Mindfulness is bringing our full attention to the present. Mindfulness is observing the mind's thoughts and emotions in a detached and non-judgemental way in the fullness of the moment. The goal of mindfulness is to be more aware of our automatic and destructive responses so that we can make conscious choices. Mindfulness encapsulates the principles of non-judging, non-striving, patience, acceptance, letting go, trust, and having a beginner's mind. Many cultures and religions practise forms of mindfulness through meditation and prayer.
To help you be more mindful when communicating with others ask: "Am I defending myself or am I actually listening to what they are saying?" This question keeps us in the moment and reflecting on what is going on instead of reacting to our emotions and what we are telling ourselves is happening.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center for patients suffering from pain. MBSR teaches individuals the principles of mindfulness and how to apply them to deal more effectively with stress, pain, illness, psychological distress and the demands of daily life. It teaches participants to respond to stressful situations "mindfully". MSRB has been extensively researched and found to be a helpful adjunct to conventional treatments for a variety of medical and psychological conditions, particularly anxiety, stress, depression, pain and weight management.
For a scientist research paper on the positive effects of MBSR:
Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S. & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57, 35-43.
An 8-9 week program, MBSR training teaches mindfulness through breathing, body awareness exercises, sitting and walking meditation, and gentle yoga. The MBSR program is offered in many hospitals in the Toronto area, including the MBSR Clinic at St. Joseph's Health Centre www.stjoe.on.ca. There are also lots of private practitioners offering the program throughout Ontario. "Mindful eating" is one of the latest additions to MBSR training, offering a non-diet way to lose weight. The Centre for Mindfulness offers a "Mindfulness Weight Control Workshop".