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Mindfulness, Awareness Presence; What was I Thinking

Abstract: Mindfulness is a therapeutic attitude which refers to people practicing their ability to be aware at the present time.

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Mindfulness, Awareness Presence; What was I Thinking

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Written by: Eva Akincilar, psychology student at Stockholm University.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 29 Aug 2008.

What is meant by "Mindfulness"?


Mindfulness is a therapeutic attitude which refers to people practicing their ability to be aware at the present time. Why live for the moment in the present? It is at the present time that we rule our lives. Controlling our present gives us control of our lives. It is what we notice right now that influences our thoughts, feelings and acts. We can control what we pay attention to, and in the same way we can also control our thoughts, feelings and acts.

The four cornerstones in Mindfulness are:

  • Observe: to pay attention to events, feelings, thoughts and reactions. To let yourself experience the present time. What do we experience? What do we pick up?
  • Describe: to put words to what we experience and observe. To separate reactions from the events that started the reactions. To see thoughts and feelings as subjective reflections about situations and events. To describe your thoughts as thoughts and not as facts or reality. This is excellent training for sensitive people.
  • Do not judge: To notice and describe without being judgmental, "gosh, this food is disgusting",say "I don't like spaghetti". This is helpful for the emotional control and to break destructive and negative thought patterns. Many patients judge themselves and their surroundings too hard.
  • Participate: To take part in a flexible and spontaneous way in what happens. To focus on something outside yourself. When you thoroughly describe something (for instance focusing your attention on a tree and then describing it), you do not get stuck in negative thoughts. This is helpful, for instance, against panic attacks.
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