Mindfulness is a skill, and it takes practice to understand and utilize. Mindfulness is the ability to stay present with how you feel and think in stressful or reactive situations.

Most often people operate from a place of mindlessness and are reactive. Current feelings are based on old experiences, and unless the past is resolved, current interactions may cause past buried emotions to rise.

Many people instantly become reactive and want to say things like “forget it,” or “never-mind.” They run away instead of feeling the energy and staying present in the moment with it.

We’ve been taught, mostly based on religious dogma that feeling angry, hurt or agitated is “bad” and not okay. It’s perfectly fine to feel sad or disappointed without judging these feelings!

Mindfulness involves acceptance. As you learn to be more mindful, you accept how you feel without criticizing those feelings and thoughts. You stop putting an adjective in front of the feeling you are experiencing. In other words, instead of saying, “I’m having a bad day,” you say “I’m simply having a day.”

When you practice mindfulness, you tune into what you’re sensing in a present moment. You may be agitated, but instead of reacting, you become mindful of the feelings present. Ask yourself, “How am I feeling right now?” The mind, as brilliant as it is, will search your memory to find a situation from the past that resembles the current moment and bring it up for review. The mind does this because there is an unresolved issue, a hurt wanting to be loved and acknowledged.

Mindfulness is good for your overall well-being. Being mindful helps train your mind to stay focused on the current moment, and mindfulness directs the mind towards what we want instead of on needless chatter.

In the practice of mindfulness, first become aware of your surroundings, how you feel, and what thoughts are coming up. Do this even if it takes a few moments to gather your awareness. Notice and become completely mindful of the sights, sounds, and smells that ordinarily slip by without reaching your conscious awareness. It takes practice! My suggestion is to practice while driving since driving is often a huge trigger. When you get angry in the car, ask yourself, “What is the real issue here?” and see what comes up. The unconscious mind will tell you exactly where it’s hurting.

Mindfulness is a great skill to teach children, especially for when they interact with other children