Many people find it hard to cope with the pressures of modern living. In the UK, stress has consistently been the second most commonly reported type of work-related illness, and 75 per cent of all illnesses are thought to be stress-related.
Mindfulness, which has its origins in Buddhism, has been proven to help with stress, anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours, and can even have a positive effect on physical problems like hypertension, heart disease and chronic pain. The practice itself is not inherently religious, and in the Western world is often taught independently of any religious or cultural connotation.
Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally – Jon Kabat-Zinn
In 1979, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts to treat the chronically ill. It sparked a growing interest and application of Mindfulness ideas and practices in the medical world. Today, Mindfulness practice is increasingly employed in Western psychology to alleviate a variety of conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and to help prevent relapse in depression and drug addiction.
Essentially, Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment with an accepting and non-judgmental attitude. When we can be present to our inner experience (thoughts, perceptions, feelings, body sensations), we can gain insight into our emotions rather than be overwhelmed by them. When we can be present to our outer experience (sights, sounds, smells), we can feel more connected to the world. Over time and with regular practice, this can result in significant improvements in our physical and emotional wellbeing and in our relationships. Here’s a brief video description of Mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn:
Anyone can learn mindfulness. It’s simple, you can practise it anywhere, and the results can be life-changing. Please explore the other Mindfulness links for tips on how to get started.