[hr]Mindfulness involves learning to paying attention to the present moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines it as ‘paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.
This ‘paying attention ‘ allows us to have increased conscious awareness of whatever is happening in our lives, moment by moment and is done with a particular attitude of curiosity, openness and kindness.
Increased awareness of all aspects of ourselves – including body and mind, heart and soul can help us to restore within us a balanced sense of health and wellbeing.
Mindfulness can be a way of helping us to take charge of our lives and allows us to work with our own challenges and demands. Practicing Mindfulness can help us to find a sense of calm and stability in our relationships both with ourselves and others in the midst of our busy, stressful lives.
We all have the capacity to be ‘mindful’ as a resource available within us and with practice it can be developed and used to help us learn and grow. We are perhaps more familiar with “mindlessness” — a loss of awareness resulting in forgetfulness, separation from self, and a sense of living on ‘automatic pilot’.
Mindfulness has it’s origins in Buddhist traditions however in recent years has been adapted into secular educational programmes available in medical and mental health settings. These programmes include The Breathworks Programmes – Mindfulness for Stress Course and Mindfulness for Pain and Illness and also the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), all well-researched courses in which participants are taught the skills which nurture mindfulness in our lives.