Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Mindfulness and mental health

2-minute read

Mindfulness is about focusing on the present. Mindfulness can help you feel better and reduce stress. Researchers are also studying mindfulness and related techniques such as relaxation to see if they can help treat various physical and mental health conditions.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is paying full attention to what is going on in you and outside you, moment by moment, without judgment. It means you observe your thoughts, feelings, and the sensations of taste, touch, smell, sight and sound. You are also fully aware of your surroundings.

Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist meditation principles. However, anyone can practise mindfulness to improve their self-awareness and wellbeing.

When am I not mindful?

Many people have routines in their daily lives, such as waking up and going to work or school. If you are doing something familiar in customary surroundings, you may tend to operate on autopilot and not notice what’s actually going on. For instance, you might eat a whole packet of chips in front of the TV without actually noticing the taste.

Some people spend a lot of time thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Being too caught up in your thoughts may even make it hard to fall asleep at night.

Mindfulness helps you to manage these negative thoughts and feelings in a more positive way.

Where to get help

Learn how you can introduce mindfulness practice to your life:

  • Black Dog Institute provides a factsheet with mindfulness techniques to practise at home.
  • Smiling Mind is a free app that helps develop mindfulness skills and can reduce stress.
  • Breathe — is an app suitable for young people wishing to practise and develop mindfulness.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Relaxation exercises

Relaxation techniques can help to relax the mind and body and also manage some of the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Read more on Beyond Blue website

Stress management for teens - ReachOut Parents

Relaxation techniques can be an effective stress management for teens in the moment and over the long-term.

Read more on website

5 ways to declutter your mind | Relaxation | ReachOut Australia

Having a cluttered mind can make you feel stressed, anxious and overwhelmed. Check out 5 of the best ways to declutter your mind.

Read more on website

My 3 steps to wellbeing | Relaxation | ReachOut Australia

Doug talks about the three-step program he has devised for staying calm, healthy and mindful in his everyday life.

Read more on website

Mindfulness & meditation - BluePages

Find out if mindfulness & meditation is likely to help.

Read more on e-hub Web Services - Australian National University (ANU) website

What is mindfulness? | MensLine Australia

Mindfulness means ‘being present’ & giving your full attention to the moment. Learn how to practice mindfulness with MensLine Australia.

Read more on MensLine Australia website

Mindfulness - Musculoskeletal Australia (MSK)

Regularly practising mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve mood, relieve stress, improve sleep, improve mental health and reduce pain.

Read more on Musculoskeletal Australia website

Mindfulness and sleep

The Sleep health Foundation Australia

Read more on Sleep Health Foundation website

How mindfulness can help during the coronavirus outbreak

In this article, provided by Smiling Mind, we look at how mindfulness can help during the coronavirus outbreak

Read more on Beyond Blue website

Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Read more on Black Dog Institute website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo