Definition: What is Mindfulness?
Everyone thinks they know what it means, and that’s part of the problem.
Mindfulness now carries a broad, popular—and therefore inevitably loose—definition. It’s used to refer to generally paying attention in life, but it also carries more precise definitions, including a human capability of being aware of one’s own mind, body, and surroundings, as well as practices to cultivate that capability.
Scientific research cannot rely on the broad definitions in common parlance. Researchers require an empirical definition, one that is not philosophical or spiritual and points to something as concrete and measurable as possible.
One of the first elements of a definition of mindfulness is to distinguish mindfulness practice (the instruction given as a means to foster inherent mindfulness) from mindfulness as a basic human quality or ability.
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