According to Psychology Today, “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience,” a general definition. More specifically, from (who else?) Wikipedia: “Mindfulness is a modern movement, appropriated from ancient Buddhist roots, and clinically innovated by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The practice of mindfulness involves being aware moment-to-moment, of one’s subjective conscious experience from a first-person perspective. When practicing mindfulness, one becomes aware of one’s ‘stream of consciousness’.” Ok, so who is this Jon Kabat-Zinn? Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, in 1979 he founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program there to treat the chronically ill. MBSR and similar programs are now widely applied in schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans’ centers, and other environments. He is the person largely behind the popularization of the current mindfulness movement, which has evolved from clinical applications in formal settings into a practice in daily life; it may now be seen as a “mode of being.”
Not delving too far into its Buddhist origins, the words and concepts used to describe mindfulness include: meditation, awareness, remember/recollect, bear in mind and “bare attention,” active and watchful mind, a means to develop wisdom, the regulation of emotions and developing emotional intelligence, among many other descriptors.
Sound like good stuff? Clinically, mindfulness practice is employed to help people reduce depression symptoms, stress, anxiety, and in the treatment of drug addiction. In all applications, practicing mindfulness helps handle emotions, promotes well-being, plays a part in a “more coherent and healthy sense of self and identity” and reduces both rumination and worry, which studies have shown contribute to mental illness.
That all sounds pretty good to me! If you have an interest in these techniques of creating a healthier you, Clermont County Public Library has many resources to help you Become More Mindful:
Calming your angry mind: how mindfulness & compassion can free you from anger & bring peace to your life by Jeffrey Brantley; also available as an E-Book
Mindfulness for beginners [E-Book]: reclaiming the present moment–and your life by Jon Kabat-Zinn; also available as a Book On CD and as an E-Audiobook
Wherever you go, there you are: mindfulness meditation in everyday life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Mindfulness movie, a downloadable video
Subscribe to the library’s eNewsletter about the latest books about healthy body and mind
Websites on the subject are also plentiful. Here are four: