I believe that learning and practicing mindfulness can help us to find calm in the midst of our busy and stressful lives and to live more fully in the present moment.
Research has shown that developing mindfulness as part of our way of being can have a positive effect in countless ways; reducing stress, anxiety and depression. It can improve the quality of sleep and assist in the management of pain.
The concept of mindfulness dates back more than 2,500 years to the teachings of Buddha.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. These programs include Mindfulness-
Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).
Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness in the following way:
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way;
On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”
Mindfulness is not a religion; it is a way of life and is practiced by people the world over.
To be mindful is to be purposefully aware of our thoughts and actions in the present. This ‘awareness’ helps to free us from the distractions of the discursive mind and focus us on the present moment where peace, calm and serenity are to be found.
At the heart of Kabat-Zinn’s definition of mindfulness is the idea of acceptance. He enjoins us be aware of our thoughts and experiences but to neither cling to them nor push them away but to simply accept them as they are, non-judgmentally.