Mindfulness is an intentional, non-judgmental, non-reactive, compassionate awareness of thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and the world around us. Mindfulness awareness allows us to come into the present moment, and to know what we are thinking and feeling without being reactive. Instead of reacting to ourselves and our circumstances with harshness, criticism, and judgment, we learn to respond with curiosity, compassion, and thoughtfulness.

Mindfulness Meditation is one very powerful way to train ourselves to be mindful.   Meditation comprises various exercises and practices that are repeated in order to develop the skill of mindfulness. These practices involve intentionally and gently directing our attention to different anchors e.g. the breath, the body as a whole, emotions, physical sensations, thoughts, and activities such as eating and walking.

When we become more mindful we are better able to:

 

  • Be less reactive to stress

  • Be kind and compassionate to ourselves and others

  • Be present with what is happening

  • Appreciate the pleasant experiences and be less overwhelmed by the unpleasant ones

  • Notice how our emotional reactions are impacting our thoughts and behavior

  • Choose how to respond to any situation

Mindfulness and Physical Health

Mindfulness practice, inherited from the Buddhist tradition, is increasingly being employed in Western medicine to provide supportive care for an array of chronic medical conditions that are impacted negatively by stress reactivity, e.g. chronic pain (Song et al, 2014) stroke (Lawrence et al, 2013), and cancer (Smith et al, 2005).

Mindfulness and Mental Health

Mindfulness interventions have also been fully embraced by western psychology as a means of preventing and treating various psychological conditions including anxiety (Orsillo & Roemer, 2011), attention problems (Zylkowska, 2012), depression (Williams, Teasdale, Segal & Kabat-Zinn, 2007), depression relapse prevention (Segal, Williams & Teasdale, 2002), emotion regulation (Linehan, 1993), and substance abuse (Zgierska et al, 2009).

Mindfulness and Stress

Mindfulness meditation training is invaluable for anyone dealing with stress (Chiesa & Serretti, 2009; Praissman, 2008). Being mindful helps us to be less reactive to those things we cannot control, to be better able to savor experiences that we enjoy, to be less preoccupied with worry and rumination, to be more patient and less critical towards ourselves, and to be kinder, more compassionate, and a better listener to others.

Mindfulness Meditation at Rutgers University

CAPS offers several mindfulness-based groups and workshops for students, faculty and staff members of Rutgers in New Brunswick/Piscataway.  Please contact the main office on College Avenue at 848-932-7884 for information on current mindfulness-based group and workshop offerings. Or contact Dr. Siobhán Gibbons at siobhang@echo.rutgers.edu

Some apps that may help with Mindfulness Meditation include:

HeadSpace

HeadSpace guides the user through brief (10-minute), mindfulness meditations.

You can download a free trial of this app for either an iPhone or Android phone. After the free trial, the app costs $12.99 per month.

iTunes website: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/headspace-meditation-techniques/id493145008?mt=8

Google Play website: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.getsomeheadspace.android&hl=en

Mindfulness Coach

Mindfulness Coach was developed by the US Department of Veteran Affairs. This app offers information about mindfulness, mindfulness exercises, and a tracking log to optimize mindfulness meditation practice.

This app is available for free for iPhones. It is not currently available for Android phones.

iTunes website: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mindfulness-coach/id804284729?mt=8

Interested in more apps? Check out our Self Help Apps page.