Key Components of Mindfulness

Certain thinking patterns contribute to anxiety and depression. They are often habitual, and once you become aware of them, you can change them. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you intervene and break some of these patterns.
Mindfulness, is another tool that helps you see these patterns.

Research is also showing more and more that mindfulness is a helpful for tool for adhd

This page will highlight four key components of mindfulness.

 “Mindfulness means 

paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Jon Kabat Zinn

Key component :Direct Experiencing

Mindfulness helps us to practice experiencing life directly. When we are anxious and depressed, we often spend time in our head trying to escape experiencing life. Worrying,
ruminating and dissociating are several examples of this.

Mindfulness strategies help us to connect to our body. We do this by using our senses( including our mind).

Then OBSERVE  that experience with a detached curiosity.

These skills and strategies are about being rather than thinking. Research shows this helps with adhd, anxiety and depression.

Key Component: Describing/ Noting

Once you observe an  emotion, sensation, thought or memory, or any experience is happening you can do the next step

You can begin to describe and note it.  For example,  observe anger has happened to you. Next note and describe. Noting and describing anger entails the following steps: Is it hot or cold? What shape is it? Does it
hurt, or tingle, does it make you nauseous? The

eat a raisin exercise is a great way to practice the skill of noting

Key Component: Non judgmentally

We make depression and anxiety worse by avoiding our thoughts and feelings when we have them. A core component of mindfulness is non judgement.

Thoughts and feelings happen. They aren’t good or bad. They aren’t right or wrong.
Self compassion  and acceptance , are two mindfulness practices that help
self criticism and judgement.

Using the example above, experiencing anger might cause you to feel badly or judge yourself. That makes it worse.

Key Component: One Thing at a Time

Mindfulness helps us to focus on one thing at a time rather than multitasking. Staying present is a core component of mindfulness. All activities that slow us down and deepen our concentration are mindful. Multitasking is a damaging
side effect or our frenetic society. It is a less effective and efficient way to structure our lives. This is true despite our strong beliefs to the contrary.

Cognitive research shows several facts about multitasking:

  • People who think they are good at multitasking aren’t
  • The quality of what you are doing decreases when you multitask even though you are not aware of it.
  • Multitasking increases cognitive load.

Cognitive load is how hard we must work to process information.

  • Anxious and depressed thinking such as obsessions and ruminations increase cognitive load.
  • Innovative and creative thinking decreases with cognitive load.
  • High cognitive load can also result in stress and symptoms of depression. This can become a vicious cycle. (Moshe 2017).

For people with adhd, cognitive load will decrease their cognitive load and worsen their executive functioning and adhd.


Therapy can teach any of these key components of mindfulness.


You may also be interested in these other pages on self compassion,  what is mindfulness meditation, and more about
acceptancemindfulness in therapy,  mindfulness psychology and more about

Bar, Moshe. “Opinion | Think Less, Think Better.” The New York Times

, The New York Times, 21 Dec. 2017,

Medical information obtained from this website is not intended as a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you have a problem, you should consult a healthcare provider.