People sometimes ask me how to tell whether they are being mindful or not. It’s easy to say ‘if you aren’t, you’ll know it’, but I’m not sure that really helps. Here’s a quick checklist to help you decide for how much of your time you are being mindful.
Do you find yourself:
Wishing things were different to the way they are.
- I wish I could lose 10 kgs.
- I wish I had a better job.
- I wish my friend would stop doing that.
Thinking about the past and what you might have done differently.
- I should have studied harder at school.
- I shouldn’t have wasted so much time with that person.
- Life would be better now if I’d made a different choice back then.
Thinking about the future perhaps with anxiety or worry.
- I’ve got so much to do and so little time!
- What’s going to happen and will I be able to cope when it does?
- I’m worried I’ve made the wrong decision and that my future will be badly affected.
Thinking judgmental thoughts about yourself and others.
- Nothing ever looks good on me!
- I can’t believe they did that to me.
- Why are people so thoughtless?
Being on auto-pilot or going through the motions with little awareness.
- I don’t even remember driving home.
- Oh no! I forgot their name as soon as they told it me.
- I cant remember if I locked the car door.
Mindfulness is when you are completely present to what is happening right now, without judgement or analysis. Mindfulness is awareness without interpretation.
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, don’t worry you’re in great company! We all live hectic lives in an increasingly complex world where information comes at us from more sources than ever before, all vying for our attention. It’s no surprise we’re not more present, more fully aware.
All we need to do is become aware that we we are not being mindful, as soon as we do that we have become mindful!