Mindfulness is the best, most transformational way of living. And yet, I find there is a lot of misinformation out there about mindfulness.

I want to clear up any misconceptions about mindfulness so that you have a better, clear understanding of what mindfulness is and how it can help you.

Mindfulness is not meditation. You can use meditation as a mindfulness practice, but mindfulness is the umbrella category, whereas meditation is one of many tools.

Mindfulness is not being in the present moment all the time. Being present is useful sometimes (especially to get more grounded), but it’s not what mindfulness is.

Mindfulness is not one specific method. Instead, there are many practices and tools that you can use to become more mindful.

Mindfulness is not something you complete or finish. It’s not like college where you graduate and are done. Instead, it’s like showering and brushing your teeth. You need to practice it regularly, forever. It’s never “done.”

Mindfulness is not just for yogis, nor is it just for adults. You can be a modern woman, a twelve year old, or a 74 year old and practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness is not in conflict with religion. Mindfulness is something you practice to enhance your mental and emotional health (your mindset and emotions), and it does not conflict with religion. You can be of any religious faith and practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness is not just for Buddhists. While there are origins of mindfulness are rooted in Buddhism historically, it’s very much a secular practice now.

Mindfulness is not about emptying your mind. It’s a myth that if you have a lot of thoughts that you can’t practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness is not an escape from negative emotions. Said differently, when you practice mindfulness, it doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time. You’re still a human with negative feelings.

So, if mindfulness isn’t these things, what is it?

Here’s my definition of mindfulness: awareness with acceptance.

This definition is broad enough to include being present with your environment (example: with your senses) while also encompassing much of what I teach which is being aware of your inner world, or your thoughts and feelings.

For more on the characteristics of mindfulness and how to practice mindfulness, here are my favorite resources: