Mindfulness. It’s a pretty straightforward word. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. That might seem trivial, except for the annoying fact that we so often veer from the matter at hand. Our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And that makes us anxious.

Yet no matter how far we drift away, mindfulness is right there to snap us back to where we are and what we’re doing and feeling. If you want to know what mindfulness is, it’s best to try it for a while. Since it’s hard to nail down in words, you will find slight variations in the meaning in books, websites, audio, and video.

The Definition of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Mindfulness is a quality that every human being already possesses, it’s not something you have to conjure up, you just have to learn how to access it.

The Benefits of Mindfulness Practice
When we’re mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind, and increase our attention to others’ well-being.

Mindfulness practice gives us a time in our lives when we can suspend judgement and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness - to ourselves and others. 

8 Facts About Mindfulness
1. Mindfulness is not obscure or exotic. It’s familiar to us because it’s what we already do, how we already are. It takes many shapes and goes by many names.

2. Mindfulness is not a special added thing we do. We already have the capacity to be present, and it doesn’t require us to change who we are. But we can cultivate these innate qualities with simple practices that are scientifically demonstrated to benefit ourselves, our loved ones, our friends and neighbours, the people we work with, and the institutions and organisations we take part in.

3. You don’t need to change. Solutions that ask us to change who we are or become something we’re not have failed us over and over again. Mindfulness recognizes and cultivates the best of who we are as human beings.

4. Mindfulness has the potential to become a transformative social phenomenon. Here’s why:

  • Anyone can do it. Mindfulness practice cultivates universal human qualities and does not require anyone to change their beliefs. Everyone can benefit and it’s easy to learn.
  • It’s a way of living.  Mindfulness is more than just a practice. It brings awareness and caring into everything we do—and it cuts down needless stress. Even a little makes our lives better.
  • It’s evidence-based. We don’t have to take mindfulness on faith. Both science and experience demonstrate its positive benefits for our health, happiness, work, and relationships.
  • It sparks innovation. As we deal with our world’s increasing complexity and uncertainty, mindfulness can lead us to effective, resilient, low-cost responses to seemingly intransigent problems.

5 Simple Practices to Incorporate Mindfulness into Everyday Life
1. Stop What You’re Doing and Take a Breath. Take a moment to notice the sensation of your breath. Creating intentional space for resettling yourself, even with one breath, will help keep you calmer and more focused throughout your day.

2. Put Down Your Phone. Your attentional system is pulled toward the most stimulating thing around you and your phone was designed to be the most stimulating thing around you. Holding onto a phone may temporarily stave off boredom, but it also allows you to tune out sensations and surroundings. Set some time each day to put your phone out of reach (if it’s in reach, you might pick it back up without even realizing it) and just notice what, if anything, happens.

3. Do One Thing at a Time. We often try to prioritise tasks by handling them as they come in, even if it means starting a new task while five others are already in the works. Even though it may seem easier to reply “Yes.” to that text then to finish the draft of the email you’re working on, switching between tasks takes up more time and makes you more prone to errors than doing one thing at a time. That’s why a huge component of mindfulness is doing just one thing at a time, it is a practice of giving all of your attention and awareness to the task at hand. 

4. Find Mindful Moments in Everyday Tasks. Mindfulness involves intentionally doing one thing at a time, and becoming more fully aware of the task and your response to it. The next time you’re doing a seemingly mindless task, like washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, or folding laundry, make it mindful. Notice your sensations; can you allow yourself to get so fully into the experience that it even becomes enjoyable?

5. Notice the Moves You Already Make. There are many ways to practice mindfulness with movement, and you can make it as active as you want. If you already run or dance or exercise in some way that helps you to feel more centred and present, that can be your mindfulness practice. Alternatively, your practice can be as simple as paying attention to the feeling of your feet on the floor as you walk up the stairs to work. It is not about what you focus your attention on, but rather that you take the time to consistently practice holding your awareness on one thing and notice what comes up.