what is it in psychology? Practice attention to detail. How to manifest this personality trait?

Mindfulness: what is it and how to develop it?

Each per­son peri­od­i­cal­ly encoun­ters dis­trac­tion of atten­tion due to extra­ne­ous thoughts that pre­vent them from con­cen­trat­ing on the nec­es­sary actions. Spe­cial work­outs can help you come to a state of con­cen­tra­tion and increase your mind­ful­ness.

What it is?

The descrip­tion of the word “mind­ful­ness” comes down to its two mean­ings, one of which is cour­tesy, show­ing atten­tion to some­one, car­ing. A con­cept with a sec­ond mean­ing belongs to the field of psy­chol­o­gy. It is reflect­ed in the fol­low­ing def­i­n­i­tion: mind­ful­ness is a prop­er­ty of con­scious­ness based on increased focus and con­cen­tra­tion of atten­tion on some object, phe­nom­e­non or activ­i­ty.

The qual­i­ty of a per­son reflects the abil­i­ty or inabil­i­ty of a per­son to use the basic prop­er­ties of atten­tion: vol­ume, direc­tion, focus­ing, dis­tri­b­u­tion, inten­si­ty, ten­sion, sta­bil­i­ty and switch­a­bil­i­ty.

These prop­er­ties are inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the activ­i­ty car­ried out by the sub­ject. At the ini­tial stage, atten­tion is even­ly dis­trib­uted to sev­er­al phe­nom­e­na or objects. At this moment, there is still no sta­ble con­cen­tra­tion. Then con­scious­ness sin­gles out the most impor­tant actions or objects nec­es­sary for a par­tic­u­lar job. Men­tal process­es begin to fix them.

Mind­ful­ness depends on the abil­i­ty to con­cen­trate, focus atten­tion on the main thing with dis­trac­tion from sec­ondary data, unnec­es­sary stim­uli dur­ing the per­for­mance of any activ­i­ty. With a poor­ly devel­oped arbi­trari­ness of men­tal process­es, fix­ing atten­tion on the desired object occurs with dif­fi­cul­ty. Babies have a hard time keep­ing their atten­tion on some­thing for long peri­ods of time. Noise in the class­room or thoughts of an upcom­ing foot­ball game may pre­vent a stu­dent from con­cen­trat­ing on a writ­ten assign­ment. Thus, con­cen­tra­tion of atten­tion when per­form­ing cer­tain actions is usu­al­ly dif­fi­cult in the pres­ence of exter­nal stim­uli or dis­tant thoughts.

In psy­chol­o­gy, mind­ful­ness is not con­sid­ered an inde­pen­dent men­tal process. It reflects the signs of oth­er process­es. The sub­ject acts, thinks, lis­tens, looks atten­tive­ly or inat­ten­tive­ly. Mind­ful­ness as a per­son­al­i­ty trait is formed as a result of atten­tion train­ing. Some man­age to achieve mas­tery in the abil­i­ty to con­cen­trate on a very bor­ing task.

Such a process some­times tes­ti­fies to the high com­pe­tence of an employ­ee demon­strat­ing excel­lent results in the struc­ture of pro­fes­sion­al work.


In psy­chol­o­gy, 3 lev­els of the pos­si­bil­i­ty of using mind­ful­ness by a per­son are described.

  • The pas­sive degree may be due to invol­un­tary atten­tion. It is estab­lished and main­tained regard­less of the desire of the sub­ject. The impact of the stim­u­lus invol­un­tar­i­ly cre­ates a short-term set­ting that is not real­ized by the per­son him­self. The psy­cho­log­i­cal state of the indi­vid­ual and past expe­ri­ence make it pos­si­ble to rec­og­nize stim­uli and quick­ly engage in habit­u­al activ­i­ties. The dis­ad­van­tages of invol­un­tary atten­tion include a decrease in the pro­duc­tiv­i­ty of work in gen­er­al. The rea­sons for pas­sive mind­ful­ness are:
    1. mov­ing objects;
    2. sur­prise, strength or nov­el­ty of the stim­u­lus;
    3. con­trast of actions or objects;
    4. men­tal state of the indi­vid­ual.
  • Vol­un­tary atten­tive­ness is based on the con­scious con­trol of one’s own atten­tion, sys­tem­at­ic con­cen­tra­tion on a par­tic­u­lar work. Psy­cho­log­i­cal fea­tures include its accom­pa­ni­ment by the expe­ri­ence of ten­sion and voli­tion­al effort. This lev­el of atten­tion has the fol­low­ing types:
    1. in fact, arbi­trary mind­ful­ness is aimed at achiev­ing a pre-select­ed goal;
    2. strong-willed con­cen­tra­tion helps to abstract from dis­tract­ing fac­tors and con­cen­trate on a spe­cif­ic mat­ter;
    3. expec­tant atten­tive­ness is asso­ci­at­ed with vig­i­lance, alert­ness.
  • Postvol­un­tary Mind­ful­ness Stage means the pres­ence of a con­scious focus on the object of atten­tion in the absence of ten­sion inher­ent in arbi­trary con­cen­tra­tion.

The emer­gence of a new atti­tude is asso­ci­at­ed with the rel­e­vance of actions, and not with the sub­jec­t’s pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence.

What skills does mindfulness provide?

This qual­i­ty allows a per­son to improve his skills in the search for var­i­ous short­com­ings, the pos­si­bil­i­ty of com­par­i­son. Atten­tive peo­ple devel­op the abil­i­ty to notice any changes, fix in their heads what they see or feel. Writ­ers and artists are dis­tin­guished by their abil­i­ty to observe things that ordi­nary peo­ple most often do not pay atten­tion to. Cre­ative natures tend to describe a per­son in detail after a fleet­ing meet­ing with him.

Mind­ful­ness is relat­ed to obser­va­tion. Eye­wit­ness­es of any one inci­dent can describe it in dif­fer­ent ways. This depends on their abil­i­ty to exer­cise obser­va­tion, which con­sists in the abil­i­ty to notice sig­nif­i­cant or sub­tle details. A pro­fes­sion­al point of view may dif­fer sig­nif­i­cant­ly from the opin­ion of an ama­teur, whose ade­qua­cy of per­cep­tion of real­i­ty will be much low­er.

Many pro­fes­sion­als require atten­tion to detail. The employ­ee is giv­en instruc­tions on the sequence in which to per­form actions, at what stage to check one part, at what point — anoth­er ele­ment. Such an algo­rithm helps a per­son in pro­fes­sion­al mat­ters. For exam­ple, a watch­mak­er needs to arrange micro­scop­ic parts so that the entire watch mech­a­nism works smooth­ly.

Mind­ful­ness, under cer­tain cir­cum­stances, has saved peo­ple’s lives more than once. In order to devel­op this qual­i­ty, par­ents from child­hood instill in their child the abil­i­ty to cross the road cor­rect­ly: “First look to the left, then to the right, make sure you are safe and only then start mov­ing.”

What could be causing the decline?

Atten­tion prob­lems can occur due to stress, anx­i­ety, depres­sion, mal­nu­tri­tion, poor sleep, lack of phys­i­cal activ­i­ty. The advent of the Inter­net has led to a decrease in focus on some­thing impor­tant. Social net­works, instant mes­sen­gers with noti­fi­ca­tions turned on con­stant­ly dis­tract the user. It is some­times impos­si­ble to con­cen­trate when show­ing max­i­mum effort due to read­ing books from a mobile device in the evening. Links scat­tered across the page, a large num­ber of open tabs scat­ter a per­son­’s atten­tion.

The fol­low­ing rea­sons often lead to a decrease in atten­tive­ness:

  • fatigue, overex­er­tion of the ner­vous sys­tem;
  • the need to per­form mul­ti­ple tasks simul­ta­ne­ous­ly;
  • low lev­el of moti­va­tion, inter­est of the sub­ject;
  • unwill­ing­ness to make extra efforts, lazi­ness;
  • age-relat­ed changes asso­ci­at­ed with a dis­or­der of brain activ­i­ty;
  • dis­trac­tion as a per­son­al­i­ty trait.

Practices for improvement

There are many dif­fer­ent tech­niques with which you can get rid of inat­ten­tion. Tech­niques that can orga­nize the focus of the sub­ject on details are espe­cial­ly effec­tive. When count­ing objects of the same type, it is rec­om­mend­ed to con­cen­trate on their num­ber from 4 to 10. For exam­ple, try to remem­ber 4 items of cloth­ing for any passer­by, try to cre­ate a log­i­cal chain. Before going to bed, recall in your mem­o­ry what you focused your atten­tion on dur­ing the day. Try count­ing cars of a cer­tain col­or pass­ing by, or simul­ta­ne­ous­ly count­ing the poplars and birch­es you meet on your way home.

Num­bers are ran­dom­ly scat­tered in the Schulte table. They should be found and men­tal­ly arranged in the desired sequence: from 1 to 25. Con­cen­trat­ing on the nec­es­sary num­bers and iso­lat­ing them train the brain. The task should take no more than 4 min­utes to com­plete. You can com­pli­cate the task by arrang­ing num­bers of dif­fer­ent sizes and col­ors in order. You can find illus­tra­tions with a lot of num­bers.

Tasks designed to com­pare two pic­tures that dif­fer from each oth­er in minor ele­ments can draw atten­tion to details. When look­ing for dif­fer­ences, the work of the brain is aimed at find­ing sub­tle details. In this way, mind­ful­ness and obser­va­tion are trained. Draw­ing by cells and graph­ic dic­ta­tions are reduced to the image of repeat­ing ele­ments of the pat­tern.

Simul­ta­ne­ous mir­ror draw­ing with two hands of cir­cles, tri­an­gles, squares, zigza­gs, while main­tain­ing smooth lines and sharp cor­ners, trains atten­tion and devel­ops the right hemi­sphere of the brain.

Dur­ing the exer­cise on the per­cep­tion of the col­or spec­trum in the Stroop table, it is required to say out loud not the writ­ten word, but its col­or­ing. The dif­fi­cul­ty is that the word “yel­low” can be writ­ten in red, and “green” can have a blue tone. It’s con­fus­ing. Over­com­ing this dis­so­nance improves the abil­i­ty to focus one’s atten­tion.

Var­i­ous games are of great impor­tance in the devel­op­ment of mind­ful­ness, since they always con­tain cer­tain rules and actions that require con­cen­tra­tion and obser­va­tion. Play­ing check­ers and chess also con­tributes to the devel­op­ment of intel­li­gence. The old fun “Don’t take black and white, and don’t say no” sug­gests ques­tions that pro­voke an answer with a for­bid­den word. The play­er needs to respond quick­ly and at the same time thought­ful­ly.

The games “Sea bat­tle”, “Show the bug” devel­op con­cen­tra­tion and con­cen­tra­tion of atten­tion in chil­dren and adults. The game “Mem­o­ry” trains the obser­va­tion well. It is nec­es­sary to remem­ber the objects lying on the table. Then a per­son turns away. His part­ner at this time removes one thing. Turn­ing, the play­er must name the dis­ap­peared item.

Espe­cial­ly for chil­dren, the Mag­ic Squares tech­nique has been devel­oped, the pur­pose of which is to devel­op atten­tion among school­child­ren. It is a mod­i­fi­ca­tion of the Sudoku puz­zle. At the ini­tial stage, the child must find one num­ber in the win­dow, then they need to find 1–2, then 2–3, and until the sum of the num­bers in each row, col­umn and on both diag­o­nals becomes the same.

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