Mindful awareness, or mindfulness, means paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.
Noticing your breath. Simply watch your breath, following its rise and fall in your body, in and out.
Noticing your five senses. Move through your five senses slowly, one at a time, noticing sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.
Watch your mind. Watch your mind like you’re watching a movie in a theater. Notice what comes up: thoughts, images, words, sounds, memories.
Notice your sensations and feelings. Observe the sensations in your body. Gently watch them without trying to change them.
You can cultivate mindful awareness during any activity:
washing the dog
taking a shower
doing the dishes
being with a loved one
spending time in nature
playing with your kid
attending a meeting
having a conversation
writing an email
Just pay attention to your five senses as you do these activities and take notice when your mind tugs you away.
Mindfulness vs. relaxation. People often feel relaxed when they practice mindfulness, but it’s not the goal. Think of it as a pleasant byproduct.
Regular practice. Consider setting aside a regular time to practice.
Getting distracted. You will frequently get pulled away into your thoughts. That’s totally normal. Just notice this and turn your attention back.
It’s a journey. Mindfulness isn’t a destination — it’s an ongoing journey. It’s not a skill you develop to perfection. It’s a lifelong practice.