About Mindfulness

Widely recognized as a stress management tool, mindfulness, when practiced regularly, can be so much more. Mindfulness is noticing what is happening right now while letting go of any judgement.

Mindfulness is taking notice of the sounds you hear, the sights you see, the sensations your body feels, what you smell & taste, and even taking stock of various emotions you feel. Mindfulness is also noting what your mind is doing…such as worrying about past events or anxiously planning the next day.

Anyone and Anywhere!

You don’t need fancy equipment or a lifetime of meditation experience to be mindful. Mindfulness, like any new exercise, takes practice and repetition. Formal mindfulness is usually practiced through consciously focusing one’s attention on a particular object, such as the breath, body, emotions, thoughts, or sounds, or by noticing and accepting the coming and going of thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.

Mindfulness & meditation don’t have to be found only by sitting down. Mindful movement practices, such as yoga, is another great way to infuse the benefits of mindfulness into our lives. Yoga includes movement and breathing practices, which when done with the intention of staying present can provide many of the same benefits of more formal mindfulness practices, including focus, balance, & feeling less stressed.

Benefits of Mindfulness

The positive effects of meditation and mindfulness have been shown by over two decades of research.

Mindfulness can help with:

  • Stress reduction
  • Restful sleep
  • Increases in focus & concentration
  • Decreases in anxiety & depression
  • Enhancement of emotional intelligence & resiliency
  • Reduction of rumination (constant worrying over something)
  • Improvement of memory
  • Enhancement of communication & relationship skills

The Seven Elements of Mindfulness

A key aspect to any mindfulness practice are the attitudes that accompany present moment awareness. Jon Kabat-Zinn outlines seven elements of the mindfulness attitude in his groundbreaking book, Full Catastrophe Living.

1. Non-Judging: taking the role of an impartial observer to your current experience. Avoid positive or negative evaluation of what is happening. Instead just simply observe it.

2. Patience: cultivating the understanding that things must develop in their own time.

3. Beginner’s Mind: having the willingness to observe the world as if it was your first time doing so. This creates an openness that is essential to being mindful.

4. Trust: having trust in yourself, your intuition and your abilities.

5. Non-Striving: the state of not doing anything, just simply accepting that things are happening in the moment just as they are supposed to. For people from Western countries this tends to be one of the more difficult components.

6. Acceptance: completely accepting the thoughts, feelings, sensations, and beliefs that you have, and understanding that they are simply those things only.

7. Non-Attachment: letting thoughts or feelings come in and pass without assigning meaning or trying to connect them to anything. Instead observe them exactly as they are.

Present moment awareness coupled with the above attitudes can have profound effects on well-being.