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What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of the present moment. When you are mindful you are being open, curious, clear, and warm-hearted. It is very simply noticing and accepting whatever thought, sensation, or emotion is being experienced right now. It is the skill of showing up in your own life.

Mindfulness is the opposite of mindlessness. We’ve all had plenty of practice being mindless - getting stuck in thoughts about the past or the future, not noticing what a blueberry tastes like or how beautiful a sunset is because we are too stressed out or distracted, or losing ourselves in emotions, feeling overwhelmed by them, or trying to force them away. There are so many ways we can lose contact with the present moment. Mindfulness teaches us how to come back.

Mindfulness teaches us to regulate attention so that we can focus on what we value instead of getting caught up in or “fused” with habits of thinking. As we learn to “defuse” from our habits of thinking, we can begin to experience sensations in a fresh and more satisfying way – we can actually taste that blueberry or see that sunset without our mental chatter getting in the way as much. Mindfulness also teaches us how to regulate our emotions. Instead of getting lost in or overwhelmed by wild emotions, or trying to force them to go away, we can experience emotions in a more direct, safe, and useful way. By practicing mindfulness, emotions can be turned into allies that inform healthy choices and illuminate our values.

Mindfulness-based therapy teaches us how to get out of our heads and back into our lives. We don’t have to be stuck in painful habits of thinking, sensing, and feeling. We can wake up to the fresh possibility of the present moment. Mindfulness can help.

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