A Simple Introduction To Mindfulness

By: Sarah Fader

Updated May 19, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn

What Is Mindfulness

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Mindfulness is a state of being where you focus on the present moment. You don’t think about the past or the future; you are here right now at this time. Mindfulness helps with various conditions such as anxiety, stress, depression, and so many meditation benefits. You may find yourself trying to focus, worrying about something else, but you can gently return to the present. Mindfulness has become popularized in western culture, but it wasn’t always that way. Meditation used to be something that we associated with eastern practices. However, today, meditation and mindfulness are common techniques that many of us use to cope with daily life stressors. It’s easy to worry about the future or ruminate over your regrets from the past. With mindfulness, you can bring your attention back to right now. This is a practice that can occur over and over within one meditation session. Sitting meditation is one common way to practice mindfulness. In this article, we’re going to talk about the development of mindfulness and where it stands today.

The East Versus The West

Mindfulness started in the East and has made its way to Western society. Mindfulness helps to reduce stress and reminds us that we only need to focus on the right now. It has elements derived from Buddhism, the teachings of Buddhist monks, and Zen philosophy, and that is the genesis of where the idea of being in the moment began.

Jon Kabat-Zinn is a mediation and yoga teacher who studied mindfulness in the East and was one of the people who brought this practice to the West. He created mindfulness-based stress reduction MBSR. It has been popularized and turned into therapy, which is called mindfulness-based cognitive behavior therapy. We must give credit to Eastern cultures, philosophies, and medicinal practices and how some of their inherent concepts have been incorporated into and transitioned to Western society. Mindfulness has become so popular in our culture nowadays that it’s almost a buzzword. It’s crucial to remember that mindfulness is a trendy word and developed from religions and from Peoples who have been practicing it in one form or another for over two thousand years. When you’re focusing on the rising and falling of your breath, you’re learning about how to manage your thoughts and feelings. Jon Kabat-Zinn did a lot of mindfulness research at the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts. He is famous for body scan meditation, and he talks about the benefits of meditation. Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness research was ground-breaking. He showed how to cultivate mindfulness in everyday life and research that indicates just how powerful mindfulness can be for all of us. What was revolutionary about his teachings was the transition from mindfulness as a religious practice to a therapeutic one. Now we’ve learned about meditation and mindfulness in the Western culture so much that it’s just like talking about therapy.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness And Stress Reduction

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., is a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher. Many people know him because of the body scan meditation he created. It’s been cited in books and on YouTube. He’s one of the pioneers in mindfulness and its integration into mainstream society. He showed us how to practice mindfulness and mindfulness meditation in everyday life. He has taught mediation to countless students. Kabat-Zinn is unique in that he’s an academic and a spiritual person. His wealth of knowledge helps him relate to those in academia, scientists, and spiritual leaders. He is Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It is there that he founded the renowned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic. Since 1979, Kabat-Zinn has been helping numerous people cope with psychological issues, usually mindfulness. He saw the connection between mindfulness and stress management. He noted how practicing mindful living had an incredibly powerful impact on people’s spiritual and emotional lives. In 1995, Kabat-Zinn started the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society. He has since retired from the medical center as of 2000. The Center for Mindfulness has expanded since that time. Dr. Saki Santorelli took over and helped it grow and flourish into an internally renowned institution. Stress reduction and mindfulness have an undeniable connection. People who practice mindfulness meditation and mindful living notice the difference in their lives and continue to benefit from it.

Mindfulness Meditation And Stress Reduction

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Developing a meditation practice can improve your quality of life. People who have stressful jobs that meditate find their lives to be more manageable. A meditation practice benefits many different types of individuals. Some people don’t understand the point of mindfulness meditation. You might think, “I’m good at staying in the moment. Why do I need to meditate?” Even the calmest person can benefit from mindfulness meditation. You’ll find that you’re less stressed and better able to tackle the challenges of the day. Mindfulness meditation and guided meditation are great ways to reduce stress levels. Some many thoughts and emotions come up when you’re meditating. Whether you’re engaging in guided meditations or doing it on your own, it’s natural to think random things. Your thoughts and emotions will be there, but it’s about letting them exist without trying to change them. Mindfulness meditation is something you can practice in everyday life. And there are many ways to do it. You can try a sitting meditation or practice mindfulness by listening in a conversation. Mindfulness meditation isn’t done in one way. It’s a versatile practice. One way to learn about the techniques is by reading the teachings through books. Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote a best-selling book called Wherever You Go There You Are. He outlines the basic practices of mindfulness meditation and shows you the value of the present moment. You can learn about practicing mindfulness.

What Is Mindfulness Practice?

You may be wondering, “what is a mindfulness practice? It’s a term that you use to refer to your regular use of mindful techniques. Mindfulness practice can be as simple as taking a conscious break from technology before going to sleep. It may include being in the present moment while you play with your children. Regular mindfulness practice could integrate simple ways to return to right now. If you’re struggling to figure out ways to start a mindfulness practice, you can do some reading on the topic. It can also help to read some articles about it. That’s a way to conduct mindfulness research on your own. Remember, your mindfulness practice doesn’t have to mirror anyone else’s. It needs to be something that you can keep up with and helps you feel grounded and present at the moment.

How To Cultivate Mindfulness

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Mindfulness is something that you can learn to practice in your daily life, and one way to do that is by going to mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. One way to practice is to remind yourself to be in the present moment. Train your brain to return to right now. Maybe that means finding a mantra or keeping reminders on your phone. There are several ways to check back into the present moment. In mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, you are taught how to manage your thoughts and feelings through guided meditation. It’s something that can help people learn to cope better with the challenges of their lives. There are many different ways that you can do this. It doesn’t have to be just sitting and meditating. But when you go to mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, you can talk about enhancing your meditation practice and cultivating mindfulness in your daily life. It could be through a walking meditation or doing a body scan meditation, but mindfulness doesn’t have to take up a lot of time in your day. There are simple ways to channel techniques.

Practicing Mindfulness Daily

There are many ways you can integrate mindfulness practices into your life. We talked about mindfulness meditation as one of them, and the other is eating mindfully. Mindful eating is one way to practice mindfulness because you can take a moment and savor the food in your mouth. This can also reduce stress because you do not force yourself to rush through your lunch or things of that nature. Mindful eating can help you nurture your body in the way it needs. It’s essential to do any type of meditation you can if you wish to practice mindfulness.

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Guided meditation is a great way to cultivate mindfulness. You can find these guided meditations online or through podcasts, or you can ask for suggestions from your therapist. It helps to have somebody who can show you how to meditate rather than do it yourself, especially when you are just learning mindfulness. One of the tenants of mindfulness, which comes from Zen Buddhism, is always to have a teachable heart or a beginner’s mind. Guided meditations are excellent tools that we can all benefit from in life. Even people who are experienced meditators can benefit from guided meditation. You pay attention to the present. It’s helpful having a person show you how to do that or keep you on track. That way, it’s easier to pay attention to the technique rather than struggling to retain focus on your own. Guided meditation can be life-changing for many people who believe they can’t engage in the practice due to concentration issues. You might be stumped as to how to start meditating. With guided practice, you don’t have to wonder what to do next. You’ve got a dedicated teacher telling you what you need to accomplish. You can talk to your therapist about recommending a guided meditation that may work for you. It’s something that is going to be a learning curve, but you can do it. Meditation practice takes time, and you get better and better at it as time goes on. So, don’t be so hard on yourself if you find it difficult to meditate at first.

Mindfulness And Therapy

Whether or not you see a therapist online in your local area, mindfulness can be a great part of your therapeutic practice. Mindfulness-based stress reduction MBSR is incredibly popular in the mental health world. Stress reduction is something that improves your mental health. With mindfulness meditation, you can return to the present moment, and a therapist can help you learn these techniques. It’s not easy to bring yourself back to right now, but a therapist knows how to focus on the present moment and find ways to care for yourself. Mindfulness meditation is something you can discuss in therapy and work through any roadblocks you may have. The history of mindfulness is a very powerful one, and the fact that it has transitioned from the East to the West has given us a rich knowledge to draw upon when we’re struggling with our thoughts and feelings. The therapists at BetterHelp know about mindfulness and can really guide you on learning practices, including guided meditation. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help or more information and learn the benefits of mindfulness.

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