Mindfulness or mindfulness

Philip Kelley
Mindfulness or mindfulness

Mindfulness is an increasingly widespread tool in different areas. We can find it in the health field, in the workplace, in schools, in the world of sports, etc. For some time now it has gained special fame, however, it is not a recent creation. It has been with us for more than 2,500 years. Mindfulness can be translated as "mindfulness". But why is it so fashionable? What is hidden behind this technique?

Throughout the article, the practice of mindfulness will be contextualized through a brief review of its history. What it consists of and its benefits will be explained. At the same time, some doubts about the controversial use that can be made of this technique will also be cleared up. Undoubtedly, it is a very fashionable topic and it is convenient to carry out a brief but deep review to have a more exact knowledge of it..


  • Mindfulness: a bit of history
    • What is meditation?
  • Mindfulness, what does it consist of?
  • Benefits of mindfulness
    • Health & Wellness
    • Happiness and fulfillment
    • Cognitive habilyties
    • Self awareness and life skills
  • Controversies about mindfulness
    • Final reflection
    • Bibliography

Mindfulness: a bit of history

About a century ago, a Buddhist monk translated the word "Sati" from the "Pali Canon" into English. The Pali Canon are the oldest Buddhist scriptures and in his translation he had to find an English word that would best define the term "Sati, which in Sanskrit means memory, remember, keep in mind. In this way, he translated it as" mindfull ", which means to be attentive. And from here it derived to" mindfulness ", which would be equivalent to the state of mindfulness.

Mindfuless stayed there until Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn of Boston Hospital developed an eight-week mindfulness-based plan in the 1960s to reduce pain, addictions, etc. In this case, Kabat-Zin applied mindfulness in a secular way, without religious connotations. Despite this, this technique has many degrees of spiritual depth. What does this mean? Mindfulness is an important process within meditation.

What is meditation?

In the Western world, developing healthy psychological maturity means developing a clear identity and a single sense of self, well-defined limits and a good understanding of personal needs..

Assuming emotion, some mental health professionals use the phrase affect tolerance to describe the ability to fully feel emotions. This is another ability to get along. If I cannot recognize or tolerate my own feelings, I will either project them onto you or blame you for making me feel a certain way..

Meditation is getting in touch with positive states such as love and compassion. In Buddhism, love is the aspiration that all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness. Compassion is the aspiration for all to be free from suffering and its causes. Thus, there are different types of meditation to familiarize us with, cultivate and enter these inner states. Buddhism, and already modern science, affirm that meditating on love and compassion towards others makes us happier and reduces states of depression.

"By focusing on the positive rather than the negative, we can free ourselves from the thoughts that weaken us and the feelings that deteriorate our health." -Jon Kabat-Zinn-

Mindfulness would be the ability to attend and retain attention, in this case, in love or compassion. To do this, it is important to learn to focus attention on the breath. At this point we find a type of meditation called "Samatha", which means mental calm. It would be the closest thing to mindfulness. It is about focusing attention on the breath and practicing and practicing until we are able to not be distracted by our thoughts..

Mindfulness, what does it consist of?

Mindfulness, or mindfulness, is the ability of the mind to attend to a single stimulus and retain attention on that same stimulus. Let us imagine that we attend the passage of the breath through the nostrils, both when breathing in or when exhaling. Our attention is focused on the friction of the air as it leaves and enters through the nose. In this case, mindfulness is the ability we have to attend and retain attention at the point where the air touches the nose..

Remembering what to focus the mind on and keeping it on the sensory or mental object is essential for the sessions to be as successful as possible. For this it is important to avoid judging what comes to mind. When we judge a thought, both for good and bad, it creates an emotional reaction in us. This reaction, on the one hand, distracts us from the practice; and on the other, it activates both positive and negative emotions in us. What keeps us from an effective practice.

"We can react to thoughts, or simply observe them without judgment, as we do in mindfulness practice." -Ken A. Verni-

It is also important to remove stress. At first, every mindfulness practitioner tends to think that they are not cut out for this technique. The main reasoning is that "a lot of thoughts come to my head and I get overwhelmed." However, this is the normal response in the first few meditation sessions. Unaccustomed to controlling the mind, we witness for the first time its control of us. And here lies a large part of the success, in knowing that we are the ones who must control the mind and not vice versa. Therefore, the invasion of thoughts is something completely normal.

Benefits of mindfulness

The practice of mindfulness cultivates the tolerance of affection and therefore gives us much more freedom in relationships.

By spending time with both pleasant and unpleasant experiences, without being distracted by entertainment and distraction, our tolerance for discomfort improves. Furthermore, by seeing ourselves as an integral part of a larger world, and discovering how our sense of separate self is constructed moment by moment, we care much less about our preservation. This gives us enormous flexibility when it comes to responding to others..

By practicing mindfulness and observing emotions, we attend to them and experience them as they arise from the body. By being able to believe less in habitual narrative thoughts, it becomes easier to tolerate a whole range of feelings. Even negative emotions can be interesting - we watch them come and go, reach high points, and disappear. This new perspective contributes to our flexibility in reacting to them..

Mindfulness makes the mind like a pool of crystal clear water, capable of integrating all series of content without being overwhelmed by it. Because the mind has become expansive, we no longer feel compelled to get rid of unpleasant sensations or to hold onto unpleasant ones. We can then practice being with all the emotions that arise in relationships. And we can be much more flexible when it comes to reacting to interpersonal situations, not being so afraid that our feelings will be hurt..

Mindfulness has the ability to produce benefits at multiple levels, below we will review the most prominent.

Health & Wellness

  • Reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Decrease symptoms of depression.
  • Reduces pain levels.
  • Strengthens the immune system.
  • Improves circulatory and heart health.
  • It enhances sleep quality.

Happiness and fulfillment

  • Increase levels of self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • Greater enjoyment of leisure activities.
  • Increased focus on our goals.
  • Help unleash our potential.
  • Improving our relationships.

Cognitive habilyties

  • Improves memory, concentration and brain function.
  • Faster reflexes.
  • Increase our mental stamina.
  • Mental processes become faster.
  • Greater decision-making capacity.

Self awareness and life skills

  • Better self-knowledge.
  • We enjoy freedom from habitual responses, freeing ourselves from automatic responses.
  • We improve in the control of our emotions.
  • Better comunication.
  • Increase our capacity for active listening and our empathy.
  • We achieve more independence.
  • Increase our emotional intelligence.
  • We become more resistant to adversity.

Controversies about mindfulness

Despite being a technique with innumerable benefits, there are various controversies. The most notable is the one that refers to the use of mindfulness in companies and in the military. On the one hand, some criticisms focus on the use of this technique with the sole purpose of improving the worker's status for a higher job performance and increasing the number of earnings. In other words, it is seen only as a technique to better "exploit" the worker..

Another source of controversy is sniper training to improve their marksmanship. In this way, through mindfulness a sniper would be more effective in his work, in this case shooting. Thus, it is seen as training to "get better at killing". At this point, it is important to point out that if mindfulness is disassociated from its original context, it can be applied in innumerable fields. The scalpel was created to operate and save lives. However, in the wrong hands, it can be used to kill. Therefore, it is important to learn mindfuness within its original context..

Final reflection

This is why it is important to note that the main and genuine purpose of mindfulness is to cultivate, train, and become familiar with internal states such as love and compassion. In this way, little by little, we will increase our levels of self-esteem, confidence and we will come into contact with purer and healthier emotions. Mindfulness should not be used as a tool of exploitation or for harmful purposes. If this is so, the technique is being misused, since its original intention is to benefit all beings..

Mindfulness, like all practice, takes time. It is important to be patient to achieve remarkable results. Thus, based on perseverance, motivation and enthusiasm, we can take advantage of this comprehensive and beneficial technique. We must remember that if we want to travel a kilometer, we have to start by taking a first step. So if we want to achieve marked and remarkable states of well-being, we have to start calmly and be patient. Welcome to this adventure of self-discovery!


  • Kabat-Zinn, J. (2016). Live the crises fully. How to use the wisdom of the body and mind to cope with stress, pain and illness. Barcelona: KairĂ³s.
  • Verni, K. (2015). Practical mindfulness. Step by step guide. Madrid: Gaia Editions.

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