Video: “Mindfulness and Mental Health” with Runcie, Jennings, Brewer and Leifman.

60 Minutes: What it’s like to try to achieve “mindfulness,” by Anderson Cooper

This article is cross-posted from 60 Minutes on CBS News.

Anderson Cooper reports on what it’s like to try to achieve “mindfulness,” a self-awareness scientists say is very healthy, but rarely achieved in today’s world of digital distractions

The following is a script from “Mindfulness” which aired on Dec. 14, 2014. Anderson Cooper is the correspondent. Denise Schrier Cetta, producer. Matthew Danowski , editor.

Our lives are filled with distractions — email, Twitter, texting we’re constantly connected to technology, rarely alone with just our thoughts. Which is probably why there’s a growing movement in America to train people to get around the stresses of daily life.

It’s a practice called “mindfulness” and it basically means being aware of your thoughts, physical sensations, and surroundings.

Tonight, we’ll introduce you to the man who’s largely responsible for mindfulness gaining traction. His name is Jon Kabat-Zinn and he thinks mindfulness is the answer for people who are so overwhelmed by life, they feel they aren’t really living at all.

Jon Kabat-Zinn: There are a lot of different ways to talk about mindfulness, but what it really means is awareness.

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Anderson Cooper: Is it being present?

Jon Kabat-Zinn: It is being present. That’s exactly what it is.

Anderson Cooper: I don’t feel I’m very present in each moment. I feel like every moment I’m either thinking about something that’s coming down the road, or something that’s been in the past.

Jon Kabat-Zinn: So ultimately all this preparing is for what? For the next moment, like the last moment, like, and then we’re dead (laugh) so in a certain way…

Anderson Cooper: Oh God, this is depressing.

Jon Kabat-Zinn: Are we going to experience while we’re still alive? We’re only alive now.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, is an MIT-trained scientist who’s been practicing mindfulness for 47 years. Back in 1979, he started teaching mindfulness through meditation to people suffering from chronic pain and illness. That program is now used in more than 700 hospitals worldwide.

Anderson Cooper: So how can you be mindful in your daily life?

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