Loyola University Chicago

Wellness Center

Mindfulness Definition and Benefits

What is Mindfulness?

"Mindfulness is moment-to-moment non-judgmental awareness cultivated through meditation and applied to any aspect of one's life."-Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness is a way of being. It allows us to face each moment as it comes. Be it positive, negative, or neutral. We so often live in the future worrying about this or that or we find ourselves stuck in the past, thinking about what could have been. Instead of living in the present moment, we move through the day on auto-pilot reacting to situations out of habit. Being aware of the present moment helps us see and assess the situation more fully, including our own innate resources. This gives us a choice on how to best react. Mindfulness meditation allows us to develop this type of present moment, non-judging awareness which is very powerful.

What are the benefits of mindfulness meditation?

In 1979, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn developed an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) group at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Since it's creation, many have found this approach helpful in facing difficulties in their life. Jon's work brought mindfulness meditation into the field of education from grammar schools to universities, hospitals, mental health clinics, prisons, and even corporate settings. Since the inception of MBSR, other mindfulness based programs have been developed and evaluated such as Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Mindfulness meditation practices have been proven effective in reducing stress and improving overall well-being. One study has shown that those who meditate tend to recover more quickly from stressful events. Other benefits that come from a regular meditation practice that would enhance student life are:

  • Increased ability to relax
  • Improved concentration
  • Greater creativity
  • Increased energy and enthusiasm for life
  • Greater self-awareness
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Better work/school performance