Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as "awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, nonjugementally." When we are mindful we are living more consciously in the present without all of our usual stories of regrets about the past or fears about the future. We notice our constant inner self-critic and offer ourselves the kindness and compassion we would give a dear friend. It is important to approach mindful practice with patience and gentleness. Our old patterns are practiced and habitual. It helps to remember that we all struggle and we all get stuck.
We have more than 30 years of mindfulness research thanks to Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program that he began teaching at UMass Medical Center in 1979. MBSR is an 8-week program that teaches mindfulness while offering a supportive, group setting to practice mindful practice. Research shows that practiicng mindfulness improves memory, mental focus, physical health, mental health and well being. Read more about the benefits of mindful practice at helpguide.org. Experience MBSR or other contemplative programs for yourself at Chattanooga's Center for Mindful Living. Companies like Google, Salesforce, Aetna, Goldman Sachs Group and Bank of America are using mindfulness programs to enhance productivity and creativity by improving the health of their workforce. Read more at Forbes.com.