The concept of mindfulness has taken Western psychology by storm and has crossed over into neuroscience, management, education and politics. While mindfulness originates in Buddhist meditation practice (Kabat-Zinn, 2003), it has evolved into much more than meditation. It is described as a state of consciousness or a concentration of attention (or focused awareness) in a particular way, with purpose and intention, and without making judgements. It requires a conscious awareness of experience as it unfolds, moment-to-moment (Brown and Ryan, 2003). For Daniel Siegel, one of the key proponents of mindfulness therapy and research, mindfulness is best described as the integration of, and development of, what he calls ‘executive forms of attention’. These forms of attention, he argues, lead to a developing capacity for self-regulation, what he calls the balancing of emotion: more effective and healthy responses to stress and improved social skills.
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