Mindfulness is an increasingly widespread tool in different fields. We can find it in the health field, in the work area, in schools, in the world of sports, etc. For a while this part has gained special fame, however, it is not a recent creation. He has been with us for more than 2500 years. Mindfulness can be translated as "mindfulness." But why is it so fashionable? What is hidden behind this technique?
Throughout the article, the practice of mindfulness will be contextualized through a brief review of its history. It will be exposed in what it consists and its benefits. At the same time, some doubts about the controversial use that can be made of this technique will also be cleared. Undoubtedly, it is a very fashionable topic and it is convenient to make a brief but profound review to have a more accurate knowledge of it.
- 1 Mindfulness: a little history
- 2 Mindfulness, what is it?
- 3 Benefits of mindfulness
- 4 Controversies about mindfulness or mindfulness
- 5 Final reflection
Mindfulness: a little history
About a century ago, a Buddhist monk translated the word "Sati" from the "Canon Pali" into English. The Canon Pali are the oldest Buddhist scriptures and in his translation he had to find a word in English that best defined the term "Sati, which in Sanskrit means memory, remember, keep in mind. In this way, he translated it as" mindfull ", which means being attentive. And from here it led to" mindfulness ", which would be equivalent to the state of mindfulness.
The Mindfuless remained there until Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, of the Boston hospital, developed an eight-week plan based on mindfulness in the 1960s to reduce pain, addictions, etc. In this case, Kabat-Zin applied mindfulness in a secular way, without religious connotations. Despite this, this technique has many degrees of spiritual depth. What does this mean? Mindfulness is an important process in meditation.
What is meditation?
Meditate is get in touch with positive states like love and compassion. In Buddhism, love is the aspiration that all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness. Compassion is the aspiration that everyone is free from suffering and its causes. Thus, there are different types of meditation to familiarize ourselves, cultivate and enter these internal states. Buddhism, and already modern science, affirm that meditating on love and compassion towards others makes us happier and decreases the states of depression.
"By focusing on the positive rather than the negative, we can free ourselves from the thoughts that weaken us and the feelings that deteriorate our health."
Mindfulness would be the ability to attend and retain attention, in this case, in love or compassion. For this, it is important to learn to focus attention on breathing. At this point we find a type of meditation called "Samatha", which means mental calm. It would be the closest thing to mindfulness. It is about focusing attention on breathing and practicing and practicing until we are able to not be distracted by our thoughts.
Mindfulness, what does it consist of?
Mindfulness, or mindfulness, is the ability of the mind to attend to a single stimulus and retain attention on that same stimulus. Imagine that we attend the passage of breathing through the nostrils, both by inspiring or expiring. Our attention is focused on the friction of the air when leaving and entering through the nose. In this case, mindfulness is the ability we have to attend and retain attention at the point where it rubs the air with the nose.
Remembering what we need to focus on and retain in the sensory or mental object is essential for the sessions to be as successful as possible. For it It is important to avoid judging what comes to mind. When we judge a thought, both for good and for evil, it creates in us an emotional reaction. This reaction, on the one hand, distracts us from practice; and on the other, it activates both positive and negative emotions in us. What separates us from an effective practice.
"We can react to thoughts, or simply observe them without judging them, just as we do in the practice of mindfulness."
-Ken A. Verni-
It is also important to push away burdens. At first, every mindfulness practitioner often thinks that it is not made for this technique. The main reasoning is that "Many thoughts come to my mind and I get overwhelmed". However, this is the normal response in the first meditation sessions. By not being accustomed to controlling the mind, we are witnesses for the first time of her control of us. And here lies much of the success, in knowing that it is we who must control the mind and not vice versa. Therefore, the invasion of thoughts is something completely normal.
Benefits of mindfulness
Mindfulness has the ability to produce benefits at multiple levels, then we will review the most prominent.
Health & Wellness
- Reduce stress and anxiety.
- Decrease the symptoms of depression.
- Reduce pain levels.
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Improves circulatory and cardiac health.
- It enhances sleep quality.
Happiness and fulfillment
- Increase levels of self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Greater enjoyment of leisure activities.
- Increased concentration on our goals.
- Help to unfold our potential.
- Improvement of our relationships.
- Improves memory, concentration and brain function.
- Faster reflexes
- Increase our mental resistance.
- Mental processes become faster.
- Greater capacity in decision making.
Self awareness and vital skills
- Better self knowledge.
- We enjoy freedom from the usual answers by getting rid of automatic responses.
- We improve in the control of our emotions.
- Better comunication.
- Increase our ability to actively listen and our empathy.
- We achieve more independence.
- Increase our emotional intelligence.
- We become more resistant to adversity.
Controversies about mindfulness or mindfulness
Despite being a technique with innumerable benefits, there are several controversies. The most remarkable is that which refers to the use of mindfulness in companies and in the army. On the one hand, some criticisms focus on the use of this technique with the sole purpose of improving the status of the worker for greater job performance and increasing the number of earnings. In other words, it is seen only as a technique to "exploit" the worker better.
Another focus of controversy is the training of snipers to improve their aim. Thus, through mindfulness a sniper would be more effective in his work, in this case shoot. So, it is seen as a training to "be more better by killing". At this point it is important to note that if mindfulness is disconnected from its original context, it can be applied in countless fields. The scalpel was created to operate and save lives. However, in the wrong hands, it can be used to kill. Thus, it is important to learn mindfuness within its original context.
This is why it is important to note that The genuine and main purpose of mindfulness is to cultivate, train and familiarize ourselves with internal states such as love and compassion.. In this way, little by little, we will increase our levels of self-esteem, confidence and come into contact with purer and healthier emotions. Mindfulness should not be used as an exploitation tool or for harmful purposes. If this is so, the technique is being misused, since its original intention is to benefit all beings.
Mindfulness, like any practice, takes time. It is important to have patience to achieve remarkable results. So, based on perseverance, motivation and enthusiasm, we can make the most of this complete and beneficial technique. We must remember that if we want to travel a kilometer, we have to start by taking a first step. So if we want to reach marked and remarkable states of well-being, we have to start calmly and be patient. Welcome to this adventure of self-discovery!
- Kabat-Zinn, J. (2016). Live fully the crises. How to use the wisdom of the body and mind to deal with stress, pain and disease. Barcelona: Kairos.
- Verni, K. (2015). Practical Mindfulness Step by step guide. Madrid: Gaia Editions.