What is mindfulness?

Most of us do not live in the present. We tend to worry too much about the future, sometimes imagining catastrophic scenarios. Or we constantly ruminate over the past, often reliving negative experiences that have caused us pain.

Mindfulness means being aware, in the present moment and without judgment, of what happens in our mind, in our body and around us. It means regaining control of our life and being able to steer it in the right direction.

Practising awareness helps us to stop brooding over things, to eliminate automatic actions which trap us and which prevent us from living a full and fulfilling life. It allows us to abandon our judgments and, consequently, anxiety and stress.

On the contrary, not being aware, our minds getting lost in the past and future, exchanging our thoughts for reality, implementing harmful automatic actions and harmful mental patterns can mean:

  • Wasting the life we are leading.
  • Suffering more from anxiety, stress and depression with all the negative physical consequences that may result.
  • Missing out on important occasions and opportunities.
  • Experiencing misunderstandings in relationships with others.
  • Feeling unhappier or dissatisfied.

Mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool, scientifically recognised, also applied in the clinical field, which can be integrated into your work practice or daily life, in a simple and immediate way, through formal and informal practice.

 

How to practise mindfulness

Mindfulness can be applied in any situation, at any time, here and now.
Tuning your mind and body to mindfulness.

  • Developing personal qualities based on mindfulness
  • Bringing mindfulness into your professional activity.
  • Communicating and establishing relationships based on mindfulness.
  • Nurturing yourself by applying mindfulness

This training will guide you, step by step, along the path that will lead you towards a mindful existence.

Through an educational and experiential approach, it will teach you how to practise and apply mindfulness whether you want to help yourself or if you want to help other people to help themselves.

Mindfulness is a real lifestyle and can be practised in two ways: formally or informally.

Formal practice means setting aside time each day, in silence, to be dedicated to mindfulness meditation techniques.

Informal practice, on the other hand, does not follow precise rules. It consists of training, through specific exercises, to become aware of everyday life, bringing mindfulness into every aspect of daily life, in all your actions.

Thanks to the training and the practice of Mindfulness, you will learn to be aware of your thoughts, emotions and your mental processes, so you can replace, reactive, automatic and destructive behaviour in everyday life (which holds you back or which makes you suffer) with conscious and functional choices.

Mindfulness allows you to distinguish what is important from what is not, by focusing on what really matters to you.

 

Fields of application of mindfulness

The list of benefits deriving from the practice of mindfulness, grows year by year, thanks to the interest and continuous clinical and scientific research.
This leads to an application of mindfulness in increasingly numerous areas, with the primary aim of helping people to get better, mentally and physically.

 

Scope of personal development

Development and self-knowledge.
Management and reduction of anxiety and stress.
Increased mental well-being and serenity.
Full use of potential.
Increased feelings of happiness.
Effective time-management.
Increased emotional intelligence.
Development of communication and effective listening.
Improvement of interpersonal relationships.

 

Scope of professional and performance growth

Improvement of work performance.
Development and improvement of leadership.
Development and improvement of team work.
Development of our own potential.
Effective development of communication.
Recognised development of listening skills.
Increase of productivity.
Effective time management.
Increased emotional intelligence.

 

Field of education, training, school

Stress management at school of teachers and pupils.
Improved learning.
Better concentration.
Regulating emotions.
Increased emotional intelligence.
Development of empathy.
Improvement of listening skills.
Improvement of communication.

 

Family environment

Parent / child relationship management.
Educational support for children and adolescents.
Development of conscious listening.
Cognitive regulation and emotional regulation.
Stress management.

 

Scope of mental health

Management of anxiety and panic.
Stress management.
Prevention of relapses in depression.
Management of insomnia.
Increase of emotional intelligence.
Manage dependency.
Management of psychosis.

 

Clinical scope

Allostatic load reduction as a prolonged stress response.
Pain management and symptoms.
Metabolic benefits.
Hormonal alterations.
Improvement of the immune system.
Management of serious and chronic diseases.
Slowing down of aging and genetic repair.
Improvement of the doctor / patient relationship.
Effective communication between health workers and patients.

 

Neurological scope

Structural changes and functions of the brain.
Reduction of the amygdala activity.
Possible prevention of dementia.
Neurogenesis.
Attention and self-regulation disorders.

 

Sport environment

Improvement of sports performance.
Development and leadership management.
Development of potential.
Stress management.
Self-regulation and regulation of negative emotions.
Improvement of concentration.

MINDFULNESS OPPOSES THE SPIRAL OF SUSTAINED STRESS MODE

Note: this diagram does not pose a linear causal link between the behavioural nodes of each spiral, since there are likely to be multiple recursive relationships between nodes that amplify the force of the spiral. Moreover, individual differences in stress response and propensity towards dispositional mindfulness will create unequal proportions in the magnitude of the mindful vs. stress response, which would be represented by loops of varying sizes in this spiral model. Unlike the idealised diagram represented, progress towards the meaning and resilience of eudaimonia is non-linear, involving more iterations of conscious decentralisation and re-evaluation within and through stress-coping episodes before a lasting sense of wellbeing. Although stress factors may cause transient states of acute stress, it is likely that the practice of prolonged mindfulness generates a general trajectory towards better well-being.

Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development (C-MIIND) College of Social Work, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

 

See other scientific cases in Mindfulness and Science