Definition of Mindfulness

A basic definition of mindfulness is being intentionally aware in the present moment without judgment.  It sounds simple enough but so often we find that we are doing one thing but thinking another, which can cause us to be disconnected from our experience.  We go about our day from one thing to the next, often not mentally being in the moment but living in our thoughts, sometimes hours or days or weeks ahead, or rehashing things from our recent or distant past.  In our minds it can seem like there is a constant barrage of thoughts and chatter, which are often negative or critical, perhaps telling us we are not good enough or causing us to compare our present circumstances to other people or some other ideal.  Such disconnection and divided attention can lead to feeling overly busy, stressed, pessimistic and overwhelmed.  Mindfulness embraces attitudes such as curiosity, patience, kindness, acceptance, and valuing being in an experience without having to evaluate it, change it, analyze it, hold onto it, or avoid it.  The approach can help us turn down the volume on the chatter in our minds and help us focus on what is happening right now.  Spending time being really present in mindful awareness can bring about a sense of peace.  It is a great approach to reduce stress, be less reactive and feel more satifsfaction in life. 

The UK Counseling Center (UKCC) is dedicated to helping students improve their overall wellness and balance so they can succeed, manage life's joys and challenges, and feel a deeper sense of meaning and purpose.  Developing a mindfulness practice can help with all of this.  See the rest of the Mindful UK site for information, services, groups, and programs offered through the UK Counseling Center, other areas of the UK campus (e.g., Well Kentucky), local community resources, and websites and apps to help individuals develop such a practice.     

Federico "Felito" Aldarondo, Ph.D.

(for other, more detailed defintions of mindfulness, see Positive Psychology Program's 20 definitions by several well-known organizations and individuals such as John Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sharon Salzberg, the Greater Good Science Center at Cal Berkley, and others)