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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Nack

What is Mindfulness and how can it be incorporated into everyday life?

To quote Marsha M Linehan, the creator of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, “As a set of skills, mindfulness practice is the intentional process of observing, describing, and participating in reality non-judgmentally, in the moment, and with effectiveness” (Linehan, 2015, p. 151). It involves allowing oneself to experience reality without suppressing, avoiding, or trying to change it. One must consciously focus their mind on the present moment and pass no judgment. It is also important to not get attached to the moment either, but rather to be present with it as it will continue to change. To practice mindfulness is to repeatedly bring the mind back into the present moment while continually letting go of judgments and attachments about thoughts, emotions, sensations, activities, events, or life situations. You may be thinking “What is the difference between mindfulness and meditation, are they the same?”. Meditation is a way to practice mindfulness, however mindfulness does not require that one do meditation. Many people find sitting or standing still to be quite difficult, and there are certainly other ways to practice mindfulness (Linehan, 2015, pp.151-155).

Mindfulness comes from Buddhist practices and traditions, and did not catch the attention of the western world until the mid-nineteenth century as westerners began to trade more with Asia, and read pamphlets, books, and journals that talked about it. Even so, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that it gained traction in places like the United States and England. Around this time, immigration policy was changing and Asians were able to emigrate to the United States. They brought with them this practice of mindfulness and from there it continued to gain popularity to where it is today (Nisbet, 2017).

Research has shown that mindfulness is effective in treatment of anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, and addiction. Preliminary research has shown promise for mindfulness based interventions being effective in treating both eating disorders and psychosis. In addition to psychological benefits, mindfulness has been shown to have physical benefits as well. There is evidence to support its efficacy with cancer and pain, and there is promise in research with hypertension and cardiovascular issues. Considering that mindfulness can be taught through group or self-help methods, it is also cost effective when compared to other psychological or physical health treatments. Even so, researchers posit that the dropout rate for this type of treatment may be around 25%, and certain types of people may be less or more compatible with it (Zhang et al., 2021, pp. 41-57). If you are interested in trying mindfulness out, consider walking mindfulness. All you have to do is find a quiet place to walk and decide on a distance. For the entirety of that distance, walk and focus on the sensations of walking in your body, the state of your breathing, balance, and other body sensations. So, do you think you will try it?


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