What is Mindfulness
See YouTube video "Defining Mindfulness" at the bottom of this page!
I think Mindfulness is best described as a way to focus on one thing at a time – NOT multi-tasking (just when we thought multi-tasking was the solution to many of our time management issues . . . ugh)! It’s not about suspending thought. It's about completely being in the moment you are in - noticing thoughts, feelings, sensation.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD says, Mindfulness is moment to moment nonjudgmental awareness that’s cultivated by paying attention. Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is the creator of an eight week course called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which he began teaching in 1979 and which is now the largest and oldest meditation based clinical program in the world. He wrote Full Catastrophe Living, Wherever You Go, There You Are.
I’ve enjoyed reading about Mindfulness since I first learned about it in 1999, I have practiced many of the ideas over the years and a few years ago began my own daily mindful meditation practice. I decided to gain more knowledge about Mindfulness and completed an Intensive 6-Day training at the Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute at the University of California at San Diego in 2015. I began teaching Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction classes (MBSR) shortly afterward. I have since had advanced training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindful Self-Compassion.
Many of my clients are challenged by anxiety, depression, chronic pain and stress. Mindfulness is an effective tool that can be added to a person’s toolbox to improve their quality of life.
If you are still interested in Mindfulness, please read on:
Why should I use Mindfulness?
Mindful meditation can connect your mind and body, and allow your focus to be on one subject at a time which reduces stress.
Who uses it?
The NFL uses mindfulness! Sport Psychologist and Meditation Coach with the Super Bowl winning Seattle Seahawks, Dr. Michael Gervais, has helped this team achieve success by using several mental techniques including Mindfulness. (Since I wrote this years ago, MANY professional and amateur sports teams and large and small corporations use mindfulness to stay focused and achieve their goals).
Patients with chronic pain use Mindfulness to accept their pain on a moment by moment basis. They report increased peace of mind and a lessening of their pain and worry when they focus on the moment rather than on some time in the future.
Mindfulness is successfully used to prevent relapse with individuals who have been through a treatment program for chemical dependency.
Many others have used Mindful techniques for general well-being, centering and balance in their lives.
How does it work? How can I learn to use it?
If you have anxiety and/or persistent worrying habits, you may spend much of your time worry about the future or thinking about the past. Focusing on the present moment rather than the future or the past can positively affect your stress, anxiety or depression.
If you know anyone who has been treated for disordered eating, you may have heard them speak of “intuitive” eating or “mindful” eating. This is the practice of paying attention to the flavor, texture, sound and aroma of the food you put into your mouth. This way of eating is exactly the opposite of the distracted eating that can occur when a busy life presses you to eat while doing other things.
When we bring attention to what we are doing, the experience can become much more pleasurable and time can seem to stand still. Imagine bringing that kind of attention to other parts of your life (relationships, work, and hobbies). This kind of focused attention can improve all areas of your life. Please ask me if you have any questions about practicing living in the moment!
Here's the video mentioned above: