Mindfulness: an introduction

dziewczyna medytuje nad jeziorem, zachód słońca

When looking for the definition of this foreign-sounding term, both by entering it in an Internet search engine and by conducting more in-depth, scientific research, we will find many results. And although written in different words, they mean the same thing - mindfulness training. The idea is simple: it's about paying attention to our thoughts, emotions, feelings, i.e. everything that is happening here and now. No judgment. Practicing mindfulness can help you get rid of the habit of getting lost in thoughts (mainly about the past and the future, because they often cause unnecessary pressure and stress in everyday life).

The beginnings of mindfulness are considered to be the launch of an open program at the University of Massachusetts - Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) by Jon Kabat-Zinn, because it was he who attracted the attention of the scientific community. And although this is the first, basic and most famous mindfulness training created in 1979, in 1976 a meditation center was opened - Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA (USA), and in 1975 a book was published entitled "The Miracle of Mindfulness", authored by Thich Nhat Hanh, considered the "Father of Mindfulness". The roots of mindfulness training lie in both Eastern and Western religions and philosophical traditions such as Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

The increase in interest in mindfulness training is caused by many reports from empirical research on the possibilities and effects of its use, primarily in clinical psychology, psychiatry and medicine. The effectiveness of practicing mindfulness has been confirmed in the area of stress reduction, treatment of anxiety disorders and depression, but also in the reduction of secondary symptoms of some somatic diseases. Empirical research also indicates a wide range of positive impacts in developing emotional and social competences.

There are two ways to practice mindfulness: through meditation and by incorporating mindfulness training into your daily life. Meditation helps you experience more mindful moments and build resilience that prepares us for everything we encounter in life. Performing mindfulness training allows, among other things, focus on the creativity that lies dormant in us, listen to our senses, focus on a specific sensation at a given moment (e.g. breathing).

American professor of medicine and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Jon Kabat-Zinn (already mentioned) said that: "Mindfulness means paying attention in a specific way: deliberately, for the moment and without judgment.” It's about trying to become aware of something that's happening now without wishing it were different.

There is a lot of information about the history of mindfulness, empirical research, and teachers and the effects of their work, and there are just as many books worth recommending. This short article is just the beginning of knowledge on this topic. Its purpose is to stimulate your curiosity so that you can check for yourself "what it's made of" and perhaps find your own new way of life. In the next text you will find tips, tools and exercises teaching how to maintain full attention and curiosity and develop it thanks to the creativity you have discovered!


  1. David Creswell J. (2017), Mindfulness Interventions, Annual Review of Psychology, pp. 491-516.
  2. Frey A., Totton A. (2016), I am this and now. How to become mindful in everything you do. The Mindfulness Project, Muza SA, Warsaw.
  3. Góralska R. (2019), Mindfulness: a learning technique or a way to support (self-)development?, "Rocznik andragogiczny", vol. 26, pp. 109-124.
  4. Kabat-Zinn J. (2009), Life is a beautiful disaster. With the wisdom of your body and mind you can overcome stress, disease and pain, Czarna Owca, Warsaw.