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Podcast # 12 Mindfulness for a New Year |
Paul Sugar

The Science of Self-Healing Hosted by Dr. Sharon Stills With Special Guest Paul Sugar

About Paul Sugar

Paul Sugar, is the founder and Director of the Scottsdale Institute for Health and Medicine Center for Mindfulness. Paul completed the advanced MBSR teacher training in 1994 at the Center for Mindfulness pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and is a Certified MBSR instructor through the Mindfulness Based Professional Training Institute at the University of California San Diego. In addition, he is a Mentor for the MBSR certification candidates there. Paul is also a mentor for MBSR certification at The Center for Mindfulness Studies in Toronto, Canada.

He has taught over 100- 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction(MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programs and has delivered hundreds of mindfulness based workshops and retreats for over 25 years. 


Paul also teaches Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention for Addictive Behaviors(MBRP). He has taught mindfulness in the health care, business, schools, sports and private sectors. Paul has been practicing and teaching meditation, yoga and tai chi for over 45 years. Paul’s MBSR classes offer  Social Workers, Psychologists, Marriage and Family Therapists,  Licensed Professional Counselors, Nurses, Acupuncturists and Massage and Bodyworker CE. Continuing education credits are also accepted by a number of other professional organizations.  For full CE information look at the sidebar to the right. 

In 1998 Paul created the Attention Academy school program which became a seminal study for the development of mindfulness in the schools. Paul continues his work with children as a Board of Directors member at Inner Explorer. (see sidebar)  He has also spearheaded a number of mindfulness based research studies in the healthcare field.

In his role as a business entrepreneur he is a health care management professional, has founded and operated a number of highly successful service related businesses in the healthcare field and serves on the Board of Directors of three mindfulness based non profit organizations. Beyond combining management, financial, and marketing skills to maximize the growth of these organizations, Paul has applied the principles of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Peak Performance to create a uniquely effective business model.

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An Insight

I’ve noticed in my life that hope is more effective when fear is held in abeyance and doesn’t take over our lives. In some ways hope is an opposite of fear or rather a modifier of fear. In the face of fear hope can help us push forward to achieve our goals. It tells us that we don’t have to surrender to fear and allows us to use fear in a positive way. Hope doesn’t have to be a response to fear but in many cases it is.

Paul Sugar

Episode Highlights with Paul Sugar


Mindfulness for the New Year with Paul Sugar


Mindfulness as an integral aspect of health as it gives insight into ourselves:

How His Journey Began

  • Fear of death started the journey

    • Through immersing in the study of yoga, Kabbalah, mindfulness meditative and contemplative studies, he distilled what he began to practice and teach. This opened up new experiences

  • He read Full Catastrophe Living  by Jon Kabat Zinn,

    • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program (MBSR) was pioneered by Jon Kabat Zinn, PhD at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center’s Center

    • Paul began to train with Jon he began to specialize in the practice of MBSR 

    • Studies prove its effectiveness

      • Over the past 30-40 years the science and studies have caught up with practice ~ 6,000 studies with 100 new studies being published every month 

      • Used in healthcare, also schools, business, athletes, and all walks of life

  • He revisited his fear of death

    • Had out of the body experiences and lucid dreaming in abundance that lasted intensely for 20-25 years

    • Took 'classes' on dying through astral projection which allowed him to remain conscious and present through different variations of the dying process

      • this opened up the universe.

      • eventually the fear of dying went away

What exactly is MBSR?

  • MBSR A secular approach to the practice of mindfulness

    • Mindfulness popularity was spread through Buddhism yet predates Buddhism and all other practices and has been around forever

    • Mindfulness The ability to keep attention in the present moment by staying connected to the body the thoughts emotions and breath

    • From a science standpoint this is healthy because it works with the ANS fight, flight, or freeze

    • Part of the flight or fight is related to the fear of dying. If we get stuck there, this can be defined as PTSD

      • Through disconnecting we don’t have to face the pain, yet it also perpetuates the pattern

        • Does not allow us connect to the larger picture

        • This affects our breathing and hampers our health which in turn increases our stress hormones

      • An abundance of adrenaline may be a gateway drug of addiction problems

        • We often replay trauma as an underlying loop that plays over and over.

      • Eventually the body becomes so desperate that it tries and to get attention through symptoms.

    • Once we are able to connect we come out of the fight, flight, or freeze mode.

Thoughts on COVID

  • Initially it can be beneficial to learn what we can do to protect us, but then to move forward.

    • The most effective practice to reduce fear is to practice mindfulness.

      • It heals the disconnection and indicates to the ANS that everything is okay

  • New Year Tips

    • Mindfulness is beyond a meditation practice: It is a state of being

      • However, the skill set that comes along with mindfulness can help with meditation

        • It takes practice, commitment and regularity

        • There is no wrong way as long as you are present

        • If we can practice mindfulness in all forms of activity, it becomes easier aka “being in the zone.”

    • Try to do ONE thing at a time at first

      • Eventually mindfulness will allow multi-tasking with stress

  • Top Tips

    • Find a good teacher

    • Get trained

  • Where to find Paul Sugar


  • Smile Meditation

    • Smiling has a great deal of research

      • Start with a 30 second inner smile

      • If someone is near make eye contact, or you may imagine that someone else is nearby for the second 30 seconds

        • Bring attention back if it wonders away

May 2021 bring us a mindful New Year!

Links & Resources Mentioned

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