The Mindset For Mindfulness

by Andrew Conrad, MA, PLPC, NCC

Mindfulness is practiced to create awareness, acceptance, openness, and appreciation. Mindfulness has the potential to open the doors to passion, purpose, connectivity, and contentment.

The tenets of mindfulness involve strengthening a nonjudgmental approach to our choices, people, and life in general; awareness in the here and now; mastery of breathing; creating greater awareness of our sensory organs and experiences; viewing thoughts as thoughts, not threats; viewing emotions as emotions, not facts.

undersea coral

Allow the concepts to slowly grow in your mind and do not be concerned with a sense of total understanding. These will build through dedicated practice. This approach will help to alleviate the pressure and resistance that may arise when mindfulness or meditation do not immediately reveal the results you may have expected. It is simply about letting go of expectations and gently inviting in the value of the here and now, time and time again.  

Formal practice (meditation) strengthens the skills of informal practice (everyday presence), which makes mindfulness accessible in your day-to-day functioning. You will grow in your ability to tolerate stress, regulate emotional reactivity, and remain present in interpersonal relationships.

Woman meditating over an urban scene

Doing vs. Being. This concept is at the core of teaching and understanding mindfulness. We are primarily living in the doing mode, where we are steeped in regret, wishing, dwelling in the past and future, and disregarding our self-care as we function on autopilot. Inviting in the being mode creates a more balanced and nuanced way of living. When you invite in the being mode you gain a more present orientation and inherently develop space between thoughts and emotions, move beyond the sinking thoughts of would-a/should-a/could-a, and find clearer paths to growth, meaning, and self-compassion. 

Being mindful takes a nurturing mindset. It is less about relaxation or mind-clearing and more about taking time to care for yourself in the present moment.

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