Several definitions of mindfulness have been used in modern Western psychology. According to various prominent psychological definitions, Mindfulness refers to a psychological quality that involves bringing ones complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis,
involves paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally,
involves a kind of nonelaborative, nonjudgmental, present-centered awareness in which each thought, feeling, or sensation that arises in the attentional field is acknowledged and accepted as it is.
Bishop, Lau, and colleagues (2007) offered a two component model of mindfulness:
- The first component [of mindfulness] involves the self-regulation of attention so that it is maintained on immediate experience, thereby allowing for increased recognition of mental events in the present moment. The second component involves adopting a particular orientation toward ones experiences in the present moment, an orientation that is characterized by curiosity, openness, and acceptance.
In this two-component model, self-regulated attention (the first component) involves conscious awareness of one's current thoughts, feelings, and surroundings, which can result in metacognitive skills for controlling concentration. Orientation to experience (the second component) involves accepting one's mindstream, maintaining open and curious attitudes, and thinking in alternative categories (developing upon Ellen Langer's research on decision-making). Training in mindfulness and mindfulness-based practices, oftentimes as part of a quiet meditation session, results in the development of a Beginner's mind, or, looking at experiences as if for the first time.
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