Mindfulness in contemporary psychology has been adopted as an approach for increasing awareness and responding skillfully to mental processes that contribute to emotional distress and maladaptive behavior. The operational working definition of mindfulness is "the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment" (Kabat-Zinn, 2003, Bishop et.al, 2004). When utilizing Mindfulness, practitioners learn to de-escalate high emotions and tune in present moment through sensory and mental stimulation. Mindfulness can be used to cope with depressive disorders, boost overall psychological wellbeing and manage physical pain. Long-term benefits include better focus, sleep and memory. Many health institutions have begun to realize, that Mindfulness can be a great benefit, as it can enable people to to separate themselves from negative emotions, persistent thoughts and bodily sensations that may occur, when they become overwhelming. Individuals that can actively work towards achieving a state of mindfulness may find it easier to be aware of potentially harmful or chronic cognitions to prevent negative effects. Regular practice is believed to assist in emotional healing, foster communication with others, and increased life satisfaction.
Mindfulness-based interventions were developed for people with chronic physical problems and prevention mental health problems. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has been used since 1979 as a training vehicle for the relief of pain and distress in people with chronic health problems. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) integrates MBSR with cognitive science and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It was initially developed as a relapse prevention treatment for those with a high risk of recurring depression, but has since been adapted to benefit a range of different populations and demographics through the use of Dialectal Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness Self-Compassion (MSC) etc. (Alsubaie, 2017).
There is much academic literature evidence that supports the method mindful meditation, leading to functional and structural improvement of the brain. For example, in a study conducted by researchers in 2003, 2011 and 2016, mindfulness training increased the activity of left brain, reduced the intensity of amygdala activity and the gray matter density, and thickened the hippocampus (Davidson et al., 2003, Doll et al., 2016, Hölzel et al., 2011).