‘Mindfulness’is a popular word we see nowadays in both general media andscientific literature. Versions of Mindfulness such as Mindfulliving, mindful eating, mindful sleeping, or mindful exercise are nowcommonplace. So, what is Mindfulness? Let’s take a closer look.
The word ‘mindfulness’ is derived from Sanskrit word ‘smr-ti,’ which is an old language of the Indian subcontinent. Some of the translations are: ‘to remember,’ ‘presence of mind,’ and ‘bare attention.’ Often mindfulness is associated with the practice of meditation. The word ‘meditation’ derives from Latin “meditari,” which means “to engage in contemplation or reflection.” Jon Kabat-Zinn of University of Massachusetts has described mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
The effects of mindfulness practice on health are now a topic of scientific research and many scientists are actively studying it. Some of the formal mindfulness programs developed for clinical treatments include Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for pain management and stress-related disorders, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for prevention of major depression relapse, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for treating borderline personality disorder. Early results from studies in the areas such as depression and anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and weight management have been positive. Mindfulness seems to affect the brain function in a significant and unique way. Conditions like stress, pain, sleep and even psoriasis seem to be positively affected by it. Mindfulness practice helps individuals develop skills such as self-regulation and improved awareness of emotional and sensory cues; which are important in helping us better understand our relationship with food. At Metta™, a comprehensive and highly specialized weight management clinic in New Jersey, “Mindfulness” is at the core of our personalized lifestyle modification program.