What is Mindfulness?
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” - Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn, 1994
Mindfulness is the ability to objectively recognise what is happening in our thoughts, emotions and bodies in the present moment – as they are occurring – without immediately reacting to them and trying to fix, change, judge or avoid them.
Mindfulness has been integrated in a variety of ways with traditional psychology and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to enhance their efficacy and foster greater psychological flexibility. It is a technique based on Buddhist meditation practices called Vipassana. Using a a Mindful approach to grow a heightened state of sensory awareness, a person observes activity of the mind and body. When we are Mindful, we do not impulsively ‘react’; instead, we consciously ‘respond’ to life’s events as they arise.
One can begin to develop an unconditional acceptance of the present moment and create space between thoughts and reality. Practitioners describe benefits of emotion regulation and sharpness of mind.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction has been widely researched over the last 30 years in scientific and clinically controlled studies. It has been found to be effective for alleviating a wide range of psychological and physical symptoms including chronic pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, mild depression, anxiety, respiratory disease, headaches, skin disorders and heart disease among others.