WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
"Awareness of the present moment, without judgement..."
Mindfulness, in its most basic form, is simply about noticing whatever is happening in the present moment, without being caught up in thoughts about the past or the future. With practice, we can develop a more finely tuned awareness of our thoughts, emotions, and body sensations, and notice more keenly how these different parts of our experience interact, and are intimately connected.
Mindfulness is about developing a sense of openness and non-judgement towards experience. This does not mean that we lose or forgo our sense of judgement, but rather that we become increasingly skilled at noticing how our minds will tend to layer thoughts and interpretations on to whatever is happening in our lives.
Practicing mindfulness, we learn to know our minds more closely, allowing us to be in a position to make clearer and wiser decisions about how we wish to respond to life, rather than simply reacting unconsciously or out of habit. Mindful awareness can become a powerful tool in helping us to break free from cycles of stress, anxiety, unhappiness and exhaustion, and can help pave the way towards a life lived with more freedom, openness, joy, and ease of being.
EVIDENCE BASED RESEARCH
There is a growing body of evidence based research regarding mindfulness-based approaches. Mindfulness has been found to be helpful for reducing stress and chronic pain, as well as supporting and enhancing emotional, physical and mental health. Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was developed in the 1970s by Jon Kabat Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre. This work was adapted and researched further by psychologists Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale, who developed Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).
"One of the effects of mindfulness is that it illuminates the world inwardly and outwardly. It brings things to light. We can see this in a very practical manner: if you go for a walk in the garden while your mind is filled with distractions, you may realize nothing has touched you. If you do exactly the same exercise with mindful awareness, the world comes to life."