Mindfulness. Unless you live completely off-the-grid, you have almost certainly heard of it. Maybe you are vaguely familiar with the concept, having seen it on the cover headline of Psychology Today, or maybe you are a seasoned mindfulness meditator who considers himself an expert.
Perhaps you lie somewhere in between. Whoever you are, mindfulness is inherently difficult to grasp for many, so you should feel no shame in seeking clarification. Today, we will not only define mindfulness, but discuss why mindfulness matters.
Mindfulness is far more than a fleeting fad — mindfulness offers immense value to mental health, physical health, and overall wellbeing and happiness.
Trust me, I know. Since I began practicing mindfulness, while it hasn’t been a perfect journey — no worthwhile endeavor is — I have experienced the positive effects firsthand. As someone who struggles with persistent OCD, it’s a big deal.
Mainly, the peace of mind. The tranquility that comes with having achieved a genuinely mindful state. The sharp awareness of your existence and your surroundings, without the emotional attachment to them. The ability not to suppress your emotional state, but to accept it for what it is. Simply let it be.
So, what is mindfulness?
Words cannot aptly sum up the sensation, the experience, of mindfulness. When practiced correctly, mindfulness is an active cognitive experience. Many mistake it for a passive practice, since the idea is to become fully immersed in the present moment.
However, becoming fully immersed does not require detaching from your body and your surroundings. Not entirely, at least — it’s a fine line. The goal is to actively observe and absorb your thoughts, feelings, surroundings, and experiences through all five senses. Without giving in to the emotional or cognitive implications of analysis, judgment, or emotional investment.
Mindfulness truly isn’t that complicated. Theoretically, it’s a simple concept. Practically, it’s a habit that is often difficult to grasp, and even harder to master.