What is Mindfulness Like?
Being mindful is best understood through experiences, making it difficult to describe as a state or way of being. Fortunately, enough people have written about and studied mindfulness to do a good job of putting it into words. When you’re ready to give mindfulness a try, there’s short exercises, too.
A moment of mindful awareness is present-focused. You may be focused on your environment, others, your own body, emotions, or thoughts. During these moments you will be non-judgmental and find yourself unattached to the past, future, or a fantasy of the way things ‘should be’ (Gardner & Moore, 2007). You will be accepting of your present moment experience for what it is. A moment of mindfulness also has elements that are:
Nonconceptual - you’re aware without being absorbed in or carried away by thoughts
Intentional - your attention is held on a point of focus on purpose
Participant observation - every aspect of your present experience is allowed in to your awareness
You are not detached and observing from afar or picking and choosing facets of your present to take in or push away
Nonverbal - mindfulness is an experience and way of seeing things, not a verbal process captured by an internal dialogue
Exploratory - willing to notice surface and deeper levels of your present experience as they come to awareness
Liberating - giving you a freedom to reduce self-inflicted suffering caused by the way difficult thoughts and emotions are managed (Christopher, Germer, Siegel, & Fulton, 2013)
Being mindful is both a skill you practice and a pervasive way of being. More experienced practitioners might find themselves feeling and seeing things in this way more often and for longer stretches. Just getting started, it’s common to have short ‘bursts’ throughout your day, especially surrounding practicing the perspective. Generally, a mindful perspective helps you respond to new situations in a non-reactive and objective way, scaled accurately to what’s happening in front of or around you. For more tips, take a look at other articles in the blog that hit your interests or areas of need. If you’d looking for one-on-one help or a workout for your team, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gardner, F.L. & Moore, Z.E. (2007). The Psychology of Enhancing Human Performance: The Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment Approach (1st ed.). Springer Publishing Company.
Germer, C. Siegel, R.D., & Fulton, P.R. (2016). Mindfulness and Psychotheraphy (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.