What is mindfulness?

October 7, 2014

mindfulness (noun)

1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something

2. a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

 

The aim of mindfulness is to allow yourself to consider the whole of your experience, without excluding anything.

 

‘Mindfulness’ is a hot topic in Western psychology: increasingly recognised as an effective way to reduce stress, increase self-awareness, enhance emotional intelligence, and effectively handle painful thoughts and feelings.

Although mindfulness has only recently been embraced by Western psychology, it is an ancient practice found in a wide range of Eastern philosophies, including Buddhism, Taoism and Yoga. Mindfulness involves consciously bringing awareness to your here-and-now experience with openness, interest, and receptiveness. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a world authority on the use of mindfulness training in the management of clinical problems, defines it as:  "Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally."

Mindfulness is about waking up, connecting with ourselves, and appreciating the fullness of each moment of life. Kabat-Zinn calls it, "The art of conscious living."  It is a profound way to enhance psychological and emotional resilience, and increase life satisfaction.

 

Powerful. To experience something in all it's fullness with no - absolutely no - judgement. 

 

The benefits of mindfulness

 

Practising mindfulness helps you:

  • to be fully present, here and now

  • to experience unpleasant thoughts and feelings safely

  • to become aware of what you’re avoiding

  • to become more connected to yourself, to others and to the world around you

  • to increase self-awareness

  • to become less disturbed by and less reactive to unpleasant experiences

  • to learn the distinction between you and your thoughts

  • to have more direct contact with the world, rather than living through your thoughts

  • to learn that everything changes; that thoughts and feelings come and go like the weather

  • to have more balance, less emotional volatility

  • to experience more calm and peacefulness

  • to develop self-acceptance and self-compassion

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