What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a special way of paying attention that can help with how you cope with everyday life, or bounce back from tough times, and there’s great benefits for your physical and mental health.

What does mindfulness mean...

  • paying attention
  • not getting caught up in the past or worrying about the future
  • focusing on the present
guy walking along beach

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is about training yourself to pay attention in a specific way. When a person is mindful, they are:
  • focused on the present moment
  • not worrying about anything that went on in the past or that might be coming up in future
  • purposefully concentrating on what’s happening around them and to them
  • not being judgemental about anything they notice

We spend so much time thinking over stuff that happens, or worrying about things that may be happening in future, that often we actually forget to appreciate or enjoy the moment. Mindfulness is a way of bringing us back to experience life as it happens. When you’re mindful, it:

  • gives you a clear head
  • slows down your thoughts
  • slows down your nervous system
  • gives your body time to heal
  • lets you relax
  • helps you cope with stress
  • helps you be more aware of yourself, your body and the environment

Situations where mindfulness can be relevant

Mindfulness is something that everyone can develop, and it’s something that everyone stands to gain from. It’s been practiced for thousands of years, with origins in Eastern philosophy, and over the past 40 years, it has taken root in western societies. People practice increasing their mindfulness in everyday life, such as through:
But it has also been incorporated into therapy such as:
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
  • Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy
  • Acceptance and Commitment therapy

Why would I want to build mindfulness?

You can build mindfulness using a lot of different strategies, and it will have a good impact on your physical and mental health. People who are mindful:

  • have decreased anxiety
  • have decreased depression
  • are less angry or moody
  • have a better memory
  • are able to learn more easily
  • are able to solve problems easily
  • are happier
  • are more emotionally stable
  • have better breathing
  • have lower heart rates
  • have improved circulation
  • have better immunity
  • sleep better
  • and are better able to cope with pain.

Learn more about different ways to build mindfulness.

What can I do now?

  • Check out Smiling Mind - a tool that can help you find clarity and contentment.
  • Learn more about how to be more mindful
  • Try paying attention to things that you don’t normally notice, it will help you focus more on what's happening right now
Last reviewed: 14 April, 2014
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