Mindfulness & Mental Health

Mindfulness has experienced a tremendous surge in popularity over the last few decades. Despite its recent emergence within the scientific community, mindfulness is most significantly associated with Buddhist traditions. Mindfulness has been the primary teaching amongst Buddhist meditative practices for the past 2,500 years. The word mindfulness originated from the Pali word “sati”, which refers to remembering (Davis & Hayes, 2011). Although mindfulness is rooted in the Buddhist tradition, it is still an effective practice without any religious context. Learning about the underlying religious contexts can help deepen understanding, but it is not essential to reap its benefits. Mindfulness is the cognitive process of refocusing one’s attention to their moment to moment experiences and perceiving one’s experiences non-judgmentally. Mindfulness consists of fundamental characteristics that enable people to draw novel distinctions from their environments and simultaneously reconstruct their cognitive processing. Mindfulness-Based Intervention (MBI) within the context of mental health has gained scientific interest due to its clinical application. Previous studies have shown that mindfulness can help improve individuals’ well-being and quality of life. In a study conducted by Mandal et al. (2012), found that mindfulness not only helped reduce symptoms of mental illness and distress but also helped reduce the negative effects one experiences and enhance their positive affect. Mindfulness encourages people to perceive their experiences non-judgmentally so that they can take on different approaches to adverse experiences without ruminating or acting out their habitual impulses. Mindfulness helps give individuals insight into their emotions and focus their attention on regulating these emotions to adapt to skills that will help them better cope with their mental health.

The main objectives of this pillar are to:

  • Promote mindfulness as a way of living to reduce the impact of psychological stress and social strain.
  • Educate students and community-based workers about the fundamental characteristics of the mindfulness process and provide them with essential skills that will enable them to adopt the practice into their own lives.
  • Develop workshops and academic educational materials related to mindfulness and mental health.
  • Develop methodological tools to measure the impact of mindfulness on social and psychological well-being.
  • Develop a new generation of qualified facilitators of mindfulness workshops from university and college students and community-based workers.