What is Mindfulness? What is Mindfullish?

Mindfulness, it’s a term that gets mentioned regularly across all media these days. Generally, it’s a word that goes arm in arm with “Meditation” to the point that one might even think that “Mindfulness” means “Meditation.” While the two are well paired together, mindfulness is a more usable word in your daily vocabulary. You can be mindful of just about everything you do, and if you’re being mindful through your day then it will be very complimentary to your meditation practice if you have one.

At it’s simplest, “mindfulness” is being present and aware of the current moment, the thing you’re doing, the place you’re doing it and the experience of that moment. It can be as simple as noticing your breathing and simply paying attention to that breath, but it can also be your attention to actions like walking, exercising or driving. “Being present in the moment” is a new age sounding term that can be confusing if you’re not actually practising it, and it can be difficult to establish a habit doing. It takes an effort to distance yourself from looking at your cell phone, or your watch or your fidget spinner. Being mindful means being deliberate in your avoidance of distraction and actively seeking to be aware of your environment.

“Mindfullish” is the recognition that this isn’t easy to do all the time, heck it isn’t easy to do it some of the time. We’re actively conditioning ourselves to seek distraction and to step away from thoughtful time. We feel we need to be DOING things and even if that action is taken to stave off boredom. In truth, “boredom” can lead to discoveries about oneself or inspire insights into problems you’re dealing with, so avoiding it could be more harmful than helpful. The goal of being “Mindfullish” is to move past the esoteric and see how mindful behaviour is something everyone can pursue and from which everyone can benefit. It might lead you to meditation, and that’s great, but it might just mean that your day is slightly less stressed, your slightly faster coming or your temper is slightly lengthened. Regardless, it can benefit and shape your life.

While I’ve been focusing on being deliberately mindful for a while now, I keep seeing little incremental improvements in my quality of life. Yesterday morning, I dropped my favorite coffee mug and saw it shatter. I had a moment of frustrated anger where I let out my initial exclamation (which may have contained some choice words), but that was fleeting. As I took a breath, stepped back and appraised the situation the negative emotion dissipated and I chuckled. I was still frustrated to lose that item but realized what’s done is done, getting angry or sad help no one and that I could always replace the mug. It was a small moment, but one that could easily be a turning point in my morning where “everything was going wrong” or “it’s going to be one of those days” and set myself up mentally for a day of struggle.

I’m hopeful that being Mindfullish can spread to everyone and that when we’re flipping through Facebook, Instagram or Imgur that we can realize the moment and periodically step to the side and reflect on how much that matters or how it should affect the rest of your life choices at that moment. Being Mindfullish is fully attainable by every human, whether you’re taking distraction medication, anti-anxiety medication or just “too busy to think about it.” For now, just stand up, walk to a window and reflect on right now and breathe.

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