Generally defined, mindfulness is the process and practice of paying open attention to the details of present experience. Though simple in theory, mindfulness can be difficult in practice because it requires that we open our attention around all the mindless and habitual ways we narrow our attention and cut ourselves off from the present moment. This narrowing of attention ultimately and unnecessarily disconnects us from our lives and, consequently, diminishes our well-being and performance.
Everything we do and experience reflects the quality of our minds. I often help students begin by having them identify how states of mind arise within particular conditions in their lives (e.g., cycles of rest and activity, levels of stress, diet, etc.). Becoming aware of the interrelationship of your states of mind and their correlating conditions allows you to more skillfully curate the optimal conditions and states of mind for your well-being and performance. In this way, your well-being is not reducible to any single dimension of your life—rather, it is the way in which all the dimensions of your life come together into a more meaningful whole. Helping students create this “wholeness” is where the mindfulness process begins.
© 2018 Matthew Dewar, Ed.D.