Mindfulness is all over the place these days—you’ve heard of mindful eating, mindful shopping, mindful parenting, mindful everything. But you might still be wondering, “What, exactly, is mindfulness? It makes sense to be more present and aware of what is happening in my life, but I still don’t quite understand what it is.”
Mindfulness can be defined as bringing your awareness to the present moment, without judgement. For me, the key point is the “without judgement” part.
Notice for a few moments the thoughts that come up for you, and then notice the judgement (or meaning) you put to those thoughts. You might start to see that it’s in defining our thoughts that we get swept away from simply recognizing them as they are.
We are often so focused on our to-do lists and what’s next that we lose sight of what we are in the midst of. In the slowing down and experiencing each moment, we are not only doing amazing things for our bodies and decreasing our stress, we are also opening ourselves up to enjoy each moment a little bit more.
To practice mindfulness, simply bring your attention to your present moment (whatever it is that you are doing, thinking, or experiencing) and accept it for what it is, without defining it or making a story up in your head to give it meaning. Just simply being in the moment is being mindful.
Nicole Lovald is a life coach and yogi, and the owner of Spirit of the Lake Yoga and Wellness Center in Excelsior. Her first book, Om Sweet Om, was published in 2018.