What is Mindfulness, Exactly?
Wondering what Mindfulness is exactly?
This definition offered by professor Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn, Professor Emeritus and creator of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme, is a great place to start.
At its core, mindfulness means paying attention…
... on purpose
... in the present moment
Let’s break it down:
- When we are mindful, we are paying attention to what's happening inside us (thoughts, emotions, impulses, and body sensations) and around us (in our physical environment, in the here and now).
- We are doing this on purpose - meaning we are stepping out of our sometimes usual autopilot mode and consciously directing our attention inward, and outward.
- We are doing this in the present moment; right here, right now, moment by moment.
- And we are doing so non-judgmentally – paying attention to our internal and external environment with an open, friendly, and curious attitude. As best as we can, not judging ourselves or our experience.
The practice of mindfulness meditation helps us to bring this awareness into everyday life. It also helps us embody mindful attitudes like patience, trust, acceptance, letting-go, non-striving, non-judging, and beginner’s mind.
And if you’re like me when I just started practicing, you may be wondering if mindfulness is simply paying attention, then what’s the big deal?
Well, for starters, it actually takes quite a bit of skill to pay attention to the present moment on purpose. And when we start to pay attention in this way we create space to make better choices, take better care of ourselves, and appreciate the good in front of us that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Also, the science shows that consistent mindfulness practice can pay off big time in terms of improved mental health, wellbeing, and even physical health. People who practice mindfulness report feeling less stressed, depressed, and anxious; more fulfilled and grounded, and having improved relationships and general health.
Ask any meditator and they’ll tell you the difference it’s made in their lives.
If this sounds like something you would like to learn more about, be sure to sign-up for my upcoming workshop Learn To Meditate: Workplace Edition. At the end of 4 weeks you will learn how to:
- Meditate on your own using popular, evidence-based, mindfulness meditation practices
- Bring more presence, calm, and focus to your workday, every day
- Overcome the common obstacles to meditation and create a personal meditation habit that sticks
- Sustain these new skills, practices, and attitudes for life
Registration closes this Thursday, January 27th, 2022. Email email@example.com if you’d like to learn more (or just to say hi!).