The act of being ‘mindful’ has garnered a lot of attention in the last several years. To practice mindfulness means setting your intentions and focus on the present moment. It involves paying close attention to both internal and external events. In other words, it is about being aware of all sensory input as well as your own thoughts and feelings in any given moment.
Most of us spend a good deal of our lives in ‘auto-pilot’. Our thoughts are often on past experiences or in planning or worrying about the future. The chaos of life fills our minds and distractions pull our attention away from the present moment. This has a negative effect on experiencing life to its fullest.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn that aims at teaching people how to focus on the present moment. Purposefully paying attention to all that you are experiencing in any given moment, can facilitate a wide array of positive outcomes. Feeling calmer, less stressed and more open to experience joy, are among a few of the benefits. Studies have shown that MBSR has numerous physiological benefits such as improved blood sugars and blood pressure. The more aware we become, the more apt we are to experience life more vividly, make shifts in attitudes and behaviours that no longer serve us and help us feel more connected to others.
MBSR is an 8 week course, plus one full day. Daily home practice assignments reinforce information imparted during the classes. It is intended for anyone who wants to learn to handle stress more effectively. Courses are offered all over North America, and a quick search on Google will help you to locate a course being offered close to you.