What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not thinking about our past or future, and not overly influenced by what’s going on around us.

Today’s mindfulness originates from ancient Buddhist practice. It’s essentially a training element for reaching enlightenment in Buddhism. In Buddhism, one get rebirthed as long as you reach enlightenment aka nirvana at some point. Practicing mindfulness helped to become aware of yourself and your surroundings, and how you react to those, so you can live a rightful life in the sense of those teachings. In 1970s Jon Kabat-Zinn was introduced to Buddhist meditations and experienced the benefits firsthand. He went on investigating it further and eventually entered the concepts to the Western world in the form of his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). MBSR is an 8-week training to reduce stress and anxiety and is nowadays widely researched.

In general mindfulness meditation can help you to handle stress much better, reduce anxiety, calm down and to get clarity about yourself and your life.

what is mindfulness

One problem of the human mind is that it always thinks. There’s almost no moment without a thought in our mind. Most often, these thoughts are either about some unfortunate events from our past or worries about the future, turning small events into drama due to the endless worry loop. And then, out of the blue, back home after a hard working day, you yell at your significant other or your kids for nothing. They haven’t done anything; it is just your mind which is still glued to the situation hours ago. Even you physically moved, your mind is still back in the situation.

Mindfulness is a way to conquer your mind back and live a fulfilling life.

How to Get Started

Personally, I think the best way to start is by attending an Mindfulness (MBSR) in-class course near you. Nothing beats those.

The second best way to get started is by attending an online course. Two quality options are:

  1. The MBSR online course by Saki F. Santorelli and Florence Meleo-Meyer.
  2. Mindfulness Daily by Jack Kornfield, PhD and Tara Brach, PhD

Both courses are authored and instructed by leading mindfulness experts and long-time practitioners, which have a high standing in their field.

Nonetheless, it is up to you, how you want to get started. You can follow out recommendations or follow your own path. Whatever you do, at least get started with mindfulness as the benefits are outstanding.


Published in MinfulDevMag issue #1 – Download full issue

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