Mindfulness means paying full attention to something. It means slowing down to
really notice what you're doing.
Being mindful is the opposite of rushing or multitasking. When you're mindful,
you're taking your time. You're focusing in a relaxed, easy way.
Mindfulness happens naturally sometimes. Let's say you're getting ready to take
a foul shot in basketball. You carefully position your feet at the line. You look
up at the hoop and feel the ball in your hands. Taking your time, you bounce the ball
a couple of times. You tune out all the other sounds and take your shot. Swoosh —
yes! Nicely done.
That calm focus, that way of paying attention to what you're doing, taking your
time, taking it easy& — that's you being mindful! And being mindful just
helped you take your best shot.
Why Do People Need Mindfulness?
Being mindful helps you:
pay attention better
be less distractible
stay calm under stress
avoid getting too upset about things
slow down instead of rush
listen better to others
be more patient
get along better
feel happier and enjoy things more
If this sounds like a superpower, it is! Being mindful helps people in just about
every part of life. Learning how to be mindful when you're young gives you a chance
to get really good at it and use it always.
How Does Mindfulness Work?
You need to practice mindfulness to get good at it. Training the mind takes practice.
The more you practice, the better you get.
If you practice mindfulness
exercises, being mindful can come naturally when you need it in your everyday
life. This can help when you're stressed, when you have to do something difficult,
or when you have to focus your attention. It's a lot like learning to play the piano.
Each time you practice, you're training yourself to play a little bit better.
When you practice mindfulness, you're training your attention. Research shows that
practicing mindfulness can improve attention for just about everybody —
including people with ADHD,
or who think they have trouble paying attention.
How Do I Get Started?
Anyone can practice mindfulness. It's easy to do, and it just takes a few minutes
Here are the basic steps:
Sit in a relaxed, comfortable position. Pick something to focus your attention
on, like a word you repeat in your head or your breathing.
Let's say you decided to focus on your breathing. Breathe normally while you simply
pay attention to your breath. If you want, you can close your eyes. As you breathe
in and out, just notice each breath. Pay attention in an easy way — on
purpose, but not forced.
Notice when your mind wanders away from paying attention to your breath. Maybe
you start thinking about what's for lunch, or whether you remembered to bring your
soccer gear, or that funny joke someone told at recess. That's your mind wandering
and getting distracted. It's natural, minds do that all the time!
Whenever you notice your attention has wandered, gently remind yourself to pay
attention to breathing again. That's how you train your attention.
Keep breathing, keep relaxing, keep paying easy attention to your breathing. Can
you feel the place where the air tickles your nostrils? Do you notice how the breath
gently moves your body? Can you pay attention to your belly or your chest moving as
you breathe? Keep bringing your attention back to the breathing every time your mind
wanders. Try to do this for 5 minutes.
That's it! There are lots of other ways to practice mindfulness, like eating mindfully
or even mindful walking. Try picking different things to focus on to help you practice
training your attention.