What is Mindfulness and its health benefits

What is Mindfulness and its health benefits

The mindfulness, mindfulness or mindfulness It is the psychological process by which we pay attention to the internal and external experiences that occur in the present moment, and it is a capacity that can be developed through the practice of meditation or other specific training.

The term "mindfulness" is a translation of the term sati, which is an important element of some Buddhist traditions. The recent popularity of this in the West comes from the hand of the American medicine professor Jon Kabat-Zinn.


  • 1 What is Full Mindfulness or Mindfulness?
  • 2 What is Mindfulness for?
  • 3 Origin of Mindfulness
  • 4 The benefits of Mindfulness
  • 5 Stress reduction through Mindfulness
  • 6 Other benefits of Mindfulness
  • 7 How to start practicing mindfulness
  • 8 Cognitive Therapy based on Mindfulness

What is Full Mindfulness or Mindfulness?

Full Attention is a way of paying attention to what is happening in our lives in the present moment, what it really is. Of course it will not eliminate the pressures of life, but with practice it can help us to take note of knowing how to wait or say STOP, mainly to the usual negative reactions resulting from daily stress.

The practice of mindfulness can be synthesized with "four R", according to instructor Brian Callahan:

  • Rest the attention (the mind) on an anchor.
  • Recognize When and where do you wander?
  • Return Attention gently to the anchor.
  • Repeat.

"The ability to voluntarily recover vague attention, again and again, is the very root of the judgment, character and will. No one owns himself if there is no owner. An education that would improve this capacity would be an education for the excellence".

-William James,The Principles of Psychology-

What is Mindfulness for?

Full attention helps us reconnect with ourselves to relieve stress. It also helps us feel more in tune with our emotions and, in general, be more aware of ourselves, both mentally and physically.

The most common way in which this technique is practiced is through the conscious meditation. This generally implies that professionals help you focus on images, sounds and physical sensations to try to reduce "brain talk."

Some people initially struggle with conscious meditation, so they find it difficult to focus their attention, but this is to be expected and getting it may require practice. Regular practice of the technique can help people take a step back, recognize their "mental talk" and see things more accurately and without judgment.

Other forms of attention practice may involve physical movement. Exercises such as yoga and Tai Chi have a lot to do with meditative movements, which can help improve physical self-awareness and calm the mind.

While these types of Full Care practices are useful for everyone, people with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression can benefit from a more structured therapy that incorporates care, such as Cognitive Therapy based in consciousness

Origin of Mindfulness

The concept behind Full Attention originated in the Buddhist religion, where it is considered to be of "great importance" in the path of enlightenment. Instead of believing in a personal God, Buddhists follow the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (known as 'The Buddha', or the 'enlightened one'), with the aim of reaching a state of nirvana / enlightenment. The practice and development of morality, meditation and wisdom is believed by Buddhists to lead the path of enlightenment.

The Buddha himself advocated attention and encouraged his followers to establish Full Attention in everyday life, keeping calm the conscience of one's own mind and body.

As we have commented previously, Jon Kabat-Zinn brought the concept of Full attention to western society in the 1970s. Kabat-Zinn was a student of Zen Master Seung Sahn and it was his practice of yoga and studies of the Buddhist religion that led him to integrate these concepts with those of Western science to create attention-based stress reduction.

In the 1990s John Teasdale, Mark Williams and Zindel Seagal further developed the concept of Care to help those suffering from depression, the creation of cognitive therapy based on consciousness.

In recent years, thinking techniques have gained strength in the world of counseling after a series of clinical studies supported their effectiveness. Doctors and therapists are learning more about care and in many situations it is not only recommended, but also prescribed to those who could benefit.

The benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness develops Emotional Intelligence, promotes happiness, increases curiosity and commitment, reduces anxiety, mitigates difficult emotions and traumas, and helps us to be focused, learn and make better decisions.

In addition, by exercising the brain with mindfulness and related practices, we can also change the shape and size of our brain, increase concentration, flexibility and intelligence and build new neural pathways and networks.

The main area in which growth takes place is that of the prefrontal cortex, where our executive functioning is found: it is the center that controls and orders, where analytical thinking is born.

We must take into account that a reduced activity and a small size of the prefrontal cortex are related to psychological conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), drug abuse and other problematic behaviors such as difficulty in impulse control , schizophrenia, depression and in general mood disorders.

Objectives of mindfulness

  • Recognize, slow down or even stop the usual negative reactions
  • See situations more clearly
  • Respond more effectively to situations
  • Improve creativity
  • Feel more balanced at work and at home

Benefits of mindfulness

  • 70% reduction in anxiety
  • Less visits to doctors
  • Increase in antibodies that fight disease
  • Better sleep quality
  • Less negative feelings, such as tension, anger and depression
  • Improvements in physical conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome and psoriasis.

And it is that while some parts of the brain become larger, stronger and more active with meditation, others calm down, such as the amygdala.

Stress reduction through Mindfulness

In small doses, stress helps us overcome challenges and pushes us to act. In the long term, however, too much stress can be detrimental to our well-being. Stress symptoms include loss of appetite, insomnia, go to, anxiety and even chest pains. Research has shown that people who are under prolonged stress are at an increased risk of developing health problems such as high blood pressure and heart attacks.

Attention-based stress reduction seems to help people deal with stress through thinking techniques such as gentle stretching, attention meditation and others. mind-body exercises. The goal is to offer greater clarity about what is happening, to help people recognize the triggers of stress and deal with them in a productive way.

Other benefits of Mindfulness

We have already talked about how attention can be used to help people cope with issues such as stress, anxiety and depression, but what other issues could Mindfulness help?


Consciousness-based therapy for insomnia seeks to integrate Behavioral Therapy and sleep science with mindfulness meditation practices. The goal is to help increase awareness so that people recognize and react accordingly to the mental and physical states that occur with chronic insomnia.

Chronic pain

Although at first, the idea of ​​paying more attention to your physical sensations when suffering from chronic pain may seem contrary to intuition, it is believed that Full Attention may help. The idea here is that instead of focusing on the patterns of negative thoughts that arise when feeling the physical sensation of pain, patients should consult their pain with curiosity.

This is why pain is experienced accurately since sometimes our mind about pain can overdo it. Full Care for chronic pain is also intended to help teach people to set aside all future expectations and concerns and instead of focusing on the present, it involves physical / emotional reactions in a calm manner.

Addictive behavior

The treatment of negative behaviors such as addiction can be complemented with cognitive therapy based on consciousness since this seems to make the individual more aware of their emotions and how to deal with them, while at the same time breaking the thought patterns harmful.

Eating disorders

Being aware while eating is a useful practice that consists of people who take the time to experience their food and all the sensations surrounding the diet. This can help people with eating disorders see food in a different way, as well as help recognize when they are physically hungry / completely without any associative emotions.

How to start practicing mindfulness

If you are interested in introducing Full Attention in your life, The first thing you should do is simply take note; Take note of your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and the world around you. It may be useful to put this into practice when you are eating, or even just before going to bed. You only need to lose 10 minutes a day to notice this kind of thing.

You must also try to see things from a different perspective, as well as try new things. This could be something as simple as sitting in a new place during meetings or having a different coffee during lunch. Again, it is about observing how some small actions that can have a great impact on your daily life.

Next, you should try to observe your own thoughts and realize the occupations of your mind. Don't try to argue with your thoughts, or stop them, instead just sit back and watch them go, as if you were watching the leaves float in a stream. Try to observe any feeling or emotion you feel too intensely, (such as anxiety or sadness) to help you develop a better emotional awareness.

If you are working on your own with Full Care and feel that you need more guidance, an experienced guide or psychotherapist can help you focus better.

Find here 4 fantastic exercises to start practicing Mindfulness

Cognitive Therapy based on Mindfulness

Designed specifically to help those prone to recurrent depression, this therapy combines thinking techniques (such as meditation, stretching and breathing exercises) with elements of Cognitive Therapy that help break the patterns of negative thinking.

In addition to helping people with recurrent depression, this therapy has been shown to help with a variety of mental health problems, including:

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder

You may also like: 100 Mindfulness phrases

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