Mindfulness is a word that you might have been hearing more often in your daily conversations.

At first you may think that you understand what the other person is talking about when they use that word, but the longer the conversation continues, the more you start to doubt yourself. You begin asking the question, “What is mindfulness?”

Simply put, mindfulness is the state of being in which your mind is completely focused on one particular task or thought. It means being aware of your current engagement or state of being. Mindfulness is sometimes spoken of using the words “presence” or “intentionality.” 

Being present in your interactions means giving your full attention and focus to what you are currently engaged in. Being intentional means being purposefully engaged in what you are doing. Both of these words help capture the idea of mindfulness.

Okay, now you have a little better understanding of what mindfulness is and the way the word is used. But you might not feel fully confident to fully speak on the topic. Don’t fret, here are the main concepts you need to know to be confident in your understanding of mindfulness.

Mindfulness Takes No Special Skills

You do not need to have any special skills or talents to practice mindfulness. In fact, you already perform mindfulness on some level every day.

For example, when you purposefully enjoy a moment with family or friends, when you are fully engaged in a work project, or when you intentionally allow yourself to process an emotional state you are engaging in mindfulness. 

In all these instances, you have a conscious awareness of your current engagement or state of being. Congrats! You’re already mindful.

Mindfulness is innate in us and does not require any new special skills. That’s good news! You already possess all the skills needed to practice mindfulness.

But there is still work that needs to be done. Even though you possess the basic skills, you still need to cultivate mindfulness.

Mindfulness Takes Practice

Let me ask you a question: What in life doesn’t take any practice? Answer: Nothing. Even the most naturally talented sports players, musicians, and artists still practice to develop their innate skills.

Mindfulness is no exception. But don’t worry too much, this type of practice will not consume an excessive amount of your time.

Practicing mindfulness can take as little as five minutes a day. To practice this, spend five minutes just sitting and noticing.

Notice all the different sounds that are occurring around you. Notice the rhythm of your breathing. Notice the buzzing of the overhead lights. Notice the cars driving by outside.

Next, notice the smells that are around you. Notice the smell of flowers nearby. Or the scent of the room you are sitting in. Now notice the feel of your clothes or the textures around you.

Notice the light in the room you are sitting in. Notice the shadows that the light creates. Notice the feelings and sensations occurring in your body.

Practicing mindfulness can be as straight forward as that. It’s simply developing your ability to intentionally recognize what is in the moment, in the present.

Mindfulness Has Benefits

Have you ever seen a car that has his windows down and is being submerged in water? The water rushes in the windows. This rush of water happens so quickly that people inside cannot withstand the force.

In fact, the survival advice for being trapped in a sinking car is to wait for the car to fill up with water before you climb out of the window. You will never be able to overcome the pressure of the water when it is rushing in.

This is very similar to life. We are constantly bombarded with information and stimulation throughout the day. It is a constant stream coming at you. As it occurs, you can’t go the other way.

Mindfulness helps us step out of the stream of constant stimulus. We learn to purposefully select the specific stimulations that we want to focus on.

This gives us the ability to go in the other direction. It gets us out of the chaos and into a place of peace and tranquility. There are amazing benefits to being in control of this current.

Now You Know

Now you have a better understanding of what mindfulness is, what it does and doesn’t require, and the benefits of the practice for you.

Next time you are in a conversation and someone speaks about mindfulness, join the conversation. Share your thoughts and experiences. And do this intentionally, practicing mindfulness in the moment.