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Awareness inspired by the concept of Mindfulness

Experiencing mindfulness means being present and rooted in the present moment, as it is, and in your own life. The awareness of being here and now is a turning point. It enables you to derive knowledge from your own experience, to move beyond the previous framework of judgmental thinking without categorising into good or bad, and to be in touch with what is difficult, what causes discomfort, tension or racing thoughts.

Through greater engagement you will experience being more inside your body, with greater acceptance of what comes up, without invalidating, running away or rejecting yourself. Mindfulness is about cultivating a kinder and more accepting attitude towards yourself, the thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations that arise.  

The pace of life to which we have become accustomed makes us work in an action mode, which means that we are habitually goal-oriented and continue to analyse where we are and where we want to be. It is like driving a car while there is a conversation with your boss pending in mind – while on the way, you are having a fierce discussion with him or her in your mind and when you get to work, you cannot tell what happened on the way. Sometimes you may also be concerned that in this internal ‘switching off to the outside world’ you might have missed a red light somewhere along the way. Meanwhile, if you were able to switch into the mode of being while driving your car, you would notice on the left the beautiful view of a park shrouded in mist at sunrise, or a funny little girl with pigtails crossing the road and dragging a teddy bear right in front of the bonnet of your car. If you were in the mode of being, you could smell oatmeal with cinnamon and roasted apples for breakfast, the warmth of the sun rays on your cheek just after leaving the house or the dew on the leaves of a ripening strawberry in the house garden. It is like living on autopilot and living fully with the awareness of choice. Thich Nhat Hanh writes beautifully about this in his book ‘Silence’: ‘We spend a lot of time looking for happiness when the world around us is full of wonder. To be alive and walk on the Earth is a miracle, and yet most of us are running as if there were some better place to get to.  There is beauty calling to us every day, every hour, but we are rarely in a position to listen1.

A photo of a women with open arms facing sun

In 1979, Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts, created MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction)2.

The MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) programme is an extension of MBSR and has been modified by professors: Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale. John Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as a special kind of attention - conscious, non-judgmental and directed at the present moment. Mindfulness is the ability to focus and maintain attention on the present moment, and redirect it to what supports us. As a result, new competencies are developed such as feeling in control of what you include in your attention, experiencing yourself and the world ‘without a harsh critic in your head’. Additionally, the tendency to worry is also reduced through mindfulness practice.

The eight-week MBCT programme emphasises an attitude of curiosity, acceptance and kindness towards oneself, so that participants learn how to take better care of themselves. The effects of regular mindfulness practice have been researched for some 20 years both by the authors of the programme and by researchers worldwide and have been repeatedly confirmed in clinical settings3.

This is especially true for the prevention of recurrent depression. Mindfulness has become part of evidence-based psychological therapy, and the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended it as an effective therapy to prevent recurrent depression. Studies have also confirmed the effectiveness of the Mindfulness technique in treating asthma, heart disease, chronic pain, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, sleep disorders, mood, eating and anxiety, among others. Mindfulness has become a tool increasingly applied at medical centres, schools, work environments, sports training programmes, personal development venues and in business.

A common perception is that people think they are too busy to meditate. The so-called micromeditations, which can be practiced several times throughout the day for about 1-3 minutes, consist of becoming aware of your breathing. These can be moments before making an important decision, or when feeling tired, distracted or stressed out. It is important to take a moment to notice whether your breath is shallow or deep, to relax your body, and to try to pay non-judgmental attention to the abdomen, which rises when inhaling and falls when exhaling. At other times, during a conference or lecture, you can concentrate only on listening, nothing else. This may seem simple, but it can be a challenge at the start. 


1 Nhat Hann T., Silence. The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise, Rider, 2015.

2Source: Polskie Towarzystwo Mindfulness.

3 Jankowski, T., Holas, P., Poznawcze mechanizmy uważności i jej zastosowanie w psychoterapii. Studia Psychologiczne vol. 47, 2009, Booklet 4., p. 59-79.

Reference literature 

Kabat-Zin, J., Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, Rodale Books, 2011.

Kabat-Zin, J., Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, Delacorte Press, 1990. 

Mindfulness for People Who Are Too Busy to Meditate, Gonzalez, M., Harvard Business Review, 2014,  source:

Nhat Hann T., Silence. The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise, Rider, 2015.

Segal Zindel V., Williams J., Mark G., Teasdale John D., Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression, Taylor&Francis Ltd., 2012.

Source: Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches, 2019. 

Source: Polskie Towarzystwo Mindfulness, 2019.

About the author

Katarzyna Podgórska is a psychology graduate and a psychotherapist in the process of certification by the Polish Psychologists’ Association. She completed a 4-year comprehensive psychotherapy programme at the Systemic Training Centre and the Art and Science of Coaching programme organised by the Jagiellonian University Training Centre in collaboration with Erickson College. On a regular basis, she works in her private practice as well as at the Jagiellonian University Student Centre for Support and Adaptation, where she runs the Mindfulness group. In her free time, she travels to places off the beaten tract.