As preparation for my Happiness Project, I did a lot of self-examination to figure out what goals to work toward. I knew that one quality I needed to cultivate was mindfulness – that is, my open, conscious awareness in the present.
And I have been trying to be more mindful.
But it wasn’t until just yesterday, when I read this questionnaire, that I realized just how mindless I was.
This questionnaire, the "Mindful Attention Awareness Scale," appears in an interesting paper by Kirk Warren Brown and Richard M. Ryan, The Benefits of Being Present: Mindfulness and its Role in Psychological Well-Being.
I can absent-mindedly report that I answered “yes” to every single question, except #13.
The more often you answer “ no,” more mindfully you live. How do you score?
1. I could be experiencing some emotion and not be conscious of it until some time later.
2. I break or spill things because of carelessness, not paying attention, or thinking of something else.
3. I find it difficult to stay focused on what’s happening in the present.
4. I tend to walk quickly to get where I’m going without paying attention to what I experience along the way.
5. I tend not to notice feelings of physical tension or discomfort until they really grab my attention.
6. I forget a person’s name almost as soon as I’ve been told it for the first time.
7. It seems I am “running on automatic” without much awareness of what I’m doing.
8. I rush through activities without being really attentive to them.
9. I get so focused on the goal I want to achieve that I lose touch with what I am doing right now to get there.
10. I do jobs or tasks automatically, without being aware of what I’m doing.
11. I find myself listening to someone with one ear, doing something else at the same time.
12. I drive places on “automatic pilot” and then wonder why I went there.
13. I find myself preoccupied with the future or the past.
14. I find myself doing things without paying attention.
15. I snack without being aware that I’m eating.
Mindfulnss can bring many benefits. It brings clarity and vividness to present experience. It may help people end unhealthy habits and patterns. It can enhance a sense of well-being and calm troubled spirits.
This questionnaire is also useful because its questions suggest specific areas for improvement. I’m going to try to walk more mindfully; eat more mindfully; listen more single-mindedly; and not multi-task.
My Resolutions Chart will need an update!
I was looking for a particular Louis Armstrong quotation about jazz, and I found this terrific site, Out of the Way, dedicated to jazz quotations. I spent a blissful twenty minutes mindfully enjoying it.
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