Mindfulness: Not just a fad

More and more people are embracing and integrating the principles of mindfulness into everyday life. We praise its benefits, we cite it, we teach it and recommend it. But what is mindfulness and why is this concept so popular today?

Although gaining in popularity in present-day, its practical application, meaning mindfulness meditation, actually stems from Buddhist philosophy. It is therefore a thousand-year-old tradition with some refinement for today’s world, which has become a secular technique with the objective of coping with the stressful stimuli of modern life. The destigmatization of mental health, in addition to the increasing number of cases of more or less severe anxiety disorders, have propelled mindfulness meditation as one of the most appropriate prevention practices and adapted to today’s daily life.

Categorically, individuals practising mindfulness allow themselves interior breaks to focus their thoughts on the present moment, in a conscious manner, while striving to let go of all external events. It thus makes it possible to identify and examine the emotions that enter the mind, without trying to judge or control them. Mindfulness is therefore a solution to reconnect internally and leave situations that have a hold on our existence to the side. One of the pioneers of mindfulness meditation, medical professor Jon Kabat-Zinn, a former teacher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), defined it as: “…Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

Therefore, the idea is to practise embodying your body and mind, in the here and now, leaving situations out of your control at the door. Like all meditations, mindfulness “is learned” and requires practice. It’s not necessarily an easy exercise when you first begin.

For followers, mindfulness meditation immediately provides a state of well-being, but it is also prescribed for therapeutic purposes.

In fact, the effects of meditation are conclusive. It allows the significant reduction of anxiety and stress, plus people suffering from chronic diseases and sleep disorders, for example, often see their symptoms decrease and thus their quality of life improves. Many testimonials also report improvement in the condition of people suffering from chronic pain and eating disorders. Mindfulness meditation is part of a learning process that also helps to develop curiosity and self-confidence.

Mindfulness meditation is not just a fad. It always was, it’s simply rediscovered. Like any meditation, it requires concentration above all.

Concentration will invoke calmness…and calmness…serenity.


By Roger Lemay