Mindfulness is the practice of maintaining a non-judgemental awareness of what’s happening in the present moment. It turns out that maintaining such an awareness is an extremely powerful tool: Cultivating it fosters the ability to stay focused, provides clarity about our moment by moment experience, as well as an acceptance of it. There is much recent research to support the use of mindfulness techniques for stress reduction, improving mood and cognitive abilities, evidence for its positive effects on teacher efficacy and reduced burnout, increase in gray matter concentration in regions involved in learning, memory and emotional regulation, the positive correlation of those changes with psychological well-being, its effects at the molecular level , along with studies of brain activity that provide an understanding of the neural mechanisms of meditation (see a recent Nature review that summarizes much of that research). From my own personal experience, mindfulness is extremely useful as a tool for enhancing creative thinking and the ability to maintain my focus and well-being in the face of the challenges of day to day life.
In the past decade mindfulness has gained acceptance and is making its way into classrooms all the way from kindergarten to college. Its potential is recognized even in the corporate world, where companies like google are making mindfulness available to their employees (see this article for example). Closer to home, we have the CSU Center for Mindfulness that can give you more information on meditation opportunities on campus and in town.
If you would like to experience the benefits of mindfulness, I lead a weekly meditation session in which we practice Shinzen Young’s Basic Mindfulness system. Beginners are welcome! Send me an email if you’d like to join.