Mindfulness for full Minds
Mindfulness was completely unknown from me before I dive into it. When I said to people that I was doing an MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) course, they looked at me with big eyes (even today it’s still unknown by so many people) as I would have said something completely crazy. After some explanations, they would say "ah yes I understand, you are doing a meditation course!"
Mindfulness is often assimilated into meditation, because people don't know exactly what it is. But this is not limited to that.
I love this equation from Jon Kabat Zin in this video: “Mindfulness = awareness”.
Being Mindful just means to bring awareness - on purpose and without any judgments - to your senses, your body, your emotions, your thoughts. This is an ability that all humans have and can practice, whatever their physical capabilities, their age, and their religion (because this is a non-religious practice). That’s why it’s accessible to anyone.
The professor Jon Kabat-Zinn (graduated from Haverford Collee and Ph.D. in molecular biology from MIT) created the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program in 1979 in the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Initially, this program was created to assist people with life or sick issues that were difficult to treat in the normal setting of a hospital. But then, the program was extended to all people who wanted to learn “how to be mindful”.
MBSR is an 8 weeks program, where people meet a certified trainer 2h30 per week and attend to an additional day of retreat. They learn mindful meditation practices, yoga techniques, daily tools, etc. They also have to commit to 45 mins of daily practice at least.
Participants can learn how to incorporate Mindfulness in their daily life but also be trained in formal meditation practices. At the end of the program, they are able to continue this practice by themselves with the tools that they’ve learned.
Mindfulness is the sport of the mind, it’s something we need to train to see the benefits. But when you practice on a daily basis for months, you see some results. For my side, I’ve noticed the following:
• Better connection with my body and my physical pains when it arises;
• Capacity to bring my attention to the present moment;
• Acceptance of my emotions;
• Kindness with myself;
• A rediscovery of my breathing;
• More awareness when I walk or do practice my hobbies;
• Better capacity to let it go my thoughts, so less anxiety;
But don’t get it wrong I did not become a superwoman that can handle every situation without any stress !
It’s not what I mean. I just mean that now, I have tools available for me to try to see from a different angle. And this was for me an eye opening.
I consider myself at the beginning of a new journey, and I’m sure I will discover more and more benefits along the way. I also believe that everyone is different and will see different benefits coming first which could be different from mine. But I also truly believe that Mindfulness is for everyone, whatever your age or physical conditions.
Here the definition from Jon Kabat-Zinn:
« Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”
If you want to read more news, articles or researches around Mindfulness, here an interesting website that I really enjoy checking on a daily or weekly basis: www.mindful.org
Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash