mindfulnessMindfulness is being fully present in the present moment in a peaceful manner. “Mindfulness is also clearing the mind, stilling the mind, emptying the mind of all but the present moment. While mindfulness does reduce (not eliminate stress) it is not about stress reduction. Indeed, the whole idea of mindfulness is to do it without an agenda or goal other than to be “intentionally paying attention to the present in a non judgmental way.”

Meditation is a mindful practice but mindfulness is to be practiced throughout the day. We can be fully present for the people we are with, we can be mindful of the food we eat, slowly savoring, fully tasting every bite. Meditation is a core practice of mindfulness and generally involves finding a quiet place without interruption, closing one’s eyes and focusing one’s attention, usually on one’s breathing. It is not about deep breathing but about experiencing the in out, in out of one’s breath and allowing one’s thoughts to go in nowhere else. If your thoughts wander, you gently rein them in and continue. The experience of meditation is a peaceful, calming one. It also is liberating to learn that you have the ability to quiet your mind and direct your thoughts.

Mindfulness includes becoming fully aware of all your feelings at all levels. This can mean learning to allow uncomfortable feelings to surface that we may have attempted to avoid in the past. It is important that we live fully examined lives for feelings buried alive never die. Furthermore, “the cave you most fear to enter usually holds the treasure you seek.”

Mindfulness and mediation are powerful tools that can increase your EQ (Emotional Intelligence) and be an important part of you emotional and social skill set as you navigate through your life journey of self-discovery.