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What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is one of the key skills of the 21st century that allows you to live a full life, better understand yourself and others, and act with full engagement in the present moment.

How is the term mindfulness defined?

The term "mindfulness" was mentioned for the first time by the Buddhist scholar Thomas William Rhys Davids at the beginning of the 20th century. In his 1881 publication of Buddhist suttas, he translated the Pali word sati as "mental activity" and even simply as "thought." He settled on the term mindfulness only in 1910. Later, this word was used by John Kabat-Zinn, a professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts, in his world-famous MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) program, which significantly influenced the spreading of mindfulness practice in the West.

Leading mindfulness experts such as Tit Nat Khan, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfiel, John Kabat-Zinn, and others offer various definitions of the term, each of which reveals additional aspects of the concept and the method as a whole. Based on their opinions, mindfulness can be defined as follows:

Mindfulness is a spacious, balanced awareness of the present. Or a minute-by-minute awareness of our thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and the environment with full acceptance and without judgment.

According to John Dunn, a Buddhist scholar at Emory University, the components of mindfulness, when interpreted more broadly, can include not only sati (mindfulness - the state of being present in one's actual experience), but also sampajanna (clear understanding) and appamada (caring).

Clear understanding includes both the ability to perceive phenomena without the influence of distorting mental states (such as mood and emotions) and the metacognitive ability to observe the quality of attention.

What is mindfulness practice?

The practice of mindfulness is a scientifically based method of mental training that is practiced and taught in the world's leading universities (for example, Harvard or Oxford

When we play sports, we train different characteristics of our body: strength, endurance, flexibility.

When we do mindfulness exercises, we develop certain skills of our mind: concentration, clarity, and balance.

The method arose as a result of the interaction of representatives of Western science and Eastern traditions and incorporated centuries of experience in contemplative techniques and modern research in the field of neurophysiology, psychology, and medicine.

Recent scientific research shows that regular practice of mindfulness exercises (the text contains references to research)

- allows you to be more successful at work and school;

- improves memory, increases the ability to concentrate on what is really important;

- increases the cognitive abilities of our brain;

- develops empathy and compassion;

- increases the body's resistance to viral diseases;

- normalizes blood pressure;

- slows down the aging of brain cells and the development of diseases associated with aging;

A few mindfulness exercises from the book "Mindfulness" by Oxford professor of clinical psychology Mark Williams

The following meditations are presented for your reference. On a regular basis, it is advisable to perform them as part of the full course presented in the book. You can also seek advice from qualified mindfulness teachers for regular practice.

"Three-minute breathing meditation"

Meditation "Body and breath awareness"

Meditation "Body scanning"

Interesting facts about mindfulness

В Америці і Європі mindfulness - це тренд.

1. By 2016, 22% of Fortune Global 500 companies began using mindfulness as part of their corporate training programs (Google, Apple, Facebook, Intel, Toyota, Deutsche Bank, Ford Motor, Black Rock, and others).

Harvard Business School, as well as INSEAD, the largest business school in Europe, call mindfulness a powerful tool for developing the most important skills of a modern top manager (for example, see the article "How Meditation Helps Leaders").

One of the first companies that used mindfulness was Google. In 2008, thanks to software engineer Chad-Meng Tan. His corporate mindfulness training program, Search Inside Yourself, has become a global brand and is held around the world.

2. In the UK, in 2018, 170 members of the British Parliament completed an 8-week mindfulness course.

- Based on scientific data and data from the practical application of meditation, the All-Party Parliamentary Group of the United Kingdom published a report in 2015: "The UK's Mindful Nation". In which it recommended to use meditation at the state level to solve problems: psychological and physical health, in the fields of education and health care, in the fields of labor and the criminal justice system. (The first ever political document of this kind)

3. The MBCT psychotherapy program at the University of Oxford was created on the basis of meditation. And today you can already get an academic education and a master's degree at the University of Oxford in this field. At the beginning of the noughties, secular meditation was officially recognized by the American psychotherapeutic community.

If you consider the Top most prestigious 15 universities in the world according to THE (Times Higher Education) and QS World University Rankings, each of these universities has a meditation training program and each of them conducts research on meditation practices.


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