What is “Mindfulness”?

Everyday a quarter of a million people miss work because of stress

The pace of life today can mean that our minds can be constantly on the go.  This can result in moments –  even hours or days –  of “mindlessness“ – not having the space to enjoy what is happening in the present, living mechanically, not noticing the moments as they rush by so fast. We can find our minds continually judging or comparing where we are with other “better” selves and situations. If ongoing, these critical thoughts can lead to a discontent with everything in our lives.

MINDFULNESS practice is a way to restore a balance within yourself by connecting with your inner resources.

It is a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life, a way of taking charge of your life, a way of doing for yourself what no one else can do for you – consciously and systematically working with your own stress, pain, illness and the challenges or demands of everyday life.

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. Jon Kabat Zinn

By paying more attention to the present moment, you can begin to appreciate what you already have.  In this sense it is the key to a fuller life. By becoming “MINDFUL” you can develop your capacity to connect with your life. It is a practical way to be more in touch with the fulness of your being through a systematic process of self-observation, self-inquiry and mindful action. This can lead to a greater contentment with who you are and with how your day-to-day life is at this moment.  Mindfulness teaches you how to take control of your life – how to use your own inner resources to reduce stress and other negative behaviors and thoughts – and thus maintain or regain health. The goal  of mindfulness is self-care, which complements the conventional medical paths of surgery and pharmaceuticals.

‘Mindfulness practice is really a love affair with what we

might call truth, which includes beauty, the unknown and

how things really are,

all embedded here in this very moment.’

(Kabat-Zinn, 1990)

If you would like to read more, here are some articles on mindfulness in news reports or the popular press:

BBC (2008): Recent research on mindfulness:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7319043.stm

http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/living-well-usn/2008/06/05/how-mindfulness-meditation-can-calm-you-down.html

TIME Magazine:

http://psyphz.psych.wisc.edu/web/News/Time_Jan06.html

CNN :

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/06/01/mindfulness.training.stress/

New York Times (2003) Daniel Goleman writing on science and mindfulness:

www.nytimes.com/2003/02/04/health/behavior-finding-happiness-cajole-your-brain-to-lean-to-the-left.html

Harvard Gazette: Meditation changes brain function:

www.web.archive.org/web/20061210192647/www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2006/02.02/11-meditate.html

Oprah Magazine:

http://www.oprah.com/article/spirit/emotionalhealth/devotion_meditate