‘Mindfulness’ is a hot topic in Western psychology: increasingly recognised as an effective way to increase fulfilment, reduce stress, raise self-awareness, enhance emotional intelligence, and undermine destructive emotive, cognitive, and behavioural processes. While many people think mindfulness means meditation, this is not the case. Mindfulness is a mental state of openness, awareness and focus, and meditation is just one way amongst hundreds of learning to cultivate this state.
Although mindfulness has only recently been embraced by Western psychology, it is an ancient practice found in a wide range of Eastern philosophies, including Buddhism, Taoism and Yoga. Mindfulness involves consciously bringing awareness to your here-and-now experience with openness, curiosity and flexibility. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a world authority on the use of mindfulness training in the management of clinical problems, defines it as: “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
Definitions of Mindfulness
“Bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis.” (Marlatt & Kristeller)
“Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn).
“The non-judgmental observation of the ongoing stream of internal and external stimuli as they arise.” (Baer)
“Awareness of present experience with acceptance.” (Germer, Segal, Fulton)
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Practising mindfulness helps you:
- to be fully present, here and now
- to experience unpleasant thoughts and feelings safely
- to become aware of what you’re avoiding
- to become more connected to yourself, to others and to the world around you
- to become less judgmental
- to increase self-awareness
- to become less disturbed by and less reactive to unpleasant experiences
- to learn the distinction between you and your thoughts
- to have more direct contact with the world, rather than living through your thoughts
- to learn that everything changes; that thoughts and feelings come and go like the weather
- to have more balance, less emotional volatility
- to experience more calm and peacefulness
- to develop self-acceptance and self-compassion
Mindfulness and Psychotherapy
Mindfulness training has emerged as a powerful, evidence-based tool for enhancing psychological health. It is empirically supported as an effective intervention in a wide range of clinical disorders, including chronic pain, anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD, OCD, substance abuse, and borderline personality disorder.
(definition and description cited from http://www.actmindfully.com.au/mindfulness)
Some useful online links include:
Be Mindful http://www.bemindful.co.uk/
Mindfulness in Everyday Life http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/docs/10.MindfulnessinEverydayLife.pdf
Mindfulness Soundtracks http://www.mindfulness.org.au/MINDFULNESS%20SOUNDTRACKS.htm
Thanks much for this post! A lot of this comes done to being in the here and now. 🙂
That’s very much the essence of mindfulness. Got it in one.
A little while back I thought it might be really good if we had a recognizable community of writers who, as part of their writing, write about mental health and mental well-being.
So, being the kind of person who figures having ideas is on thing but you then have to do something about it, I started up the Mental Health Writers’s Guild and being familiar with your writing I really would like and really do feel you deserve to be a part of it.
It’s nothing special really I just figure that through it such things as support and encouragment as well as comnpetitions and the such could be offered to members.
The address for it, so that you can check it out and find out more about it, is as follows: http://mentalhealthwritersguild.wordpress.com/ and as i say I really do feel you should and deserve to be a part of it,
Let me know what you think 🙂