Mind Your Mind: Debora Colbert Q&A

Mind Your Mind

If you’re looking for the Michael Jordan of meditation, her name is Debora Colbert and she’s a Director of Professional Development at The Institute of Learning and Teaching at Colorado State University (CSU). Debora is also the co-founder of CSU’s Center for Mindfulness , an organization that promotes overall well being in students and staff through the cultivation of mindfulness skills and practices. In addition to her work at the Center for Mindfulness, Debora has taught meditation workshops, practiced yoga for the better part of a decade and worked in higher education for more than 18 years. See how you can fit mindfulness into your life from one of the experts.


1. What does it mean to have a “healthy” mind?

Mindfulness practices of many types can help you get more familiar with the contents of your mind. From this place, it’s possible to notice patterns, and then make choices about where to focus one’s awareness. Having a regular daily mindfulness practice of being in the present moment provides an awareness of ourselves and our connections to the world around us to be more socially conscious, compassionate, etc. This practice helps foster the well being, allows for more insightful problem-solving skills, improves concentration and attention span and increases openness which can create collaborative synergy.

Debora_Option3.jpg2. What’s the one piece of advice you would give Coloradans who want to practice mindfulness?

Non-judgmental awareness of the present moment helps take us out of a reactionary mode and allows us to look at our thought and patterns from a witness perspective – proactive results. Mindfulness practices of many types can help you get more familiar with the contents of your mind. From this place, it’s possible to notice patterns, and then make choices about where to focus your awareness. Take time to establish your own practice – mindful meditation, mindful eating, walking, driving.

3. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given about having a healthy lifestyle and mind?

To not take myself so seriously! Life is a practice and we need to identify why we are so judgmental all the time. We are our own harshest critics who need to watch our self-talk and soften how we judge ourselves. Also, taking five or 10 minutes for mindfulness practice everyday is extremely beneficial.

4. Why is having a healthy mind so important?

A healthy mind allows us to create conditions that inspire personal and community transformation. This leads to more mindful communities, fostering social consciousness, compassion and mindful leaders. This helps us not to take the world so personally – it allows us to see where we fit in the world. In our very busy lives, stress and suffering are problems for people of all ages. Finding ways to care for our mind is crucial to being healthy overall.

5. What one tool or resource would you recommend to help Coloradans to practice mindfulness?

One tool that I use regularly is to find time to pause throughout the day to check in with myself. Ask yourself: What I’m doing and how I’m doing it – am I being nice to the person I’m with? Am I truly listening? Am I reacting rather than being proactive in the world? Where is my breath? My judgment? I would also recommend reading many articles but also looking for local spots that offer mindfulness practices such as meditation or yoga – you could look at your recreation center, gym, church, school or local meditation centers. Many will offer free sessions to try. You can also find apps to use on your phone that guide you in meditation techniques.

Author: Bright Health

November 14, 2016