According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, thought to create a feeling of calm. Mindfulness is very much aligned with positive psychology, with its focus on positive emotions, such as compassion and gratitude.

Mindfulness is interrelated with meditation. John Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as the awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. Meditation, however is a practice where individuals use a technique to focus the mind on something to train awareness and attention and achieve a calm state.

The concept of the ‘mind’ emerged in the 12th century, with meanings related to care, intention, thought and memory. Later, in the 14th century, ‘mindful’ emerged, related to being conscious and aware. In the 16th century, ‘mindfulness’ or the state or quality of being mindful emerged, when John Palsgrave translated the French term pensée.

Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the 1990s, which brought mindfulness from the East to West.

There are a wide number of mindfulness exercises which individuals can benefit from mindfulness. This can include mindful meditation, sitting quietly focussing on our breathing. undertaking a body scan, lying or sitting and moving attention slowly through different parts of our bodies, and mindful walking, noticing the breeze on our skin and the feeling in our feet on the different surfaces.

Jon Kabat Zinn has nine attitudes of mindfulness:


The first attitude of mindfulness is non-judging. Our minds are often caught up with a stream of judging to our inner and outer experiences. The challenge of these judgements are that they can dominate our thoughts, which makes it difficult for us to find inner peace. Non-judging allows us to take a step back and relax.


The second attitude of mindfulness is patience. Today’s society puts so much pressure on us to perform quickly. By practising patience, we allow our minds to be open for each moment and letting things develop naturally. Being inpatient lends itself to being agitated and frustrated.

Beginner’s mind

The concept of beginner’s mind aligns with an openness to see things as if for the first time. The benefit of this is for us to be receptive to new ideas and not be stuck in a rut. Furthermore, having an attitude of beginner’s mind is very useful when engaging in meditation.


Another attitude of mindfulness is trust, it is important when being mindful to trust yourself and your intuition. Accept that you will mistakes along the way. If you feel something is not right, trust your instinctive and acknowledge this. Having trust in yourself will also help you have trust in others.


An attitude of non-striving underpins mindfulness. Often in our busy lives we are striving to reach the goals we set ourselves. However, mindfulness runs contrary to this. Forcing yourself to be mindful will not work. Undertaking meditation practice relies on letting go and being present.

Letting go

Central to mindfulness is letting go and living in the present moment. Letting go is akin to letting things be. There are things in our life and our past that may affect us, by letting go, we can stop ruminating and live more mindfully. We don’t force ourselves to go to sleep, we let go and fall asleep.


Acceptance refers to seeing things as they really are. If there are aspects in your life that you are not happy with, you firstly accept things the way they are at the present time. You are more likely to act when you accept how things really are. Acceptance is related to wisdom and self-understanding.


Practising mindfulness often leads to increased gratitude. Put simply gratitude is the intentional practice of noticing what is good in our lives. A mindfulness mediation involving being grateful with what is good in our lives can improve our quality of lives, including reducing our stress levels.


The definition of generosity relates to a willingness to give away your own time and money and a freedom from pettiness18. There is research evidence that people who practice mediation are more likely to have feelings of kindness and generosity19. By practising mindful generosity, we expand ourselves as humans.

There has been much interest in mindfulness as a way to increase wellbeing. One study showed that depressed participants who take part in either formal mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) or mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) had decreased rumination, which was associated with the alleviation of depressive symptoms.

Similarly, research has illustrated that mindfulness can be beneficial for people suffering with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). A randomised controlled trial comparing MBSR with Stress Management Education (SME) found evidence that MBSR may have a beneficial effect in tackling anxiety symptoms in GAD.

Furthermore, there is research evidence that MBSR is beneficial in helping participants reduce their stress levels. One review found that MBSR was more effective in reducing stress in comparison to an inactive control group.

Insomnia affects many people and a lack of sleep leaves people exhausted. There is research evidence that patients with insomnia benefitted from completing MBSR through utilising a number of meditation techniques to fall asleep quicker and get back to sleep faster if awakened through the night.

Chronic pain affects a significant amount of the population and can significantly impact on the quality of life of sufferers. A critical review of the literature suggests that mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) can significantly reduce pain intensity in participants compared to control groups where the participants did not receive any MBIs.

You can enjoy the benefits of mindfulness in Edinburgh. Get in touch for more details if you are interested in having sessions or workshop.