History Of Mindfulness
The practice of Mindfulness goes back 2500 years. It has been practiced by people for thousands of years and its value has been well documented. The Buddha was perhaps the first to explore the benefits of being mindful, and many of today’s meditation practices have their roots in Buddhist wisdom.
Today Mindfulness is being introduced into many areas of healthcare, education and disciplines that encourage self – reflection. From ancient India to today, Mindfulness has been drawn like a thread through the ages and its value is still intact. There are specific applications of Mindfulness that have been researched and developed by leading health care specialists – Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). The practice of Mindfulness has also been incorporated into Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT).
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction was developed over 30 years ago by Dr Jon Kabat Zinn in the University of Massachusetts in USA. The MBSR programme was originally designed to help people suffering from stress and stress related disorders, and it is now seen to be equally useful for a range of conditions including anxiety, fear, pain, depression,cancer care and eating disorders. Kabat – Zinn skilfully created a curriculum that incorporates Eastern meditation practices in a way that is useful and accessible to Western medical patients.
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy was more recently developed through the research and work of Zindal Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale. All three work in the field of Clinical Psychology/ Brain Science/ Cognitive Behaviour, and have developed the programme specifically for helping those with depression. The research available is very encouraging and the use of MBCT in the treatment of depression is becoming wide spread.