Mindfulness is everywhere you look these days. The mindfulness revolution is on us, but what exactly is it and what does it have to do with you as a firefighter? Frequent questions about mindfulness include the
following: Isn’t mindfulness something that Buddhist monks
or hippies do? Don’t you have to sit on the floor with your legs
crossed in some ungodly position and chant? Do you have to
have music and candles to practice mindfulness?
It is true that mindfulness originally came from the Buddhist
tradition. However, with the advent of mindfulness based stress
reduction (MBSR), created by Jon Kabat-Zinn in his Stress
Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical
School in the early 1970s, mindfulness has become not only
secular but also a well-researched treatment for a wide variety of
conditions ranging from depression to pain relief.
MINDFULNESS IN EVERYDAY LIFE
The focus of this article is the use of mindfulness in everyday
life by ordinary people. Why should firefighters be interested in
mindfulness at all? Here are some questions to ask yourself to
determine if mindfulness is for you.
• Have you ever found that you come home from a shift and
have trouble winding down?
• Are you ready to jump at a moment’s notice even if you are
not on call?
• Do you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders?
• Do you catch yourself worrying about what might happen,
losing touch with what really is happening around you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider developing some mindfulness skills.
A BIT ABOUT MINDFULNESS
Kabat-Zinn, the person who has probably done the most in
bringing mindfulness to the West, has described mindfulness
simply as, “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in
the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Another way he has
described mindfulness is as, “Bringing one’s complete attention to
the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis.” It sounds
quite simple, doesn’t it?
It actually is deceptively simple in that it is not hard to “do.”
Using mindfulness in everyday life
BY NAOMI L. BAUM