The construct of Mindful awareness originated in earliest Buddhist documents. It’s neither religious nor esoteric.
Mindfulness it’s a part of the third wave psychological treatments which are characterised by openness to older traditions. CBT and Mindfulness can be amalgamated through Mindfulness based Cognitive Therapy which integrates Mindfulness Mediation and Cognitive theory.
A huge bulk of empirical studies validates the effectiveness of Mindfulness as a clinical approach.
”Mindfulness is spreading into areas beyond medicine, healthcare and also beyond psychology and neuroscience. It’s moving into programmes on childbirth and parenting, education, athletics and professional sports, the legal profession, criminal justice, even politics.” (Jon Kabat Zinn, Creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic in USA. Professor of Medical Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts and worldwide famous teacher of Mindfulness. Interview with Barry Boyce, Oct. 2011, Mindful Society Conference, New York City).
Mindfulness is an open and free willingness to understand the present-moment awareness. It’s about living in the present moment rather than thinking about the present moment. I like Jon Kabbat Zinn’s definition of Mindfulness: ‘ Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.’
Mindfulness requires practise. You must be willing and intend to be Mindful. Practising non-judgmental awareness (without nonjudgmental to become a mean to an end) of our experiences enhances a healthy detachment from our inner world’s phenomena (thoughts, images, critical voices) as well as what happens in our body (feelings, behaviours and urges).
So ask yourself if there’s enough room inside you to let all your thoughts and feelings in as parts of a natural process. Just as they are. If not, ask yourself what stands on the way? Then see if you can make space for that, even if you don’t like it or even if you feel the need to ‘fix’ it.
Our Mind is a wandering Mind. Our thinking is quite repetitive and most of us are rarely in the present moment. It’s not a coincidence that worry thinking and rumination are associated with Anxiety, Low mood and Anger. Just observe your thinking and see what happens…Basically our brain never stops!
Acknowledging that your thoughts are mental events and that you cannot escape the simple fact that anxiety is part of life can be liberating. For example, in regards to Panic or Anxiety attacks, training our brain in self directed attention can expose us systematically to sensations, thoughts and emotions resulting in desensitisation of conditioned responses and consequently in reduction of avoidance behaviours.
Mindfulness helps us to observe with compassion our painful emotions and thoughts. Even if our thoughts are true, we can still train ourselves to be less attached to them. Mindfulness it’s not about dissociation or disconnection from our inner or external world; it’s about acceptance of it which cultivates the courage to operate through the being rather than the doing mode of functioning which is our usual way of operating. Mindfulness can lead to greater Appreciation of Life. ‘’Practise doesn’t make it perfect but it makes it permanent’’. Try and see what happens