What is mindfulness? – Soovil

What is mindfulness? – Soovil

The term mindfulness It is the English translation of the word sati, from the Pali language, one of the languages ​​in which Buddha's speeches were written 2,500 years ago. It is the opposite of working with the autopilot. It usually translates as "mindfulness" or "mindfulness."

A state of mind. It defines a state of mind that is present in all individuals in greater or lesser intensity. This state, which can always be trained in any person, is associated with great physical and psychological well-being.

A psychological technique. It is considered the mindfulness as a psychotherapy for the treatment of diseases or the prevention of psychological distress and the increase of well-being. It is not intended to change negative thoughts and emotions to positive ones, but it teaches to relate in a different way with thoughts and emotions.

Scientific basis. The idea is not to get "trapped", not to identify with thoughts, so that they do not affect us. The important thing is not the content, positive or negative, of thoughts and emotions, but our relationship with them. Although some of the terms and techniques of mindfulness come from Eastern religious traditions and, specifically, from Buddhism, it is a secular technique with a solid scientific basis.


Varied. The three main environments of mindfulness use are health, education and work. But it is also used in areas such as sport to increase performance, as well as in the judiciary or in the security forces.

More than a fad. Mindfulness arises in the 1970s in the United States from the hand of Professor of Medicine Jon Kabat-Zinn, and has been gaining popularity. His success has been supported by the scientific evidence he has developed.

In the health. Mindfulness has been shown to be effective in complementary treatments of chronic and cardiovascular diseases, fibromyalgia and cancer. Also in psychiatry: depression, anxiety, stress, addictions, eating disorders, obsessive and personality disorders …


Recurring cases. Mindfulness is indicated in the treatment of recurrent depression, when the person has suffered three or more episodes and fears a relapse, with the suffering that entails (insomnia, disinterest, hopelessness, guilt …).

Live the symptoms. Patients with mindfulness training, when these phenomena occur, instead of panicking, they are able to be in the present and thoroughly experience the initial small symptoms. They discover that they are not so unpleasant and that the problem is not the symptoms, but the panic they develop and subsequent maneuvers to get rid of them. They learn to perform pleasant activities and feel they have control of the situation. The symptoms are remitting and return to previous normality, thus avoiding relapses.


Students benefited. Another field where mindfulness has been strongly introduced is education, as it increases concentration and performance, improves the regulation of emotions and personal relationships, and favors the good atmosphere in the classroom (it has been used to prevent bullying ).

Work satisfaction. Likewise, in the field of work it allows reducing and preventing work stress and other risks ("burned" and psychological harassment), increasing job satisfaction and improving the work environment and performance.


There are different models that explain how mindfulness works in our mind, but this is the most accepted.

Increased attention Breathing or body attention Anterior cingulate cortex
Increased body awareness Focus on experiences and body sensations Insula and temporo-parietal intersection
Emotion Regulation Not judge

Acceptance of reality

No reactivity

Dorsal and ventro-medial prefrontal cortex.

Amygdala. Hippocampus

Metacognition Development Disidentification of mental contents Frontopolar cortex
Change in the "I" perspective: a static image disappears replaced by a dynamic vision Disappearance of the internal dialogue Medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate. Insula


Take a comfortable posture and take several breaths to calm the mind and relax the body.

CLOSE YOUR EYES. You will see that the mind does not stop generating thoughts. It is a river that drags us. To avoid this, you have to hold on to something stable, such as bodily sensations or senses, because the body is always in the present.

ANCHOR. The mind identifies the object of meditation, for example, breathing (nostrils, chest or abdomen). Breathing is not manipulated, it is only observed. And it is not recommended to follow the breath through the airways, you have to stabilize at a fixed point. Once there, feel your breath bodily, without thinking about it.

MENTAL VAGABUNDEO. Soon after anchoring ourselves in the object, thoughts and emotions arise that will catch our attention and make us abandon the anchor.

AWARENESS. Since we have lost the anchor for thoughts and emotions, until we realize it, several minutes can pass. At that moment we become aware that our attention has abandoned the object.

RETURN TO ANCHORAGE. The key is not to get angry ("how bad I do it", "there is a lot of noise in this room …"). The process of looking at the anchor and, moments later, abandoning it for the loss of attention, is universal and proper to the human mind. Our mind is not trained and this is what we can expect. From here the process of fixing the mind starts again and again.

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