What is mindfulness?
Have you ever bought a big tub of popcorn at the theater, settled in to watch the previews, and then looked down at the start of the movie only to notice that half your popcorn was gone - and you don’t remember eating any
of it? Or driven home and looked up to notice that you’re almost there, but don’t remember passing x, y or z? We spend a good part of our day on “automatic pilot” - where
our bodies are going through the motions of our lives, yet our thoughts are somewhere else altogether.
Mindfulness is a way to help us bring our thoughts and our bodies together in order to fully experience the current moment. It’s what allows us to notice the taste and texture of our food. It’s what allows us to hear all of what someone is saying, before thinking about we are going to say next. And it allows us to notice when we’re feeling angry, sad, frustrated, or scared - and then decide how we want to respond to that. Jon Kabat-Zinn,
founder of MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) defines mindfulness as "paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
As research continues to shed light on the benefits of mindfulness, the practice is being introduced in many settings - including schools, hospitals, police departments, prisons, businesses, and the military.
Research shows us that mindfulness not only has the potential to physically change the structure of our brain (resulting in increased focus and attention), but also to lower the stress hormone cortisol, reduce anxiety and
depression and improve emotion regulation - all of which have the potential to improve our relationships and quality of life.
May you be here. Now.