How many times have you driven somewhere to arrive without remembering anything about the journey? Quite often probably, because our lives are so busy and we have so many conflicting demands to juggle that we often go on automatic pilot to cope. In doing so, we lose awareness of the present moment.
Our last blog discussed the idea of happiness in relation to a balanced time perspective, but the founder of modern day Mindfulness, Jon Kabat Zinn, suggests the key to well-being and happiness is to be more present in our own lives. He reasons we are too easily distracted by thoughts of the past and the future that we are too self-critical and fail to notice the good things happening around us.
Mindfulness involves paying attention to our thoughts, feelings and sensations in the present moment in a non-judgmental and purposeful way which allows us to step back from our automatic responses to everyday events and see things how they really are. In doing so, it is believed we can improve our quality of life.
Over the last three decades, mindfulness has been primarily used for stress reduction (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction - MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) which is known to have greater efficacy than antidepressants in preventing relapse in depression. More recently, mindfulness has been found to aid in the recovery of addictions and a study undertaken at the University of Rochester Medical Center has suggested that the quality of primary care for both practitioners and their patients can be improved if physicians are trained in mindfulness meditation and communication skills.
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