Mindfulness is widely touted and connected to just about everything from losing weight to being more productive. Time magazine featured Mindfulness as its cover story with the line, “The Mindful Revolution — the science of finding focus in a stressed-out, multitasking culture”. The Huffington Post declared 2014 “The Year of Mindful Living”. What is Mindfulness, and how can it be applied to everyday life?
It may sound like a "New Age" kind of thing, but there's real evidence that being more mindful can enhance just about every aspect of your life, and without sitting in the lotus position for hours on end. Here it is explained in a nutshell by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Mindfulness is a way of sharpening your focus to help with how you deal with everyday life or tough situations. You can think of mindfulness as simply being fully in the moment like "paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally as if your life depended on it. The benefits of mindfulness, include focusing more, worrying less, stress reduction and sleeping better, as well as becoming more creative.
Helps us focus and function at our full intelligence.
Allows us space to choose our response to emotions we feel, thus contributing to our emotional intelligence.
Helps develop a greater sense of well-being.
Helps us cultivate healthy habits that contribute to our mental and physical resilience.
Allows us to listen to another with full empathic attention, the impact of which is of benefit to both speaker and listener.
Making mindfulness a frequent aspect of your everyday life requires training and practice. An independant study published by the University of Oxford examind the effectiveness of the Be Mindful Online course and found that after doing it for one month participants noticed:
- A 58% reduction in anxiety level
- A 57% reduction in depression
- A 40% reduction in stress
These skills are becoming increasingly important as we deal with the demands of modern life. There’s been some progress lately in tapping technology for mindfulness solutions. There are hundreds of mindfulness apps available, including one called Headspace, offered by a UK Company led by Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk. The company offers free content through an app and sells subscriptions to a series of web videos, billed as a “gym membership for the mind,” they are narrated by Puddicombe, explaining the tenets of mindfulness and how to meditate.