Mindfulness

Practitioners Using Mindfulness

Jane Rylance

What is this practice?

Nowadays many people are interested to learn about Mindfulness and are experiencing the benefits that Mindfulness practices bring.

Mindfulness as a practice has been around for a long time within many spiritual traditions. Modern Mindfulness practices as discussed within the realm of Psychology is based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn. He is a scientist and the widely recognized father of contemporary, medically-based mindfulness—over 30 years ago he developed a therapeutic meditation practice known as Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). He defines mindfulness simply as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”

Regular practice of Mindfulness techniques helps calm and clear our minds. People experience many benefits to their emotional, psychological and physical health and wellbeing.

Mindfulness practices often start with a meditation practice of paying attention to the breath in order to bring our attention to the here and now. We can learn to be less involved in past or future based thoughts which can lead to unnecessary suffering, or getting too caught up in emotions which may not be useful or helpful.

Mindfulness interventions have been demonstrated to be beneficial for a number of psychological and physical conditions such as chronic pain, depression, anxiety, addictions and personality disorder (Baer 2003). It has also been shown that after only eight weeks of practice that practitioners have positive changes in the brain function and immune response (Davidson 2003).

Children are also enjoying the benefits of Mindfulness practices! Increasingly schools are engaging Mindfulness based programs to assist their students. As we hear from the ‘Smiling Mind’ website (www.smilingmind.com.au) : “Following highly regarded institutions such as UCLA, Harvard, Oxford, Monash and Melbourne Universities developing clinical studies into the positive impacts of Mindfulness Meditation proving that regular practice helps combat stress, improves focus and increases resilience, Smiling Mind has been created to take these positive effects to the masses. Mindfulness therefore is a practice which can be made relevant and useful to people of all ages and stages.

 

Baer, Ruth A. (2003) Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: A conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 125-143.

Davidson, Richard J., Kabat-Zinn, Jon, et al. (2003).Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 564-570.

 

Steve Yorke, Mindfulness practitioner and teacher describes it this way:                                                                        Mindfulness helps us get off automatic pilot. It helps free us from our habitual patterns of thinking, feeling & doing. Hence mindfulness can be effective for changing habits as well as for reducing stress and developing more inner peace and freedom.

Mindfulness is a particular state of awareness where we are more fully aware of the present moment, including aware of our thoughts, feelings & habits with particular attitudes such as non-judgement, openness and flexibility.This present moment awareness results in greater life engagement, satisfaction and effectiveness.