What is Mindfulness?
“Kind attention to the present moment, without interpretation or judgment.”
Mindfulness involves an undivided attention that is given to what you are experiencing without criticism. Being mindful requires you to engage your mind in the present moment and acknowledge your bodily senses, thoughts, feelings, and emotions without any particular judgments to that awareness (Pande, 2016).
The act of controlling your emotions plays a crucial role in mindfulness by reducing repetitive negative thoughts and worry, and, therefore, has been shown to lower rates of depression and anxiety (Desrosiers, 2013). By bringing kind attention to one’s thought patterns, we can shift our emotions by reducing negative thoughts, worry, depression, and anxiety, while increasing focus. Mindfulness practices have been shown to produce positive psychological benefits. For example, research has suggested that mindfulness improves resilience, which enables mindful individuals to respond better to difficult situations (Pande, 2016). Research has shown that mindful individuals are more open-minded, creative, and able to cope with difficulties(Pande, 2016). Study results have demonstrated that resilience is associated with mindfulness and life satisfaction, which highly suggests that improved resilience can positively impact your well-being(Pande, 2016). Improved resilience can also enhance social relationships, which is another factor that influences well-being (Davis, 2012).
Additionally, research has suggested that different styles of mindfulness practices produce different brain activity patterns (Desrosiers, 2013). Mindfulness meditation, for example, has been shown to stimulate the middle prefrontal brain associated with being aware of your own thought process (Desrosiers, 2013). In order to gain all the benefits of mindfulness, it is encouraged to explore different types of practices to achieve enhanced mindfulness (Desrosiers, 2013).
For full references, articles, and guided mindfulness practices, get started with the free Stanford Well for Life’s Mindfulness Challenge and find out how they can optimize your well-being!
Mindful– Conscious or aware of something, focusing one’s awareness on the
Emotion– A natural state of mind–such as fear, love, disgust– derived from one’s
circumstances, mood, or relationship with others
Bodily Senses– Feelings or sensory experiences that are most intimately
associated with one’s body, such as aches, tickles; feelings of pain and pleasure, of
warmth, or fatigue
Bodily Awareness– The consciousness of the presence of our body and the
sensation of bodily posture and state, such as the position and movements of our
limbs, the contact of our clothes to our skin, muscle pain in our legs, or the
feeling of thirst