Mindfulness has grown in popularity over the last five years, with numerous courses and programs being offered to help people manage their stress and anxiety. You may have heard about mindfulness before through news or social media, but what is mindfulness and how can we incorporate it into our daily lives?\u00a0 What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of what you are doing and noticing your surroundings, thoughts and emotions. When you bring awareness to what you\u2019re directly experiencing in any given moment, you are being mindful. In today\u2019s hectic world, it\u2019s easy to get entangled in your thoughts, completing your day-to-day tasks on \u201cauto-pilot\u201d so that you don\u2019t fully notice the things going on around you and how your body is feeling. Stepping out of this sensation and being more \u201cmindful\u201d offers you a chance to slow down and be fully aware of the present moment. Mindfulness also involves letting go of the past and not worrying about the future. The American Psychological Association defines mindfulness as \u201c\u2026a moment-to-moment awareness of one\u2019s experience without judgment. In this sense, mindfulness is a state and not a trait. While it might be promoted by certain practices or activities, such as meditation, it is not equivalent to or synonymous with them.\u201d Being mindful takes practice. Some days you may feel that your mind is completely free and at peace, and other days your mind can be filled with so many thoughts that you feel you can\u2019t stop thinking about. It takes time to learn how to control your thoughts and emotions, which is what you will learn from regular mindfulness practices. Where did mindfulness come from? Mindfulness can be traced back to 2,500 years ago, to the early teachings of Buddha. One aspect of Buddhism is concentration, which is where the practice of mindfulness arises. It was not until mindfulness was brought to the West, where mindfulness was taken out of the Buddhist context and started being used as a secular, stress-reduction practice. The greatest advocate of Mindfulness is thought to be Jon Kabat-Zinn: American professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.\u00a0 Jon Kabat-Zinn learned about mindfulness from other Buddhist teachers whilst as a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and at the Insight Meditation Society. This helped him develop the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program \u2013 an eight-week course aimed to reduce stress. This course was first offered from 1979 and has been gaining popularity rapidly ever since. What are the benefits of mindfulness? Mindfulness has been researched since the 1960\u2019s, but it was only in the late 70\u2019s where the activity of mindfulness was first studied clinically, as a way to improve psychological well-being.\u00a0 Years of research has now proven that practising mindfulness regularly can have many\u00a0 benefits on your mental health and wellbeing. Some benefits include: \tImproved focus and concentration \tReduced stress and anxiety \tAppetite restoration \tImproved well-being \tImproved sleep So what are you waiting for? Sign up Today.