What Is Mindfulness?

Let’s just start by getting the definition out in the open, from the beginning so we are all on the same page…

By definition, mindfulness is the state or quality of being conscious and aware of something. Furthermore, it is a specific mental state which is achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, acknowledging your feelings, thoughts, and sensations.

For most people, that probably makes you think of meditation – the state of practicing and training the mind to be conscious (or mindful).

It has been shown that as humans, we spend more than 50 percent of our awakened lifetime in a mindless state – we are just living on autopilot, just going through the motions. We wake up, get ready, go to work, come home, cook dinner, and start all over. Although we might incorporate new things into that routine at some points, rarely do we ever actually stop to become aware of how we are feeling and what we think.

Mindfulness vs. Mindful Awareness

Let’s start by also introducing mindful awareness…

So, here’s what we have:

  • Mindfulness is the state of being conscious and aware of something – how we feel, what we are thinking, the sensations we are feeling.
  • Mindful awareness is actually paying attention to what is happening in the present experience.

So, during mindfulness, you can look back and become aware of how you felt, what you thought, etc. But, during mindful awareness, you are actually experiencing it in the moment.

Why do these play a role in recovery?

So, you are probably wondering the obvious…

What do mindfulness and mindful awareness have to do with addiction recovery?

Well, everything.

In order to foster the drive to overcome your addiction, you need to understand both why it is that you want to overcome it and how it is that you feel during the addiction.

In other words, you should be able to realize that you are vulnerable, sick, and make poor decisions in the moment, then you should remain aware of those so you can look back and remind yourself why you don’t want to go back down that path.

How do you do it?

Meditation is a great way to train the mind to be more aware. It helps you learn how to hear your thoughts and how to block out the noise.

Practice taking just about ten seconds to breathe in the midst of any situation before making a decision. Sometimes it just takes slowing down and observing what is going on to see it from an outside view.