What is Mindfulness?
Traditional mindfulness encourages us to be present and pay attention to all things—personal things, yes, but also what’s going on with other people, communities, and society at large. When we start paying attention—I mean really paying attention—we start to see whatever we’ve been intentionally, or unintentionally, ignoring.
For some of us this can mean we uncover crushing guilt from having betrayed someone we love, deep rage about a culture that looked the other way when we were assaulted, or overwhelming sadness about the suffering of those who live in war zones or on the street. For others, it can mean we discover unconditional love for our romantic partner, experiences that give us true joy, or pleasure in the tiny things we never realized had so much value.
Often, when we become more present, both the darkest and brightest parts of our lives come roaring into view. For these reasons, traditional mindfulness can be more challenging, but also can be more impactful.
Without effective ways to handle the difficult emotions and insights that emerge from true mindfulness, this experience can feel like too much to bear. This is why it’s so important to be equipped with other emotional skills before trying mindfulness—namely, resilience skills, self-compassion skills, and positivity skills—skills that help you handle challenging emotions and thoughts that rush to the surface when your eyes are suddenly wide open.
The areas below will be introduced, taught and practiced with your psychologist before any mindfulness practice is implemented.
- Emotion Regulation Skills
- Distress Tolerance Skills
- Self-Compassion Skills
- Non-judgmental Approach
- Openness Stance
- Present Moment Awareness
When you develop the emotional skills that enable you to use mindfulness effectively, it can feel almost magical. All those tiny delights that emerge simply as a result of being human become crystal clear. And all those buried and lurking negative emotions bubble to the surface where they can finally be dealt with, perhaps for the very first time. And our brand-new awareness of the experiences of others lead us to live ethical, value-driven, purposeful lives. The result? We receive an abundance of happiness, joy, and feelings of connectedness.
So, you see, happiness can arise from mindfulness, not as a result of self-awareness alone, but as a side effect of our growing ability to see (and correct) the true causes of the personal, inter-personal, and societal challenges that are preventing our happiness and well-being.
- Source: Davis, T. (2019) What Is Mindfulness? And How to Be More Mindful- Discover how to be open, aware, present, and mindful.