As we discussed in our last post, self-awareness starts with recognizing our needs, feelings and behaviors in any given moment and understanding how our environment affects us. In many ways, it’s similar to mindfulness — an “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.” says Jon Kabat-Zinn
We hear a lot about mindfulness these days, especially developing mindfulness through meditation and mindful breathing. The idea is that through meditating, we’ll develop the skill of bringing our attention to the present moment. Over time, we will be more aware of what goes on both inside of us and around us in all of our experiences.
For many of us, however, even if we are working to develop our mindfulness, it’s still easy to get caught up in our emotions. Anger, fear, excitement, or even boredom can all distract us from being mindfully attentive to what is happening right now. After moments like these, reflection is an invaluable tool. We can step back from a situation and look at it with a clearer mind so that we can identify what happened, internally and externally.
As we reflect more, we develop the habit of paying attention to ourselves. When we end up in similar situations, our brains will recognize that we’ve been here before and analyzed these emotions. This makes us less likely to be swept away by those emotions, making mindfulness easier.
Stay tuned. In our next post we’ll talk about what we should reflect on and some rules to keep in mind.