Mindfulness is a general term that we use for awareness. It is the activity of our mind when we are intentionally paying attention in the present moment with curiosity and kindness in an accepting and non-judgmental way. The negative judgments add layers of suffering to our experiences. We gain more ease as we learn to step back, to realize that we are more than our thoughts, emotions or body sensations.
The stress response “fight or flight” is an unconscious and reflexive physiological response when we perceive a challenge or threat. This automatic response from the autonomic nervous system, cause quick changes to prepare the body to deal with stressful events. External situations like a looming deadline or internal event such as worrying about losing a job can trigger an avalanche of stress hormones that produces a group of physiological changes such as heart pounding, muscle tension and fast shallow breathing.
Compassionate mind training promotes inner experiences of understanding, safety, warmth and comfort which in turn will reduce anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that we can learn to be more kind to ourselves and to especially replace the inner critic with a compassionate voice to ease difficult emotions, to build inner resources, strengths and motivation. It has been found that people who rate higher in self-compassion experiences more positive emotions, more well-being, better quality of life and more satisfying relationships.
A few years ago “Mindfulness” was mostly unknown or called “alternative” but there has been extensive research in neuroscience which increasingly is showing that mindfulness practices helps us to be more calm, resilient, to enjoy, to have positive relationships at home but also in the workplace becoming more productive, reducing medical cost and overall improving the quality of our life.