Mindfulness based approaches are derived from Buddhist meditation practices and are now used to help treat a variety of common difficulties such as depression, stress and managing pain.
"Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally" Jon Kabatt-Zinn
Put simply mindfulness is a moment to moment awareness of your present experience without judgement; focusing on the here and now. Often we go about our daily lives with little awareness of the present moment, for example travelling to a destination without remembering the journey or leaving the home but hot noticing whether we locked the door. Mindfulness involves attending, on purpose to the information being received by your senses (e.g. sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch). As we all have a mind which wanders onto all sorts of things, past, present and future, mindfulness trains us to notice when this happens and return to focusing on the present.
Mindfulness has been shown to help reduce stress, reduce negative rumination and help people to deal with intrusive unpleasant thoughts. This is because generally, anxious thoughts involve focusing on the future, negative thoughts on the past or possible negative future. Mindfulness can be achieved using a variety of methods including meditation and exercises such as mindful breathing, mindful eating and mindful walking. Learning to be mindful is learning a new skill and therefore takes time and practice to be effective.
Example of mindful breathing process: