How Does Mindful Differ From Mind Full?

Written by Milan Hayanju on July 23,2020 in psychology
Image representing mindful and mind full.

Mindful and Mind Full may sound the same but these are states of mind that are completely different from each other. There are different effects of being either mindful or mind full so it is a topic that needs to be explored. So how does mindful differ from a mind full?

Mindful is the state of mind when we are aware of experience occurring in the present moment. Whereas, mind full is the state of mind when we accompany many thoughts without any awareness and direction. Being mindful, we are in control of our attention such that we can evaluate our thoughts at the moment. Whereas in mind full state random thoughts consumed our attention without any control.

Now, let’s explore more about how mindful and mind full really work. And how these states of mind affect us.

So, Are you Mindful or Mind full?

To understand how mindful and mind full work, let’s take a short example:

Mike is a student of finance. He is attending the class on stock market investment. Since he wants to invest in the stock, he is listening very carefully.

As he is taking notes on the lecture, he is also thinking about how to raise the money for the summer trip. He remembers that he needs to complete his project so he starts to get worried.

Thinking about the project, he remembers the embarrassing presentation he had last year. His mind drifts to all the embarrassing moments he had in the past.

He continues to take notes and think about the unfinished project. After some time, he realized he missed what the professor was talking about. And just like that, he couldn’t understand the rest of the class.

Did this ever happen to you? You were thinking about a lot of things at once and miss the crucial moment of the time. In this example, Mike was in the state of mind full. He was ruminating about past events and planning for future possibilities. And at the same time trying to learn about stock investment.

It may seem like he was multitasking. But the belief of multitasking is actually a myth. The researcher has found that the human mind cannot perform multiple tasks that need higher brain function at once. What looks like multitasking is your mind shifting your focus from one task to another task. This rapid shift in attention will further stress your mind and decrease your productivity.

So, Mike’s mind was overloading to perform all those tasks so his ability to focus takes a critical hit. This is one of the common examples of being mind full. Most of the time we stay in mind full state and spend the entire day in a daze. We feel exhausted, anxious, overwhelm, and unproductive.

So what is the better option?

Let us consider the same scenario, but this time Mike comes with a mindful approach. He enters the class with a clear goal to learn stock investment. He directs his focus to the subject matter discussed in the class. When his mind starts to wander, he calmly acknowledges his distraction and brings back his attention toward the lecture.

By choosing his mind to stay in present and not worrying about past events and future possibilities, he is reducing stress to his brain. He is more attentive toward the subject matter discussed in the class. He can effectively process information and comes with a creative solution to the problem.

By being mindful, we can filter all the random thoughts and be present for moments, tasks, or events at a time. Living in the moment and being aware of inner and outer experiences gives you a clear view of what’s happening in your mind.

Mindful vs. Mind full

Mindful Mind Full
Present at the moment. Lost in the train of thoughts.
Higher brain function. More stress.
Reduced in running thoughts. Full of running thoughts.
Increased clarity. Clouded with different events.
Boost working memory. Miss the valuable information.
Lowered anxiety and depression. Higher anxiety and depression.

The benefits of Mindful over Mind full

Increases Gray Matter density:

Gray matter is the component of the central nervous system. Gray matters in the brain involved in muscle control and sensory perception. Studies have shown that mindfulness leads to an increase in gray matter density.

An increase in gray matter density in the brain can affect memory, learning, emotion, self-referential processing, and perspective learning.

Enhance ability to Focus:

Staying in a mindful state will increase your ability to focus. By eliminating distraction, you will be able to direct your attention to the subject matter you choose. By being present for every moment, you will notice detail which was overlooked while being mind full.

Control over emotion:

Being in a mindful state helps in regulation of the emotion. One of the core concepts of mindfulness is to acknowledge the thoughts in our mind without judgment. Allowing yourself to go through emotion without impulsively acting on it helps you to control emotion.

Instead of getting riled up with every overwhelming emotion, you will be able to reason with your emotion.

Reduce stress:

The practice of being mindful will immediately reduce stress on our brain by limiting multitasking. Since you are focusing your mind to perform the only task which is significant and letting go of irrelevant thoughts, you can reduce stress.

Research has shown that mindfulness decreases the level of the stress hormone cortisol. Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a research-based program that has proven to reduce stress at the physiological level.

Increase productive:

Humans’ brain is designed to solve the problem. By staying mindful you will cut out extra pressure by limiting the number of problems. Our full attention is directed to a relevant problem at the moment.

You will be able to immerse in-depth to find a creative solution to any problem. You will become more productive by being mindful.

Feeling content:

One of the main obstacles in the way of our happiness is the tendency to dwell on negative thinking. We spend the majority of our time focusing on negative emotions in our minds. We fail to appreciate the beautiful moment by spending time on inner turmoil.

By being mindful you can be wary of those emotions. You can observe those emotions and let them pass. Instead of being consumed with negative emotions, you can consciously focus on the good things in your life.

Ways to be more Mindful

  • Practicing meditation regularly has shown to be the best way to become mindful. Schedule the specific time of day to practice meditation. Incorporating meditation as the daily habit will improve your ability to become more mindful.
  • Avoid the distraction of smartphones while communicating with family, friends, and acquaintance. Stop checking your phone for notification. Make a goal to be present at the moment while having a conversation.
  • Do something new in your free time. We are more mindful while doing something new. So, go on an adventure and have fun traveling a new place. You can learn new things or develop a hobby like dancing, pottery, cooking, photography, camping, etc.
  • Incorporate mindful habits while eating. Instead of wandering mindlessly in your head, try to focus on the specific taste of the food. You can make a fun game-like figuring out the ingredient of food with taste. Check yourself if you can figure out all the ingredients.
  • Dedicate the specific time to just wander around in your mind. Think about it, instead of wandering in an inappropriate time, make a mental note to do so in that specific time. Use this time to understand how your thought process works. Observe the kind of thought that dominates your mind. Take this time to evaluate your mental health.
  • Avoid multitasking throughout the day. It may sound counter-intuitive to avoid multitasking. But the very nature of multitasking will hurt your mental health in the long run. Multitasking is the enemy of your attention.

Like any skill, being mindful can be mastered through practice. You can incorporate creative mindfulness practice into your life. There is no strict guideline to practice mindfulness. You can make it a fun process while still reaping its benefits.

Through the years we have developed the habit of being mind full. It is embedded in our brain to take a burden of multiple thoughts at once. Despite our natural tendency to be mind full, we need to put effort to become more mindful.