Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in a moment; being aware of where we are and what we’re doing while noticing things in a non-judgemental and non-critical way. In psychological terms, Mindfulness can be thought of as ‘exercise for the brain’ – like a workout at the gym, the more you do the better and stronger you become. Without doubt, mindfulness benefits our wellbeing and is very effective in the treatment of stress and anxiety. In fact there’s scientific proof from Harvard University that sustained mindfulness meditation alters and improves the brain structure.
Mindfulness can simply be noticing what we aren’t normally aware of in the present moment because we are too busy worrying about the future or what’s happened in the past. Very often our ‘automatic pilot’ takes over when we do something that we often do – like driving a car or washing the dishes. Mindfulness is a way of taking back control of these moments, being aware and acceptation of everything around you and letting go of self-sabotaging thoughts.
Mindfulness has been a large part of various cultures for over 2500 years, the goal then was enlightenment, today, Mindfulness practice is particularly associated with stress management.
When we are mindful, we are experientially open to the reality of the present moment without judgement, avoidance or repression.