Jon Kabat-Zinn is an American professor of medicine considered to all intents and purposes the father of mindfulness modern.
In 1979 he founded the famous program of awareness-based stress reduction (MBSR, Mindfulness-Based-Stress-Reduction) at the University of Massachusetts, with the aim of treating the chronically ill with an approach focused on this particular meditation technique.
Author of numerous books and guided meditation programs, Jon Kabat-Zinn has contributed to an ever-increasing adoption of mindfulness in traditional western institutions such as health care and hospitals, schools, businesses, prisons and sports associations.
Over the course of his years of study and dissemination, Kabat-Zinn has drawn up a list of seven key attitudes for a happier life, all based on the mindfulness approach. In this article we find out what they are and how we can integrate them into our lives to bring all the benefits of mindfulness into our daily life.
The Seven Keys to a Happy Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
The practice of non-judgment is to pay attention to ours opinions as they arise and understand their nature, acting from outside observers.
Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about how the human mind tends to catalog all things, including our thoughts, compartmentalized like good, bad e neutral.
Taking a perspective of not judgment and being fully aware that we can draw the maximum joy from good things, to accept bad things (doing us less harm) and becoming more carefull to neutral things, we can realize how much each of these aspects contributes to enriching our life.
For example, instead of judging one bad experience and get emotionally involved with it, we can simply take a step back, see it for what it is (a life lesson), accept the implications and move on.
Of course judging thoughts will always arise in our consciousness (they are part of human nature), but with this approach we can simply observe them e let them pass without acting and without letting them influence us. We talked more about non-judgment in this article.
This talent speaks for itself, but still many people fail to understand its importance. Having patience simply means letting things unfold in their time.
The meditation, for example, it is not in itself difficult to learn, but it requires patience e perseverance. It takes some time to see the benefits, so you need to be consistent. Doing it once a week is helpful, but when you find time to practice everyday the evidence shows that you are actually reprogramming your brain, training it for awareness, calm and serenity.
This attitude is also about the act of being patient with ourselves, do not establish unrealistic expectations for achieving a goal at a specific time and being patient with others who have lived their lives through a variety of circumstances that we are not aware of.
See the world as if it were there first time and see them endless possibilities is the key to this mentality.
The knowledge can limit the perception of what we don’t know, so a key part of becoming wise (rather than intelligent) is to feel comfortable with what we don’t know. When we accumulate a lot of knowledge and become opinionated, we can easily lose touch with the little joys in our life.
Maintain the enthusiasm and naivety of a starving beginner to know when you are faced with something you do not know or do not understand: you will be amazed at how much you can learn from that experience.
The confidence it simply consists into listen our body and our sensations.
This dowry helps us to trust that if we let go of them anxieties for the future and regrets of the past and live fully in the here I’m, everything will be OK.
When we cultivate the self-confidence, we build a sense of calm and peace that allows us to savor the most here and now, even starting to trust other people more, because we are not jumping to conclusions about what they might do or questioning their motives. We exist in the present and interpret their words and actions for what they are now.
Really listening to those around us with an open and present mind creates strength human connections, which in turn fuel our self-confidence.
In today’s world we are always trying to get somewhere, constantly running towards a new destination. But an important aspect of awareness is realizing that have you already arrived, here and now.
We cannot live in the name of hypothetical future happiness if all we are doing is sacrifice our well-being in the present. We tell ourselves that we will be happy when we get a degree, a promotion, we get married, we have children, when we retire. This is the only time we can be happy: awareness is theart of stopping, appreciating where we are and who we are with, rather than focusing only on tomorrow.
To accept things as they are is perhaps one of the most difficult acts of all.
Accepting something does not mean that we cannot do anything to change it: the idea is that, through awareness, you can see things as they are objectively and decide how to act with greater clarity.
Many mistakenly believe that awareness somehow leads to accepting injustice and suffering – but the opposite is true! When we accept ourselves, others and the situations around us we can act with emotional intelligence e compassion to change them, rather than in anger or fear.
By identifying the attachments that make us suffer, we can trace the roots of our anger, fear or sadness and better understand why we react in certain ways in certain circumstances.
Once we apply awareness to our attachments, we gradually begin to understand ourselves and consequently to feel compassion for ourselves. This leads us to gradually free ourselves from suffering, instead of considering it as one part of us or one necessary punishment.
Looking at ourselves from the outside, as a close friend would look at us, is a great way to better identify the emotional blocks that keep us attached to certain people or situations and let them go guilt-free.
These simple but effective awareness exercises, if practiced daily, they help us to see life in a new light, observing with different eyes what happens inside and outside of us.
There is no need for great revolutions or majestic gestures to be more serene: everything is already within us, we just have to learn to listen to ourselves with the right tools.
Here are two books by Jon Kabat-Zinn that I recommend you read to learn more about the many benefits that there is mindfulness can bring in your days: