Originally a Buddhist practice, mindfulness, which can also be called presence of mind
or attentiveness to the present moment
is a “conscience state resulting from the attention paid, intentionally, on the present moment, without judgement, on experience unfolding itself, moment after moment” (Jon Kabat-Zinn, 2003).
It is a matter of paying attention to things as they are and not as we would like them to be.
Mindfulness has numerous similarities with sophrology:
- Mindfulness is intentional unlike pondering which is often automatic;
- It is an experience directly centered on the present moment and as Thich Nhat Hanh, a zen monk, wrote in The Miracle of Mindfulness: “the miracle is to live deeply the present moment”;
- Mindfulness is without judgment: only welcome what is there by suspending any judgment, putting on hold the filter of one’s thinking.
The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
is the name given by Jon Kabat-Zinn to the programme that he has developed since 1979 at the Stress Reduction clinic in a hospital of Massachussets, (now known as the CFM – the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine Health Care and Society). It is a non-religious adaptation of the Buddhist mindfulness meditation (Vipassana) which aims at fighting anxiety, stress, disease and pain
. It is also a technique for well-being that allows individuals to live the present moment more intensely
The main interest of this method has been scientifically approved in a number of fields, in particular to fight stress, anxiety, several psychosomatic affections, as well as chronic pain. This protocol, taken up again in 1995 by the psychiatrist Zindel Segal and his co-workers within the context of prevention of depressive relapses, was called the MBCT Programme (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy).
For about ten years, these practices have been introduced in France and supported by the doctor Christophe André, a psychiatrist in the Sainte-Anne hospital, his Buddhist friend Matthieu Ricard, a doctor in cellular genetics and a Tibetan Buddhist monk and the sophrologist Geneviève Hamelet. In the Netherlands, Eline Snel developed mindfulness for children and teenagers with her now famous book : Sitting Still like a Frog.
Thus, mindfulness is directed at people wishing to:
- fight stress and anxiety,
- overcome depression and/or avoid relapse,
- reduce pain,
- combat illness,
- strengthen the immune system,
- enhance better concentration and attention,
- improve sleep,
- live the present moment more intensely
Mindfulness will allow the stopping of mental dispersion and will help to develop the power of attention to the present moment with the use of various techniques, mainly based on:
- work on attention thanks to conscious breathing,
- the way to welcome thoughts and emotions without judging them.
Various techniques are available, namely:
- attention to breathing,
- body scan,
- awareness of sounds and thoughts,
- breathing space,
- mindful walking.
The techniques taught during sessions are simple and can be rehearsed at home. As in sophrology, practice will allow integration of the method.
They can be individual or collective. Laurence automatically includes mindfulness in sophrology sessions which usually take place once a week. It is highly recommended to practice the exercises at home to get better results.
These sessions have to be attended for a certain period of time and will be part of a new healthy life, a new philosophy of life.
Please note that these sessions are not part of the official MBSR and MBCT programmes which are only carried out in groups over a period of eight weeks.