Mindfulness is a non-judgmental, curious and gentle present-moment-centered awareness of our immediate experience. A mindful orientation is an accepting orientation as we merely are observing, not judging our experience. We can be mindful about anything: a thought, the body, a sensation, a relationship, our breath.
As we practice a mindful orientation to whatever situation we are curious about, we begin to notice all kinds of information taking place in the present moment. Being mindful about each element of our experience means we slow down. In fact, we go much slower than our normal everyday state of consciousness. This slow, very conscious state allows deep shifts to occur. The everyday reactivity that has been patterned into us can be noticed and other more healthful choices can be made rather effortlessly.
Mindfulness is a component of many therapy orientations and has been studied widely. There are clinical studies on the effects of mindfulness on the brain, on the immune system, in stress reduction, in elevating positive emotions and outcomes, and in treatment of chronic pain and addiction. In addition to modern psychotherapeutic use, mindfulness is a part of all traditional meditation practices.