The word “mindfulness” has become very popular over the last few years, but it’s far from a new concept.
Though the phrase was coined in 1978 by professor Jon Kabat-Zinn, the practice dates back to the early days of Buddhism, and has appeared under many different names since then.
If you’ve read my other articles, you know I talk about mindfulness a lot. While it’s not a cure-all for every challenge life may throw your way, practicing mindfulness certainly can help you reduce anxiety, understand yourself, and grow as a human.
Whether you’re an avid mindfulness practitioner, or you’re on the fence and want to learn more about what it is, this article is for you.
First I’m going to give you a quick definition of mindfulness, along with some resources to get you started if you’re interested. Then I’ve gathered some of my favorite quotes about mindfulness to show you why it’s so beneficial for so many people.
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What is mindfulness? A basic definition
Before we get to the quotes, let’s talk for a moment about what mindfulness really means.
At its base level, mindfulness is simply the act of being mentally aware of something. Often mindfulness is used to bring awareness to ourselves and our actions, but mindfulness can also be applied to relationships we’ve had with others, our past experiences, and even our dreams and fantasies.
When you think about it, humans spend a lot of time on autopilot. Think about the last time you were driving or walking somewhere, and you completely zoned out until you arrived at your destination. Or perhaps you’ve recently had a conversation with someone, and only realized later that your mind was elsewhere during the entire exchange.
Mindfulness helps you stay in the moment, and gives you the opportunity to reflect on the things you do, and more importantly, why you do things the way you do.
Mindfulness is not about being judgmental or overly critical of yourself and others. Instead, its aim is to help you understand your own behaviors and thoughts better. Doing this is the first step to changing behaviors that may be holding you back or making life more difficult, and promoting those that help you achieve your goals and find happiness.
Start practicing mindfulness with these resources
There are so many books, articles, apps, and websites about mindfulness, it can be hard to know where to start. Much of the decision depends on how you like to learn, but below I’ve put together a few different resources I find helpful for starting a mindfulness journey.
Mindful.org is one of the best resources online for mindfulness practitioners of all kinds, including those who are just getting started. The link above takes you to their page dedicated to mindfulness for beginners—a fantastic place to start.
Mindfulness apps have become quite popular in recent years, and some of them receive very high marks, including some free options. Most of these offer guided meditation and other activities to help you practice mindfulness every day:
If you enjoy reading or listening to audiobooks, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to reading material about mindfulness. Here are some of the top reviewed books on the subject to get you started:
The resources above will certainly help you understand more about mindfulness and how to work it into your everyday routines. But I also wanted to share with you some of my favorite quotes about the practice, to demonstrate why mindfulness can be such a positive thing.
Quotes on mindfulness and its true meaning
Sometimes a dictionary definition doesn’t cut it. These quotes help further explain the meaning and power of mindfulness.
Mindfulness gives you time. Time gives you choices. Choices, skillfully made, lead to freedom.
—Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Buddhist monk and author
Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.
—Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk, peace activist, and author
Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.
—Amit Ray, author and mindfulness educator
Mindfulness is about love and loving life. When you cultivate this love, it gives you clarity and compassion for life, and your actions happen in accordance with that.
—Jon Kabat-Zinn, author and professor
Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.
—Pema Chödrön, Buddhist and author
Mindfulness quotes about your relationship with yourself
So much of mindfulness is about the way you treat yourself. How often do you check in on your emotions? What voice do you use when you speak with yourself? How do you deal with your inner critic? These quotes speak to some of these same questions.
The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.”
—Maya Angelou, poet and author
Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every relationship you have.
—Robert Holden, psychologist and author
Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.
—Hermann Hesse, poet, novelist, and painter
In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you.
—Andrea Dykstra, author
Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.
Mindfulness quotes about living in the moment
When you practice mindfulness, you find a way to slow down your thoughts and focus on what’s happening right now, exactly where you are. Mindfulness truly means living in the moment—as these quotes demonstrate.
What would it be like if I could accept life—accept this moment—exactly as it is?
—Tara Brach, founder of the Insight Meditation Society
You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.
—Henry David Thoreau, Naturalist and author
Wherever you are, be there totally.
—Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher and author
All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.
—Martha Graham, dancer and choreographer
Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
I hope this article helped you understand more about what mindfulness is. Remember that mindfulness is a skill, and like any other skill, it requires practice. By using some of these resources, you’ll soon find ways to bring mindfulness practice into your routines, and it will get easier until it feels very natural.