Have you ever heard that Mindfulness can help you cope with stress but do not know what it is or where to begin? I will tell you all about it below.
What is Mindfulness?
'Mindfulness is the awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally to things as they are.'— Jon Kabat-Zinn
Jon Kabat-Zinn created the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts in 1979. He combined his scientific background from a PhD in molecular biology with his Buddhist Zen practice and taught Mindfulness practices to people who experienced chronic pain and other physical conditions.
Although Mindfulness has its roots based in Buddhism, Mindfulness-based programmes are secular. Therefore it can be practised by people with any beliefs or faiths.
Over the years, MBSR has had many adaptations to work with different populations. During the 1990s, the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programme was created to help people with a history of depression and anxiety. Currently there is an adaptation of MBCT for the general population called Mindfulness for life or MBCT-L.
What are the benefits of having a mindfulness practice?
Connect with a state of inner calm more often.
Deepen your connection with your body and mind.
Improve your concentration.
Develop more compassion and resilience.
Note that Mindfulness is not a quick fix, and it is also not the solution for all your problems. There are many research studies that have been able to demonstrate these benefits in participants of eight-week Mindfulness-based programmes in certain contexts; however these courses are not necessarily for everyone.
Having a regular Mindfulness practice may complement your therapy, but it does not replace it. Please consult your GP, if you have any questions on how it could impact your treatment.
Are mindfulness and meditation the same thing?
Yes and no. There are mindfulness formal and informal practices.
Formal practices include meditation, which can be done while sitting down, lying down, standing up and even while walking or practising Yoga.
You can also practise mindfulness while doing your daily activities such as eating, washing the dishes or taking out the trash. These are called informal practices. The main difference relies in paying attention to every step of the activity while connecting with your senses.
You can think of Mindfulness as the 'muscle' of attention and meditation would be the 'work out' to keep that muscle in shape.
Stressed out and got no time?
Try this short grounding meditation
Check out my resources page for useful articles, tips, and tools to support your mindfulness journey. Feel free to explore the blog and reach out if you have any questions. I'm here to support you on your path to greater peace and well-being.