What is Mindfulness?
Though the word mindfulness was originally coined by Buddhist scholar T. W. Rhys Davids in 1910 translating the Theravada Buddhist term sati, mindfulness arose in popular use throughout the 1980s and 1990s when Jon Kabat-Zinn created Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in 1979.
Kabat-Zinn defined mindfulness as, "the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment."Today, mindfulness practices are in wide use throughout the fields of psychology and therapy and its clinical and physiological effects have been observed to aid in focus, attention and stress management.
A 2010 meta-analysis published in the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology found significant effectiveness of mindfulness on patients with depression and anxiety as well. Universities around the world continue to study the effects of mindfulness and are able to track its affect on the mind in real-time using functional MRI (fMRI) technology.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measures the small changes in blood flow that occur with brain activity. It may be used to examine the brain's functional anatomy, (determine which parts of the brain are handling critical functions), evaluate the effects of stroke or other disease, or to guide brain treatment. fMRI may detect abnormalities within the brain that cannot be found with other imaging techniques.
Article written by Nicholas Fuller. Source: Jon Kabat-Zinn, psychologytoday.com, annualreviews.org
The Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness
Improving concentration and performance
Being able to relax
Positive self image
Reduction of fear and anxiety
Reduction of feelings of depression
Reduction of sleeplessness
Eases symptoms of anxiety, depression, psychological distress, anger and hostility
Reduces levels of stress
Helps with insomnia
Reduces blood pressure
Reduces activity in the craving-related area of the brain
Improves pain related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Enhances immune system function
Improves quality of sleep
Manage chronic pain
Help prevent depression