Kabat-Zinn’s Seven Attitudes that Cultivate Mindfulness

The practice of mindfulness and mindfulness
meditation has been shown through scientific research to decrease stress, depression, anxiety,
physical pain, and blood pressure while boosting the immune system. Practicing mindfulness has become a no-brainer
for optimizing physical and mental health. In his seminal book Full Catastrophe Living,
the great Jon Kabat-Zinn, who pioneered the research into mindfulness, described seven
attitudes that cultivate mindfulness. I will now share those seven attitudes with
you: ATTITUDE #1: NON-JUDGING: Mindfulness is cultivated
by assuming the stance of an impartial witness to our own experience. If we observe our own mind, we may recognize
that it constantly judges things as “good” or “bad,” and then we seek to hang onto the
“good” and avoid the “bad,” which is the source of most of our suffering. Judging prevents us from fully enjoying the
pleasures in life because we fear losing them. Judging also prevents us from understanding
and learning to deal effectively with stress and suffering because we try to avoid them. Learning to observe and accept all of our
experiences, both the pleasurable ones and the painful ones, without needing to hang
onto them or avoid them will eliminate much of our stress and suffering. ATTITUDE #2: PATIENCE: Patience is a form
of wisdom. It understands that sometimes things must
unfold in their own time. Impatience is simply a form of judging: “I
don’t like this. I want things to be different.” It’s most
helpful to be patient when the thinking mind is agitated because an agitated mind does
not make good decisions. We must also learn to be patient with ourselves
as we grow and heal. ATTITUDE #3: THE BEGINNER’S MIND: To see
the richness of the present moment, we need to cultivate what has been called “the beginner’s
mind,” a mind that is willing to see things for the first time. Too often we let our thinking and our beliefs
about what we think we know prevent us from seeing the richness of what’s right before
our very eyes. ATTITUDE #4: TRUST: Developing a basic trust
in yourself and your feelings is an integral part of the practice of mindfulness. This attitude of trusting yourself and your
own basic wisdom and goodness is very important in all aspects of mindfulness. You cannot possibly become someone else. You can only become more fully yourself. So, you must honor your feelings and needs. ATTITUDE #5: NON-STRIVING: As your mindfulness
grows, you will see that the best way to achieve your goals is to back off from striving for
them and instead focus on seeing and accepting things as they are, moment by moment. Then, with patience and regular practice,
movement toward your goals will take place by itself. For example, if you stop hating your panic
attacks and instead focus on observing and accepting them, you will soon understand them
better, which will quite naturally lead to more effective ways of coping with them. ATTITUDE #6: ACCEPTANCE: Acceptance means
seeing things as they are in the present. Acceptance does not mean that we live passive
lives, feeling powerless to improve ourselves or fight injustice. Acceptance simply means that until we see
things as they are in any given situation, our actions will be less effective. Thus, it makes sense to spend time accepting
things as they are until the clarity of our observations makes the right course of action
obvious. ATTITUDE #7: LETTING GO, which is a way of
letting things be, of accepting things as they are. Therapists often say, “Well, John, you just
have to let it go,” but they don’t explain how to actually let go of intrusive thoughts
and memories that rob us of the richness of living fully in the present moment. Learning to let go is crucial for taming the
mind. Fortunately, when you practice mindfulness
meditation on a daily basis, it’s like going to gym to exercise the muscles of letting
go of unhelpful thinking, which is why research has shown that mindfulness meditation is the
best way to reduce stress. If you’d like help in learning to live a more
mindful life, then visit my website,, to learn more about me and the online services
I provide. If you found this video helpful, please click
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life! Until next time!


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