Mindfulness means living life with non-judgmental, present-moment awareness. Mindfulness meditation is a practice of bringing purposeful, moment-to-moment attention to life in an open, curious, and compassionate way.
Is mindfulness meditation just about paying attention to my breath?
Mindfulness meditation is a practice. It's not a quick fix. You might say that it's the practice of a lifetime. Formal mindfulness practice begins with concentrating on an object of focus, such as the breath, which helps steady the mind and improve concentration. With this practice, over time, we can start to recognize our own reactive habits and patterns. Ultimately, mindfulness can teach us to relate to life -- the hardest parts, as well as the joys -- through a lens of compassion for ourselves and others. Mindful presence can be brought into every part of daily life, reducing effects of stress-related problems, and increasing opportunities for experiencing joy and compassion.
Who is mindfulness meditation good for?
Almost anyone. For those experiencing stress, depression, insomnia, or chronic health symptoms, research suggests that meditation offers a way to reduce suffering when used as a complement to appropriate medical treatment. For those experiencing major depression or unresolved trauma, mindfulness meditation may not be appropriate.
What if I'm meditating, and I end up focusing on something painful? How can that be helpful? It's normal to want to ignore or avoid discomfort. Mindfulness meditation teaches ways of working with mental and physical pain in ways that can decrease suffering and bring about a greater sense of well-being, in the long run.
Is mindfulness meditation for everyone? For those dealing with unresolved trauma, adjunct therapy is important, as with those dealing with major depression. Mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in reducing depression or addiction relapse, but may not be advisable for some people dealing with some depressive or psychotic disorders.