Mindfulness is the cognitive ability to be aware of what is happening in the here-and-now without judgment or attachment to any particular outcome (Nopoli, Krech, Holley, 2005). I prefer to translate it as “kind awareness” or “compassionate understanding.” It is a way of dropping our critical, fault-finding tendencies and relating to our experiences with goodwill.

Research has shown mindfulness to be associated with relaxation (Benson, 1975) and stress reduction (Kabat-Zinn, 1990). Further, meta-analyses suggest that mindfulness techniques may help a broad range of individuals cope with clinical and nonclinical problems, conferring stress reduction and health benefits (Grossman et al., 2004).

It is hypothesized that the primary mechanism of mindfulness is self-management of attention. Repeatedly returning one’s attention to a single neutral stimulus such as the breath may succeed in producing a stable inner environment from which people can observe the arising of thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations in a non-judgmental way and cope more effectively with stressors (Semple, Reid, & Miller, 2005).

The following posts will attempt to discuss different aspects of mindfulness in turn:

Here are some additional resources: