feelings, we can just bring some gentle interest to whatever we notice, mindfully cultivating more of an impartial observational stance. The prompt to consider what a good friend or someone you’re very close to might say about you can be...

  • When we are not accustomed to practising self-appreciation it can feel unnatural and/or more challenging than the other practices described above.So for anyone having difficulty with this, I encourage you to gently notice this reaction with some curiosity. For just as recognising mind-wandering is an important first step towards becoming more mindful and...

  • I would also like to emphasise that lasting change takes much time, patience, practice and perseverance, it is important and encouraging to remember that the way we think and act is not fixed.
    We can practise new ways of being, be it training our attention to be more present, appreciating our good qualities more, being a better listener, becoming kinder...

  • I must admit, this is one of my favourite steps in the course, as it outlines four key practices that can help cultivate more positive mood states - savouring, gratitude, self-appreciation and cultivating kindness. Although these practices are not exclusive to mindfulness, they do align well with mindfulness principles and can help counteract the effects of...

  • Before we delve too far into the topic of self-compassion, please read Kristin Neff’s description of ‘backdraft’ in the main text above, which explains how practising self-compassion can sometimes increase emotional pain at first, but also plants “seeds that will eventually blossom and grow.”
    There is also lots more information about self-compassion in the...

  • As detailed in the main text above, numerous factors affect how we typically relate to ourselves. Some of these are connected to how we were raised, our early significant relationships, the messages we received about ourselves, and our unconscious practice of reinforcing patterns of behaviour.
    As mentioned above, self-criticism often comes from a...

  • We also ask you to be careful about what you disclose in this semi-public forum and to not discuss very personal matters. For this educational course is not designed to be therapeutic and these comments are not an appropriate place to seek or provide support regarding personal health challenges, difficult relationships and other complicated issues.
    Likewise,...

  • Welcome to Week 3 everyone and congratulations on completing the first half of the course! It has been a pleasure reading so many insightful reflections over the past two weeks.
    This week focuses on self-compassion, emotional health and pain, and we will also explore how to develop more positive states of mind by practising mindful savouring,...

  • 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 main text above, the first 90 seconds of this audio file is a preamble or introduction that you do not necessarily need to listen to each time you practise this exercise. Therefore, two copies of the audio file (one with and one without the preamble) are included under Downloads for this step.
    But we hope that Craig’s words in the preamble...

  • I would also like to note that procrastination is often linked with perfectionism and anxiety about completing a task to a high enough standard. Hence we need to consider if unrealistic expectations are at play and if aiming to do "good enough" might be a healthier goal that helps us get started on the task much sooner.
    For although aiming high and doing our...

  • As noted in the Tips for Overcoming Procrastination pdf under Downloads, procrastination is very common and doing this occasionally is not something to be overly concerned about. But for those who procrastinate often, always relying on deadlines to help motivate us can become problematic over time. Fortunately though, it is possible to change this habit by...

  • Many people without much knowledge of mindfulness mistakenly assume that being mindful means we must do things in a slow and relaxed manner - hence they may assume that this will decrease productivity. But in this video, Craig explains how practising mindfulness can help improve productivity and efficiency. He also cautions against always using stress to help...

  • In this video Richard shares some interesting facts about how often many people use digital technology - and you may find you do more or less than this. However, it is important to emphasise that he is not saying that technology is either good or bad - but that we need to pay attention to how we use it.
    For although digital technology can bring many benefits...

  • The team hope you find this short video by Monash neuroscientist Neil Bailey to be informative. I would also like to remind you that the many See Also links in this step are not core course content, so accessing these short videos and research articles is entirely optional. If you are interested to look at these but do not currently have much free time, we...

  • Please also note that if you do not have someone readily available to do Experiment 1 with, Experiments 2 and 3 can be done alone at any time.
    Good luck with these experiments and please remember the main lesson is that we should not normally attempt to do more than one complex task at a time! We also know that the effects of these experiments may already...

  • I would like to make it very clear that each activity in this step is an experiment designed to help learners better understand the effects of multitasking (and we would not normally advise learners to do these things)!
    In Experiment 1, for example, Craig and Richard are not suggesting we should always look at a mobile phone or other electronic device while...

  • It is important to distinguish here between simple and complex multitasking, or attention switching. For simple multitasking (e.g., listening to music while doing housework) is not usually problematic. But trying to switch your attention between two or more complex tasks at a time (e.g., arguing with a passenger while driving during a storm) can have serious...

  • In this step we invite you to reflect further on the cognitive practices - which are an important part of our mindfulness, as they help us move beyond the attention component of mindfulness to the deeper awareness that can arise when we are “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” (quoting Jon Kabat-Zinn’s...

  • I would also like to add that although many past learners have really enjoyed the opportunity for an extended practice at this stage of the course, we also know that some find they are much more likely to drift towards sleep and/or they have difficulty managing the amount of distractions that can occur in a 10-minute period. So if this longer practice does not...