What is Mindfulness?

by Michael LaValle.

Mindfulness is about waking up and living life off “automatic pilot.” Mindfulness means deliberately paying attention to present experiences with complete acceptance. Mindfulness meditation practices enhance concentration, clarity, insight, and resilience. By bringing an open-hearted, non-judgmental curiosity to the present moment, mindfulness practitioners experience reduced stress, an improved sense of well-being, and a greater capacity to meet life’s challenges. Mindfulness practice is a profound way for an individual to take care of self and cultivate compassion for others. Mindfulness also expands the practioner’s capacity for gratitude and joy.

Although mindfulness practices originated in the East, they have been assimilated into Western culture over the past 40 years. Mindfulness is for everyone, regardless of age. Mindfulness is not a religion. Anyone, with any belief system or religious tradition, can enjoy the benefits of mindfulness practices, without conflict. A substantial body of research has shown that mindfulness practices positively impact an individual’s experience of everyday stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and physical symptoms related to stress or disease. Medical practitioners increasingly embrace mindfulness practice for its therapeutic benefits, connecting reduction in stress to physical resilience and recovery.

Since the late 1970’s, more than 1000 publications have documented medical and psychological research on mindfulness, demonstrating its validity and breadth of application. For further information on research related to mindfulness meditation practices, the link below to MindfulNet provides a comprehensive collection of information, research reviews, and resources. http://mindfulnet.org/index.htm

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