Mindfulness is a developable capacity for non-judgemental attention to current internal and external experiences characterized by a relaxed vigilance for distractions. To put it simply, it is being fully present to the here-and-now.
Mindfulness is not a fad. It is an ancient tool for wellness that is so often overlooked, overcomplicated and underestimated in the fast-paced Western lifestyle. The fact of the matter is that, as a healing mindset, MINDFULNESS WORKS!
Mindfulness requires self-regulation to pay attention to the present moment and openness to experience this without elaboration or judgement. “Mindfulness changes the perspective on the self by promoting a shift away from higher order, self-referential processing toward a more basic, non-linguistic awareness of the present moment” (Kaufmann, Rosing & Baumann, 2021).
Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are a Western appropriation of Eastern contemplative traditions, especially Zazen and Theravadan Buddhism. They also resonate with Judeo-Christian traditions as well as a variety of transcendental spiritual practices.
A variety of neuropsychological tools (electromyography, monitors of pulse rate and sin responses, etc.) have been developed to identify the neural mechanisms that provide Western evidence for the ancient knowledge of mindfulness and meditation. MBIs show success at correcting the underlying mechanisms of psychological disorders (mental health), as well as enhancing happiness and performance, and eudemonic wellbeing.
Specific benefits of mindfulness practices are: decreased stress, negative affect, rumination, reactivity and anxiety, increased self-regulation, positive self-views, and openness to both negative and positive experiences. Mindfulness also promotes synaptic connectivity in the brain and increased focus. It has been proven effective at treating depression, stress, and anxiety and may provide a path to meaning and purpose through the clarification of values.
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