What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a popular word that we hear everywhere in today’s world. It is all the buzz and is commonly used as a verb: “be mindful”, an adjective: “take a mindful minute” or “eat some mindful mayonnaise” or as a noun “mindfulness”. Mindfulness is a fairly simple concept to get the hang of and you might be practicing it unknowingly. For instance, maybe you noticed how your scarf feels on a cold day or maybe you took a minute to smell the coffee beans that you are grinding. Odds are that you may have practiced mindful moments already in your life.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Mindfulness is defined as: being present and aware in the moment without judgment.
Mindfulness is available to us in every moment, whether through meditations and body scans, or mindful moment practices like taking time to pause and breathe when the phone rings instead of rushing to answer it. When practicing mindfulness, you pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and surroundings without judging what sensations or thoughts that you experience. Contrary to some myths, there are no wrong or right ways to practice mindfulness or meditation.
Mindfulness based stressed reduction (MBSR) was created in 1972 by Jon Kabat Zinn. MBSR is a unique program developed to help people better understand and work with all the stresses in their lives. It's an education-based class in which you learn to bring the practice of mindfulness into your life, in both formal and informal ways. Learning goes on both within class sessions and at home through daily practice.
The curriculum consists of a range of formal mindfulness meditation practices including body scan, sitting meditation, gentle and mindful yoga and eating meditation. With the variety of practices offered, you will find a mindfulness practice to make your own. This course is traditionally an eight-week class for 90 minutes each session. One powerful experience through the course is the shared experiences of class members along the eight-week journey. Participants and teachers learn from, help and support each other. Many find that the weekly class is an oasis where they feel welcomed and can feel refreshed, connected and restored.
Research studies have demonstrated that mindfulness is effective in reducing chronic pain, medical symptoms, anxiety and depression. Other studies have proven stress reduction to be helpful in treating sleep disorders, high blood pressure, heart disease and asthma. We welcome anyone seeking greater well-being and enhanced health of mind and body to learn mindfulness based reduction either through the course or in individual therapy sessions. Mindfulness can be taught to children, teens and adults of all ages.