What Is Mindfulness?

I recently came across a book of mindfulness exercises aimed at children. There were a number of helpful exercises in this book and I thought this definition or explanation of mindfulness was helpful.

Mindfulness is nothing other than present-moment awareness, an open and friendly willingness to understand what is going on in and around you. It means living in the present moment (which is not the same as thinking about the present moment) without judging or ignoring any­ thing or getting carried away by the pressures of everyday life.

When you are present while waking up, while grocery shopping, with your children's sweet smiles, and with every major and minor conflict, your mind is not elsewhere but right here. You save energy, as you are aware of what is happening while it is happening. This mindful, friendly presence changes your behavior as well as your attitude toward yourself and your children.

Mindfulness is feeling the sun on your skin, feeling the salty tears rolling down your cheeks, feeling a ripple of frustration in your body. Mindfulness is experiencing both joy and misery as and when they occur, without having to do something about it or having an immediate reaction or opinion. Mindfulness is directing your friendly awareness to the here and now, at every moment. But mindfulness practice involves some effort and intentionality.

Snel, Eline. Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents). Boston: Shambhala, 2013, 2-3.