Life can get busy. That often means we rush through things without stopping to notice. When we’re also going through difficulties, it can be even harder to focus.

Paying more attention to and being fully aware of the present moment – your own thoughts, feelings and the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing. This is ‘mindfulness’.

What is mindfulness?

Here’s the Oxford Mindfulness Centre definition:

‘To be mindful is to be aware of your own experience, moment to moment, without judgement. Mindfulness is a way to hit pause. It slows things down and creates space. It can help you accept yourself, just as you are. It can help you focus, be calmer and have a healthier perspective on life’.

Check out this animated explanation of mindfulness on YouTube.

How can mindfulness help?

Being more present and experiencing the moment can help us find more enjoyment in the world around us. It can help us better understand ourselves too.

Most of us have experienced difficulties that are hard to let go of. We can sometimes feel trapped reliving these past problems, or imagining problems that might happen in the future.

Mindfulness helps us stand back from our thoughts and observe potential patterns. Gradually, we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over.

How to be more mindful

Have a look at the steps below:

Take notice +

Take a moment to focus on things. The weight of your feet on the ground. The sensation of food in your mouth. Each breath you take as it moves in and out of your body. Although doing this might sound strange, it can actually give us new perspectives.

Daily do’s +

Make time on a daily basis to try a mindfulness technique. It’s a good idea to stick to the same time each day so it becomes part of your routine.

Try something new +

Mix it up! Trying something new can help us notice different things around us. The changes don’t even have to be dramatic or challenging. Try sitting in a different seat in meetings, eating something new for lunch, walking instead of catching the bus.

Be aware of your thoughts +

Mindfulness enables us to calm our thoughts and maintain a healthy ‘distance’ from them. Even if the thoughts come flooding back, the key is to understand that mindfulness doesn’t make these thoughts disappear – it allows us to see them as merely mental events.

Name them +

Putting a name to our thoughts and feelings, and how they impact on our body, can be really useful in managing them.

For example:

Thought: ‘I know I’m going to fail that exam’
Feeling: ‘This is anxiety’
My Body: ‘My throat is tight, my heart is racing, I feel like I want to cry’.

Courses & Information

Do Nothing

Developed by the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Do Nothing provides information and resources to young people on mindfulness practice.

Do Nothing

Apps & Online Support


A mindfulness app with many different types of exercises for both beginners and people experienced with mindfulness.



A mindfulness app with over 50 million downloads, designed to help you sleep, meditate and relax.


Smiling Mind

A meditation app designed specifically for children and young people.

Smiling Mind

Mindfulness meditations

A series of free guided meditations on Soundcloud.


Just Breathe

A 4-minute short film, ‘Just Breathe’ shows how helpful the practice of mindfulness is in keeping us emotionally healthy.

Visit YouTube