Mindfulness

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness means being present, using innate attention and awareness.1 It is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.2

Formal mindfulness practices include:

  • Body Scan Meditation
  • Sitting Meditation
  • Hatha Yoga
  • Walking Meditation

Informal mindfulness practices include:

  • Awareness of pleasant and unpleasant events
  • Routine events
  • Interpersonal communications
  • Repetitive cognitions and emotions and their relationship to bodily sensations
  • Habitual actions and behaviors in everyday life.

Over 40 years of work has moved mindfulness from theory to practice as a means to respond to illness, stress, and pain management.3 Studies suggest developing mindfulness provides a variety of benefits.

  • Mindfulness lowers stress and anxiety4
  • Mindfulness improves mental outlook and focus5
  • Mindfulness improves memory6
  • Mindfulness strengthens the immune system7
  • Mindfulness reduces isolation and depression8

Learning and practicing mindfulness is part of a larger Healthy Monday curriculum to lower stress, which includes breathing, physical activity, and shifting to the positive. Incorporating healthy habits at the start of the week is an opportunity to make a fresh start.

 

For more tips and resources to promote DeStress Monday, visit our Resources page.

For more information about how a Monday cue can support behavior change, visit The Monday Campaigns Research page.


[1] Hanson, R. 2006. The Noble Eight-Fold Path: Right Mindfulness. https://www.rickhanson.net/31090-2/

[2] Santorelli, S.F. 2014. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): Standards of Practices. Center for Mindfulness, UMass Medical School. https://www.umassmed.edu/contentassets/24cd221488584125835e2eddce7dbb89/mbsr_standards_of_practice_2014.pdf

[3] Center for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts Medical School. 2020. https://www.umassmemorialhealthcare.org/umass-memorial-center-mindfulness

[4] Janssen, M. et al., 2018. Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on employees’ mental health: A systematic review. PLoS One. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29364935

[5] Donald, J. N. et al. 2016. Daily stress and the benefits of mindfulness: Examining the daily and longitudinal relations between present-moment awareness and stress responses. Journal of Research in Personality. Volume 65, Pages 30-37. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0092656616301118?via%3Dihub

[6] Davis, D. M. and Hayes, J. A. 2012. What are the Benefits of Mindfulness. American Psychological Association.

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner.aspx

[7] Seppälä, E. M. 2013. 20 Scientific Reasons to Start Meditating Today. Psychology Today.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/feeling-it/201309/20-scientific-reasons-start-meditating-today

[8] Ramel, W. et al. 2004. The Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on Cognitive Processes and Affect in Patients with Past Depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/B:COTR.0000045557.15923.96