What is mindfulness

Mindfulness is remembering to know the present moment clearly. Not spaced out or zone out, or drift off to thinking. Intentional practice is crucial to this process because our automatic pilot mode of drifting off takes over when we don’t remember.

Why mindfulness

In most countries, including Singapore, family, workplace and student stress has been on the rise. At the workplace, the jobs we are doing today could shift to other countries tomorrow. Or they are automated. For some people, their workload has become excessive. At home, household expenditure has increased. More people need to take care of old folks who are living longer. Children’s study pressure is also on the rise. All these have added stress to everyone.

Being mindful enable a person to become fully engaged in activities and creates a greater capacity for one to deal with a stressful situation. One is also less likely to get caught up in regrets over the past or worries about the future. Likewise, without our mind wandering off in this manner, we are happier. Our mind and body are connected. Being happy makes you healthier as well. Everyone is born with the ability to be mindful. It’s just that we forget to do it most of the time.

How does mindfulness work

Mindfulness, which is remembering to know the present moment clearly, is a natural ability. It is present in all of us to some extent. You may think that your mindfulness is good. However, if you can, say for 10min, keep feeling the sense of your body sitting on the chair, you may quickly realise in no time, that your mind has wandered off unknowingly.

Mindfulness works with human attention in a way that other things don’t normally do. Under normal circumstances, our mind naturally wanders off to all sorts of thinking. Thinking about the past, or the future. With mindfulness, our attention is directed towards observing. Mindfulness is being aware of one’s body, one’s reaction, one’s thoughts, and one’s emotions. Where previously one’s attention was only from the neck up, normally with the brain only, now we are stepping back to a new level of observing. This is not available when the mind is caught in incessant thinking, being consumed by desire or by aversion.

This new dimension of observing is transformative, resulting in our mental and emotional transformation. This transformation increases our capacity to work with our problems, however serious they may be. As a result, a stressful situation that previously we would have felt helpless about may just look workable now.


Like any other skill, mindfulness training takes time and effort. Establishing a regular mindfulness practice will go a long way to improve our well-being and in dealing with the challenges of daily life.