What is mindfulness?
Essentially, mindfulness is what arises when we intentionally bring our awareness to the present moment, paying attention to, and connecting with our actual experience, including our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations with curiosity, openness and acceptance. Its ancient practices which were originally defined and articulated by the Buddhist tradition, have been adapted universally into secular and scientifically based approaches that complement any belief or spiritual background.
The original and probably most renowned of these – the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programme was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the Stress Reduction Clinic, University of Massachusetts Medical School and introduced into the mainstream of medicine and science in 1979.
Since then, years of international scientifically-based research suggests that training in Mindfulness-Based Approaches ( including MBSR, MBCT, MBRP, MBCL etc.) and cultivating a regular mindfulness practice can positively and profoundly affect one’s ability to reduce a variety of symptoms including physical and/or emotional difficulties.
Increasingly respected within the medical community as a complement to mainstream and psychological treatments and approaches, its benefits include:
- Reduction in physical and psychological symptoms
- An increased ability to relax
- Increased self esteem
- More effective communication
- Increased ability to effectively deal with stressful situations
- Greater energy and zest for life.
“The present is the only time that any of us have to be alive – to know anything- to perceive – to learn – to act – to change – to heal.”