Once found exclusively at New Age gatherings and hippie-dense ashrams, mindfulness is becoming an essential part of American corporate culture. So, just what is mindfulness, and why is it taking office towers by storm?
Forms of meditation have been practiced in Eastern religions for millennia, but their lessons didn’t find a secular home in America until Jon Kabat-Zinn, now an emeritus professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, created a formal, eight-week stress-reduction program in 1979. Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness practice — essentially, training oneself to deliberately and non-judgmentally pay attention to now — was soon found to sharpen concentration, improve recall and other cognitive skills, foster ethical decision-making and reduce anxiety.
Just as one bicep curl doesn’t suddenly make a person buff, mindfulness requires continual practice. To fit the techniques into already crammed schedules, NationSwell conferred with experts for tips on integrating mindfulness throughout the day. No Tibetan singing bowls, yoga mats or hour-long meditation sessions are required to follow along: only 15 minutes scattered here and there over a 24 hour time period. As your personal guru, we’re not promising enlightenment, but these tactics — if practiced daily — will reconnect you with the experience of living in the present, despite all the distractions around you.