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Becoming Mindful

You’ve heard the terms “mindful” and “mindfulness”, but do you really understand what they mean?

If you guessed that mindfulness is the opposite of mindlessness, you’d only be partially correct.

All of us have probably experienced a “mindless” moment at one time or another. You know, you drove yourself to work but you don’t quite remember the drive- you just suddenly find you have arrived. Or how about that time you were watching your favorite show with a giant bowl of popcorn? You don’t quite remember tasting it, but it looks like you ate it!

These mindless actions don’t become mindful by simply becoming aware of what you did or how much you ate. Mindfulness involves becoming intentional in your awareness of specific moments without judgement.

Becoming mindful allows us time to focus on the present moment or activity, rather than all of the things that happened or are about to happen. The following suggestions may help you in your journey to becoming more mindful:

  • Choose any activity you do with regularity such as driving, eating, or exercising.

  • Direct your attention to the activity using your senses. An eating activity example follows:

  • Visual-notice the colors, shapes, and appearance of the food on your plate.

  • Smell-take a moment to intentionally smell your food. What scents can you recognize?

  • Hear-Are there sounds of the food (is it still sizzling on your plate)?

  • Feel-notice the texture of your food. Is it smooth or is it crunchy? Is the food hot or cold? What other textures do you notice?

  • Taste-now taste the food.What tastes do you notice? Sweet, salty, savory, sour?

  • Avoid judgement (good/bad) throughout your selected activity. Simply observe and notice.

Our hectic lifestyles and expectations of “multi-tasking” making becoming mindful more challenging than one may think.

There are many ways to practice mindfulness. Over time, taking a few minutes every day to focus on a specific activity allows you to develop greater appreciation for the present moment and the things that are important to you.

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