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November 19, 2017

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Mindfulness: What is it?

November 19, 2017

There are many commonly used definitions of mindfulness being circulated like "Being Present in the moment" or "Being aware." Yes these are true. What is added to that from DBT is the emphasis on "How" to do mindfulness. One definition of Mindfulness from DBT is participating with awareness. Meaning that whatever I am doing with my mind, or my attention, I do it with the awareness I am doing it. I am observing myself as I do it. I am observing my mind attend (or not attend) to the thing I am doing. Mindfulness is observing your minds' activity and being with that. For example, while driving I can observe that my mind visits a number of mental bus stops along the way and most of them have little to do with how I am actually driving (what my hands and feet are doing, how I am progressing down the street, through intersections, making turns and decisions about safety). I could observe that on my way to wherever my mind visits meal plans, future social engagements, past conversations, music lyrics, and much commentary on other drivers. So to drive mindfully, to participate in driving with awareness (at least occasionally), I would notice exactly what I'm doing--how I am holding the steering wheel, how the steering wheel feels in my hand(s), the surface the pull and resistance, the angle of my arms, the weight of my hands, the tension in my arms and hands as I drive in addition to the other parts of me engaged in driving. This awareness while doing is mindfulness. Try it, even now...

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