Being mindful of mindfulness

Mindfulness had its origins in Buddhism, but has recently become hugely popular as a mainstream aid to relieving stress, lifting mood, helping to combat depression or simply to maintaining positive mental health. The idea behind mindfulness is straightforward, John Kabat - Zinn a medical professor, described it as "paying attention to purpose, moment by moment, without judging." Mindfulness practice often begins with a body scan, a meditation technique, where the participant focuses on the sensations of their own body. Thoughts that pop up during this are acknowledged kindly and allowed to pass by whilst the focus returns to the body. Other mindful practices focus on breathing and on linking stress and mental distractions with physical sensations, such as tense shoulders and shallow breath. Mindfulness works towards  living more in the present, spending less time anticipating stresses or reliving past difficulties. Mindfulness can give you an awareness and choice, but it is not necessarily an easy thing to achieve. It's a day by day engagement with the present. Many people say that they feel like life is passing them by or that they drift into certain patterns of behaviour. Being mindful can raise self awareness  and highlight that we can make choices about the way we live. 

There are many places to read more about mindfulness, but we would like to say thank you to The Observer for their article "Should we be mindful of mindfulness?" which inspired this blog post. You can read the full article here


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