People sometimes ask me how to know whether they are being mindful or not. Good question! It might sound as easy as saying “if you are, you’ll know it” or “if you aren’t, you’ll know it” but I don’t think that’s always the case. Here’s my quick checklist to help you decide.
Do you often find yourself:
- Thinking “I wish . . . ”, meaning you wish things were different than they are
- “I wish I could lose 10 pounds.” or “I wish my life wasn’t so hard.” or “I wish I had a better job.”
- Thinking about the past and what you might’ve done differently
- “I should have studied something different in college.” or “I shouldn’t have wasted so much time on that project.”
- Thinking about the future, with some degree of anxiety
- “I have so much I need to do!” or “I’m worried this won’t turn out ok.”
- Thinking judgmental thoughts of yourself and others
- “Nothing looks good on me!” or “I can’t believe she wore that.”
- On auto-pilot, going through the motions with reduced awareness of your experience
- “I don’t even remember driving home.” or “I do that with my eyes closed!”
- Characterizing life/your day in an “either-or” way, i.e.: all good or all bad.
- “I had a horrible day!” or “My life is a hard one.”
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you’re in good company! We live hectic lives in an increasingly complex world where information comes at us from more sources than ever before, all vying for our attention. It’s no surprise we’re not more present, more fully aware.