“Well,” Pooh said, “what I like best,” and then paused to reflect. And, though eating honey was a nice thing to do, there was a period right before you started eating it that was much better, so he didn't know what it was called.


A query was once presented to a room full of mental health professionals by a world-renowned psychiatrist. “What is the ‘seat belt' in mental health?” he inquired. Seat belts save lives; fastening our seatbelts is an easy way to shield ourselves from injury. What weapon is equivalent to shield us from life's mental hazards? What is the seat belt that will keep you safe from sadness, grief, fear, pain, and suffering? 

If we face sudden drop-offs, tragic collisions, or smooth sailing, mindfulness can be the emotional "seat belt" that protects us along the bumpy, winding, turning path of life. “Mindful” means “inclined to be aware,” and “awareness” means “vigilance in watching what one experiences,” according to Merriam-Webster. 

The terms "awake," "watchful," "wary," "cognizant," and "conscious" are all synonyms for "knowledge." So mindful awareness (a synonym for mindfulness) refers to being "aware of awareness," a concept that suggests self-awareness and the ability to remember, a meaning that is closely linked to self-consciousness.  

Henepola Gunaratana, a mindfulness researcher, explains mindfulness this way: “When you first become aware of something, there is a brief moment of absolute awareness.” Right before you recognize it... until you begin to think about it... before your mind says, "Oh, that's a puppy,"... Mindfulness is the floating soft-focused moment of absolute awareness.”

A conscious emotional state is distinct from getting trapped in past or future emotions or behaving on "autopilot." To "practice mindfulness" means to "dig on" or "exercise" this state of mind. After all, who needs to be oblivious or ignorant of their own experiences? 

Consciousness, on the other hand, is vague and impossible to describe objectively, and it varies all the time, as we can see. One day, we believe we know something just to find out that what we believed we learned was incorrect. We "wake up" to information on a regular basis, moving from denial to consciousness. What we are aware of is increasingly shifting. We'll look at how mindfulness is described and calculated, how it can be both a condition and a characteristic, and how it can be used as a method for self-regulation in this article. We then move on to the practicalities of mindfulness, learning how it works in our daily lives so that we can start cultivating it.


From a theoretical standpoint, we are all at the outset of our interpretation of mindfulness. There has been an unprecedented growth in mindfulness literature over the last twenty years, from around eighty published papers in 1990 to over six hundred in 2000. However, there is no literature on mindfulness compared to other habits that are considered to enhance physical or mental health, such as food and exercise. For example, a search of PubMed using the keywords "mindfulness meditation" or "mindfulness-based stress relief" yields 492 articles, while a keyword search on "heart disease and exercise" returns 46,136 articles and "heart disease and diet" returns 15,042 articles.

Mindfulness research is also in its infancy. There are two kinds of studies: those that look at what mindfulness is and how to quantify it, and those that look into the effects of doing it. Although scientists' questions are likely similar to yours, the distinction is in how they go about finding answers. Science is a technique that employs third-person interpretation, which means that it is a tool that produces equal information regardless of who performs it. Mindfulness, on the other hand, is a first-person, or descriptive, technique that is difficult to observe. (Imagine how difficult it would be to choose between two people who are more "aware.") 

Putting mindfulness through a scientific lens takes it away from what it is—a subjective experience—but it also allows one to better appreciate the common aspects of mindfulness recorded by many individuals, as well as the improvements in brain and body states detectable through new technology and specialties including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), immunology, and genetics. However, no matter how well science portrays mindfulness, it will never be able to fully capture the feeling. Scientists may explain an apple's chemical composition, color, texture, and flavor, but nothing compares to the sensation of biting into one. 

When we call mindfulness and use scientific instruments to quantify it, we should keep in mind that the name and the perception are not the same. This is why we approach mindfulness from both a scientific and an artistic standpoint: to fully comprehend mindfulness, one must not only grasp its science but also practice its craft. The Indian proverb about the six blind men attempting to explain an elephant goes like this: When each one touches a certain part of the elephant, he explains it differently. There are facets of mindfulness identified in studies on imagination, empathy, self-awareness, insight, and positive psychology, to name a few areas of focus, if we look through the scientific literature. 

However, in order to study mindfulness, we need a working concept and then methods to scientifically quantify it. “Awareness or commitment to current experience” is used in all functioning meanings of mindfulness. Certain qualifiers specifying the type of focus or perception a person has (receptive, open) or his or her orientation during the encounter are added to this general description (impartial, curious, nonjudgmental, accepting). 

Beyond this idea, there are several different perspectives on what mindfulness entails. Some scientists believe mindfulness is a cognitive skill, or the ability to think in a specific way; others believe it is a personality trait, or a tendency to react to the environment in a specific way; and still others believe it is a cognitive style, or a chosen way of thought. All three of these terms may be used to characterize any form of mindfulness; however, it does not seem to fit perfectly into any of them. To figure out where it suits best, you'll need to do research, which would necessitate a working concept and measurement methods.

You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation here.