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.
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...
"There are a lot of different ways to talk about mindfulness, but what it really means is awareness."
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?
Jon Kabat-Zinn: When your alarm goes off and you jump out of bed, what is the nature of the mind in that moment? Are you already like, "oh my God," your calendar pops into your mind and you're driven already, or can you take a moment and just lie in bed and just feel your body breathing. And remember, "oh yeah, brand new day and I'm still alive." So, I get out of bed with awareness, brush my teeth with awareness. When you're in the shower next time check and see if you're in the shower.