What’s Mindfulness? | Evolve Counseling Services | Fort Collins, Colorado

What’s Mindfulness?

Mindfulness has been gaining attention as this topic is researched further, and the benefits continue to accumulate. Most people have heard the term mindfulness, but what exactly is it?

The Basics…

One of the leading researchers on this topic, Jon Kabat-Zinn offers a definition: “The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” I’ve distilled that definition down to something a little more basic. I define mindfulness as intentionally paying attention to the present and placing your focus on this moment. Mindfulness is the conscious choice not to get wrapped up in events from the past and not to worry about what the future has in store. It is living life in this moment.

Why is Mindfulness Important?

When we get stuck thinking about the past or worrying about the future, unpleasant emotions arise and plague us. We then experience manufactured emotions that cause distress and aren’t helpful. We can’t change the events of the past, and we can’t predict the future, so why feel as if these things are happening in the here and now? Most of the time, life is fairly peaceful. If we focus on the present, we save ourselves from undue stressful emotions. Several studies have shown the effectiveness of mindfulness which includes reducing the odds of having another episode of depression, reducing anxiety, reducing chronic pain, decreasing binge eating, and increasing tolerance of distressing situations.

How to be Mindful

There are different ways to focus on the present. People can be mindful of thoughts, emotions, scenery, breath, physical sensations, etc. For, example, when being mindful of scenery, individuals learned to consciously observe what they see. They notice the subtle variations in colors as well as the shapes, textures, and fine details of the things in front of them. Their focus is entirely devoted to studying the information coming into their eyes and fully participating in the experience. There is nothing else intruding in their minds, and if something does come up, they notice the change in attention, and shift their focus back to the scene in front of them.

If you are interested in mindfulness training and want to work on it in counseling, I’d love to talk with you. Please give our office a call, and we can discuss further.


Latest Post