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What is mindfulness?

"Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.

Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. 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." - source

For more information, read What Is Mindfulness? And How to Be More Mindful from Psychology Today and look at the resources below.

The tabs above provide more information about two tools used for mindfulness - breathing and meditation.

General Mindfulness Tools

Take a savoring walk - provided by the Greater Good Science Center

Set aside 20 minutes to take a walk outside by yourself every day for a week. Try to stick to this schedule unless the weather is extremely bad. You can still do this exercise in a light rain—provided you have a decent umbrella and rain jacket.

As you walk, try to notice as many positive things around you as you can. These can be sights, sounds, smells, or other sensations. For example, you could focus on the breathtaking height of a tree you never really noticed before, the intricate architecture of a building on your block, the dance of sunshine off a window or puddle, the smell of grass or flowers, or the way other people look out for each other as they navigate crowded streets.

As you notice each of these positive things, acknowledge each one in your mind—don’t just let them slip past you. Pause for a moment as you hear or see each thing and make sure it registers with your conscious awareness, really take it in. Try to identify what it is about that thing that makes it pleasurable to you.

Try to walk a different route each day so you don’t become too accustomed to any of these things and start to take them for granted.

Self-Compassion Break - a 5 minute exercise to deal with stressful situations. "Difficult situations become even harder when we beat ourselves up over them... Rather than harsh self-criticism, a healthier response is to treat yourself with compassion and understanding. According to psychologist Kristin Neff, this “self-compassion” has three main components: mindfulness, a feeling of common humanity, and self-kindness. This exercise walks you through all three of those components when you’re going through a stressful experience. Research suggests that people who treat themselves with compassion rather than criticism in difficult times experience greater physical and mental health."

How Would You Treat a Friend? - This 15 minute exercise asks you to notice the differences between the way you typically treat the people
you care about and the way you typically treat yourself. It also asks you to consider why there may be differences between the two, and to contemplate what would happen if you treated yourself as compassionately as you treat others. Research suggests that treating yourself more compassionately can benefit your physical and mental health.

Online Resources  Mindful Communications is a Public Benefit Corporation providing "insight, information, and inspiration to help us all live more mindfully."

Introduction to the Science of Mindfulness

Books about Mindfulness available at the SJR State Library