What exactly is Mindfulness?
The Institute of Mindfulness of South Africa (IMISA) "defines Mindfulness as "moment-to-moment awareness, cultivated by purposefully paying attention in the present moment with an attitude of non-judgment, kindness, and curiosity.
Contemporary mindfulness refers to the integration of wisdom teachings and scientific traditions to allow as many people as possible to access the practice in a useful, simple and grounded way.
Mindfulness is a way of waking up in the world, and waking up to the fullness of human experience. It is not limited to formal meditation practices, although formal mindfulness practices are an important foundation – It can be viewed as a way of being, as a way of seeing and relating to each and every moment. As such the whole of life becomes a meditation practise."
The Science Behind It:
Research supports the profound impact of mindfulness on our well-being. A 2017 study by Pascoe et al. found that various meditation practices significantly reduced key stress markers like cortisol, blood pressure, and inflammatory proteins. This demonstrates the tangible benefits of mindfulness for diverse populations.
Where does it come from?
While mindfulness is often associated with Buddhism, I believe it's an innate human ability that anyone can unlock, regardless of beliefs or background. From a public health perspective, mindfulness has the potential to improve individual and community well-being, transforming lives and contributing to a more compassionate world. Perhaps that's why more medical research is emerging in recent years.