Mindfulness is the practice of being consciously aware of one’s own thoughts, emotions, and feelings while simultaneously being able to remain nonjudgmental and neutral. As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.” The seven principles, also referred to as seven pillars or seven attitudes, of mindfulness include the following:
- Non-judging: become an impartial witness to your own experience. Strive to achieve a more neutral point of view and do not get caught up on the constant stream of ideas, opinions, likes, dislikes, etc.
- Patience: defined as “the ability to stay calm and accept a delay or something annoying without complaining.” Nurture the notion and allow for the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.
- Beginner’s mind: maintaining a mindset that is willing to see everything as though it is the first time.
- Trust: is defined as a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” Develop a basic trust with yourself and your feelings that enable you to trust your intuition and your own authority.
- Non-striving: assume an attitude of being rather than doing by embracing an openness to the present moment and paying attention to what is unfolding without trying to change anything.
- Acceptance: is explained as “receiving information and acknowledging that the situation is truly happening.” Come to terms with things exactly as they are in the present moment.
- Letting go: means to “stop thinking about or being angry about something that happened in the past.” Release distracting inner thoughts, emotions, and/ or situations that are prohibiting you from remaining present in the moment.
The Mayo Clinic explains that the practice of mindfulness involves focusing on “being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment without interpretation or judgment.” The purpose of practicing mindfulness techniques is to help increase one’s ability to regulate emotions, which simultaneously decreases unwanted feelings such as stress, anxiety, depression, etc. A person who engages in mindfulness practices will have improved self-awareness and will be able to access his or her emotions, thoughts, and feelings more readily and, over time, with ease. This can help an individual become more in tune with his or her surroundings and track how outside stimuli from one’s environment affects his or her body. Gaining this level of self-awareness can allow a person to better react and respond to various situations in a healthy, authentic, and productive fashion.
The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.