Mindfulness Definitions


Present Moment Awareness

  • Intentionally living with awareness in the present moment. (Waking up from automatic or rote behaviors to participate and be present to our own lives.)

  • Without judging or rejecting the moment. (Noticing consequences, discerning helpfulness and harmfulness—but letting go of evaluating, avoiding, suppressing, or blocking the present moment.)

  • Without attachment to the moment. (Attending to the experience of each new moment, rather than ignoring the present by clinging to the past or grabbing for the future.)


Behavioral Habits

  • Mindfulness skills are the specific behaviors to practice that, when put together, make up mindfulness, and mindfulness practice.


Formal and Informal Practice

  • Mindfulness and mindfulness skills can be practiced informally at any time, anywhere, while doing anything. Intentionally paying attention to the moment, without judging it or holding on to it, is all that is needed.

  • Meditation is practicing mindfulness and mindfulness skills while sitting, standing, or lying quietly for a predetermined period of time. When meditating, we focus the mind (for example, we focus on body sensations, emotions, thoughts, or our breath), or we open the mind (paying attention to whatever comes into our awareness).

  • There are many forms of meditation that differ mostly by whether we are opening the mind or focusing the mind—and, if focusing, depending on what is the focus of our attention.

  • Contemplative prayer (such as Christian centering prayer, the rosary, Jewish Shema, Islamic Sufi practice, or Hindu raja yoga) is a spiritual mindfulness practice.

  • Mindfulness movement also has many forms. Examples include yoga, martial arts (such as Qigong, tai chi, akido, and karate), and spiritual dancing. Hiking, horseback riding, and walking can also be ways to practice mindfulness.

Copyright protected content:

In order to view the material in this section of the course, you must be a current or previous client of James Fitzgerald, MS. The content on this page has been adapted from DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition, by Marsha M. Linehan. Copyright 2015 by Marsha M. Linehan. Permission to use DBT content and materials is granted to purchasers of DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition, and DBT Skills Training Manual, Second Edition, for personal use and use with individual clients only.