Introduction to Mindfulness
The term mindfulness, in western cultures, indicates a meditative practice and, more generally, a certain attitude, centered on awareness, in carrying out daily activities and even a personality trait. We sometimes hear “I practice mindfulness” meaning that we practice meditation; or “I eat mindfully” or “I walk mindfully” to indicate a certain attitude in carrying out activities in ordinary life; or finally “I’m mindful” to indicate a personality trait. This means that in the common sense diffused in the West, mindfulness consists of a twofold aspect: the psychological aspect linked to a way of being, and the practical aspect linked to meditation. But, with a more detailed study of the specific literature, we can discover that by “mindfulness” we mean more properly a faculty of the mind linked to awareness rather than a meditative practice, which serves to develop this faculty. To indicate the meditative practice we can use the term “mindfulness meditation”.
Mindfulness and mindfulness meditation have come to the West in several ways. Already in 800’s some western scholars, thanks to colonial policies regarding Asia, became interested in the study of Asian cultures and religions and in particular in the study of Buddhism. The word mindfulness is the translation of the word Pāli, sati. It was Thomas W. Rhys Davids (1843-1922), orientalist and founder of the Pāli Text Society who, in the translation to English of ancient Buddhist texts written in the Pāli language, first used the term “mindfulness” to translate the word sati (Gethin, 2011). Indeed mindfulness, in English, means remembering rather than being aware, for the latter concept the word awareness can be used more properly. However, the aspect of remembering in the term mindfulness properly describes the attitude of sati which is to remind us to be aware of what is in the present moment, letting go of everything that our mind evokes from the past and foresees of the future.
Mindfulness is therefore an awareness-based faculty of the mind that we can activate through bringing attention to the process of psychological and body experiences as they take place moment by moment. The object, to which we pay attention and then become aware of, is the body and, when we advance in the practice, the emotions and the mind itself. Beginners are urged to pay attention to the breath and sensations that arise in the body and then to the body and its various parts in order to distinguish sensations such as heat, tingling, or tension. A further step in the path of this practice is the addition of observing the tone of our sensations: their pleasantness or unpleasantness, or their neutrality. As the meditative practice progresses, one begins to turn to the states of mind, emotions and contents of the mind, thoughts and images.
The mindfulness awareness needs to be awakened in a mind that is in a state characterized by certain qualities. These must be developed through the practice itself and through an appropriate way of life. We will then try to cultivate a mind that is: open because it desires to observe everything there is to observe; receptive because it wants to welcome everything there is to welcome; lucid because it wants to observe the experience of the present moment with precision and clarity; intuitive because it does not want to give space to the rational discursiveness of thoughts that distract us from detecting things as they really are; non-judgmental because it does not want to interact with what it observes while remaining impartial both towards what is pleasant and what it is unpleasant; empathic because it wants to meet with kindness what it observes; stable because it does not want to waste energy in ineffective distractions; wise because it wants to discriminate what is healthy for us from what is not. In addition to these very important aspects, we can predispose ourselves to support our practice by being patient, dedicated, committed and at the same time cultivating an ardent soul, motivated with passion to follow the path of spiritual development, slowly making room for curiosity that pushes us towards that continuous and constant observation of reality as it is.
In addition to assuming these qualities, awareness needs to work along with other faculties of the mind. We have already mentioned the role of attention that is necessary for selecting what we want to become aware of. In addition to this attentional aspect, it is necessary to add a cognitive aspect. Mindful awareness hopes to investigate the phenomena it observes and tries to understand their nature. According to the Buddhist view, the nature of all phenomena is characterized by their changing nature and impermanence and all those who think that they are agents who condition and control these phenomena are living an illusion because their nature, of agents, is without substance. Being able to experience the intuitive rather than rational knowledge of these two aspects leads to liberation from suffering. Without this cognitive aspect, the practice of mindfulness meditation will certainly bring benefits such as greater calm and concentration, but it will not bring transformative benefits capable of reducing our afflictions.
Looking for a definition
The existing literature that deals with mindfulness is quite heterogeneous. We move from Buddhist literature to western scientific literature through a continuum of contributions. Modern Buddhist literature is dedicated to elaborating and commenting on ancient Buddhist texts. On the contrary, western scientific literature searches to demonstrate the action of mindfulness on the mind in the psychological context and on the brain in the neurological context through experimental studies. This approach has often stripped away the wealth contained in the ancient Buddhist teachings but at the same time in some ways, see Kabat-Zinn, (2011) for an example , it has allowed the integration of mindfulness into the Western culture. There are many scholars who urge greater integration between the ancient Buddhist tradition and Western science, for example Van Gordon and Shonin (Van Gordon et al., 2015). This would bring greater completeness and depth to the interventions on mindfulness utilized in the West in various contexts such as that of well-being, education and business.
Looking at the existing literature, it is clear that there is no single, shared definition of mindfulness. There are several recent works in literature that have highlighted this lack, for example (Bodhi, 2011; Chiesa, 2013; Lutz et al., 2015). They have stressed that the difficulty derives from the fact that the meaning and operationality of mindfulness was borrowed from often inconsistent (non coherent) teachings belonging to a culture far from ours and, moreover, expressed in a language difficult to translate. In this transfer and translation process, something has often been lost and confusion has arisen. By searching here and there in the literature, it is possible to trace different definitions that somehow overlap and complement each other. Here are some of them (for a more exhaustive list see (Khoury et al., 2017).
Here are two definitions by contemporary Buddhist masters: mindfulness is “memory and lucid awareness of present happenings ” by the scholar monk Theravada Bhikkhu Bodhi (Bodhi, 2011, p. 25) and also mindfulness is ” keeping one’s consciousness alive on the present reality” by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh (Hanh, 1992a, p. 11).
Mindfulness is ” the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experiences moment by moment” by Jon Kabat-Zinn, inventor of the MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) protocol introduced in late 70s (Kabat ‐ Zinn, 2003, p. 145). Another known definition is that of the psychologists Brown and Ryan: mindfulness is “a receptive attention to and awareness of present moment events and experiences” then adding that “it is characterized by qualities including receptivity, clarity, stability / continuity, flexibility and non-conceptual awareness “(Brown et al., 2007, p. 112).
Finally another interesting definition comes from the psychologist Ellen Langer of Harvard University who introduced a “secular” theory on mindfulness without reference to Buddhism: mindfulness is “the creation of new categories, the opening to new information, and the awareness of multiple perspectives “(Langer & Moldoveanu, 2000, p. 2).
From these definitions we can deduce different aspects that characterize mindfulness that I have already described above. We note that there is always a reference to attention. This is a faculty of the mind that serves to select the object to which the other cognitive activities of the mind are directed. For example, if I have to solve a math problem I pay attention to its formulation so as to allow rational cognitive thinking to perform the calculations necessary to solve the problem. Well this faculty of mind is necessary for mindfulness because it prepares the ground for its establishment. By paying attention to the breath, for example, I prepare the mind to be collected, calm, malleable and, in doing so, I let awareness observe what there is to observe, in this case the breath. Attention allows awareness to meet the breath and stay in touch with it. Another aspect that emerges from the definitions is the reference to the present moment, to the much quoted “here and now”. Because it is only in the present moment that we can observe what is really inside or outside of us. Every time we turn to the past or the future we let our interpretation alter our vision of things because we can be in the past or in the future only through our mind that remembers or imagines. On the contrary, we try with mindful awareness to observe things for those who are really coming into contact with them in the most direct and immediate way possible and as free as possible from any interpretation conditioned by the attraction and repulsion it generates in us in contact with experience of things.
In addition to what I have described above, other aspects related to mindfulness are described in contemporary Buddhist literature and are often overlooked in western contexts should be added (Church, 2013; Gethin, 2011; Lomas, 2017). Mindfulness is the translation of the term Pāli sati which, in ancient Buddhist texts, is embedded in a complex semantic structure. Its meaning is iridescent and in addition this term is accompanied by others that enrich its meaning. We get in touch with the “object” of meditative contemplation thanks to the attention, we observe it with awareness and then we investigate it and understand it for what it really is. Linked to these cognitive aspects there are aspects concerning ethics that should shape our behaviors, allowing us to make the meditative practice effective and supporting us on the path to liberation from suffering. These aspects give mindfulness a quality of wisdom: mindfulness seeks to recognize, through investigation and discernment, what is healthy for us and what is not. The ethical aspect of mindfulness has been neglected in the West both in the clinical and non-clinical contexts of well-being where the emphasis falls on aspects aimed at improving mental performance rather than those that favor an individual’s transformational process towards liberation from suffering.
How to practice
The faculty of the mind that we have called mindfulness is trained with meditative practice. The instructions to follow such training derive from a practice developed in Buddhism. In two fundamental speeches transcribed in the Pāli language, Anapanasati Sutta (Hanh, 1994; Sucitto, 2000, 2002), and Satipatthana Sutta (Anālayo, 2018; Goldstein, 2016; Hanh, 1992b), Buddha describes a meditative practice which consists in intentionally orienting in the present moment the attention towards what we can perceive in our body (heat, pain, vibrations, …), towards the type of sensations (pleasant, unpleasant and neutral) generated by the perceptions observed in the body, towards the states of mind (mental numbness, clarity, agitation …), and towards the “mental objects” (discursive thoughts, concepts, images ….). Mindfulness meditative practice consists in closing one’s eyes and dedicating a certain period of time paying attention initially to one’s natural breath and the sensations it generates in the body (Hanh, 1992a; Kabat-Zinn, 1997). During the practice we assume a comfortable position while ensuring that the back is straight, we can choose to sit cross-legged on a cushion on the ground, or in a chair for an easier position. Breathing is a simple and powerful way to train our ability to pay a focused attention on something and to be aware of the processes, in this case related to breathing, which take place over time. When the attention and awareness of breathing has been stabilized, we can move on to examine the body by observing the sensations that are encountered as we go through the various parts of the body, such as the thermal sensations of heat or cold and the mechanical sensations of tensions, tingling, vibrations. We can observe one part of the body at a time using focused attention or widen the field of observation to the whole body, the body that breathes. As the practice progresses and with the acquisition of a certain mastery, we can commit ourselves to detecting the tone of the sensations that we encounter in the body, whether pleasant, unpleasant or neutral, being able to recognize the intention that arises to hold back what we like, to remove what we don’t like and remain indifferent to what we perceive as neutral. Finally, we can move on to examining the mind. In this case it will happen that awareness, the faculty of the mind, observes the mind itself. This can lead to some loss because we are not used to observing our own mind. But what will we observe of our mind? First of all awareness itself, thanks to the ability we have to be aware of being aware. Thanks again to our meta-cognitive abilities, we will be able to observe the quality of our mental state – maybe there is sleepiness, maybe there is distraction, maybe there is calm – and then, including the affective aspects, we will be able to ask ourselves “how do I feel ? ”, and wait for a response that describes the mood that dwells in us at the present moment. There is a difference between mental state and emotional state even if the place of emotions is still the mind, but a mind that is a “mind-heart”. Once we have investigated the scenario of being, we can turn to the contents of the mind and therefore to the thoughts, images, memories, intentions, and again to the emotions that cross the observation field of awareness. We observe their changeability and impermanence and their existence independent of our will. Therefore, it may happen that we take a step backwards observing what gradually arises in the mind as if it were disconnected from ourselves and this may appease us, easing the grip of our afflictions.
When we intentionally meditate on the breath, body, mind and contents of the mind, attention is focused on a specific delimited field. In this case, when thoughts, images, memories and in general any mental formations arise, and this is inevitable, attention must be brought back to the meditative object, in a gentle way, trying not to judge oneself for being distracted. Even when the distraction derives from emotions that arise unexpectedly or are already present from the beginning of the practice, we can try to become witnesses who observe how they arise, develop and cease, who capture their nuances, their changes and embodiment in the form of bodily sensations. We will therefore try to accept these distractions in a non-judgmental and equanimous way and whenever possible we will return to pay attention to the sensations connected to the breath or to the other objects that we have chosen to observe. The mental formations that arise during meditative practice distract the mind from focusing on the object we are contemplating in meditation, for example breathing, and, to return to the object of focus, it is necessary to perform three steps: the first is to be aware that we are distracted, the second is to “let go” of what distracted us, the third is to re-orienting the focus on the meditative object. The numerous repetitions of this cyclical process experienced during meditative practice “train” the attentional ability to stay focused on a defined object and the ability to monitor the external events and mental formations that occur in the present moment, with non-judgmental and equanimous acceptance (Lutz , Slagter., Dunne, & Davidson, 2008). The meditation practice consists precisely in reorienting countless times to our breathing or physical sensations or, in general, to the object of meditation. This training develops immediate benefits such as the ability to regulate attention and emotions and an increase in awareness. Furthermore, during meditation we will be able to experience pacifying and calming “absorption states” which naturally generate psychological well-being even when we leave the formal practice to live daily life, managing to be more helpful, more patient, more welcoming.
There is a version of formal practice which consists of the so-called “mindful walk”, cankama in the Pāli language. In this practice, considered very powerful by the Buddhist meditative tradition, attention is paid to the sensations generated by the movement of the feet and by their contact with the ground during the walk. In this case we will try to apply to the movement of the feet, the same attentional focus that we try to apply to breathing in the “sitting practice”. The benefits of cankama are linked to the fact that in this case we pay attention to an ordinary activity such as walking and this trains us to bring mindfulness into the activities of daily living.
In addition to the practice that focuses on a specific object such as breathing – which is called FA (Focus Attention) – there is the possibility of expanding the field of observation of awareness by opening ourselves to everything that comes to our attention. In literature this modality, complementary to the FA, is called Open Monitoring – OM (Lutz et al., 2008; Tang et al., 2015). OM includes everything that reaches consciousness, without however retaining or rejecting anything, following an equanimous way of observing. It is as if we were observing a film in which, independently of our will, things happen, there will be images, thoughts, sensations, sounds that follow one another without being intentionally detained or hunted. However, we can observe the reactions that this film internally generates in us, there will be emotions and physical sensations that perhaps will encourage us to keep something or move something else away. So, in this more or less wide field of observation, we can also include our reactions, our tendencies, our emotions…. everything will flow in the flow of our consciousness and we will observe it. OM can be a more complex way to practice than FA because we could easily experience a feeling of loss by finding ourselves immersed in a torrent of continuous and entropic consciousness that laps our being.
Mindfulness can be done through formal meditation and through conscious daily living. In the second case, it will be a matter of paying attention and giving awareness to daily activities, such as eating when we are eating, taking a shower when we are taking a shower. We can carry out each activity in mindful awareness in a way that is placed on a continuum between FA and OM. I can wash the vegetables before cooking by paying attention only to this action or I can gradually include something else such as the emotions I feel at this moment, the thoughts that pass through the mind or the sound of water. There are therefore moments of formal practice where we sit on a cushion or walk meditating and moments of “informal” practice that require a certain type of attitude towards the activities of life. This dual level of practice corresponds to the use of the terms: “mindfulness state” and “mindfulness trait” of the personality. When people engage in mindfulness training it is assumed that their ability to be aware during meditation practice increases and therefore it makes sense to detect the “state of mindfulness” which presumably tends to increase over time. Furthermore, it is assumed that the results of this repeated practice over time translate into something more stable which concerns the predisposition to be aware in everyday life, that is, to develop a “mindfulness trait” of the personality. In other words, when individuals generate deeper states of awareness during meditation, they develop a greater tendency to show mental attitudes and behaviors even outside of meditation, in the context of everyday life. And this has shown to be beneficial to psychological health by giving different benefits as I will describe in the next paragraph.
Many contributions found in western scientific literature have investigated the benefits obtained from the use of mindfulness meditation practice and, more generally, of a mindfulness lifestyle (Brown et al., 2007; Sedlmeier et al., 2012). Several experiments have been carried out in the neurological scientific field aimed at measuring how mindfulness affects cognition, emotions, behavior and, in general, the physiology of the brain. The results showed that mindfulness improves attentional skills and develops the ability to address the experiences we live in the present with awareness, openness and acceptance (Chiesa et al., 2011; Lutz et al., 2008; Tang et al., 2015 ). It has also been shown that the following benefits derive from these abilities (Good et al., 2016):
- increase in emotional self-regulation and the ability to manage stress,
- increase in self-awareness and perception of self-efficacy,
- increased cognitive ability and flexibility, development of metacognitive skills,
- increase in self-regulation in behaviors and reduction in the automation of responses,
- increased neuroplasticity and slowing down of brain aging.
These benefits can be used in different areas: in well-being and spiritual research, in the workplace and organizations by increasing individual performance and collective performance that improves interpersonal relationships, and finally in education by increasing learning ability and academic performance .
With regards to the business environment, there are many publications in the literature that analyze the benefits of introducing mindfulness in this field. The study of mindfulness has, in this case, crossed over into the study of organizations and collective systems in the field of social psychology. They have given rise to two intersecting dimensions of investigation: individual mindfulness and collective mindfulness. The latter, also called organizational mindfulness, linked to the social aspects of organizations delineates an organization of highly reliable individuals capable of being aware of significant details and mistakes made and having a quick reaction ability based on shared knowledge and freedom of action on what is observed (Sutcliffe et al., 2016). In the paper of Sutcliffe, Vogus, and Dane (2016), it is underlined how mindfulness for employees is associated with lower turnover rates, and how for the company it is positively correlated with healthy organizational results including greater customer satisfaction; more effective allocation of resources; greater innovation and improvement of the quality of products and processes, safety and reliability. The authors note that these effects are most commonly observed in particularly challenging contexts characterized by complexity, dynamism and intolerance of errors. In another recent review by Good and colleagues (Good et al., 2016), they analyze various contributions from the literature on the use of mindfulness-based training in companies, highlighting the measured benefits regarding performance, social relationships and well-being within companies. With regards to performance, benefits were highlighted both in the job performance aspects related to the performance of ordinary work, and in the task performance aspects related to goal-oriented contexts, also in the safety performance for complex and dangerous jobs (control rooms). Regarding social relationships in the workplace, benefits were highlighted in the quality of communication, conflict management, leadership and team work. In particular, with regards to leadership, there are several contributions that describe how mindfulness can increase creative ability, strategic thinking, crucial aspects for transformational leadership (e.g. Good et al., 2016; Kets de Vries, 2015). In addition it should be remembered that in the management field there are several important contributions given by the Harvard professor Ellen Langer (Langer & Moldoveanu, 2000) who, with a socio-cognitive approach, has been able to experience how a mindfulness state develops flexible thoughts that generate a greater sensitivity to the context in which one acts by creating new conceptual categories, opening up to new information and to the awareness that there are more perspectives for solving problems.
With regards to the academic context, in the last two decades short courses based on mindfulness have been introduced in universities and the benefits in terms of well-being, learning effectiveness and achievement of academic objectives have been measured. In particular, it has been highlighted that meditation practice improves the regulation of emotions involved in learning and exam performance, the regulation of attention, self-awareness, improves cognitive and metacognitive processes that may be relevant for learning effective (Hassed & Chambers, 2014; Palmer et al., 2010; Schonert-Reichl, 2016; Shapiro et al., 2011; Zajonc, 2013). Furthermore, mindfulness develops flexible thinking, helps to create new conceptual categories and opens up to multiple perspectives for problem solving (Langer, 1997). In a recent review article McConville and colleagues (McConville et al., 2017) analyze 29 articles, out of a sample of 5355 candidates, that deal with experiments carried out at universities of medicine and health sciences that evaluate the effects of mindfulness-based interventions on learning and well-being of students. In the conclusions, it has been stated that mindfulness-based interventions decrease stress, anxiety and depression and improve mood, self-efficacy and empathy; they also improve study skills, memory functions, cognitive performance and academic performance. In another recent review article Bamber & Morpeth (Bamber & Morpeth, 2019) analyze 25 works, on a sample of 1492 articles published in recent years, which evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness in managing anxiety in university settings. The authors found that mindfulness-based interventions reduce anxiety in college students significantly. All this being said, it is not surprising that mindfulness-based training has been introduced permanently to several universities around the world. In some cases mindfulness-based training has been used in curricular courses, such as in the case described by Kuechler, & Stedham (Kuechler & Stedham, 2018), in which mindfulness practice has been used in MBA courses in order to emphasize transformational effects of learning very useful in management courses where a great ability to transform one’s way of perceiving things and solutions is required. In fact, a creative approach to problem solving and a developed awareness of one’s own and others’ perspectives and a reduced resistance to new ways of seeing and doing things are required. Other interesting examples of the use of mindfulness in academic courses can be found as described in the article by Mirabai Bush (Bush, 2011); two interesting reference books of mindfulness in education are the books by Arthur Zajonc and Parker Palmer (Palmer et al., 2010; Zajonc, 2013).
Diffusion in the West and experiences in the world
Thanks to its benefits briefly described above, mindfulness spread in the West initially in the 1980s, in the clinical context because of the MBSR (Mindful Based Stress Reduction) protocol proposed by Jon Kabat Zinn in 1979 (Kabat-Zinn, 2003) for the reduction of stress in terminally ill patients. This protocol, structured into eight meetings of about two hours, instructs the participants in meditative practice and the development of a conscious attitude in daily activities, such as in the consumption of meals. The fact that this training has been codified in a protocol has contributed to the spread of the MBSR, as well as in the hospital setting, in other institutional areas such as business and university, where it has proved convenient to use standardized procedures.
Unlike the organizational-institutional environment, the private context of personal growth and development finds a myriad of different offers of meditative practices. The offers differ in terms of duration, course structure and inspiration, the latter can be more or less oriented towards Buddhism. With regards to mindfulness there are MBSR courses and other differently structured courses offered by specialized centers. The goals of the individuals are mostly related to the improvement of the quality of their life, therefore to the reduction of stress and anxiety, to the increase of cognitive abilities, to the achievement of a positive and peaceful state of mind.
As for the business context, compared to the MBSR which consists of 8 meetings, the interventions tend to be shorter (from a few hours to six weeks), but still include the exercises used in the MBSR, such as awareness in eating or observing the body detecting the various sensations that may be present. As we have already said, in companies the individual dimension intersects – which develops attention, concentration, focus on the task, learning, reflexivity, lateral thinking, optimal use of one’s resources – and the collective dimension – in which performance is improved, greater customer satisfaction is pursued, resources are allocated more effectively, innovation and quality, safety and reliability are facilitated. These two dimensions are enhanced both individually with training aimed towards the individual, and with training aimed at teams and work groups. Many large multinationals have adopted mindfulness-based courses for employees in order to increase well-being, productivity and job satisfaction, and to create more effective leadership. Google, is renowned for it’s use of mindfulness, introduced by Chade-Meng Tan who since 2007 has trained about 2000 employees in mindfulness; but also the experience at General Mills led by Janice Marturano who later founded the Institute for Mindful Leadership (https://instituteformindfulleadership.org/). In addition to the aforementioned, there are other important agencies that offer mindfulness services such as the famous Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (https://siyli.org/programs) (Hyland et al., 2015).
As for the academic world, thanks to the benefits described in the previous paragraph, there are many cases of short mindfulness courses introduced in universities around the world, especially the Anglo-Saxon one, and mindfulness-based training courses introduced permanently in several universities in Worldwide. In particular, for example, in (Bush, 2011) are those reported in the United States, where meditative practices are introduced as training tools in ordinary university courses and, in the aforementioned Kuecher and Stedham (Kuechler & Stedham, 2018 ) mindfulness has been incorporated into an MBA course to encourage transformational learning. These experiences are corroborated by a large literature which underlines the importance of introducing contemplative practices such as mindfulness in learning contexts (Palmer et al., 2010; Schonert-Reichl, 2016; Shapiro et al., 2011; Zajonc, 2013) . Furthermore, it must be said that in many renowned universities, such as the prestigious Harvard University (wellness.huhs.harvard.edu/Mindfulness) or the University of Oxford (oxfordmindfulness.org), permanent mindfulness training is often offered, many times within wellness service centers, where students can learn how to manage anxiety and stress. In Italy there are no centers predisposed for teaching mindfulness in universities, however a significant experience has been made with students of the Management Engineering course of the Polytechnic School of Basic Sciences of the University of Naples Federico II with the MEL Unina course conducted by the author of this article (www.mel-met.com). The MEL course has been held regularly every year since 2016 and has been evaluated for its effectiveness in a recently published work (Corti & Gelati, 2020).
There are several tools for measuring mindfulness used in literature in the various areas of use, but in particular in the academic contexts and in business environment. These are self-reported questionnaires that measure the mindfulness states achieved during meditation practice and the mindfulness traits of the personality. Regarding states of mindfulness we mention the Toronto Mindfulness Scale (TMS) (Lau et al., 2006). With regards to the measure of personality traits, we mention the most important: the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) (Baer et al., 2006) and the Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) (Brown & Ryan, 2003) validated in Italy by Veneziani et al., (Veneziani & Voci, 2015). We used this last questionnaire in a recent publication on IJERPH in which we assessed the effectiveness of the use of mindfulness in universities, finding an increase in MAAS values following the mindfulness-based intervention (Corti & Gelati, 2020) .