In the midst of a global mental health crisis, millions of people have turned to mindfulness. But does it actually make us happier and healthier? In a world-first experiment, journalist Shannon Harvey recruited a team of scientists to put mindful meditation to the test. But what began as a year-long self-experiment soon became a life-changing experience.
My Year of Living Mindfully (2020) is a feature documentary directed by Shannon Harvey and Julian Harvey. The film was awarded Best Film at SCINEMA, the largest science film festival in the southern hemisphere, and Cinequest's Thrive award for being the festival's 'most inspiring and life-affirming film'.
Great stories have a unique and powerful ability to activate communities, re-frame issues, inspire action, champion experts and provide valuable resources for those working towards positive social and policy change.
This discussion guide is a tool to facilitate dialogue and deepen understanding of the issues surrounding mental health and the science of mindfulness, which are explored in the film My Year of Living Mindfully. The guide provides background insights, important context, and raises thought provoking questions to encourage viewers to express their opinions and think more deeply about the mental health crisis and the potential role of mindfulness training.
This guide is designed for several groups, including:
- teachers and educators
- workplace thought leaders
- primary healthcare and mental health professionals, and facilitators
- community leaders and facilitators
The guide provides suggestions to enable discussions in classrooms, workplaces, community organisations and online. It also includes a list of quotes from the film to stimulate discussion, as well as additional resources for those wanting to go deeper, become proactive and carry the momentum into meaningful action.
My Year of Living Mindfully is available to stream or purchase on DVD here.
Q&A with the Director:
To watch a free Q&A between health journalist and director Shannon Harvey in conversation with Willem Kuyken, PhD, DClinPsy, Professor of Mindfulness and Psychological Science, Oxford University and Director of the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre, check out the ATOM YouTube channel.
The Q&A was recorded during lockdown in 2020 and moderated by Claire Kelly, a mindfulness teacher and Director of Curricula and Training of UK charity, the Mindfulness in Schools Project.