Interview with Javier García Campayo
Javier García Campayo is a Professor of Psychiatry. Director of the Master of Mindfulness at the University of Zaragoza. He has written 50 scientific articles and 10 books on Mindfulness.
He has participated in the project CONDUCE CON MENTE of P(A)T that aims to bring the world of mindfullnes to driving with the aim of saving lives. We have interviewed him to learn more about how this technique can help to avoid traffic accidents.
What is the origin of mindfulness?
It began at the University of Massachusetts in 1979 by the physician Jon Kabat-Zinn with the aim of improving the quality of life of patients with chronic diseases. It is based on Eastern meditation practices, but it is a Western psychotherapy with great scientific evidence.
What does it consist of?
It consists of developing attention. Our mind wanders more than half the time because it is not trained. A powerful attention improves the efficiency of any activity but, above all, makes us happier, because this attention is not diverted to negative thoughts and emotions.
One of the great evils of our society is the rush, what can mindfulness bring?
Paying attention to the present moment allows us to realize that happiness is not in continuously doing activities or possessing things, but in accepting and living thoroughly the experiences that are happening to us in each moment. It is in the little things. Therefore, mindfulness allows us to appreciate every second of our life because it is unique. With this awareness, who could be bored?
One of the causes of accidents is alcohol, how can mindfulness help to change habits?
Generally the consumption of alcohol or substance occurs as a way to calm anxiety and depression, i.e. to reduce psychological suffering. Mindfulness is very effective for the treatment of this discomfort and allows not to get started in these problems and even get rid of them.
There are people who spend a lot of time driving, how can this course benefit them and what would you recommend?
Driving requires attention to avoid accidents. Also, driving for hours, as some professionals have to do, is very tiring. Mindfulness would allow people who take this course to develop their attention, which would increase their safety and decrease the risk of accidents. On the other hand, it facilitates rest and makes any activity less tiring, including driving. Finally, it improves the physical and psychological health of those who practice a few minutes a day.
The CONDUCE CON MENTE course offers the opportunity to gradually introduce the practice of mindfulness from the first session. It can be applied not only to the driving of vehicles but also to the “driving” of one’s own life.