Mindfulness is a way of living in which a conscious effort is made to keep one’s attention on the present moment and current surroundings rather than to allow the mind to wander. Life only actually happens in the now, and the practice of mindfulness allows people to savor and appreciate life as it unfolds. When our thoughts wander back to the past or ahead to the future, we can trigger needless anxiety. Most of all, we cannot fully absorb or appreciate the experience of life as it unfolds.
Mindfulness goes hand-in-hand with meditation, which can help to hone the skill of staying calmly in the moment. Meditation is an ancient practice that has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and to enhance a sense of well-being.
The practice of mindfulness can help to mend and nurture relationships. By staying in the moment, we can become more aware of and responsive to the needs of the people in our lives. By simply not allowing distracting thoughts to take over, we are more present and therefore more available to our loved ones. A mindful approach also sets the stage for better listening skills and more effective and compassionate communication.
An excellent resource on this subject is The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh.