What Are The 7 Pillars Of Mindfulness?

Last updated on May 17th, 2024 at 03:02 am

The 7 pillars of mindfulness serve as a guiding framework, offering a path towards cultivating a more present and conscious way of living.

As the practice of mindfulness becomes increasingly popular worldwide, the 7 pillars of mindfulness also called the 7 principles of mindfulness have emerged as key principles to guide the practice.

These pillars serve as a framework for cultivating a sense of presence, attentiveness, and awareness in your daily life, allowing you to more fully engage with the world around you.

The 7 pillars of mindfulness help in areas such as non-judgment, patience, trust, acceptance, letting go, curiosity, and generosity.

By incorporating these principles into your life, you can develop a more grounded and authentic connection with yourself, others, and the world.

Table of Contents

Why You Should Be Tied to the 7 Pillars of Mindfulness

You should be tied to the 7 pillars of mindfulness because they provide a comprehensive framework to cultivate self-awareness and live a more balanced life.

The 7 pillars of mindfulness include paying attention, living in the present moment, non-judgment, acceptance, letting go, compassion, and gratitude.

By practicing these pillars, you can develop a greater understanding of your thoughts, emotions, and actions, leading to improved decision-making and emotional well-being.

Being tied to the 7 pillars of mindfulness allows you to navigate life’s challenges with a calm and centered mindset, encouraging resilience and personal growth.

Embracing the 7 pillars of mindfulness facilitates a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

Related: 8 Mindfulness Activities for Inner Peace

So, what are the 7 Principles of Mindfulness?

A man having a beginner's mind in mindfulness

The seven principles of mindfulness are:

  • Non-judgment
  • Patience
  • Beginner’s mind
  • Trust
  • Non-striving
  • Letting go
  • Acceptance

Let’s take a closer look at them:

Pillar 1: Non-judging

A man showing non-judgmental

By practicing non-judging as one of the 7 pillars of mindfulness, you can cultivate a sense of clarity, peace, and acceptance within yourself and in your interactions with others.

It allows you to approach situations with an open heart and mind, leading to greater empathy and connection with people around you.

In essence, being non-judgmental in mindfulness enables you to break free from the constraints of your preconceived opinions and biases, leading to a more harmonious and compassionate way of living.

Examples of Judgmental Thoughts

  • “This feeling is just a passing sensation, and it is not good or bad.”
  • “I accept myself just as I am, without needing to change anything.”
  • “I monitor my thoughts but don’t try to control them or be critical of them.”
  • “I am aware of my emotions, but I do not let them control me.”
  • “There is no right or wrong way to feel in this moment.”
  • “I am open to whatever arises in this moment, without trying to force a particular outcome.”

Benefits of Non-judgment

  • Reduces Negative Emotions
  • Increases Self-awareness
  • Reduces Stress
  • Increases Compassion
  • Enhances Cognitive Flexibility
  • Improves Interpersonal Relationships

Read: How mindfulness can help you in the workplace.

Pillar 2: Patience

Patience as one of the 7 pillars of mindfulness

Patience is another of the 7 pillars of mindfulness. As we go about our daily lives, we often find ourselves rushing from one task to another, without taking the time to pause and be present in the moment.

With the hectic pace of modern life, it can be easy to become stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed.

But what if we told you that there is a simple yet powerful tool that can help you navigate these challenges?

At the heart of practising mindfulness – cultivating an open, non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations lies patience – the ability to remain present and accepting, even in the face of difficulty.

Here are some examples of how patience can manifest in mindfulness:

Examples of Patience in Mindfulness

  • Letting Thoughts and Feelings Come and Go: One of the keys to patience in mindfulness is to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. This means that you don’t try to push away negative emotions or cling to positive ones.
  • Taking Time to Pause and Reflect: Another way that patience shows up in mindfulness is through taking time to pause and reflect. When we are faced with a stressful situation or a challenging emotion, our instinct may be to react immediately – either by lashing out or shutting down.

Benefits of Cultivating Patience in Mindfulness

  • Reduced Stress and Anxiety
  • Improved Relationships
  • Greater Self-awareness

Techniques to Develop Patience

  • Observe Your Thoughts: Simply noticing your thoughts without getting attached to them helps you develop patience. You realize that thoughts come and go, and you don’t have to act on them.
  • Practice Mindfulness Meditation: Sitting in silence and focusing on your breath or another object helps you develop patience. You learn to sit with discomfort or restlessness and observe sensations without reacting to them.
  • Slow Down: Slowing down and doing things mindfully, such as eating, walking, or talking, helps you develop patience. You learn to be present with the activity and savor each moment.

Related: How to Incorporate Mindfulness Techniques For Better Sleep And Relaxation

Pillar 3: Beginner’s Mind

A boy applying Beginners' Mind, one of the 7 pillars of mindfulness

Cultivating a beginner’s mind is one of the 7 pillars of mindfulness, which refers to the state of having an open and receptive attitude towards your experiences.

This means letting go of preconceptions, assumptions, and expectations, and approaching each moment with a sense of curiosity and wonder as if you were experiencing it for the first time.

Examples of Beginner’s Mind in Mindfulness

  • When engaging in a simple task such as washing the dishes, approach it with a sense of curiosity about the textures, sounds, and movements involved.
  • When listening to someone speak, try to let go of preconceived notions about what they might say or think, and instead listen with an open mind to their words and message.
  • When practicing meditation, instead of getting caught up in thoughts or judgments about the practice, approach it with a fresh, beginner perspective.

Benefits of Beginner’s Mind in Mindfulness

  • Reducing Stress and Anxiety
  • Increased Creativity and Productivity
  • Deeper Connections with Others

Related: How to Approach Mindfulness Meditation as a Beginner

Pillar 4: Trust

Trust as a fulcrum of mindfulness

As one of the 7 pillars of mindfulness, trust refers to developing a sense of confidence, faith, and reliance on yourself, your abilities, and the present moment.

This includes trusting yourself to handle difficult thoughts and emotions, trusting the process of mindfulness practice, and trusting that positive changes can occur through consistent effort.

Examples of Trust in Mindfulness

  • Trusting your ability to observe and acknowledge your thoughts and emotions without being overwhelmed by them.
  • Trusting that taking a mindful pause before reacting can lead to a more thoughtful and compassionate response.
  • Trusting that the present moment contains everything we need and that we can find peace and contentment in it by paying attention to it.

Benefits of Trust in Mindfulness

  • Developing trust in oneself and the present moment can increase self-confidence and decrease anxiety and stress.
  • Trusting the process of mindfulness can enhance its effectiveness and increase motivation to practice.
  • Trusting that positive changes can occur through consistent effort can increase resilience and promote a growth mindset.

Techniques to Cultivate Trust in Mindfulness

  • Practicing self-compassion and self-acceptance can help build trust in oneself.
  • Setting realistic expectations and celebrating progress can increase confidence and trust in the process of mindfulness.
  • Maintaining a consistent mindfulness practice can help develop trust in the present moment and its ability to provide what is needed.

Related: 4 Mindfulness Techniques Tips For Managing Chronic Pain

Pillar 5: Non-striving

A man not striving hard to be able to practise mindfulness

Non-striving is one of the essential pillars of mindfulness.

It emphasizes the importance of being present in the moment without any external goals or attempts to change the current situation.

Instead, it focuses on accepting what is happening and observing with a non-judgmental attitude.

Here are the subtopics explaining Non-striving in mindfulness.

Examples of Non-striving in Mindfulness

  • When practicing mindfulness meditation, you should focus on your breath and observe thoughts without trying to control them or push them away.
  • Walking mindfully, you might notice the environment around you without judgment and without the goal of arriving at a specific destination.
  • During yoga or other movement-based practices, you can focus on the present moment, your breath, and sensations in your body without attempting to perform perfectly or compete with others.

Benefits of Non-striving in Mindfulness

  • Non-striving helps reduce anxiety and stress as one learns to let go of control and attachment to outcomes.
  • It reduces the pressure to achieve, leading to greater calm, joy, and clarity in life.
  • Non-striving helps cultivate a sense of acceptance, presence, and compassion towards oneself and others.

Techniques to Cultivate Non-striving in Mindfulness

  • Set an intention for mindfulness practice but avoid the pressure of having to achieve anything.
  • Cultivate the mindset of curiosity and openness to what arises in the present moment.
  • Observe the urge to control or make something happen without judgment and gently bring the attention back to the present moment.
  • Practice self-compassion and non-judgment to keep from being so driven by self-criticism or desire for control.

Pillar 6: Acceptance

A lady having acceptance as one of the 7 pillars of mindfulness

Acceptance is one of the 7 pillars of mindfulness that refers to the practice of acknowledging and accepting the present moment as it is, without judgment or resistance.

It involves being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without trying to change or control them.

Examples of Acceptance in Mindfulness

  • Acknowledging and accepting your thoughts and feelings, even if they are uncomfortable or challenging.
  • Allowing physical sensations, such as pain or discomfort, to be present without trying to push them away.
  • Accepting the present moment as it is, without wishing it were different or trying to change it.
  • Letting go of resistance or judgment towards yourself and others.

Benefits of Acceptance in Mindfulness

  • Reduces Stress and Anxiety: When you accept the present moment as it is, you are less likely to feel stressed or anxious about it.
  • Improves Emotional Regulation: Accepting your thoughts and feelings can help you regulate your emotions more effectively.
  • Increases Self-awareness: By being more accepting of your experiences, you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
  • Enhances Resilience: Acceptance helps you build resilience by allowing you to bounce back from difficult experiences more easily.

Techniques to Cultivate Acceptance in Mindfulness

  • Mindful Breathing: Focus on your breath and allow thoughts and sensations to arise and pass without judgment.
  • Body Scan Meditation: Scan your body from head to toe, noticing any physical sensations without trying to change or resist them.
  • Loving-Kindness Meditation: Practice cultivating a sense of love and compassion towards yourself and others, including those who may have caused you pain or difficulty.
  • Labeling: Label your thoughts and emotions as they arise, without trying to change them or get caught up in them.
  • Gratitude Practice: Cultivate an attitude of gratitude and appreciation towards yourself and your experiences, even the challenging ones.

Pillar 7: Letting Go

A woman displaying "letting go" as a pillar of mindfulness

“Letting Go” is another crucial pillar of mindfulness.

It involves the practice of releasing attachments and letting go of the past or future, allowing us to fully engage with the present moment.

Examples of Letting Go in Mindfulness

  • Letting go of negative thoughts or emotions that arise during meditation.
  • Releasing attachment to specific outcomes or desires.
  • Letting go of regrets about past experiences or worries about future events.
  • Releasing expectations of yourself or others.

Benefits of Letting Go in Mindfulness

  • Reduces stress and Anxiety: Letting go of attachment to specific outcomes or worries about the future can help you reduce your stress and anxiety levels.
  • Improves Decision-making: Letting go of biases and attachments to specific outcomes can help you make more informed and rational decisions.
  • Increases Creativity: Letting go of past experiences and expectations can help you tap into your creative potential and explore new ideas and solutions.
  • Enhances Relationships: Letting go of attachment to specific outcomes or expectations can help you cultivate healthier and more fulfilling relationships.

Techniques to Cultivate Letting Go in Mindfulness

  • Mindful Breathing: Use your breath as an anchor to let go of thoughts and emotions that arise during meditation.
  • Body Scan Meditation: Notice physical sensations without getting attached to them, allowing them to arise and pass without judgment.
  • Non-judgmental Observation: Observe your thoughts and emotions without getting caught up in them, allowing them to arise and pass without attachment.
  • Visualization: Imagine releasing negative thoughts or emotions into a flowing river or blowing them away like leaves in the wind.
  • Gratitude Practice: Cultivate an attitude of gratitude and appreciation towards the present moment, letting go of attachments to past or future events.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 7 core pillars of mindfulness?

The 7 core pillars of mindfulness include non-judgment, patience, acceptance, letting go, trust, beginner’s mind, and non-striving.

Are there 7 or 9 attitudes of mindfulness?

There are 7 attitudes of mindfulness, not 9. These attitudes include non-judgment, patience, acceptance, letting go, trust, beginner’s mind, and non-striving.

How do the 7 core pillars of mindfulness benefit us?

The 7 core pillars of mindfulness help cultivate self-awareness, reduce stress, enhance focus, improve relationships, promote emotional well-being, and foster a sense of inner peace.

Can the 7 core pillars of mindfulness be practiced together?

Yes, the 7 core pillars of mindfulness are interconnected and can be practiced simultaneously to create a holistic approach to mindfulness and personal growth.

Are the 7 core pillars of mindfulness applicable in daily life?

Absolutely! The 7 core pillars of mindfulness can be applied in various aspects of life, such as work, relationships, and self-care, to enhance overall well-being and happiness.

Conclusion

The 7 pillars of mindfulness are crucial practices that can help you cultivate greater awareness, clarity, and inner peace.

Each of the pillars – non-judgment, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, acceptance, letting go, and non-striving – offers a unique set of benefits and techniques for cultivating mindfulness.

By incorporating these practices into your daily life, you can learn to live in the present moment, reduce stress and anxiety, improve emotional regulation, enhance your relationships, and cultivate a greater sense of meaning and purpose.

REFERENCES

  1. The Seven Key Attitudes of Mindfulness
  2. Finding Peace: 7 Principles of Mindfulness
  3. The Seven Pillars of Self-Care – KU Recreation Services
  4. Key principles for mindfulness practice
pyomerez@gmail.com | Website | + posts

Pyo Merez (PsyD) is a distinguished adolescent and adult psychologist at the forefront of mental health advocacy.

With expertise in cognitive and developmental psychology, focusing on social relationships, cultural contexts, and individual differences, Pyo has dedicated his career to empowering adolescents and adults.

As a sought-after speaker and panelist, Pyo shares invaluable insights on issues affecting young people, contributing to a deeper understanding of mental health and well-being in today's society.

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