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What is Mindfulness? Your Simple Guide

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10 min

What is Mindfulness? Your Simple Guide

“Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn, American professor and founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction.

How do you start your morning? Do you get up with the 5th alarm, hating the whole world, brush your teeth, grab some coffee, and rush to work? Or do you wake up inspired, enjoy your morning routine, and feel excited about the day?

Sounds like a picture from Disney cartoons, right? But it can become your reality! Just add some focus to your life.

Simple Mindfulness Definition

What is mindfulness? It is the ability to stay in the present, entirely focused on your emotions, needs, and feelings at the moment. 

Mindfulness can help you deal with destructive thoughts, calm your anxiety, and stop being overwhelmed by the buzz happening around you.

You can say smth like: “It isn’t about me! I overthink and can’t deal with brain chatter.”

I feel you. Clip thinking is our new reality, and social media has influenced us a lot. This results in the fact that we can’t stay concentrated longer than 10 seconds.

However, it’s a matter of time. All people can develop mindfulness when practicing it daily. But what does it mean to ride the roller coaster of life’s ups and downs while staying calm and relaxed? Let’s find out.

What is Mindfulness? 

Staying mindful is a definition of being here and now. Do you remember Liz from “Eat Pray Love” and her journey to self-understanding? This is what mindfulness is. 

But there are so many myths about the term. And if you only start practicing, this explanation may not be enough. 

What does it mean to be mindful? I’ll explain.

  • Experiencing everything at face value. Mindfulness is a way of life, meaning you remain in the here and now. There’s no room for anxiety about the future or regrets about the past — just you and your present emotions. 
  • Living without evaluations. You let constant judging go and observe the situation without any labels. This practice brings a sense of freedom and clarity, allowing us to embrace the moment and enjoy it fully.
  • Solving problems rather than overthinking them. As you navigate the day, calmly facing challenges, always remember to be mindful. The meaning of the practice is to bring awareness to your experiences and deal with them if something goes wrong.

Neuroscientist Sam Harris once said, “How we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the character of our experience, and therefore, the quality of our lives.”

And this is genuinely true! If you feel depressed, anxious, or struggling with childhood trauma, this approach can be helpful. 

So, what is mindfulness in psychology? Read the following section to discover.

In Clear Terms — Meaning of Mindfulness in Psychology

You don’t know how to stop worrying about everything, turn off problem-solving mode, and learn to live without self-deprecating psychological babble. This is what mindfulness can help with.

Studies show that this practice is associated with lower stress. It allows us to stay completely involved in what’s happening and let unnecessary thoughts float away, which has a therapeutic influence. 

What is mindfulness-based therapy? It’s a broad term that involves several treatment methods, like cognitive behavior therapy, stress reduction, and meditation. All of them teach us to control our thoughts and change how we feel, act, and live. Here’s how you learn to do it.

  • Observe your thoughts. Notice how they come and go without emotional involvement. Mindfulness helps to stay in touch with reality without engrossing in obsessive thoughts and creating chewing gum from possible future variants.
  • Feel your body. Being mindful means taking care of yourself. Pay attention to the sensations in different parts of your body, and quite soon, you’ll understand how to tell if nausea is from anxiety and why you feel shallow breathing right now.
  • Separate you and your thoughts. Drifting thoughts don’t define who you are. When practicing mindfulness, you’ll understand that the meaning of your life is much more complicated than constant overthinking.
  • Learn to respond to your thoughts. Do you remember different emotions from the Inside Out cartoon? Sometimes, they couldn’t decide who should be in control, which had a destructive influence. On the other hand, mindfulness is about choosing the emotion you want and getting rid of upsetting worries.

What is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)?

This meditation therapy involves a series of practices that lower stress levels and help deal with depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and other disorders. 

It consists of two main components: mindfulness meditation and yoga. Usually, people practice MBSR during group sessions with certified trainers, but you can try some of its aspects alone as well. 

Moreover, studies prove that MBSR can reduce stress connected to chronic illnesses like cancer, hypertension, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, etc. It improves patients’ state and reduces pain and other symptoms.

What is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)?

This approach combines mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral therapy to help people disengage from automatic actions and thoughts to conscious ones. MBCT involves different practices like breath control, shift attention, and meditation.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy suits best for patients who have experienced mental disorders before — particularly depression — and want to reduce the risk of relapse. Also, MBCT helps treat adults with ADHD. 

Do you suspect yourself with the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder? Take an assessment from Breeze and get insights and personal recommendations.

5 Benefits of Mindfulness to Live a Better Life

Interesting fact. Employee productivity and focus increase by 120% with regular meditation and mindfulness practice.

And it is only one advantage of working on your thoughts. Here are the reasons you can take care of your mental health by spending 5-10 minutes daily.

1. Improved focus

“To produce at your peak level, you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction.” — Cal Newport, nonfiction author.

Sounds harsh, right? Our thoughts like to drift away, and mindfulness is a great skill to snap them back and regain your concentration. 

Thus, if you’re thinking about how to stop procrastinating and become more productive, this is what you need. Mindfulness can be a game-changer in your working routine.

2. Lower stress level

What is the purpose of mindfulness? Learn to be kinder to ourselves. 

When you gain control over the things happening inside your head, you start to control your life in general. This is why mindfulness is an effective method for dealing with anxiety, stress, or even depression.

Your states and issues start to ease when you transform negative, self-destroying thoughts into positive, nurturing, and non-judgmental ones.

3. Better self-awareness

What do you feel now? Are you tired, energetic, or relaxed? Are you happy, worried, or maybe sad? Can you say your feelings out loud?

In fact, many people don’t notice changes in their mental and physical state over a day and understand that something goes wrong when it’s too late. Mindfulness helps us change it.

4. Ability to cope with negative thoughts

What is mindfulness? Jon Kabat-Zinn defines it as “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”

The practice makes you see things neutrally and choose your thoughts and feelings instead of responding irrationally at once. Turn your Moaning Myrtle off and find mental balance and inner peace with mindfulness.

What’s more, this practice can help with understanding human emotions and turning your attention to what you want to feel at a particular moment. This way, your reactions will be more considered.

5. Better sleep

Last but not least. If you feel like Sleeping Beauty and only a miracle can help you get up in the morning, that’s it! On the other hand, if you struggle with falling asleep and staying awake all night, mindfulness is also a great option. 

It increases the length and quality of sleep while helping you rest better. Furthermore, mindfulness lets us shut the crazy talk in our heads up and drop it off in a few minutes.

Feels like a daydream, right? Besides, studies prove the positive influence of mindfulness on helping improve insomnia and fatigue. So, you’ll finally stop asking yourself, “Why do I wake up tired?

A picture illustrates what being mindful means

What is the Difference between Meditation and Mindfulness?

This confusing question has a simpler answer: mindfulness is a state, and meditation is an exercise to reach it. 

While the first one encourages awareness of our sensations and thoughts, the second one helps us develop the skill of constant awareness. 

It’s a piece of cake. Look at the table to dive a bit deeper and answer the question, “What is the difference between mindfulness and meditation?”

The exercise of turning your attention inward by focusing on something.The state of being in the present, focusing on what’s happening around.
A person does it for a specific time.A general feeling integrated into daily life.
Can be therapeutic, spiritual, or for specific goals.Helps with stress reduction and emotional regulation.

What is Mindfulness Meditation?

Now, it can seem to you that mindfulness and meditation are entirely separate. But it isn’t so. Many meditations help us focus on our senses and feelings in the moment without judgment.

This way, this practice becomes a tool for establishing positive relations with your emotions. 

So, what is mindfulness meditation training? Read the article on how to meditate to discover more about it, and try simple examples. 

The Types of Mindfulness Explained

Now that you understand the difference between the two terms, let’s go further and discover types of emotional awareness practice that you can easily integrate into your daily life. Try them all and choose the ones that are the most helpful for you.

So, specific types of mindfulness activities include breathing, journaling, movement, and visualization. Learn more about each one below.


Concentrating on your breathing is one of the first things I recommend to improve mindfulness. Close your eyes and feel how your lungs fill with air. Breathe out slowly. Repeat.

Try to stop thinking about the buzz around; the only thing that matters is your breath. Do this simple practice every time you feel overwhelmed or stressed.


Have you ever played the Uncharted game series? If yes, you probably remember Nathan’s journal filled with maps and drawings of treasures. However, the longer you play, the more you notice that the character also writes his thoughts and random things around.

Your journal shouldn’t necessarily be ideal and well-organized. More importantly, it should help you organize things inside your head and focus on your sensations, feelings, and emotions.


What is true about mindfulness in sports and exercise? They can and should be connected! Sports are associated with lower rates of stress, anxiety, and depression, which is also true for mindfulness. But what if we combine them?

Mindful movement is about concentrating on your body sensations while doing some things. From walking and stretching to running and cycling — you can be aware and stay focused during any activity. Notice your feelings; it’ll let you clear your head and feel better.


The power of visualization is difficult to underestimate. It’s much deeper than a TikTok trend or a tip from self-development books. It’s a mindful practice that helps reduce stress and make a journey to your goals faster.

  • The first approach implies that you focus on a specific object for a set time and study it in detail. Some people consider this meditation perfect for beginners as it’s easier than focusing on the breath.
  • The second approach means that you imagine the scene, sights, sounds, and everything you want or need without judgment. In this case, visualization can motivate you to follow your dreams and give you ideas on how to turn them into reality.

4 Tips to Start with Mindfulness

What is a mindfulness activity? It’s a daily commitment to what’s essential for you: emotional intelligence, psychological stability, and overall well-being. 

Below, I highlight the most important tips you need to consider while embarking on mindfulness. 

If you want more personalized solutions for your EQ, try an emotional intelligence test from Breeze right now.

1. Find 5 minutes for yourself

Make mindfulness practices a routine thing. To stay focused during the day, you need to train your concentration regularly. 

Let’s think about the gym. For your muscles to grow, you need to attend it at least 2-3 times a week and progress in weight. 

The same thing is true with mindfulness. Add practices to your calendar and grow your “mental muscles” daily. Perceive it as time for yourself and your happiness, and you’ll see the first results quite soon.

2. Be kind to yourself

You probably won’t succeed on the first try, and it’s OK. How many thoughts run in your mind over a second may be impressive. But don’t give up.

All great journeys start from the first step. Like the gym, mindfulness is all about consistency and discipline. Don’t push your limits, and hurry yourself up. You don’t need to become a guru of concentration in a week. Just add a little bit of self-love and kindness.

3. Turn it into the way you live

What is the practice of mindfulness? It’s more than just 5, 10, or even 30 minutes a day. It’s your whole lifestyle.

Being mindful means staying attentive to your sensations and emotions. Learn to notice them, analyze them, and do something to feel better in the moment. Mindfulness teaches you to stop tolerating things you don’t like. Enjoy this skill, as not all people have it.

4. Have fun 

Is mindfulness boring? No. Can it become boring if you do the same daily? Exactly yes! So, look at the bigger picture. 

  • Try new mindfulness practices
  • Change the place and time
  • Note your achievements
  • Practice mindfulness with friends and share the results
  • Discover more about famous mindfulness teachers

This way, you’ll always discover something new and will be involved in the process of self-improvement.

Bottom Line

Congrats, you nailed it! Now, you can easily answer the question, “What is true about mindfulness in daily life, sport, and exercise?” You’re ready to develop your skills of focus and concentration, as well as learn to stay in the present moment.

Do you want to try a more comprehensive approach to wellness to reach mental stability faster? Try Breeze’s well-being tests to discover what to begin with and personalize your path to happiness.

Cimone Safilian, PhD, TLLP, shares her insights “Mindfulness is a great tool that can improve your well-being and how you relate to the world around you! Mindfulness can make a huge difference in how you experience life and deal with its ups and downs. Cultivating mindfulness takes some time (and practice!), so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see all the changes you want right away. Just keep practicing, and overtime, you will begin to reap the benefits and see how it can bring more peace, focus, and happiness into your world.”

Cimone Hanif, PhD, TLLP photo

Reviewed by Cimone Hanif, PhD, TLLP

Dr. Hanif is a practicing therapist and behavioral health writer/editor. She received her PhD in International Psychology from The...