Mindfulness invites us to deliberately direct our attention to this moment here and now inside and outside ourselves with an open curiosity, and with an attitude of kindness and compassion towards ourselves and what we are experiencing.
This enables us to discover new ways of relating to ourselves, to how we are in the world and in our relationships, through direct experience as we are experiencing it.
Mindfulness is a non-judgemental awareness of our present experience- noticing what is happening around you and in you at any time.. in the body and the breath, feelings, thoughts, and contemplation of mind states and relation to experience
Stress levels are reduced and we find we have a greater capacity to act more wisely and have more choice in how we respond to the daily challenges in our lives.
Mindfulness simply means ‘‘paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally’’ according to Jon Kabot Zinn, the founder of the 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction ( MBSR) programme. While Mindfulness is not new and has been practised for thousands of years in all traditions, Jon Kabot Zinn, along with other Colleagues at the Stress Reduction Clinic, based in University of Massachusetts, (UMASS) pioneered and introduced Mindfulness Meditation into mainstream medicine in 1979, bringing it into Healthcare settings worldwide.
While adhering to the original format many other wonderful Mindfulness Based Approaches have developed such as Mindful Self Compassion (MSC),( offered at Ashe House), and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy ( MBCT) by Zindel Segal and Professor Mark Williams which has been developed for depression and anxiety.
Other Mindfulness Based Approaches have been developed and are offered and taught in all kinds of settings eg. in the treatment of eating disorders, addiction (MBRP), parenting, schools.b and Paws programmes, cancer and chronic illness ( Breathworks) and Compassion Focused Therapy to mention but a few.
With that in mind, there are many reasons why you might want to consider incorporating mindfulness meditation into your daily life.
Some good reasons to consider developing and sustaining a Mindfulness practice:
Extensive evidence based research shows that the 8 week MBSR programmes have a beneficial and significant positive effect on:
- Increases ability to cope with stress through greater awareness of stress reactions
- Boosts the immune system
- promotes a general sense of wellbeing, autonomy and satisfaction with life
- Enhances relationships
- Enhanced capacity to live with chronic pain or illness
- Increased vitality
- Increased capacity to modulate and tolerate emotions such as anxiety, anger, sadness, fatigue
- Aids sleep
- Beneficial changes occur in the chemical structure and functioning of the brain.
There are numerous resources and academic research on Mindfulness worldwide showing why it’s been around literally for thousands of years.