Mindfulness reveals a set of simple yet powerful practices that you can incorporate into daily life to help break the cycle of anxiety, stress, unhappiness and exhaustion.
It helps promote a genuine joie de vivre; the kind of happiness that gets into your bones and allows you to meet the worst that life throws at you with new courage.
“Mindfulness refers to the awareness that emerges by paying attention, on purpose, non judgementally to the present moment.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of ‘being fully present in the moment’. It’s a different sort of awareness to the ‘automatic pilot’ that we are so often immersed in – like when we’re driving or walking and don’t notice the details of the journey because we’re lost in thought. It can often be very difficult to be ‘in the moment’ as we can very easily become distracted by what is going on around us or by our own thoughts. People can ‘train’ to be more mindful in many ways such as through doing mindfulness courses, listening to cds, reading books or participating in mindfulness retreats, although probably the most helpful way to learn is with an experienced mindfulness teacher.
What mindfulness is not:
It’s not relaxation; it’s not a religion; it’s not about getting rid of thoughts; it’s not about being calm all the time; it’s not about being ‘nice’ all the time. It’s not even about feeling good all the time either!
Is mindfulness new?
Mindfulness has been part of Judeo Christian and Buddhist teachings for centuries. In 1979 Jon Kabat Zinn developed an eight-week programme called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to teach mindfulness to people who had chronic illness and pain. Kabat Zinn is an American molecular biologist who is now Professor of Medicine Emeritus and he demonstrated through research that mindfulness was very beneficial. The MBSR programme was later adapted by three psychologists, Prof. Zindel Segal, Prof. Mark Williams and Prof. John Teasdale as Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) to prevent relapse of depression.