According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness means giving attention in a special way, focused in the here and now, without judging.
All day long our attention is drawn to all kinds of stimuli. We see, we hear, we smell, we feel and we think. Often we are not aware that we allow ourselves to be drawn into what catches our attention. By practicing mindfulness we try to consciously bring our attention somewhere.
In the here and now
We focus this attention on the here and now. So not on what happened in the past or what might happen in the future. But only in our experience of the moment. So we are aware of what we are experiencing in ourselves and beyond at the moment. Our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations that we currently experience in the form of seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting and feeling with our skin.
We try to be open to the experience of the moment when we turn our attention to it. This is one of the trickier aspects of mindfulness. After all, we tend to put a label on every experience. We rate an experience as pleasant, unpleasant, beautiful, ugly, good or bad. In addition, we tend to be more open to pleasant experiences than to unpleasant ones. In mindfulness we try to be open to any experience without judgment. We try to look at an experience with curiosity and kindness and gentleness.
Do not identify
When we focus on the here and now, we notice that every experience, every emotion, every thought and physical sensation comes and goes. With mindfulness we learn to perceive and not identify with the experience. We are not our thoughts, but we have thoughts. We are not our feelings, but we have feelings.
History of Origin
Mindfulness originated from Buddhism and owes its fame to the American microbiologist Jon Kabat-Zinn. He worked at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center where he started teaching stress management courses to pain patients who had been given up by their doctors in 1978. These patients were told to learn to live with their physical or mental pain. They were referred to Jon Kabat-Zinn to deal with this, but were unaware that they would learn some meditation techniques for this.
Despite the hesitant attitude of some participants, the meditation exercises turned out to have very positive results. Physical and psychological complaints decreased and the self-image of the patients and their attitude towards the world around them changed in a positive way. Since then, mindfulness has helped many people with various physical and psychological problems. With further development of mindfulness, it has become apparent that complaints can also be avoided by meditating daily.
- Do you want to make conscious choices in your life?
- Looking for a better work-life balance?
- Do you want to deal better with emotions, such as fear, anger and sadness?
- Want to get a better grip on your life, grow more self-confidence and enjoy life?
Perhaps a mindfulness training is something for you.