Mindfulness means paying attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn
Recently I was asked what makes mindfulness practices different from other practices like running, weight lifting, or playing a musical instrument. On one hand, there is no difference as they are all activities that one practices to gain some level of skill. The real difference is more personal, measured by the level interest one may have, the possible benefits of a regular practice, and if those benefits are something one values.
For those who are curious and interested, I would suggest that mindfulness, when practiced with intention, can provide physical and emotional benefits that lead to greater quality of life. Training your mind to stay grounded in the present is a skill that can help you enjoy wonderful moments with your friends or family, protect you from irrational or inflexible thinking, help you stay focused during critical times, and able to manage stress with less distress.
Mindfulness can also take on many different forms. Whether you prefer the formal practice of meditation, or a more informal approach such as paying attention on purpose in everyday life, you are cultivating a mindful state of mind. Once learned, mindfulness practices are often free and easily accessible to anyone. There are numerous phone apps (Headspace; Calm) and many websites that provide guided meditations at your fingertips, and at no extra charge (http://marc.ucla.edu/meditation-at-the-hammer).
Mindfulness practices won’t make things perfect in your life, but practice will make mindfulness more routine. An added benefit is that this may mean living with less judgment, more patience, a willingness to see things differently and from new perspectives, greater trust in your self, acceptance, and the capacity to let things GO!
One minute, two minute, 10 minute or 30 minute mindfulness meditations... What do you have to lose but a few moments in time?