Unleash the Power of Attitude when You Practice Mindfulness - dummies

Unleash the Power of Attitude when You Practice Mindfulness

By Shamash Alidina, Joelle Jane Marshall

Attitude is predominantly about choice. You’re in control of your attitude; that’s what makes it so empowering. Attitude is an important part of not only practicing mindfulness, but also having a happier life.

Whatever attitudes you decide to bring to an activity shape your experience. And this includes practicing mindfulness. If you decide mindfulness is too difficult, you’ll struggle to discover a potentially life-changing approach to living. If you accept your experience of mindfulness, whatever that is, and trust in the process, you may begin to undergo a subtle yet profound transformation.

Uncover your attitudes to mindfulness

Attitudes, like habits, are either helpful or unhelpful. They’re not always easy to change, but a starting point is to discover what your underlying attitudes are, and then work on cultivating more helpful attitudes. Answering the following questions can help to uncover your attitudes to mindfulness.

  1. What do you hope mindfulness will give you?

  2. What experiences do you expect to arrive at through practicing mindfulness?

  3. How long are you willing to practice mindfulness before deciding if it works for you?

  4. What physical sensations do you expect during or after a mindfulness meditation?

  5. What are your past experiences of meditation?

  6. How much effort are you willing to put into the practice? Will you meditate several times a day or once a day, or once a week, or whenever you feel like it?

  7. What’s the great thing about mindfulness for you?

Are your attitudes primarily negative, neutral or positive? The human mind can be quick to criticize, so don’t worry if your answers seem quite negative. Just notice them and see if you can be a bit less judgmental. If you hold neutral or positive attitudes, observe them too to see if they may hinder your journey into a more mindful life by creating unrealistic expectations.

Nurture a non-judging attitude

The human mind is almost always judging things, people and experiences, probably without you even noticing. Try the following exercise to put your mind to the test!

  1. Look around the room or wherever you are now.

  2. As you look at the objects or people around you, notice how your mind may begin to judge them.

  3. Continue for a few minutes and notice if the judging stops or continues.

Being mindful doesn’t mean you stop judging. Your mind is designed to think and judge, so don’t judge yourself for judging! Instead, the idea is to notice that you’re judging. To make judgments is an important part of everyday living. For example, you can’t go to work and look at a report by your co-worker and then say nothing.

You need to say what you like and identify areas for improvement. However, to be mindful means to notice when you’re judging. And practicing mindfulness meditation is a time to be aware of your mind making judgments and step back from them.

Mindfulness means being a witness to your experience. To be impartial to fleeting thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations as best you can. This means noticing your attitude to an experience rather than trying to control or force a change in your attitude.