According to the founder of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programme (MBSR), Dr. Jon Kabatt-Zinn, mindfulness is:
Paying attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally.
Jon Kabatt-Zinn created the MBSR course in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Stress Reduction Clinic to support patients suffering stress, pain and chronic illness. The course is a skillful mind and body approach to well-being integrating ancient Eastern practices and Western neuroscience.
Happy and Healthy: Mindfulness Training Activates Left Pre-frontal ‘Cortex and Increases Immunity: Read Article
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Mindfulness helps Mental Health in the Workplace: Read Article
Mindfulness for Work, Health, Education and Justice Settings: UK Government Interim Report: Mindful Nation: Read Article
The Benefits of Mindfulness for Children and Young People in School Settings: Read Article
The Implementation of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy: Learning from the UK Health Service Experience: Read Article
Almost 40 years later, there has been a rapid increase in research exploring the effectiveness of mindfulness in a variety of settings and situations.
How Mindfulness Can Help
Some of the research suggests:
- Mindfulness courses can be helpful as a single treatment to manage stress in individuals who do not experience mental ill health, as well as a joint intervention with other treatments for people who have symptoms of anxiety
- Mindfulness has an increasingly strong evidence base in a variety of settings and is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) in treating depression with Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) a variation of the original MBSR course.
- MBSR in the workplace can decrease perceived stress, and increase concentration levels, including memory tasks and multi-tasking
(W R Marchand, “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, and Zen Meditation for Depression, Anxiety, Pain, and Psychological Distress”, 2012).
In general, a structured mindfulness course can support you to regain balance and affirm what’s important to you so that you value each moment, especially the ordinary; become aware of your physical needs through kind movement and breath awareness to discharge stress; and learn how to deal with difficulty more skilfully. These are the ways to living resiliently.
Photo credit: Richard & Dan George for BBC