Mindfulness is a way of paying attention, in the present moment without judgment. It is a way of training attention so that we become more familiar with the patterns of the mind. As a result we are more able to deliberately choose which way we want to respond in any given moment. We are less likely to get ” lost in thought” or carried away on a train of thought that is less helpful. We learn to relate to thoughts as mental events rather than fact. This can be really helpful if the thoughts are self critical and attacking.
It is a natural state of mind that is focused and aware.
This approach can be learned and practiced by anyone, no matter what their religious or cultural background. It offers people a new approach to experience, from a problem solving and fixing approach to one in which we can learn to relate to our experience in a new and flexible way.
Research indicates that mindfulness practice has many potential benefits including:
- Sharpening concentration and the ability to focus
- Improve awareness of self and others
- Increase emotional intelligence and the ability to regulate emotions
- Improve working memory ; the capacity to
- Detach from thinking patterns such as rumination and worry
- Enhancing learning and performance
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Mindfulness based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the late 1970’s in the USA as a means of helping people suffering from chronic pain and stress. Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale more recently developed Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) which fuses long-established meditation techniques with cognitive behaviour therapy, designed specifically to help people who suffer episodes of stress, anxiety or depression.
Research and has shown many benefits to practicing these skills both to the brain and to psychological well being. MBCT is recommended by the National Institute of Clinical excellence (NICE) in the UK.
To have a taste of a short mindfulness practice try this 3 minute mindful pause by clicking on the guided audio link below:
Click here to read what course participants have said.
To read or have a look at these recommended books