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Text Silvia Nascimento

Who has never had the sensation of leaving the house and thinking: “How did I get here?”, or ordering your favorite dish in a restaurant and, when you come to it, the food is over, but the impression is like you didn’t eat it.

These are some examples of situations where your body is present, but the mind scrambles to other preoccupation or distractions, such as the smartphone. It is like we are living in auto pilot spending the hours of the day semiconscious.

The state of mindfulness, full attention, can be defined as a mental condition contrary to living unaware or always too reactive to the stressings of everyday.
"The main methodologies for the development of this practice are exercises derived from some meditative actions that use the body itself (breathing and body sensations) as anchors to train attention”, explains Malu Favarato, who is taking her masters in Collective Health at Unifesp, and is responsible for the Clinical Evaluation Nucleus at Centro Mente Aberta - Mindfulness Brasil.

The activity got to Brazil in 2015, and there are several initiatives to lead mindfulness to SUS’ patients (the governmental health system’s patients), who have less financial conditions to go to study centers. 

“In Brazil, the concept was brought by pioneers that studied abroad. It is us, psychologists, who started to insert the practices in the public health Brazilian system”, explains Daniela Sopezki, the first Brazilian to get certified in the Breathworks method - an English mindfulness school. She is also a Doctor in Collective Health from Unifesp.
But is mindfulness for everyone? 
No. In extreme cases of anxiety and depression, the procedure is not indicated. Malu, from the Mente Aberta center, explains: “It is important to pay special attention in the case of patients with intense and acute symptoms, or in special conditions, like with people with schizophrenia. In this cases, the recommendation is for the follow up with a health professional, besides a certified and competent Mindfulness teacher.”

According to specialists, the vantage of living in the present in an intense way is the minimal irritation with the problems that cause the typical everyday nuisances, like traffic, a inharmonious professional environment, family troubles and a turbulent academic life. 
The sensation is of a more sustainable wellness state, with psychological (more resilience, positive attitude, functional decision making) and physical reflexes (minor harmful stress effects in our vital functions, such as in imuno and inflammatory responses).
Is not meditation. 
The full attention practices have no religious background and can’t be defined as meditation, warns Daniela Sopeski. “Midnfulness is not meditation. It is an apprenticeship that can happen absolutely whenever. It is the conscience of being present in the moment - but in which moment? Any of them! Every time is an opportunity to be mindful”.

The excesses of the use of technology also has been causing damage to people’s perception. When going to sleep, during meals or driving, the cellphone has been replacing the focus on the real present for digital entertainment, and this is considered a fugue resource for those trying to escape reality. Tech isn’t the enemy, the important thing is to know who controls who.
Mindfulness helps in the first moment of this conscience taking: do I use technology usefully and consciously? 
"The practitioners notice the pure automatisms, like taking out the cellphone without conscious intention, the phobia of being without battery, the unquietness of spending hours unplugged. They also start to dialogue, to interact in social media and with the resources in an optimal manner, appropriating this tool, for it to a regate something that is truly needed and not what the distracted and used mind says we need”, finishes Daniela.

Ilustrations Lucas Rehnman