Mindfulness has its roots in the ancient traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism and is thought to have begun several thousand years ago. Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, and later the Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy programmes mark, in part, mindfulness being introduced on a much larger scale in the West.
Mindfulness has been described as a training of the mind, as a 'state of being' rather than a 'state of doing', and is a conscious state whereby an individual focuses on being fully present, in the present moment, in a curious and non-judgmental manner. It helps us to observe our thoughts and feelings but also to be less attached to them emotionally.
Mindfulness incorporates the attitudes of trust, acceptance, beginner's mind, patience, nonjudgment, non-striving, letting go, gratitude and generosity.
Much scientific research into mindfulness has been carried out in recent years and suggests that those regularly practicing mindfulness show an increase in an area of the brain responsible for self-awareness, memory and compassion, and a reduction in an area playing a role in anxiety and stress. In addition, research suggests that regular practice may help improve, amongst other things, focus and attention, creativity, confidence and emotional intelligence, and lead to an increase in resilience.
The mindfulness sessions are based on the Mindfulness Now programme and introduce and explore formal and informal mindful meditations, the mindful attitudes, and include exercises, stories and poems.