Mindfulness is the practice of living mindfully, or consciously, with complete, non-judgmental acceptance of what is happening right now. A mindful person is able to observe his thoughts and feelings from a distance without labeling them as either good or bad. Mindfulness can be thought of as the opposite of “mindlessness,” or living a life of thoughtless reactions.

A strong component of mindfulness is focusing one’s attention on the present moment. This is extremely effective for lowering stress levels. Since thoughts are neither stuck in the future nor the past, there is no worry or rumination, only unconditional acceptance of what is happening in the present.

Not to be confused with mindfulness as a daily lifestyle, mindfulness meditation is a specific meditative practice in which one sits for a certain period of time and actively trains the brain in mindfulness. This type of meditation has been very successful when used as therapy for stress, depression and addiction. It has also been shown to increase focus and working memory.

Example: Ever since Sarah began practicing mindfulness, people have noticed a change in her demeanor. She appears more relaxed and smiles a lot more.