This book is a valuable introduction to the concept of mindfulness. Dr. Zinn brought the concept of mindfulness from Buddhist meditation, and has shown how it can be applied as a basic technique for improved well being and stress relief. The practice of mindfulness has been shown to increase one’s quality of life.
Mindfulness means the ability to live in the present moment, to be absorbed completely, fully aware of each thought, feeling or sensation that arises. This awareness implies a nonjudgmental attitude towards our flow of thoughts, even unpleasant sensations or mental events.
The mere act of watching our mind, allows us to distance ourselves from our emotions. This enables us to gain a better perspective on our challenges. Through mindfulness we realize that our emotions are just that, not the ultimate truth about reality. The common thought distortion “I feel, therefore it is reality” loses its hold on us.
Living in the present means that we do not dwell on the past, or think anxiously about the future . Many people believe that if they immerse themselves in painful emotions, it will provide them an insight and ultimately lead to inner transformation. Delving into the past must be done with care, as it may strengthen and reinforce the neural pathways of pain and depression. This reinforcement may lead to further deepening of the depression and pain, as opposed to the hoped for alleviation. Mindfulness offers an additional method for dealing with one’s challenges.
Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness is a good tool for stress management, depression management, and it leads to better quality of life, enhance creativity, and can improve chronic pain and other medical conditions.