Mindfulness is not just some stress reduction techniques. The practice of mindfulness starts with cultivating present-moment attention to whatever arises, such as our body sensations, thoughts, emotions and sounds, as it is. It involves a systematic process of training to increase self-awareness in an open, nonjudgmental way. The awareness cultivated through mindfulness practices helps us to notice and stop living in an automatic pilot mode. It also enables us to make conscious choices in response to the unavoidable pain and challenges in our lives. We would also develop acceptance and compassion to ourselves, others and the world. Our lives are enriched when we live with more awareness and presence.
Although the philosophy and practices of mindfulness originate in Buddhism, it is actually about the universal wisdom of living. After decades of academic research and development, mindfulness is now an effective way of mind-body training and has been applied widely in medical, psychological, corporate and education settings. Research findings suggest that the practice of mindfulness is helpful for stress coping, reducing depression, anxiety and burnout, improving sleep and pain coping, enhancing our immune system and happiness. Mindfulness practice is also found to alter the structure and neural activity of the brain. These changes are linked to improved concentration, mood regulation and empathy. Many mindfulness practitioners find that mindfulness practice positively and often profoundly affect their lives.