Mindfulness is a state of active attention on the present, and living in the moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn, one of the fathers of mindfulness and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, describes mindfulness as "awareness by paying attention in the present moment non-judgmentally as if it really mattered."
The practice involves several elements:
- non-striving – a focus on being, not doing
- non-judging – observation of thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad
- acceptance – a willingness to see things as they are
- non-attachment – a letting go and openness to letting whatever is, just be
- patience – allowing things to unfold in their own time
- a beginner’s mind – seeing things with fresh eyes
- trust – respect for your gut feelings and intuition
There is abundant literature about the myriad benefits of mindfulness:
- reduced stress
- pain management and reduced need for medication
- better sleep
Are you ready to get started?
- Allocate five-minute breaks during the course of the day to pay attention to your breathing. Even just one minute—60 little seconds—can be eye opening and enough to slow you down so that the next minute or hour or rest of the day goes a little better.
Click here to take a breathing break with Jon Kabat-Zinn.
- When you take the time to breathe, notice what happens to the level of stress, irritation, frustration, anxiety, pain, etc. you are experiencing. As you breathe, if you add a visualization of a scene that brings you a sense of calm, happiness, relaxation or satisfaction, the relief and stability you feel may be even greater.
Notice that this small step takes very little time, can be done virtually anywhere (no visualization exercises while operating any type of machinery please!) and is free! More importantly, conscious breathing allows you to reset whenever you may need it.