What Exactly Is Mindfulness?

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about Mindfulness. It’s quite a buzzword. But I’m often asked what exactly is it? Can it help me?

In essence Mindfulness means being in the moment. Being really aware of where we are and what is going on for us. Right now. This can mean anything from how we are feeling in our body to being aware of our surroundings.

The origins of Mindfulness go back a long way. Eastern cultures have been meditating for centuries. Christianity taught the appreciation of simplicity: “All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well”. In other words, don’t worry just be. We’re not talking about ignoring planning and being unprepared for life events. Just not to be so overwhelmed with the small stuff that we don’t have time to appreciate what’s going on in the here now.

Mindfulness as we now know it was created by Professor of Medicine Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 1970s. He merged the zen teachings of Thích Nhất Hạnh with current science to create a format which has been proven scientifically to be effective.

Here in the UK, it was developed into Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), a short course offering meditation, observation without criticism and being compassionate with oneself.

Read more on Mindfulness next week…