Article of the Month 74
Unwanted effects: Is there a negative side of meditation? A multicentre survey.
Found in several cultural and philosophical traditions, the concept and practices of Mindfulness have been increasingly integrated in contemporary clinical practice, mainly in psychology and medicine.
Mindfulness can be understood as a mental state based on the direct experience of the present moment with awareness and an open and nonjudgmental attitude moment by moment. The mental state of mindfulness is an alternative to a quite usual mental state based on mindlessness (“autopilot”) and on the excessive reactivity in daily life experiences.
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, one of the pioneers on the “westernization” of mindfulness practices with a focus in health, “Mindfulness is the simplicity in itself. It is about stopping and being present. That's all”.
To experience and fully live in the present moment there is a set of mindfulness practices or exercises based on attention training to develop conscious observation through some “anchors”, as the breathing itself or the body sensations and movements.
Mindfulness can be learned in programs or structured courses that involve classroom activities (with an instructor) and distance learning through the combination of simple techniques easy to apply in our everyday life.
The efficacy and effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions in health promotion have been studied in a variety of populations, including people with cancer diagnosis, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, heart disease and other stress-related disorders; as well as healthy individuals exposed to high levels of stress, as professionals, students, athletes, among others.
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