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Learn about mindfulness

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment in a particular way: on purpose and without judgment. So much of our lives is spent thinking about the past or planning for the future that we miss what is happening in the here-and-now. We live our lives on automatic pilot—not really being aware of what we are thinking, feeling, or doing. Diminished awareness of the present moment severely limits the ability to live to the fullest and to respond to situations with choice rather than reacting automatically. Mindfulness is about living consciously and can be cultivated through meditation, yoga, and other mind-body practices.  These practices help us access powerful inner resources for coping effectively with stress and difficulties.

How has mindfulness been used?

Mindfulness has been used with groups as diverse as corporate employees, CEOs, educators, students (grade school through college and professional schools such as law, medicine, and nursing), attorneys, judges, correctional staff, prison inmates, health care professionals, members of the clergy, and Olympic and professional athletes - including the world champion Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers basketball teams.  Mindfulness is used as the basis for the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programs that were founded in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Since then, numerous hospitals and private practitioners across the country have begun to offer Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programs.

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

Incorporating mindfulness into your life can produce a number of benefits. People have reported an increased ability to relax, improved concentration and creativity, greater energy and enthusiasm for life, greater self-awareness and understanding of others, improved self-esteem, better work performance, and an ability to cope more effectively with stress.   Mindfulness has also been shown to be effective at decreasing numerous psychological symptoms and physical symptoms associated with stress. Research has shown that people using mindfulness techniques report reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and chronic pain as well as improved immune system function.

Mindfulness bibliography (click here for books about Mindfulness)

“You can always cope with the now, but you can never cope with the future--nor do you have to.
The answer, the strength, the right action, or the resource will be there when you need it,
not before, and not after.”

Eckhart Tolle

Reviewed 2019-08-23


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