When I first wrote The Happiness Trap – back in 2006 – I didn’t even mention the word ‘mindfulness’ until almost half way through the book, because back then almost nobody knew what it meant.
Well, times have changed. In the last decade, there’s been an explosion of interest in mindfulness, and the problem now is that many people think they know what it means, when actually they don’t!
For example, many people think it’s;
and none of these ideas are accurate.
Yup, that’s right; not one of those ideas is correct, as you’ll see in the video I have linked to at the end of this blog.
But before we get to that, let’s get clear about what mindfulness actually is.
We can think of mindfulness as a psychological toolkit for enhancing your health, wellbeing and life.
And there are many different tools within this kit – which serve a variety of different purposes.
And all these different skills have one common factor: they all involve paying attention in a particular way, with an attitude of openness, curiosity, and flexibility.
“Flexibility” means we can direct our attention to wherever it will be most useful.
This might be our inner world of thoughts and feelings, or the outer world that we know through the five senses, and it may involve narrowing our focus, or broadening our focus, or shifting it altogether.
And no matter what we focus on – our thoughts and feelings, our words and actions, the world around us, our aim is to do so with openness to and curiosity about the object(s) of our attention.
So we can define mindfulness as:
‘A set of psychological skills for enhancing life, that involve paying attention with openness, curiosity and flexibility.’
In later blogs, I’ll explore some of the many different skills in the mindfulness toolkit.
For now, though, I want to end this blog with a link to a short video about the 5 most common myths about mindfulness.
I hope you enjoy it.
17 Nov 2017
It’s amazing how often folks misinterpret the word acceptance.
Has your mind ever hooked you with this question: "What do I want to do with my life?" Mine certainly has, and I can tell you: it’s a recipe for misery.
A lot of us get stuck because we focus on things that are outside of our control. The more we do this, the more disempowered we are, and the more frustrated or disappointed or angry or anxious we feel.