What is Mindfulness
The definition of mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, pioneer of bringing mindfulness in healthcare and society and creator of the Stress Reduction program (MBSR) is "the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally” . In that sense, mindfulness is a set of mental and psychological skills innate to all humans and so it can be cultivated with proper practice. While practicing mindfulness (usually through mediation) it might lead us to body relaxation and calmness of mind, mindfulness is not a relaxation technique or a method to “stop” the mind.
Cultivation of mindfulness, reduces brain’s tendency to time-travel in the past or future and disengages us from the “autopilot”, creating a “space” to respond skillfully, instead of our habitual reactivity. Mindfulness also help us to respond openly and calmly to situations and stressors, to recognize our unhealthy mental and emotional patterns, and to become more patient, tolerant and kinder to ourselves and others. Lats but not list, mindfulness gives us the opportunity to enjoy our everyday beautiful moments, in the only moment we really have to live, the now!
People who systematically practice mindfulness meditation, report feeling happier, having more fulfilling relationships and experiencing a greater sense of life satisfaction and wellbeing. Mindfulness meditation may be just as important to our health and wellbeing as eating nutritious food and getting regular exercise. And in the same way as we build our physical fitness through exercise, mindfulness meditation helps us strengthen our psychological and mental fitness.
“Give yourself permission to allow this moment to be exactly as it is and allow yourself to be, exactly as you are.”
Key Scientifically Proven Benefits of Mindfulness
Reduces Stress & Anxiety
Modern life is pretty fast-paced and demanding, and more and more people are reporting feeling stressed on a regular basis. Mindfulness has been shown to be an effective way to reduce stress and improve emotional balance. Practicing mindfulness on a regular basis helps us respond to stressful situations more effectively, which makes it easier to handle life’s unavoidable challenges and difficulties.
Improves Mental Clarity & Focus
Mindfulness helps us to focus our attention. When we regularly practice mindfulness, we are less distracted and therefore we can be more efficient and productive. Instead of reacting to every distraction and scattering our focus through multitasking, mindfulness helps us to channel our full attention towards the tasks at hand.
Improves Overall Health & Wellbeing
Because mindfulness is so helpful for managing stress and anxiety, this explains why it has such a positive ripple effect on our overall health and wellbeing. When we practice mindfulness, we release less of the stress hormones that can create wider health problems and our bodies instead abide in a more balanced, relaxed and calm state.
Being more present and attentive, is also a positive aspect of mindful living that enables us to connect to the present moment and more closely to the people that matter to us in life. When we are calmer, less reactive and more emotionally available to listen and share quality time with them, we are more likely to enjoy positive relationships with our partners, friends and family.