Being Mindful of Mindfulness

Being Mindful of Mindfulness
By James D. Newman

Have you tried “Mindfulness”? There may be something to bringing yourself into the present to increase your awareness and minimize those life distractions that actually can be reduced. I would never admit or advertise that there is a way to eliminate all distractions, it’s just not possible. The mindfulness technique is not difficult and can help bring you into the present situation for developing a higher level of presence and awareness, and that is always a good thing when trying to not make a mistake. It doesn’t take long to take a moment to think about your breathing and bring you into the present, but it has to be intentional.

In my past life as I&C Technician, I wish I had thought of doing something like this then, just to make myself more present and reduce distractions from things I was thinking about not related to the immediate job at hand, or more to the point, the immediate situation at hand. If it wasn’t so esoteric, this practice really borders on being a human performance tool by itself. I will say that it falls somewhere between a questioning attitude and a job-site review.

So what is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.
[source:Psychology Today]

We need to live more in the moment. Living in the moment—also called “mindfulness”—is a state of active, open, intentional attention on the present. When you become mindful, you realize that you are not your thoughts; you become an observer of your thoughts from moment to moment without judging them. Mindfulness involves being with your thoughts as they are, neither grasping at them nor pushing them away. Instead of letting your life go by without living it, you awaken to experience.
[source:Psychology Today]

Mindfulness is already known to be a rich concept. In psychology it means being both aware of one’s thoughts and feelings and non-judgmentally accepting of them. While mindfulness can be a state resulting from those practices with which it is usually associated, it can also refer to an enduring feature of one’s personality, i.e., a trait.

Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.
[source:Greater Good publication from Berkeley College]

Correlation with Job Site Review

Being present-minded may raise more issues when looking for error-precursors or job site hazards. It’s really about considerations for what could happen, not only what is the worst thing that could happen.

  • -Your ability to predict potential negative outcomes – i.e. I may get an electric shock in this panel, if I do will I bang into something else even worse as I pull away fast.
  • -Thinking about how we are affecting other people – i.e. I need to take a picture of a job site for my walkdown, and if I use a flash when someone nearby has their hands in an electrical panel working, and they may think there is an arcflash and drop what they are doing, yank away, or even get injured.

How do I create Mindfulness?

  1. -To improve your performance, stop thinking about it (unselfconsciousness).
  2. -To avoid worrying about the future, focus on the present (savoring).
  3. -If you want a future with your significant other, inhabit the present (breathe).
  4. -To make the most of time, lose track of it (flow).
  5. -If something is bothering you, move toward it rather than away from it (acceptance).
  6. -Know that you don’t know (engagement).

You can become mindful at any moment just by paying attention to your immediate experience. You can do it right now. What’s happening this instant? Think of yourself as an eternal witness, and just observe the moment. What do you see, hear, smell? It doesn’t matter how it feels—pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad—you roll with it because it’s what’s present; you’re not judging it. And if you notice your mind wandering, bring yourself back. Just say to yourself, “Now. Now. Now.”

Some links to research:

What is Mindfulness video
Article on Mindfulness
Article: Six Steps to Mindfulness
Teaching Mindfulness video
Mindfulness video – I like how he adds, “like your life depended on it.”
Mindfulness Meditation Benefits: 20 Reasons… article

Click here if interested in the research that came to this final conclusion: “Our hope is that the present research nourishes this trend, because it indicates that mindfulness is a reliably and validly measured characteristic that has a significant role to play in a variety of aspects of mental health. Further research into this attribute may open up significant new avenues for well-being enhancement.”

Final thought

Going through the experimental research was interesting to me (I’m always happy to hear people are working on things like this for the betterment of humanity), I uncovered something that made me even more intrigued: what is the opposite of “mindfulness?” The cited article introduces the thought/term of “mindlessness.” I wouldn’t want any worker in that state.