What is mindfulness?
Jon Kabat-Zinn, a pioneer in the modern application of mindfulness, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally”.
Most of us spend very little time in the present moment. Instead we spend a large portion of our time up in our heads, dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. In fact, research suggests that we spend about 47% of our waking hours thinking about something other than what we are doing.
It’s normal for our minds to wander off to thoughts at times; after all, our mind is a thought machine. Telling your mind not to think is about as effective as telling your eyes to stop seeing or your ears to stop listening. However, research suggests that spending too much time up in our heads, rather than in the present moment, reduces overall happiness and leads to the development of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, eating disorders and drug and alcohol issues.