‘Mindfulness is een aandachtsoefening en vorm van meditatie of training waarbij je met nieuwsgierige aandacht en zonder automatische reacties bewust bent van fysieke ervaringen, stemmingen, gevoelens en gedachten’, zo luidt de definitie van het fenomeen op Wikipedia. De grondlegger, de Amerikaanse moleculair bioloog Jon Kabat-Zinn, omschrijft het als aandacht voor het moment. Je brein krijgt even een pauze, wat ademruimte, en je zet even je stresssysteem op stil.

En toch is er heel wat heisa rond. Mindfulness klinkt voor sommigen zweverig, voor anderen iets dat ze in de agenda moeten inplannen. Mindfulness deden we echter ook vroeger, zonder dat we het wisten, denk aan rustig en gefocust koken, tuinieren of van muziek genieten. Waarom hebben we het daar dan vandaag zo moeilijk mee? Eenvoudig. In de altijd verbonden wereld VUCA-wereld krijgen we via digitale en andere platformen bijna onderbroken en aan een sneltempo prikkels binnen. Goed nieuws voor wie graag mee is, maar je brein moet die grote hoeveelheid prikkels wel verwerken, intellectueel én emotioneel, bewust en onbewust.

Some of those stimuli leave us cold, others act as a trigger. A little joke on Facebook may soothe you, and maybe you will react differently to news or hate messages. You will start to worry, have doubts, react furiously or get emotionally involved. By doing so, you are once again making a mental effort when you should be spending your time on relaxation. Facebook as a particularly intense way to pass time is only one of many examples of how our evenings, nights and holidays become extensions of the rat race. Just imagine what this does to your brain! If you don’t interrupt this flow of stress stimuli every now and then, it is only a matter of time before you join the other 19,000 active Belgians suffering from a burn-out.
And yet the solution is obvious. Maybe that’s the reason why we don’t do this very often. Stopping your brain for a while, however, is the secret behind a balanced life. And yes, anyone can practise mindfulness at any given time and place, provided that you let it in and train yourself from time to time. We challenge you to give it a try, especially if you know that our society will become even faster, less predictable and more complex in a couple of years from now.
Are you ready? Do this exercise once a day, during your lunch break, when you get home or even while working out.
Choose a task or moment in your life when you:

  • are in the here and now
  • use your 5 senses
  • are conscious (this is your choice)
  • are focused
  • perform a task (hiking, cooking, simply lying down, drinking tea, …)
  • allow only helpful thoughts that are in direct connection with the perception of the 5 senses
  • you are aware of unhelpful thoughts that are not relevant to the accepted task, that you ignore them and continue with your monotasking
Do you find this difficult? Then have a look at the video starring founder Jon Kabat-Zinn, who explains which attitudes you need to allow mindfulness into your life, or, in plain language, to pause your brain every now and then.

A mindfulness training?

Or do you want more information about the effects and reactions of mindfulness on your brain?