What is mindfulness?
Short answer: being in the moment. The term was popularized by Jon Kabat-Zinn, founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He adapted Buddhist meditation principles to create Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, an eight-week course secular enough for ordinary New Englanders with psoriasis. Mindfulness involves nonjudgy observation of your surroundings, sensations, and thoughts. (Irritated by your neighbor's breathing? Smell French fries? Accept whatever is happening, just as it is.) When people refer to meditation these days, they're usually talking about a version of this technique. And we can bring this kind of awareness to our entire lives, says Saki Santorelli, current director of the Stress Reduction Clinic. "When we stay in the present, we make wiser choices and take things less personally. It's compelling and emancipating."