Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment. The practice of mindfulness often leads to a sense of balance and psychological well-being.

How does mindfulness work?

To cultivate mindfulness a person does not try to create any particular state of mind, but attempts to just become aware of each thought, feeling, or sensation as it arises in the present moment and to let each thought, sensation, or feeling pass away without judgment or attachment. While this is a simple practice, it can be both challenging and transformative.

How can mindfulness help me?

Research has shown that mindfulness can be effective in treating symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, psychosis, borderline personality disorder, and in decreasing suicidal and self-harm behavior. It can also reduce stress, improve concentration and self-awareness.

Mindfulness positively impacts our mental health by decreasing judgment and decreasing the amount of time we spend daydreaming about the past and the future. It helps us to become deeply connected to the moments that make up our lives. Furthermore, mindfulness changes our relationship to our thoughts. When we observe our thoughts during mindfulness practice, we are able to watch our thoughts without getting caught up in them or relating to them as if they are true. Finally, mindfulness helps us to be more attuned with ourselves which leads to greater self-acceptance, better emotional regulation, and ultimately better relationships with others.

How do I start?

There are many different mindfulness exercises you can learn. It is commonly cultivated through a meditation practice. It can be helpful to start mindfulness practices by being guided by a trained facilitator, which often occurs in group settings. Ask your CAPS provider about mindfulness groups, check out the mindfulness resources below, or listen to a meditation podcast to help guide you.

Mindfulness Resources

  • UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC)
    UCLA student discounted classes, retreats, day long trainings and workshops. Free sitting groups in Santa Monica, Hammer Museum and UCLA Medical Center. Free downloads on guided mindfulness practices available on-line.
  • InsightLA
    Fee based Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and other meditation classes available. Free weekly sitting groups available in different locations – Santa Monica, Los Feliz, Long Beach, Hermosa Beach. Work study for classes is available.
  • Against the Stream
    Buddhist meditation center with two locations: Santa Monica and Hollywood. Free weekly sitting groups. Offers classes, retreats and day-longs.
  • Shambhala Meditation Center
    Buddhist meditation center with multiple locations throughout CA: Westside and Eagle Rock. Free guided instruction and dharma talks. Classes, retreats, workshops and groups.
  • Spirit Rock Meditation Center
    Buddhist meditation center located in Woodacre, CA (Northern California). Fee based classes, retreats, workshops and groups available.

Mindfulness Podcasts