Mindfulness is a way of living with greater attention and intention and less reactivity and judgement.
Many of us are on 'automatic pilot' — our bodies operate in a routine pattern while our minds are somewhere else, anticipating future events or ruminating over something that has happened. This 'mindless' way of living can limit how we experience life, the choices we make, the quality of our relationships and can exacerbate feelings of stress.
Practising mindfulness can help you to bring awareness to the present with an attitude of openness and curiosity. It is being awake to the fullness of your life right now by engaging the five senses and noticing your thoughts without holding on to, or pushing away, what you are experiencing.
Mindfulness can help you to recognise mental habits that limit your understanding of something or restrict your options for action.
For example, participating in negative self-talk may occupy your full attention by replaying constantly in your thoughts. By being able to notice when your mind is engaged in these unhelpful thinking patterns, you can shift your mind back to the present, interrupt negative thoughts and enhance your sense of calm and centredness.
Being mindful does not mean stopping your mind from thinking or forcing yourself to be relaxed and peaceful. Many people who practise mindfulness report that they feel more calm and clear-headed.