In short, mindfulness is moment-to-moment awareness. In order to be mindful, one must be mentally present for their physical experiences. Often times, people are thinking about where they are going next, whether it is to class, work, or to the bathroom. Instead of being mentally present with our current experiences, we tend to be thinking about our future expectations, or sometimes past experiences. What would it be like to be mindful of our experiences? How can we do it?
One of the most famous mindfulness exercises is the raisin exercise, in which participants are asked to really experience eating a raisin. An example of the instructions can be found here. Try it out and reflect on your experience.
But what about the actual effectiveness of MBSR? Does it work? A recent study (Carmody & Baer, 2008) looked at the effects of MBSR on adults in an 8-week MBSR course. From pre to post-MBSR treatments, anxiety symptoms, as well as phobic anxiety and paranoia, decreased significantly.
If you're looking to decrease your anxiety symptoms, here are some resources on Mindfulness that may help:
Mindfulness and MBSR:
Carmody, J. & Baer, R.A. (2008). Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31, 23-33.