Mind Full of Mindful?


Have you ever suddenly realized in the middle of a conversation that you have no idea what the other person is talking about? Do you ever sit down to study and five minutes into reading your textbook discover that your mind has drifted elsewhere, and you have no clue what you just read? What about those times when you walk into a room to grab something, but upon entry, you forget what you came to look for?


These are all examples of acting “mindlessly” – behavior that is common but often overlooked.


Now, picture yourself holding a warm cup of tea. You raise the pleasantly warm cup and inhale the delicate aroma of chamomile and honey. You notice the calm that suddenly overtakes your body, then drink in the tea, focusing on its taste. In this scenario, your focus is on the present, not the past nor the future.


This is an example of mindfulness. Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, describes mindfulness as “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.”


Examples of mindful acts include observing an object for five minutes and paying complete attention to whomever is speaking in a conversation.


Michael Baime, M.D., states that “Even though we have always been right here, in this life, we often don’t notice. We can live in a kind of “automatic pilot” mode, where we travel through our days without really paying attention to much of anything.”


Mindfulness can start as a coping skill, then can continue to become a way of life. Mindfulness is a discipline that lifts a person out of “automatic pilot” mode and into self-awareness.


So, how could “paying attention on purpose” benefit you? Because mindfulness enables a person to better control his or her thoughts, negative emotions, such as stress and anger, decrease as a result of this practice. Mindfulness has also been proven by the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology to “sustain attention.” Summed up, mindfulness increases self-awareness, which leads to a calmer and more peaceful life.


Works Cited


Baime, Micheal. “Meditation / Blog.” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2013. <http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/practicing-mindfulness>.



McKay, Matthew, Jeffrey C. Wood and Jeffrey Brantley. The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation & Distress Tolerance. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications,  2007. Print.




*Five ways to practice mindfulness


  • Take a walk and focus on what you experience with your senses (sight, smell, hearing, etc.)
  • Eat a small portion of your favorite food. Rediscover and relish its taste with every bite. Remain aware of your emotions throughout.
  • Take a warm bath. Focus on the present, not on your daily stress.
  • During a conversation, practice attentiveness with each sentence the other person utters. Whenever your mind drifts off to other ideas, draw your attention back to what the person is saying.
  • Draw, paint or re-create a still object. Concentrate on the moment.