While mindfulness is known to be rooted in the Buddhist tradition that dates back more than 2,500 years, the adaptation of mindfulness into modern healthcare didn’t occur until 1979. A program called MBSR, or Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, began as a complement to traditional medical treatments.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, a former Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts who started the group, published a seminal work on the subject in his book; Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness.
Within his book, Kabat-Zinn identified seven attitudinal factors which are the major pillars of mindfulness practice. Those are Non-judging, patience, a beginner mindset, trust, non-striving, acceptance and, finally, letting go.
Many studies agree that a wide range of physical, emotional and behavioral changes occur as a result of participation in a mindfulness practice.
Regular mindfulness practice has shown to relieve stress, improve focus, reduce chronic pain and anxiety and even increase happiness!
“By increasing the relaxation response, and lowering stress and the harmful effects of chronic stress, mindfulness helps to lower inflammation and boost the immune response-..” *
More recent studies have shown mindfulness to improve working memory and test-taking performance! These discoveries have illuminated the ability of mindfulness practice to change the structure and functioning of the brain.
For many persons, the relief received has been described as ‘life-changing’. Finding relief when other treatment options (including medication) have failed has made believers of the personal well-being and intrinsic health benefits that can be derived from maintaining a mindfulness practice.
Footnotes – * (Davidson et al., 2003)