What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is intentional, nonjudgmental engagement. Complete presence with life. Rather than getting lost in our thoughts about what is happening, we fully engage with the moment. Judgment is suspended. Awareness is heightened. It is a basic, innate human ability that can be cultivated.
Why study mindfulness + design? 2/3 of Americans say they need help for stress. Chronic stress becomes a barrier to overall well-being.
My “end goal”? I am interested in using design to increase overall well-being, by means of cultivating mindfulness. By reducing cognitive, emotional and physiological stress, one might experience increased health, happiness, clarity and productivity. While this is very broad still, this is the general direction I am moving in.
What are the benefits of mindfulness? Reduce “chronic” stress, enhanced task performance, gain clarity of thought, self-awareness, increased empathy, overall well-being. The brain was discovered to have neuroplasticity. Which means that “what you do, think and pay attention to, changes the structure and functions of the brain… Quality of perception changes… We see with more clarity… Sharpens/calms the mind… The latest research suggests it takes 100 minutes for you begin to have a measurable effect”—Chade-Meng Tan
How can we cultivate mindfulness? We must pay attention to our intention. Some known practices include breathework, meditation, yoga, tai chi, qigong, centering prayer, etc. However, mindfulness can be cultivated moment-by-moment by simply bringing our awareness to what is. It is the quality of our attention.