What Is Mindfulness?

The Greater Good Science Centre at UC Berkeley says;
“Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.”

Being mindful means we purposefully bring our awareness to the present moment, noticing our internal and eternal experience with an attitude of non-judgement and compassion.

Purposefully bringing your awareness to the present moment with kindness and curiosity.

What does this look like in everyday life?

Have you ever been part of a conversation in which the other person is sharing their experience and you have suddenly realised that you have not been listening? When you realise, you hope that they don’t ask you a question because you haven’t been paying attention. 

Have you ever said something quickly in a moment that you wished you could take back? 

Have you ever driven somewhere and when you got there, could not remember any of the journey? 

 Have you ever been unable to sleep because there were so many thoughts running through your head and you felt caught up in them or unable to separate yourself from their noise? 

If you answered yes to any of these, you are not alone! I have been there too. Humans often have experiences like this but we then also often judge ourselves from being less than perfect. We miss many things in life due to our minds being in the past or future. Harvard University shared that a ‘wandering mind is not a happy mind,’ in this article. 

The practice of mindfulness invites us to pay attention right here in the present moment as things are happening. We begin to notice whether our minds are projecting into the future (which can sometimes cause extra anxiety) or whether they are dwelling in the past (perhaps beating ourselves up for something that we cannot change or reliving unhappy experiences). As soon as we notice that our mind has wandered away from the present moment, we are empowered with an option to come back to the present moment if we so choose.  

Mindfulness is much more than training attention and it is important to note that relating to our experience with compassion and non-judgement makes it a truly mindful one. It is also helpful to note that it is a practice and not a goal. 

A short 2 minute video of Jon Kabat-Zinn (the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) shares what Mindfulness is very succinctly. 

A 5 Minute Video of Buddist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Harn, Mindfulness from a Zen perspective.

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

There have been more than 6,000 studies on mindfulness and its impact on adults. There is less on children but is a growing field of research. It is important to be careful when you read research about Mindfulness and that they have come from reputable sources. Mainstream media has got excited about Mindfulness recently and it is important to note that is is not a panacea to all problems but has been beneficial to many. 


The main benefits that recent research has shown are:

  *reduced feelings of stress  (MBSR)

 * prevent relapses in depression (MBCT)

 * increase compassion

 * improve concentration 

 * lead to better focus, less mind wandering and improved working memory

 * with long-term, consistent practice, alter the structure of the brain, our traits, and behaviours (including emotional life

(Altered Traits- Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain and Body -Daniel Goleman and Richard.J.Davidson 2017 from 600 peer-reviewed studies and Scientific research) 


This link from MindfulSchools shares current research and findings on Mindfulness in the educational sector. 

Year Long Study 

For a great year long study tracking the benefits of one person practising regularly, the movie ‘My Year of Living Mindfully’ gives some great insights.

What is meditation?

Here is a great explanation of what meditation is from the USCD School of Medicine Mindfulness Centre.

How do I get rid of my thoughts?

At certain times in our lives it feels like the thoughts in our head are invading us and we want them out!  Having a busy mind can make us feel stressed as  we become frustrated  about ‘overthinking’ and perhaps even lose sleep. The irony is that, getting annoyed with thoughts and wanting to be rid of them can fuel more thinking. “What’s wrong with me?’ ‘Why do I think so much?’ These internal comments on ourselves  are also thought forms. I wish that someone had told me at the beginning of my mindful journey that Mindfulness is not about getting rid of thoughts. It would have saved a great deals of stress! Trying to not think is stressful and also not possible.  Being Mindful of thoughts is about learning to work wisely with them and be able to witness them without having to believe or follow every single one of them. Over time and with regular practice it is possible to accept thinking as part of the human condition and be able to witness thoughts with a smile. We may even find that with acceptance they lose some of their hold over us.

Can I practice Mindfulness if I belong to a religion?

Mindfulness itself is not a religion and does not ask anyone to worship or believe in anything in particular.  People of all faiths and religions have practised meditation as part of their spiritual life in various ways. The term ‘Mindfulness’  itself, has its roots in Buddha’s teachings and is one aspect of the Buddhist eightfold path.  The Western world has seen the benefits of people practising Mindfulness and so now we see Mindfulness practices happening in clinical settings also. Whilst the practices shared in the courses and workshops @MindfulnessbyLucy are not religious and should not compromise any already held religious beliefs, it is important to note where Mindfulness came from. Practising Mindfulness is an invitation which one can accept if they feel comfortable.  I have experienced sharing practices with people of different religions and am always open to conversations around faith.

Is Mindfulness for Everyone?

There are different practises and different Mindfulness paths that could  work for different people. For example, for someone that has high anxiety, Mindful movement may perhaps be more helpful than a sitting meditation. For some sitting and focussing on breathing ,may help relieve anxiety and for others it may increase it. Some people will be more inclined to learn how to practice Mindfulness in every day life, perhaps whilst drinking a lovely cup of tea and for others Mindfulness may just not be their cup of tea and that is ok too! Each person is unique and has a vastly difference experience of living  in this world.  Before beginning a course or workshop, you will receive a from which helps me find out a little more about you and can help me to guide you better. I am open to conversations around your practise in person if you feel anything uncomfortable coming up that you may not want to share in front of the whole group if you are in a group setting.

Online Mindfulness Resources


This practice is great for letting go of worries and focusing your attention somewhere else. Practice once a day or whenever you feel worried to help you manage your worries.


Train your attention with compassion, perseverance and kindness. Learning to persevere with a kind attitude, noticing the way you speak to yourself, and training your attention for a longer time.


Learn to practice cobra pose properly and breath with each movement. This practice is good for synchronizing your breathing with your body movement.