Mindfulness is a state of intentional, nonjudgmental focus on the present moment. It means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we're sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
Mindfulness techniques are often incorporated into other practices, such as yoga or meditation. It is often thought to include the following elements:
Awareness – Being tuned in to what is happening in the present moment, including sights, sounds, smells, or physical sensations you might usually ignore.
Focus – Paying attention to the present moment, without thinking about past or future events.
Acceptance – Accepting whatever you might be feeling or thinking, without judging it or trying to change it or your reactions.
Observation – Recognizing unpleasant sensations, thoughts, and feelings as temporary and fleeting, observing them objectively without reaction or judgment.
Mindfulness can lead to less intense stress responses. This has many health benefits, such as lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your immune system, improves brain functions, and helps build your ability to pay attention and focus.