There are different skills that exist in the realm of Mindfulness. Those skills represent what living a life of Mindfulness is. The skills give life to an awareness, that should become our main goal. To understand the importance of that, look at it the other way. The opposite route of choosing to go it without a general awareness risks us our characteristics being erratic, irrational, or impulsive. So, here I wanted to write today about the Mindfulness skills that are called The “What Skills.”
There are 3 components that make up the What Skills. First, we have Observe, which is mostly about the observations of ourselves, and bodies.
The Mindfulness Workbook states that the first part is about taking notice of body sensations, and the feelings that come through, or from within our body parts that are the gateways of our five senses. Eyes, ears, nose, skin, tongues. Take notice of those feelings, if any, and what the feelings feel like. Try hard to pay attention to the moment that you are living in, trying to keep your focus at a solid standing of attention.
With the Observe category, there is something that is called “Practice wordless watching” which is about about visualizing our thoughts that are coming through our mind, letting them slip by. Noticing every feeling, and how it comes and goes “like the waves of an ocean.”
The next component is called Describe, with components including putting labels, and descriptions onto an experience. Making observations, and then labeling each thought with a feeling that the observation brings up. Describe the facts that are based on the who, what, where, and when of what we are observing. The best point that the Mindfulness workbook makes about the Describe component is, “if you can’t observe it through your senses, you can’t describe it.”
The third, and final component of Mindfulness What Skills, is called Participate. This is about truly being in the moment. It is about getting right into activities of those present moments, staying exactly in, whatever is going on. Staying in tune to what we’re doing, whether it is talking to a family member, reading a book, watching a movie. Many times, I can be reading a book, or watching television, but at the same time I’m doing that, I am thinking of something totally different. So it’s about undivided attention to the moment. Forgetting the things that are not the present thought or moment. Keeping in mind to do only what is needed for what is in the moment. Some, including the Mindfulness workbook, label the Participate component as “going with the flow.”
So, the What Skills of Mindfulness are pretty straight forward, and represent what is an important way to begin practicing Mindfulness in daily lives. It involves present time, activities, focusing on the moment, and are great starter tools for not allowing ourselves to veer off where we are trying to go. It can assist in stopping ourselves from being our own worst distraction. The What Skills, are the best beginning skills, that start the road to the other Mindfulness Skills. They help to best lead into the “How Skills”, which we will look at in a future piece.
Skills To Develop Mindfulness was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.