What is mindfulness?

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

You might find this useful if...

  • you’re not sure what it means to be mindful
  • you’d like to be more mindful
  • you’re interested in tips to improve your mental and physical wellbeing.
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:

  • focus on the present moment
  • try not to think about anything that went on in the past or that might be coming up in future
  • purposefully concentrate on what’s happening around them
  • try not to be judgemental about anything they notice, or label things as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’

We spend so much time thinking over stuff that has happened in the past, or worrying about things that may happen in the 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:

  • helps clear your head
  • helps you be more aware of yourself, your body and the environment
  • helps to slow down your thoughts
  • slows down your nervous system
  • helps you to concentrate
  • helps you relax
  • can help you cope with stress.

Who is mindfulness for?

Mindfulness is something that everyone can develop, and it’s something that everyone can try. It’s been practiced for thousands of years, with origins in Eastern philosophy, and over the past 40 years, it has been taken up in western societies. People can increase their mindfulness in everyday life, through activities like meditation and yoga, or even by simply paying more attention during regular activities like walking, driving or something as basic as brushing your teeth.

Why build mindfulness?

There is a lot of evidence on the many benefits of mindfulness; it can:

  • help to relieve stress
  • help to improve sleep
  • help manage depression and/or anxiety
  • help you to be less angry or moody
  • improve memory
  • help you learn more easily
  • help you to solve problems more easily
  • make you happier
  • help you to be more emotionally stable
  • improve your breathing
  • reduce your heart rate
  • improve your circulation
  • improve your immunity, or
  • help you 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: 28 October, 2014
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