Mindfulness is essentially about being present in the here and now, without judging or evaluating your experiences.
It may sound simple, but it's one of the most challenging things you can be asked to do. Researchers at Harvard found that 47% of our lives, we are mentally somewhere else than where we physically are.
It's quite unfortunate to have spent 14 days in Barbados and only been fully present for half of that time...
The purpose of mindfulness is essentially to savor life more fully. Besides getting more out of the things you already do, mindfulness can enable you to handle unpleasant situations and change your relationship with your thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations.
Mindfulness originates from the Buddhist religion, where it has been practiced for over 2,500 years.
It was purified from its religious aspects and introduced to the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the 1970s by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Saki Santorelli, a professor of medicine, joined Jon and later took over as the head of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, initiating the Mindfulness movement.
Since then, Mindfulness has been researched repeatedly. It is evidence-based and widely used across the globe.
For instance, if you go to a doctor with depression in England or Holland, the doctor may ask whether you prefer medication or Mindfulness as a treatment option.
Mindfulness can be used to address various issues, including:
- Stress - both positive and negative stress
- Sleep problems
- Memory issues
- Acceptance of challenging life circumstances
- Low self-esteem
- Social anxiety
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Racing or intrusive thoughts
- Pain management