Learn about what is mindfulness in today’s guide. Audio version available here.
It’s very, very likely that you have heard about mindfulness. It would be pretty hard not to – after all, mention of mindfulness is pretty mainstream these days.
But do you really know what it is, or what it involves, or why it is such a buzzword these days?
Learn more about mindfulness and get clarity on this topic in this introductory guide on what is mindfulness.
Here is an unfortunate fact – despite being a very popular topic, there is still a lot of confusion and misunderstanding around the concept of mindfulness. Like what mindfulness actually is – do you know what it actually is, and I mean really know? If you don’t, then don’t worry because you are not alone. And that’s the whole point of this guide – to help demystify the concept of mindfulness for you so that you not only have clarity on what mindfulness really is, you will also get a basic idea of why it has gained so much popularity, and why it is good for you.
Here’s a snapshot of what you will learn in this guide:
- What is mindfulness
- The scientific definition of mindfulness
- The simplest definition of mindfulness
- Examples of mindfulness
- Why mindfulness is important (and how it can benefit you)
Great, then let’s dive in.
What is mindfulness?
So what exactly is mindfulness? What is the definition of mindfulness?
There are lots of definitions of mindfulness flying around, which actually is one of the main reasons why people get confused by it. So let’s start with a specific one, a scientific definition of mindfulness.
Even scientific definitions can vary, but here is one of the best scientific definitions of mindfulness that I have come across, the one that made the most sense:
Mindfulness is the self-regulation of attention with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance.
That a bit mouthful, isn’t it? So I have a simple definition for you too. In fact, below is one of the simplest definitions of mindfulness that I’ve come across:
Mindfulness is paying extra-ordinary attention to ordinary experiences.
These definitions give you a good starting point. But I’ll elaborate so that it’s really clear what mindfulness is.
Read on to learn more.
What being mindful is all about
Basically, mindfulness is about paying attention to the things you do, including the most ordinary and routine of things. That attention is what leads to you being “present in the moment”, which is the key goal of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is about experiencing things fully, which you can only really do when you are not getting distracted by a hundred different things. For example, let’s say you go out for a walk in the park. If you are going through it like you normally do, you will probably just get through the walk and only focus the obvious things like how crowded it is, etc. But if you were to do it mindfully, however, then you would elevate your experience because then you would notice a whole host of other things, like the amalgam of colours, the wildlife, all the different sounds, the breeze, the warmth of the sun or lack of it, etc etc.
The point is, your experience will be more vivid.
Being mindful helps you experience things more fully – you end up getting more out of the experience since you are not focusing on a whole host of other things, and only focusing on just the experience at that point in time.
Think of mindfulness as a focused state of mind, where both your mind and body are in the same place. That’s when there is unity, and there is synchronicity.
That is when you are fully present in the moment.
Our usual state of mind
Unfortunately, being fully present is not the usual state of our mind. Usually, even though we are doing something, our mind might be occupied by something else entirely, something completely different. So for example, maybe you are working, but your mind is off thinking about what you are going to have for dinner, or something else. There is no unity. Your body is doing one thing, while your mind is off doing something else.
Makes sense? If it doesn’t, just observe yourself next time you are working or cooking or doing anything for that matter. Maybe even right now, while you are reading this, maybe you are thinking of other things, or maybe you are even doing other things. What else is your mind doing right now, what else are you thinking about, what else is going on behind the curtains?
The point is, our bodies and minds are not usually in the same place.
It’s totally ok by the way, happens to everyone, so don’t feel bad if you are indeed thinking about other things right now. I just want to point out the default state most of us are in most of the time.
But the usual default state does not have to be your normal state. You can learn to be in a better state of mind, and mindfulness can help you with that.
How mindful are you? If you want to know, try out the Mindful Attention Awareness Score (MAAS). It’s a 15-point questionnaire researchers use to measure mindfulness. The higher your score, the better your personal ability to be mindful. If you scored on the lower side, it’s just an indication that you need to work on your mindfulness.
Knowledge is useful, so knowing about your current mindfulness status can be very insightful.
Why the lack of mindfulness is a problem
Mindfulness is about being in the moment, fully.
It is about being fully present in the moment, without actively thinking about things.
Not having your mind run wild (like it usually does) is the key to achieving a mindful state.
Lack of mindfulness, on the other hand, is the key to distractions, which leads to a whole host of issues, including avoidable mistakes and mishaps. The distractions and their consequences, by the way, is a big reason why mindfulness is such a useful skill to master.
There is more, of course, more reasons why mindfulness is good for you – like how mindfulness can help you manage your stress and anxiety levels, and the beneficial impact it has on your brain. You can learn more about the benefits of mindfulness here: 30 Benefits of Mindfulness – Discover Why Mindfulness Is Good For You
How to get started with mindfulness
If you want to know how to start practicing it, check out this talk which goes into an easy strategy for adopting mindfulness as a daily habit. That should get you up and running with mindfulness in just 2 minutes a day.
Also, check out this guide on mindfulness kindness meditation.
So to summarise, let’s go over the question, and the answer:
Question – What is mindfulness?
Answer – It is a state of mind where you are present in the moment, without your mind running wild.
So now you have a pretty good idea of what mindfulness is.
You now have clarity on the topic of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a great tool for personal growth, one of the best in fact. But it is not the only one. If you want to learn more about personal growth, improving your mindset is the best place to start. This guide can help with that: How to Think Better in 7 Days.
What are your thoughts on this guide about what is mindfulness? Is the concept clear? Do you have any questions?
If you do, share them in the comments section below. We would love to help.
Also, if you have any thoughts or perspectives of your own to share on what is mindfulness that you believe can help your fellow readers feel free to share them too in the comments section.
One tiny request
Before you go, a tiny request – if you found this guide useful &/or enjoyable, please share it with others. That is the best way for us to reach others and make a positive impact.
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