What is Mindfulness?

Have you ever driven your car to a particular destination and arrived at the venue only to realise that you have no recollection of your journey at all? This state is often referred to as “mindlessness” or “autopilot”.

At the opposite end of the spectrum lies the state of mindfulness. When you are being mindful, it means you are in a state of “total awareness”, and you are able to pay close attention to the present moment.

You are specifically paying attention to the activities you are doing, such as reading a book, brushing your teeth, riding a bike, or even when having a meal. Mindfulness also means observing your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging whether they are good or bad.

Being mindful boosts our mental wellbeing.

When you are practising mindfulness, you will be able to experience a moment-to-moment awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and sensations.

Instead of just letting life pass you by, through mindfulness, you will become more awake to your daily experience and live in the moment.

Related: Being Mindful About Mindfulness

Practicing Mindfulness and Caregiver Stress

Learn how to be mindful to better cope with caregiver stress.

Practising mindfulness can reduce stress, feelings of anxiety and depression, and improve one's overall mental wellbeing:

  • Research has shown that many caregivers risk suffering from poor physical health.[1] But those who practise mindfulness on a regular basis sleep better, have decreased stress levels and lead a better quality of life.

Practising mindfulness can help you achieve a relaxed body and mind:

  • Mindfulness teaches you to be fully present at the moment and to be totally aware of your surroundings and the activities you engage in, like the simple act of breathing. In moments of stress and anxiety, caregivers can just close your eyes and use this practice to regain inner balance.

Mindfulness is NOT a religious practice. You do not have to practise any religion, adopt a faith, or give up your religious faith, to enjoy the benefits of mindfulness in your daily life.

How to Be Mindful

  • Choose a comfortable position – you can either be sitting or standing.
  • Feel your body – notice your hands and feet.
  • Take three deep breaths – observe yourself breathing in and out three consecutive times.
  • You do not have to sit cross-legged; you can be on a couch or a bed.
  •  A quiet room is helpful. You can practise mindfulness anywhere as it is about noticing and observing your present moment.
  • Do not be too harsh on yourself if you find that you are unable to focus on your breathing. It is natural for your mind to wander. Be patient with yourself when this happens. Without judging yourself, draw your attention back to your breath.
  • Smile and thank yourself when you are done!

This article was first published on NEXTSTEP Magazine, Year 2016, Issue 3. "AIC With You" is the new quarterly magazine on Community Care by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC). 

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  1. Schulz, R., & Sherwood, P. R. (2008). Physical and mental health effects of family caregiving.The American journal of nursing108(9 Suppl), 23–27. Retrieved Mar 2020 from https://doi.org/10.1097/01.NAJ.0000336406.45248.4c